Childhood Education and Family Studies
I am passionate about the preparation and support of early childhood professionals to promote young children's development, with a specific focus on children's social emotional competence. To this end, I focus my research on teacher preparation and work environment supports, as well as teachers' emotion language and its relationship to toddlers' social emotional competence. I consider equitable access to high-quality early childhood education programs to be a primary mechanism to closing the opportunity gap for children. Therefore, I focus on advocating for children and educators through research, teaching, and policy efforts that promote optimal learning and work environments in classrooms and other child development settings.
Top Scholarly Accomplishments
I am most proud of my work focused on teacher work environments (Preschool teachers’ financial well-being and work time supports: Associations with children’s emotional expressions and behaviors in classrooms, King, et al., 2015; and Teacher work environments are toddler learning environments: Teacher wages and well-being, classroom quality, and classroom emotional well-being, Cassidy, King, Wang, Lower, & Kintner-Duffy, 2016), teacher preparation (A systems perspective on practicum experiences in early childhood teacher education: Focus on interprofessional relationships, La Paro, Johnson, King, & Maynard, 2017), and teachers' language within teacher-child interactions (Teachers’ language in interactions: An exploratory examination of mental state talk in early childhood education classrooms, King & La Paro, 2015). As part of these research projects, I have presented findings at the National Association for the Education of Young Children: Professional Learning Institute and the Biennial Conference of the Society for Research in Child Development. I have also presented research from my work at UC Berkeley as part of two invited talks - one at the Child Health, Education, and Care Summit in California in 2016, and another intensive session on stress in infant-toddler classrooms at the Zero to Three Annual Conference in New Orleans in 2016.
I received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. I attended The University of North Carolina, Greensboro (UNCG) for my Master's and Doctorate degrees in Human Development and Family Studies, and my Doctoral Minor in Educational Research Methodology. After graduating from UNCG, I worked for the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at The University of California, Berkeley as a Research and Policy Associate where I focused on research and policy related to teacher work environments and compensation in the field of early childhood education. In my time in California I served on the Early Childhood Educator Competencies Advisory Board for the state of California. I have taught introductory and practicum courses for early childhood educators, and diversity and inclusion courses for early childhood professionals.
State College, PA
- Learning to play the banjo (poorly).
Future Goals and Aspirations
I aspire to be not only a high-caliber researcher and expressively passionate teacher, but an advocate for teachers, children, and families in our community. I plan to develop community engaged research projects so that I can work alongside community members to create better opportunities for children and families. I hope to spark enthusiasm in the students with whom I get to work.
Life Outside the University
I have a wonderful support system of friends and family—though many of them are far away! Here in Springfield, I am already feeling part of the community due to the welcoming nature of Missouri State, and the supports I have found in my colleagues. I am looking forward to attending more events in Springfield and MSU!