2017 Awards

The Latino Caucus Biennial Subcommittee created two new awards for innovative work that is being done to understand the development of Latino youth and their families.

2017 Early Career Awards 

Dr. Linda Halgunseth

Dr. Linda Halgunseth’s research embodies the mission of the SRCD Latino caucus in its goal to raise understanding on Mexican immigrant parenting and informs practitioners and policy makers on how they can work more effectively with Mexican immigrant families.  For example, her work sheds light on how a combination of cultural values and psychological resources underlie and motivate the caregiving decisions of Mexican immigrant parenting. She has also introduced a more culturally valid instrument to measure Mexican immigrant parenting.  Lastly, Dr. Halgunseth’s research promotes academic achievement and feelings of school belongingness in ethnic minority children by strengthening stronger family engagement practices and family-school partnerships.


Dr. Halgunseth has made contributions to the research base on:

  • Halgunseth, L. C., Ispa, J. M., & Rudy, D. (2006). Parental control in Latino families: An integrated review in the literature. Child Development, 77 (5), 1282-1297. (1st Research Interest)
  • Halgunseth, L.C. & Ispa, J. (2012). Mexican Parenting Questionnaire (MPQ). Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 34 (2), 232-250.
  • Halgunseth, L.C. (2009). Family engagement, diverse families, and early childhood education programs: An integrated review of the literature. Young Children, 64 (5), 56-58.

Dr. Halgunseth’s faculty webpage is linked here, and more research conducted by Dr. Halgunseth can be found here.




 Dr. Natalia Palacios 

Dr. Natalia Palacio’s research addresses a critical challenge facing U.S. education. She studies low-income, immigrant populations and the ways in which families and schools promote (or inhibit) children’s development. Her work concentrates primarily on Latino children and families. There is substantial research on Latino children that focuses on the achievement gap comparing Latino and White children at kindergarten entry and through the early elementary period. Natalia’s work, however, recognizes that this type of comparative work does little to teach us about the heterogeneity that exists among Latino children and families. Her works focuses on leveraging this heterogeneity to consider promising, culturally-relevant approaches to the study of developmental processes and outcomes of Latino children.

 Specifically, Dr. Palacios examines within-group differences in achievement among Latino children in family and school contexts. She also examines immigrant children’s academic trajectories, with particular attention to language development, to understand how the home environment and classroom context influence Latino children’s academic and social development. Overall, her research makes an important contribution to the research base on Latino children and families and is shaping our understanding of how to leverage the strengths within this growing populations of students across contexts.




Dr. Palacios has made contributions to the research base on:

  • The development of models of immigrant children’s experiences (Chase-Lansdale, Valdovinos D’Angelo, & Palacios, 2007; Palacios, 2012; Palacios, Guttmannova, & Chase-Lansdale, 2008)
  • Examinations of the achievement of immigrant and emergent bilingual children in classroom contexts (Banse, Palacios, Merritt, & Rimm-Kaufman, 2016; Banse, Palacios, Merritt, & Rimm-Kaufman, 2016; Palacios & Kibler, 2016; Merritt, Palacios, Banse, Leis, & Rimm-Kaufman, 2016)
  • Explorations of the linguistic development of Latino immigrant and emergent bilingual children (Bohlmann, Maier, & Palacios, 2015; Maier, Bohlmann, & Palacios, 2016; Simpson Baird, Palacios, & Kibler, 2016)
  • Investigations of children’s language development in the context of Latino immigrant families (Kibler, Palacios, & Simpson Baird, 2014; Kibler, Palacios, Simpson Baird, Bergey, & Yoder, 2016; Palacios, Kibler, Simpson Baird, Parr, & Bergey, 2015; Palacios, Kibler, Yoder, Simpson Baird, & Bergey, 2016). 

Dr. Palacios’ faculty webpage is linked here, and more research conducted by Dr. Palacios can be found here and here.


2017 Dissertation Award

Dr. Chelsea Derlan

Dr. Chelsea Derlan’s dissertation examined the intergenerational transmission of ethnic–racial identity/ identification and cultural orientation among Mexican-origin adolescent young mothers and their children (N 161 dyads). Findings from this longitudinal study indicated that mothers’ ethnic–racial identity and their cultural involvement were significantly associated with children’s ethnic–racial identification via mothers’ cultural socialization; however, associations varied significantly by children’s gender and skin tone. For example, mothers’ ethnic–racial centrality was positively associated with cultural socialization efforts among mothers with sons (regardless of skin tone); but with daughters, a positive association only emerged among those with lighter skin tones. Associations between cultural socialization and children’s ethnic–racial identification also varied by children’s gender and skin tone. For example, the relation between mothers’ cultural socialization and children’s self-labeling as Mexican was positive for girls regardless of skin tone, and for boys with lighter skin tones, but was not significant for boys with darker skin tones. Findings highlight the critical role of children’s own characteristics, mothers’ ethnic–racial identity and adaptive cultural characteristics, and mothers’ cultural socialization efforts in the formation of young Mexican-origin children’s ethnic–racial identification.

This work aligns well with Dr. Derlan’s program of research, which focuses on understanding how cultural experiences (e.g., discrimination, colorism) and cultural strengths (e.g., family cultural socialization efforts) impact Latina/o and African American youths’ ethnic-racial identity/identification and positive development. Her dissertation provided an important foundation by demonstrating that children as young as 5 years of age are processing messages about their culture and forming views about being a member of their ethnic-racial group, and families play a critical role in these processes. Dr. Derlan is currently adapting her dissertation measures and recruiting families for her next study on the impact of children’s race-related experiences and ethnic-racial identification on academic and health outcomes during early childhood. Dr. Derlan is a tenure-track Assistant Professor in the Developmental Psychology Program at Virginia Commonwealth University and Director of the EMPOWER Youth Lab.

Link to Dr. Derlan’s Faculty Page can be found here.



   We commend all the nominees for their excellent work and we thank all the people who nominated them!