Category Archives: Society for Research on Child Development

Meeting My Research Rockstar: Foiled Again

Every new academic has people they look up to…and not just their advisors. The word “affair” maybe taking it too far, but they often reference them often, and by last name only.

Such phrases as “Schoppe’s article talks about” or “Lang’s theoretical symposium discusses…” or “Wellander’s conceptual framework is an underpinning for…”

Yes, these professors exist. To us, they’re known as rockstars!

Professor rockstars = ultimate nerdom.

For me, this is Lamb.

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No, Dr. Michael Lamb from Cambridge University.

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I had a chance to meet him back in 2010 at the Society for Cross Cultural Research. Alas, I was too afraid to introduce myself. I, a very outgoing guy, couldn’t build up the nerve to say hi.

Afterall, what do you really say:

Thankful: “I love your work.”                                                                                                                                      -Lame

Idolizing: “You’re my hero.”                                                                                                                                      -Overeager

Developing Researcher: “I want to be like you when I grow up.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      -Classless

Academic speak: “I read your latest paper on the transitive properties of parenthood….”                                                                                                                                                                                                            -Pompous

Relatable: “Hi, I also do ground breaking work on fatherhood.”                                                                                                                             -Arrogant
Side note: I had a chance to work at the Indianapolis 500 for four years in the pagoda–the tall building where all of the celebrities go.

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Indianapolis 500 Pagoda

I took dozens of celebrities up and down the elevator making small talk. I got to talk with Michael Madsen (seemed like a really good dad). I even had to push Jesus (Jim Caviezel) for being a little disorderly. And I was left alone with Nick Lachey and Jessica Simpson (along with their bodyguard); having a fifteen minute conversation with Nick and his massive bodyguard, while Jessica freshened up for singing the national anthem.

A 15 second talk to one of my research hero’s: couldn’t do it.

I knew from the conference program that Lamb would be at SRCD in Philadelphia, so I was determined to meet him this time.

The conference was coming to a close, but I managed to make it to one of his talks (or more specifically some of his students’/coresearchers’ talks).

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Lamb making his opening statements about the symposium.

How do I start a conversation with Lamb, I thought. Afterall, I didn’t want it to turn into a rehash of SCCR.

I’ll ask them a question about their research, became my conclusion.

After the presentation, I raised my hand, and asked my important question on same-sex research. I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I do remember that I mentioned that I came from Sweden and that Lamb, as opposed to the speaker, answered me.

Yes! I thought. Now I have an excuse to just say Hi. 

Mind youman-146128_960_720all I want to do is just say Hi. And these are the lengths and the numerous thoughts that are zipping through my head to accomplish my (simple) goal.

The talk ended. Questions were over. I stood up and started making my way toward a guy whose work I had religiously read while earning my master’s and PhD and now was my time to let him know that I existed.
“Hej, hur mår du? Jag kommer från Malmö, [Hi, how are you? I’m from Malmo]” said a woman who was now standing between Lamb and myself.

She was quite pleasant, and we had a great conversation. Even knowing some of the same people.

But this talk took too long. I watched Lamb leave the room. I briefly thought about sending him an email, but that never transpired.

So, another conference, another day–perhaps I’ll get a chance to say hi to one of my academic rockstars.

Anti-climatic – what new researcher can’t relate?

Society for Research on Child Development 2015: My Poster Presentation on Head Start Preschool Teacher Retention and Teacher Turnover

The Society for Research on Child Development 2015 Conference took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

While the conference and its accommodations were quite ritzy:

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Part of my hotel room; A hotel recommended by the conference organizers.

The rest of Philadelphia seemed to be in need of a face lift.

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Man warms himself on the bitterly cold streets of Philadelphia.

Even still, the conference goes on.

I had the fortune of having my submission accepted as a poster. I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t get to have an oral presentation. In oral presentations you have a chance to meet more researchers; plus, I felt like I could tell a good story about my research.

But you have to make the best of things, and I was able to have several one-on-one conversations with other researchers.

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At SRCD, I had the opportunity to discuss the findings from my research on why Head Start preschool teachers quit or stay teaching. I developed a questionnaire that I gave to newly hired Head Start preschool teachers at the beginning of the school year, and then halfway through the school year, used those results to predict who stayed and who quit teaching.

Five factors differed between those who stayed and those who quit teaching. Additionally, the more risk factors an individual have (the highest possible being 5), the more likely they were to quit.

Practitioners can use this information to make needed changes in order to decrease their turnover rates.

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These findings were later accepted as an article in Early Childhood Research Quarterly (the best early childhood education journal, and the 11th best education journal, according to their impact factor)!

Society for Research on Child Development 2015: Presentations and Posters

The Society for Research on Child Development (SRCD) 2015 Conference took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

It was held in a grandiose old train station/hotel.

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I had been looking forward to this conference for 8 years! See, SRCD was the first conference I ever attended, back in 2007 in Boston when I was a master’s student. I didn’t realize the quality or size of the conference until I had other conferences I could compare it to.

The opening speech was well-intentioned and important, but about 20 years behind Sweden, as it discussed equality, especially between genders.

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SRCD is absolutely one of the biggest (thousands of participants) and has some of the highest quality (ground-breaking research, major grant holders, complex statistical methods) presentations. In fact, it’s the only conference that has ever rejected one of my submissions.

*Not that those who receive a large grant from the NIH or                                     those who do complex statistics necessarily do amazing                                     research, but if you want to get a bigger grant, at least via                                   attending can inform you what others have done to receive                               it…or learn (or at least be aware of) more complex stats.

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The conference is clearly made for psychologists, although there are people from other backgrounds participating (e.g. public health, social medicine, sociology).

I don’t know the correct percentage, but I noticed a pattern when it came to the symposia I attended:  All three/four talks were related; and I’m not just referring to their subject matter. Either the researchers all new each other or, more commonly, they all worked together in some capacity (e.g. receiving the same type of grant from the same funding agency, all working for one main boss, but having separate and disparate research as individuals).

This translates into the lone wolf finding it difficult to ever be involved in a symposium, even if their research is highly related to other talks and of high quality.

As such, you see a lot of students (and others) left to present posters (albeit high-quality posters).

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This amused me, if for no other reason than normally posters aren’t the most high quality–and at SRCD, many of them are; and they will go on to be published in top journals.

In other words, if you don’t get to present in a symposium at SRCD–you’re not alone; and it’s not necessarily a judgement on the quality of your research.

While many conferences in the USA (as compared to Europe and Australia) do not provide lunches; forcing attendees to fend for themselves. However, SRCD did provide some snacks, and even a few games, one evening, creating a fun atmosphere.

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Overall, a great experience, in an historic city, and I can’t wait to attend again in two years.