Sarai Estefania Coba-Rodriguez

    Email Address:
    College: Education Department: Educational Psychology
    Title: Assistant Professor
    Office: 1242 Phone: 3124131053
    Participating in the Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Awards program: Yes

    Research Interest:
    Research Area #1: School Readiness & Family Engagement
    Dr. Sarai Coba-Rodriguez's research focuses on school readiness and family involvement among low-income Latino and African-American families and preschool teachers, including their beliefs and practices that promote young children’s successful transition to kindergarten. Challenging notions of dysfunction and deficit, she uses a family resilience approach that emphasizes families’ strengths and cultural resources, as well as families’ agency in promoting their children’s education. Through the use of qualitative research methods (i.e., in-depth interviewing, photo elicitation interviewing, participant observation, and naturalistic observation), Dr. Coba-Rodriguez aims to present a more complex, dynamic, and resilient picture of low-income, racially-diverse families with young children.

    Research Area #2: Families' Experiences with their child's preschool expulsion

    Using a family resilience framework and ecological lens, this mixed-method study aims to understand families' experiences with their child’s exclusions and transitions following the passage of IL 100-0105. Specifically, we aim to determine 1) the extent to which families experience the
    planned transition process included in the legislation; (2) whether and how transition and exclusion practices vary by geographic region, program, family, and child characteristics; (3) how families make new care arrangements and (4) the extent to which those arrangements compare with regards to access, affordability, and quality to the original excluding programs.

    Minimum time commitment in hours per week: 5

    Qualifications of a Student:
    Students interested in supporting a wide range of families and their young children (3 - 6 years old) would best suit my lab.

    Students are strongly suggested to partake in my lab for 1 year (or two semesters) to get the full experience.

    The following are preferred but not required:
    - prior research experience

    The following are required:
    - responsible
    - strong work ethic
    - works collaboratively with others
    - detail-oriented
    - wants to learn from and support families with young children

    Brief Summary of what is expected from the student:
    Students will be expected to manage their time wisely, communicate effectively using different modes of communication (email, SLACK, phone), and work collaboratively with a diverse group of students (undergrad and graduate) and faculty.

    Students will assist with literature review searches, complete preliminary data analysis, develop graphs and tables, and attend lab meetings (mixed modality - in person or via Zoom).

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