Professor/Child Development Specialist
119 Morgan Hall
Meilan is from Helong City, Jilin Province, China. She received her B.A. in Applied Psychology from the Changchun Normal University and her M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from the Wayne State University. Her major professor is Dr. Mary Jane Moran. Meilan’s research focuses on preschoolers’ cognitive development in different cultural contexts, particularly cooperative problem solving and critical thinking.
Sarah Malia, M.S., J.D.
Elizabeth DeMartino Newton
238 Jessie Harris Building
Since my own undergraduate studies, I have been interested in vulnerable populations. As an undergraduate, I was interested in the psychological impact of severe spinal cord injuries on children and adults. From those early years of study and service, I became interested in working with young children with disabilities and their families. I completed a master’s degree in 1995 and a doctoral degree in 1998 in the Department of Child and Family Studies at the University of Tennessee. While in graduate school, I worked as a service coordinator at Tennessee Early Intervention Service (TEIS) and taught classes within the department. At TEIS, I was trained to use a myriad of tools for assessing the development of young children. After graduation, I expanded my early intervention experience as a parent advisor and a parent-advisor trainer at Tennessee Infant Parent Services.
For most of my adulthood, I have been a teacher. As an early interventionist, I taught parents how to work with their children to support physical, cognitive, and language skills. As an instructor, I’ve focused on how to use theory to inform practice. Through my experiences as a home visitor, early interventionist, and instructor, I have developed a profound respect for other people’s perspectives and journeys. I understand that perceptions can differ, and that for positive changes to occur common ground must be found. My goal is to guide students toward celebrating diversity, toward being forces of social justice, and toward professionalism.
I have a wide variety of research interests including families’ perceptions of early intervention experiences, the effects of transracial adoption on children’s identity development, and “professional helper” training. I have taught both undergraduate and graduate classes at the University of Tennessee. I have taught several courses in the Child and Family Studies Department including Introduction to Child and Family Studies; Introduction to Early Childhood Education; Human Development; Development in Infancy and Childhood; Development in Adolescence and Adulthood; Marriage and Family: Roles and Relationships; Development of Professional Skills; and Diversity Among Children and Families at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Additionally, I’ve taught two graduate-level courses in the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education–Application of Theory in Early Childhood Education (K-3), and Early Childhood Special Education: Theories and Interventions.
119 Morgan Hall