Dr. Kalina Brabeck, Associate Professor, has been at RIC for 7 years and was the Chair of the Counseling, Educational Leadership and School Psychology (CEP) Department. Dr. Brabeck’s research and academic interest are focused on Latino immigrant families in the U.S. Dr. Brabeck attributes her interest in Latino culture to her childhood experience living in Guatemala.
In 2013, Dr. Brabeck received support through the Foundation for Child Development for a research project entitled: An Exploratory Study of U.S. Born Children in Latino Immigrant Families. The project will study how the legal status of a U.S.-born child’s parent affects the academic performance, physical health, and mental health of the child. The study is the first of its kind to focus on children in middle childhood, specifically, children between the ages of seven to ten years old. Dr. Brabeck theorizes that due to this age group’s emerging awareness of social experiences beyond the family, this is an important age group to understand.
In the summer of 2013, Dr. Brabeck completed a pilot study to test the interview and data collection processes. Currently, Dr. Brabeck, works with students Patricia Taubin, who is taking graduate classes in Psychology, and Angela Murcia, an undergraduate in Elementary Education.
“Patricia and Angela are essential to the study,” said Brabeck. “They will be interviewing parents and children of Latino families and administering academic tests to the children.” Both students are bilingual and, with the interviews conducted in Spanish and English, their participation is a great asset to Dr. Brabeck’s research and their own educational experience at RIC.
“Understanding the unique strengths and challenges of these children is a first step to improving services and changing policies that affect their lives,” said Dr.Brabeck, who hopes that this type of research will ultimately help inform decisions to improve the quality of life for Latino Americans.