May 14, 2024

Student Reflections on School Research Partnership Dinner 2024

On April 18, the Center for Child and Family Policy (CCFP) hosted the School Research Partnership's annual spring event, featuring student poster presentations and an expert panel on Early Care & Education in North Carolina: Pressing Challenges and Future Directions in the Aftermath of COVID-19.

Leslie Babinksi, director of the School Research Partnership, gave opening remarks and introduced panelists, who included:

  • Theresa Roedersheimer, M.Ed., Senior Early Childhood Policy Advisor at the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education, NC DHHS;
  • Holly Hickson, M.A., Deputy Director for Early Learning at the Hunt Institute;
  • Karen Rhinehardt, M.Ed., Early Childhood Consultant at Prenatal to Five Fiscal Strategies;
  • Elizabeth Snyder-Fickler, Ph.D., Senior Research Scientist at CCFP, and
  • Carmen Alban, Senior Program Coordinator at CCFP.

During their discussion, panelists described the current early care and education landscape in North Carolina and the strengths and challenges described by parents and caregivers as part of the North Carolina’s Preschool Development (Birth Through Five) Needs Assessment. They also covered national trends in early care and education, as well as current priorities and activities of the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education supporting parents and caregivers across the state.

Duke students (pictured below) in the Child Policy Research Certificate program and Jacqueline Morris Fellows presented posters of their research projects as part of the event.


From left to right: Alek Mishra, Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan, Samantha Rubalcava, Loey Allen, Alissa Rivero, Imani Hall, Phoebe Ducote, Kenza Slaoui, and Gracie Blackburn

Students shared the following reflections on their experience showcasing their research, engaging with community and school leaders, and hearing from panelists.

CCFP_Presentations-13_Imani Hall

I had the privilege of presenting my poster to the CCFP staff, faculty, and collaborators last week. The engaging discussions with fellow researchers and stakeholders highlighted the importance of collaboration in developing impactful policies for children and families. It was incredibly inspiring to see my classmates and other Morris Fellows showcase their diverse projects, demonstrating the wonderful research being done within our community. Personally, the opportunity to present my work felt meaningful and reinforced my dedication to advocating for the welfare of children.

Imani Hall, Jacqueline A. Morris Fellow and Certificate graduate '24
CCFP_Presentations-19_Loey Allen

I enjoyed presenting my research at the School Research Partnership event for the opportunity it afforded me to spread awareness about an issue I care deeply about. I also appreciated getting to connect with stakeholders in a variety of fields. Event attendees gave me numerous good questions to consider regarding future research, as well as words of encouragement in my present work.

Loey Allen, Certificate graduate '25

Presenting my research on using Machine Learning to support decision-making in child welfare was a truly fulfilling experience. Engaging with practitioners, researchers, professors, community members, and the broader Duke community brought my work to life, which was very rewarding to me personally. Their enthusiasm and genuine interest in my research were incredibly validating, highlighting the importance and relevance of my topic in the real world in the child welfare context and its implications on policy.

Kenza Slaoui, Certificate graduate '24
CCFP_Presentations-Kenza (1)
CCFP_Presentations-11_Akhilesh and Alek

The event allowed our team to present to various stakeholders that work in the child policy space both in the Sanford and greater Durham community. We are super appreciative of all that the Morris Fellowship and CCFP has done and we are excited to continue working with the Center in some capacity in the future!

Akhilesh Shivaramakrishnan and Alek Mishra, Jacqueline A. Morris Fellows '25

I had the best time presenting at the research partnership dinner! I really cherished the opportunity to share our work with so many interested educators across Duke and Durham.

Alissa Rivero, Jacqueline A. Morris Fellows '25
CCFP_Presentations-Sam (2)

Presenting at the School Research Partnership event was very fulfilling! This experience brought me full circle, as I was able to see how my work would be received by local leaders in early care and education!

Samantha Rubalcava,Certificate graduate '24