New Hearst Fellows Program to Expand Outreach to Early Educators, Parents

The Outreach and Education division of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences has announced the recipients of a new fellowship intended to expedite the delivery of the latest scientific findings to people working with children.

Leoandra Rogers and Jason Yeatman, researchers at I-LABS, are the inaugural fellows of the Hearst Fellowship Program at the Institute. They began their fellowships at the beginning of June.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jason and Onnie as the first Hearst Fellows at I-LABS," said Sarah Roseberry Lytle, director of the I-LABS Outreach and Education team. "They both have a wealth of expertise on topics of great importance to the early learning community and we can’t wait to tap into their knowledge.”

Rogers is an expert on how children form identities, and Yeatman's expertise is in brain-imaging and literacy.

As part of the fellowship, Rogers and Yeatman will work with Lytle and the I-LABS outreach team to learn the communication skills necessary to translate their scientific expertise into easy-to-understand materials that can be used by non-expert audiences.

The resources will be part of the Institute's library of free, online modules on child development topics. Each 20- to 25-minute module is designed to equip parents, early learning professionals and other caregivers with practical ways to use the latest science in their interactions with children.

Rogers will develop a module about racial stereotypes and children's identity, and the module to be developed by Yeatman will cover how young children begin to learn to read and the role of the brain in reading readiness.

The modules created by the Hearst Fellows will join I-LABS' growing library of modules on topics including learning through imitation and social interactions, early brain development, and how young children learn language. The library will ultimately include about 50 modules.

"The modules allow us to reach more people than ever before," Lytle said. "Our list of registered users is growing each day and people across the country tell us that they are excited to learn how to use the latest research in their classrooms and homes."

The new fellowship program is intended for I-LABS postdoctoral researchers and graduate students nearing the completion of their Ph.D.s. Four more fellows will be selected over the next academic year.

"We want to equip early-career researchers with science communication and outreach skills that will help them share their work with the broader community," Lytle said. "We're focusing on scientists who are far enough into their careers that they have become experts in a given topic, but who are still early enough that the professional development we provide to them will make an impact."

A two-year $250,000 grant from The Hearst Foundations funds the Hearst Fellows at I-LABS. The Hearst Foundations is a national philanthropy aiming to create fulfilling lives for people of all backgrounds.

"The work conducted at the Institute is of great interest to us," said Paul “Dino” Dinovitz, executive director and vice president of The Hearst Foundations. "We are pleased by the selection of Dr. Rogers and Dr. Yeatman as Hearst Fellows and look forward to their professional contribution to the field.”