Nancy McElwain, a professor of human development and family studies, will discuss “Children in the Wild: Developmental Theory Meets Engineering Solutions” at the second spring Director’s Seminar. Her talk begins at noon March 5, in Room 1005 Beckman. Lunch is provided.
“Children in the Wild: Developmental Theory Meets Engineering Solutions”
During early development, dynamic transactions between children and their environments are posited to shape brain structure and function, physical and mental health, and cognitive and academic performance. Yet, our understanding of how dynamic transactions between children and their environments guide development is limited by several methodological challenges. At the same time, technological advances in wearable devices, remote sensing, machine learning, and big data analytics are poised to transform our understanding of child-environment transactions and how individual differences in those processes may set children on varying trajectories of behavioral adjustment, mental health, and academic achievement. In this talk, I will highlight methodological challenges faced by developmentalists (and social and behavioral scientists, broadly) and illustrate how collaborations with computer scientists and engineers are especially ripe for innovation at Illinois.
Nancy McElwain is a professor of human development and family studies in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a part-time faculty member at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology. Her research advances understanding of the dynamic early-life interactions between parents and children that shape children’s developing abilities to regulate stress. She adopts an interdisciplinary approach that combines neuroscience, psychophysiology, linguistics, and developmental psychology. Through investigating stress regulation during early development, she aims to promote healthy parent-child relationships and children’s long-term social and emotional well-being. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse.