Doctoral Student Spotlights

Margaret Caspe

Founders Fellow in Psychological Development

Margaret Caspe began her professional career as a first grade teacher in a failing public school in the South Bronx. Despite her studies in child development at Tufts University and her ability to speak Spanish, she realized something was missing in the way the educational system and the community interacted.

To investigate this issue more thoroughly, Margaret earned a Master's degree in Education at Harvard Graduate School of Culture, Education, and Human Development and continued as a research analyst at the Harvard Family Research Project. There she worked on reconceptualizing the notion of family involvement and strengthening teacher preparation programs in family-school-community partnerships. Through an examination of successful schools and promising practices, she reaffirmed her belief that schools will only improve and sustain student achievement if they can find ways to engage families and communities.

"What I like about the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development's Program in Psychological Development," she observes, "is the focus on applied research to address the needs of diverse populations. The departmental courses offered, along with the opportunity to participate in different evaluation and research projects, are providing me with the tools to help make changes in many of the schools that have neglected our child for so long".

She is currently involved in two projects. In the first, she is exploring the relationship between language and literacy in the home and in the school. The second project examines the nature of associations and mediating processes that link children's experiences with family, care givers, schools, and the media to their school readiness.

The Founders Fellowship for Doctoral Study is a highly competitive and prestigious award for new Ph.D. candidates. Founders Fellows receive full tuition assistance for up to three academic years of full-time study, a generous yearly stipend as well as individual faculty mentoring. All full-time Ph.D. applicants who submit a completed application for admission by the January 15th deadline will automatically be considered for this fellowship.

Learn more about our Department of Applied Psychology.

Written by Ed Goodgold.