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Daryl Greenfield, Ph.D.

Dr. Daryl Greenfield is an Applied Development Psychologist and Professor of Psychology & Pediatrics at the University of Miami. His passion for over 40 years has been building a strong foundation during early childhood for at-risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers to reach their full potential as flexible, creative, engaged thinkers and doers. For the past 18 years he has made science education the cornerstone of this work, leveraging young children’s natural curiosity and goal-directed motivation to understand their world. This work, supported by multiple federal and private foundations, sits at the intersections of research, policy and practice, in partnership with local, state and national practitioners, families, program leaders, and policymakers.


Lexi Alexander, Ph.D.

Lexi Alexander is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Miami and has co-led the Early Science Initiative team since its inception in 2015. In this role, she facilitates the development of partnerships with schools, families, and the community, materials used to support professional development, measurement tools to be used in collecting data, as well as facilitating data collection and analyses. Her experience as a classroom teacher, knowledge of child development, and mother of a four-year-old son and new baby have inspired and informed her work in numerous projects related to early science and, more broadly, early childhood education and school readiness.



Julio Martin

Julio is the project coordinator for the Early Science Initiative. Julio obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with Honors from Florida International University. Currently, Julio is completing a Master of Science in Education in Mental Health Counseling and is interested in working with undeserved families to improve childhood outcomes and family dynamics.


Elica Sharifnia

 Prior to joining the team in 2016, Elica was a research analyst at the Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International, where she contributed to a variety of early childhood STEM development, evaluation, and assessment projects. She is  interested in understanding how to best promote high-quality STEM teaching and learning for young children, with the goal of informing educational practices at both school and home.


Silvia Nino

Silvia received her bachelor’s degree in Applied Psychology from New York University and then received a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is interested in the measurement and support of high-quality interactions in early childhood programs and has been working with the Early Science Initiative team since 2016.



Cynthia Parker

Cynthia joined the ESI team with over 25 years of experience in the field. She has served as an educator and Vice President of development for a company serving over 1,800 children, infants through kindergarten. As a part of the ESI team, she provides coaching to schools and teachers as well as supports the development of modules and materials. Her experience spans from classroom teacher to leadership roles, coach and parent, offering her a well-rounded view of the needs of children, schools, and families.


Haley Converse

As a member of the ESI team, Haley is involved in both content development and site support. This includes assisting in the creation of online learning modules and other resources that are distributed to our different sites. Additionally, she works directly with teachers and staff members at these sites to facilitate professional development workshops and to provide them with any support or feedback that they need.




Jan Esteraich, Ph.D.

Jan is leading the ESI team in the design of a children’s digital app. Prior to receiving her PhD in early childhood development and education, Jan founded an educational software company that created software for emergent readers which was distributed directly to schools and through major publishers. Her research interests include parent-child co-use of children’s media and children’s use of mobile technology at home and in schools.


Juan Almeciga

Juan began working at the University of Miami’s School Readiness Lab in the spring of 2018 in the Enfoque and ESI projects. Upon graduation from the University of Los Andes, Bogotá, CO in 2013, he worked with various cultural institutions in the Miami area such as South Miami Dade Cultural Arts Center, Vizcaya Museum and Gardens, and Miami Dade College's Miami film festival in outreach, community engagement, and education. 


Arianna Guzman

Arianna serves as our learning module designer and has been able to combine her creativity with her curiosity for technology throughout our development of online learning modules. She additionally assists the team in a variety of tasks. She is currently completing her bachelor’s in psychology at the University of Miami and is interested in continuing to work with the community to help make a positive impact on underserved families. 


Patty Jaramillo

Patty has fused her love for the arts and early education in her work as lead designer on the ESI team. Her experience working in theatre, film, and media can be seen in our graphics, animations, and media presence. She has also worked with Dr. Greenfield for over 12 years as project coordinator and lab coordinator across multiple federally funded projects on early childhood science. She's loved all the different hats she's worn through out the years.


Veronica Fernandez, Ph.D.

Dr. Vero Fernandez has supported the ESI program since its inception in 2015. She plays various roles within the School Readiness Lab.


Claudia Perez

Claudia has served many roles in the ESI program, from content development during its inception to marketing efforts and facilitation of professional development workshops. After receiving her Masters in Research, Measurement and Evaluation from the University of Miami, her role in the ESI program has been focused on providing analysis support to evaluate and inform program efforts. Her research interests center around ECE teacher-child interactions and children’s cognitive development.


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