Honors & Awards

  • EDGE Predoctoral Fellow, Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (02/2021)
  • Knight-Hennessy Scholar, Stanford University (03/2021)
  • Gates Millennium Scholar, Hispanic Scholarship Fund (04/2014)
  • Education Pioneers Fellow, Education Pioneers (04/2020)
  • QuestBridge Scholar, QuestBridge (11/2013)

All Publications

  • The promise and pitfalls of a strength-based approach to child poverty and neurocognitive development: Implications for policy. Developmental cognitive neuroscience DeJoseph, M. L., Ellwood-Lowe, M. E., Miller-Cotto, D., Silverman, D., Shannon, K. A., Reyes, G., Rakesh, D., Frankenhuis, W. E. 2024; 66: 101375


    There has been significant progress in understanding the effects of childhood poverty on neurocognitive development. This progress has captured the attention of policymakers and promoted progressive policy reform. However, the prevailing emphasis on the harms associated with childhood poverty may have inadvertently perpetuated a deficit-based narrative, focused on the presumed shortcomings of children and families in poverty. This focus can have unintended consequences for policy (e.g., overlooking strengths) as well as public discourse (e.g., focusing on individual rather than systemic factors). Here, we join scientists across disciplines in arguing for a more well-rounded, "strength-based" approach, which incorporates the positive and/or adaptive developmental responses to experiences of social disadvantage. Specifically, we first show the value of this approach in understanding normative brain development across diverse human environments. We then highlight its application to educational and social policy, explore pitfalls and ethical considerations, and offer practical solutions to conducting strength-based research responsibly. Our paper re-ignites old and recent calls for a strength-based paradigm shift, with a focus on its application to developmental cognitive neuroscience. We also offer a unique perspective from a new generation of early-career researchers engaged in this work, several of whom themselves have grown up in conditions of poverty. Ultimately, we argue that a balanced strength-based scientific approach will be essential to building more effective policies.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.dcn.2024.101375

    View details for PubMedID 38608359