Gigliana Melzi is Associate Professor of Applied Psychology, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Applied Psychology at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, & Human Development and Affiliated Faculty at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University.
Dr. Melzi was born and raised in Lima, Peru. She came to the United States to pursue her undergraduate degree at Clark University, where she double-majored in Spanish Literature and Psychology. She continued her studies in developmental psychology, focusing on language development, at Boston University, where she obtained her PhD.
Dr. Melzi’s work focuses on the intersection of cultural and linguistic practices and their relation to children’s early development and learning. In one line of work, Dr. Melzi has examined various discourse and linguistic features in the narrative and book reading conversations of Spanish-speaking mother-child dyads from diverse socio-economic groups. In another line of work, Dr. Melzi and Dr. Christine McWayne at Tufts University developed and validated a measure of family engagement for Spanish and English-speaking Pan-Latino families of preschoolers, examining both the within-group variability as well as its relation to child developmental outcomes. In her latest work, Dr. Melzi and her colleague, Adina Schick, have developed and are assessing the efficacy of an intervention program that capitalizes on Latino families’ cultural funds of knowledge to support preschoolers reading readiness. Most recently, through her work on the DREME network at Stanford University, she and her colleague, Margaret Caspe (Global Family Research Project) are examining everyday home practices and strategies used by Latino families to support early mathematical thinking.
Dr. Melzi's work has been published in top developmental psychology and language & linguistics journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, Journal of Child Language, as well as practice-oriented journals, such as Bank Street Occasional Papers. Her work has been funded by the Spencer Foundation, National Institute of Health, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, and lately by the Brady Educational Foundation and the Brooke Astor Foundation, as well as the Heising-Simons Foundation.
- Melzi, G. Schick, A., & Scarola, L. (2018). Building Bridges between Home and School for Latinx Families of Preschool Children J.K. Adair & F. Doucet, (Eds.) Supporting Young Children of Immigrants in PreK-3 [Special Issue]. Bank Street Occasional Papers Series, 39, 1-20.
- McWayne, C., Foster, B., & Melzi, G. (2018). Culturally embedded measurement of low-Income Latino caregivers’ engagement in preschool: A tale of two forms of engagement. Early Education & Development.
- Melzi, G., Schick, A., & Escobar, K. (2017). Early Bilingualism through the Looking Glass: Latino Preschool Children’s Language and Self-Regulation Skills. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, 37, 93-109.
- Escobar, K., Melzi, G., & Tamis-LeMonda, C. (2017). Mother and child narrative elaborations during booksharing in low-income Mexican-American dyads. Infant and Child Development, 26(6), 1-18.
- Schick, A., Melzi, G., & Obregón, J. (2017). The Bidirectional Nature of Narrative Scaffolding: Latino Caregivers’ Elaboration while Creating Stories from a Picture Book. First Language, 37(3), 301-316
- McWayne, C. M., Melzi, G., Limlingan, M. C., & Schick, A. (2016). Ecocultural patterns of family engagement among low-income Latino families of preschool children. Developmental psychology, 52(7), 1088.
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