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FPG Profile Series Roundup

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FPG Profile Series Roundup

January 30, 2023

More than 200 people help carry out the mission of the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, including investigators, staff, faculty fellows, postdocs, and visiting scholars. Our FPG Profile series aims to introduce you to these amazing people and the incredible work they're doing here at the Institute to fulfill both our vision to be a hub of excellence for understanding and impacting child development and our mission to transform children's lives through innovation in research, practice, and policy.

Below is a roundup of some of our more recent profiles.

FPG Profile: Heather Aiken

Heather Aiken, PhD, NBCT, serves as the intervention director for Targeted Reading Instruction (TRI; formerly called Targeted Reading Intervention) at UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG.) Before beginning this role, she worked for three years as a TRI literacy coach while earning her doctorate in teacher education and curriculum at UNC-Chapel Hill. Teaching has always been central in her life, starting with earning a B.A. in history and elementary education from The College of William and Mary. After graduation, she served in the Peace Corps as a language arts resource teacher in Grenada. She went on to teach for more than 17 years in kindergarten through third grade classrooms in Chatham, Durham, and Wake counties. Find out more about Aiken and her work at FPG.

FPG Profile: Sophia Farmer

Thanks to her background as a special education teacher, Implementation Specialist Sophia Farmer, MT brings real-world experience to her role as K-12 education project portfolio lead at UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG.) As a teacher, Farmer worked primarily with children with specific learning disabilities and emotional/behavioral disabilities. While an undergraduate at the University of Virginia—from which she received both a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and Master’s in elementary education—Farmer realized that her high school volunteer work, which centered on reading with young students and working with English language learners, pointed her to a career in teaching. Learn more about Farmer and her work at FPG.

FPG Profile: Schatzi McCarthy

Schatzi McCarthy, MP, MAPA, joined the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) as a technical assistance specialist with the Trohanis Technical Assistance (TA) Projects in 2019. Her prior experience in early childhood issues includes leading the team that approved and monitored North Carolina Smart Start activities statewide, leading the NC Division of Public Health’s Early Intervention Branch evaluation team, and working as program director for a maternal and child health program in Jamaica. In the public health arena, she has worked as an associate director for a program in the UNC Chapel Hill Gillings School of Global Public Health and as a research director and board member for Family Health Ministries. She has led federal and donor performance reporting for more than a decade. And, initiatives in North Carolina, Haiti, and West Africa have all benefited from her experience and knowledge. Keep reading to learn more about McCarthy and her work at FPG.

FPG Profile: Linda Soto

Growing up in the Eastern Plains (Llanos Orientales) of Colombia and travelling to Bogotá for her schooling, Linda Soto developed a love of education and children. After graduating high school, she spent a school year teaching children in a small rural town in her country. After receiving her college degree from The Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, Soto attended a summer program in English as a Second Language at New York’s Adelphi University. She then returned home but ultimately settled in North Carolina in 1999. She joined the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) in 2006 as a temporary assistant, utilizing her fluency in both English and Spanish. Now, as a full-time social research assistant, she enjoys being behind the scenes, working to ensure that the Latinx community is included in FPG’s research and programs. Find out more about Soto and her work at FPG.

FPG Profile: Visiting international scholar Julia Argente Tormo
Since arriving in September at FPG, visiting international scholar Julia Argente Tormo has been immersed in learning. A physical therapist and occupational therapist working toward her PhD, Argente Tormo plans to bring her newly acquired knowledge to L'Alquería Early Childhood Education Center at the Catholic University of Valencia, where she works as a practitioner with children with disabilities, ages birth to six years, and their families. She will also utilize her knowledge at Card Capacitas, the research group to which she belongs at Catholic University, and in her advocacy work around policy changes in her home country of Spain. As part of her doctoral studies, Argente Tormo is studying at FPG for six months, primarily focusing on adapting and validating the System Framework for Building High-Quality Early Intervention and Preschool Special Education Programs to evaluate the system in Spain. Keep reading to learn more about her future professional goals and how her time at FPG will help realize them.

FPG Profile: Correy Watkins

Correy Watkins, MA, joined the UNC Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG) as an implementation specialist in 2021, bringing with him years of experience in public education. Watkins started out as a special education teacher in North Carolina’s Montgomery County Schools. He then spent nearly 14 years with the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, first as a positive behavior intervention and support consultant and then as an integrated academic and behavior systems regional consultant and state implementation specialist. In these positions, Watkins helped school districts implement a multi-tier system of support, a school improvement framework that includes academic, behavioral, social, and emotional instruction and support, using a systems approach. Discover how Watkins is channeling that experience in his work here at FPG.