Research Assistant Professor, Psychology (Class III)
As a scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute (FPG), Dr. Patricia Garrett-Peters is committed to conducting research that makes a difference in the lives of children and families and informs public policy. Garrett-Peters’ current research focuses on how family and child functioning are affected by poverty, with attention to the role of household chaos, which often pervades the lives of poor families. For 10 years, Garrett-Peters has served as the North Carolina project director for the Family Life Project (FLP), a multi-site, longitudinal study of 1,292 poor rural children and their families. Garrett-Peters has also received funding to examine the ways in which teacher instruction and child skills interact to affect student engagement and academic outcomes in the FLP children.
Through the Faculty Engaged Scholars program, Garrett-Peters expanded her work to Karen refugee children from Burma attending Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. She worked closely with elementary teachers to understand the barriers these students face, as well as the challenges teachers experience as they try to meet the educational needs of these children. As a result, she developed an intervention model that supports refugee students’ integration in the classroom and professional development for teachers who serve these students. She has applied for funding to develop this intervention and make it available to school systems across the country.
“Participating in the Faculty Engaged Scholars program has heightened my awareness of critical issues that are occurring right in my own backyard. Working with teachers of refugee students to identify and address their needs, as well as those of their students, allowed me to be more meaningfully connected to my research (and with the local community) in ways I never before experienced. Through this process, we were able to work together to imagine and create real solutions to real problems.”