Carnegie Mellon University

2021–2022 Undergraduate Spotlights

October | November | December | January | February | March | April | May

October 2021

As a campus laboratory school, the Children’s School typically offers research and observation opportunities to many undergraduate and graduate students from different departments across campus. In addition to these opportunities, we offer undergraduates a chance to work in the classrooms on a regular basis, either as student employees, interns, or volunteers. Though many of these opportunities are limited this year because of the continuing pandemic, in the Undergraduate Spotlight, we will be featuring our diverse undergraduate assistants so that parents can learn about the students who work in the classrooms with their children in different capacities. In addition to our student employees, the undergraduate interns taking Dr. Carver’s Practicum in Child Development course (see below) support our children and teachers in the classroom six hours per week, while also engaging in a seminar with Dr. Carver every Friday morning. All adults working in the Children’s School this year are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and participate in weekly Tartan Testing.

Intern Summer Abraham (Preschool 3’s, M / W mornings)

abraham-min.jpegSummer Abraham is a junior at Carnegie Mellon studying Psychology and Decision Science, with a minor in Design for Learning. She was born and raised in Chicago, where she worked with children through babysitting, afterschool care, summer camp counseling, and teaching swim lessons. Summer is taking the practicum course because she is passionate about education and working with children, and she hopes to explore various aspects of the field throughout her career at CMU and beyond. One of the biggest reasons Summer came to CMU is because of the Children’s School, and the opportunities to interact with all the friends. She is so grateful to be back in the classroom with the children this semester!

Intern Madison Williamson (Preschool 4’s, M / W midday)

williamson-min.jpegMadison Williamson is a senior studying Psychology and Social & Political History. She is from Williamsport, PA. Prior to CMU, she worked with children in theatre settings as a counselor and stage manager for numerous children’s productions. She was interested in taking the practicum because most of her previous experience was working with children ranging from 8- to 15-years-old, and so having experience in the Children’s School would allow her to learn more about early childhood development and what it is like working with a younger group of children. Outside of school, Madison enjoys event planning with the Activities Board and is the president of her sorority, Alpha Chi Omega. She also enjoys theatre, music, and cooking. Read about Madison’s senior honors project.

Intern Julie Lee (Kindergarten, M / W afternoons)

lee-min.jpegJulie Lee is a senior studying Art at Carnegie Mellon. She is from Alabama and enjoys taking walks in nature, as well as having a pressed flower collection. As someone who wants to become an art educator, Julie really enjoys working with children. Before CMU, she volunteered at her local art museum and tutored children in English and art making. At CMU, she continued tutoring and worked at the Cyert Center for Early Education. These experiences involved diverse groups of students who shared interest in creating art. Getting involved in early childhood education has been amazing and rewarding for Julie, and she is excited to see what the future holds.

November 2021

The changes caused by the pandemic have been felt by all in our community in myriad ways. A few of our undergraduate employees had the unique experience of working at The Children’s School before, during, and after the events of 2020. They went from regularly interacting with children and teachers to working behind the scenes with no classroom interaction. This year, all our student employees have returned to the classrooms with the children. We asked a few of them to reflect on how the pandemic has impacted their experience at The Children’s School. 

Stewart Harrison is a junior majoring in Directing and Social & Political History.

stewart-min.pngI started working at the Children's School in the fall of 2019. Having to leave school due to the pandemic in March was really hard for me as I had grown to love working at the Children's School and interacting with the children. Over the 2020-2021 school year, I had to work after the school had closed. It was interesting seeing what the classes were doing from the artwork displayed, but it was not the same never getting to see the children. This year has been much better being able to interact with the children again and talking with them makes my job much more fun.

Enza Potter is a senior majoring in developmental psychology.

enza-min.pngI have had the pleasure of working at the Children’s School since Fall 2018, my first semester at Carnegie Mellon. The Children’s School has been and is quite simply my favorite part of my CMU career. For my freshman and ¾ of my sophomore year, I worked in the Blue, Red, and Green Room, as well as the Kindergarten. I assisted teachers in supervising friends who enjoy art, games, pretend play, and more. However, during Spring 2020, due to Covid-19, school closed for everyone to limit transmission. For the duration of my Junior year, I was overjoyed with being able to return to campus, but my job was definitely different. Instead of getting to hear the laughter of children and observe their development, I was stuck sanitizing toys and sorting student work. I know the friends and teachers were also struggling with this transition, but the student workers were also impacted because our safe haven from the stressful Carnegie Mellon culture disappeared. Since September 2021, I have been back in the classroom with the teachers and friends again, and I feel like I got my home-away-from-home back. Teaching and helping children is my passion, and I am so excited to finish my senior year along with the graduating Kindergarten class.

Summer Abraham is a junior majoring in Psychology and Decision Science. with a minor in Design for Learning.

summer-min.pngThe Children’s School is one of the main reasons I came to Carnegie Mellon, and I was excited to start working there in the fall of my freshman year. I enjoyed getting to know the friends and learning more about the school. When we got sent home because of COVID-19, the Children’s School is one of the things I missed most about Pittsburgh. During the 2020-2021 school year, I was able to work here preparing activities and other behind-the-scenes work where I got to observe the administrative side of schools. I am so excited to finally be back in the classroom this semester, working with the Green Room friends as a work-study, and working with the Red and Blue Room friends as part of the Child Development Practicum. Working at the Children’s School is one of the best parts of my week, and I’m enjoying playing on the playground, reading stories, playing make-believe games, and even going to watch a building being knocked down. I’m looking forward to a great rest of the year!

December 2021

Now that we are able to have undergraduates working in the school with children again, we are thrilled to have recruited some first-year students to join our team.

Jeremy Li is a first-year student in Dietrich College studying Statistics and Machine Learning.

jeremy-li.jpgI'm Jeremy, and I'm from Brooklyn, New York. As an assistant at the Children's School in the Preschool 3s, interacting with the children is the highlight of my day. While waking up at eight is not always so exciting for me, kicking off my day with the children at the Children's School energizes me for the rest of the day. Although my task at the Children's School is relatively manageable: just communicating with the students and getting them to talk more, it is super fulfilling knowing that I was a reason for their early verbal and neural development. During my time here, I have found it interesting how the children interact with one another and their environment, so I hope to take these observations to any possible research opportunities.


Ellie Durr is a first-year student from Grinnell, Iowa, majoring in Music Performance.

ellie-durr.jpgAt The Children's School I work with the kindergarten classroom during their morning circle times. I wanted to work at The Children's School because I adore working with children, and I would love to become a music educator for younger children in my career after college. My favorite part of working with the kindergarten classroom is watching the children complete the weekly "challenge," because I like watching them solve puzzles and see how accomplished they feel when they figure it out! Outside of The Children's School, I enjoy playing my instrument, listening to non-classical music, and eating Millie's ice cream with my friends.


January 2022

As we return to campus for the second semester, we introduce two additional work study students who support our educators and children in many ways. 

Erin Park is a sophomore Fine Arts major at Carnegie Mellon.

erin-park.jpgerin-park2.jpgHello! My name is Erin Park, and I'm from Ellicott City, Maryland. At CMU, you can always find me painting, cooking, or reading. I've wanted to work at The Children’s School since learning about it, as I have previously enjoyed working with children as an assistant art teacher at a studio in Maryland. Most of my time here is spent in the Green Room, preparing for class activities and anything that my art skills can be of use for. I feel very fortunate to be working with such an amazing group of children and staff!

Aria Eudaimond is a freshman Psychology major at Carnegie Mellon and is planning on graduating in 2025.

aria-edaimond.jpgaria-edaimond2.jpgHi, my name is Aria Eudaimond! I'm from Indiana and live in a city just a couple minutes north of Indianapolis. I will be majoring in Psychology, with an emphasis in developmental, and a double minor in film and music technology. I very much enjoy playing music as I play several instruments, but especially love my acoustic guitar. I enjoy watching movies and tv shows, so much so, that my mom calls me an 'expert'. I also enjoy basketball and football. I've been a Steelers fan since I was 2 (thanks, dad!). I also love hanging out with my little sisters and going on drives to get slushies with them. They are actually one of the main reasons why I am working at the Children's School here at CMU. My sisters are 4 and 6, and last year I got to help my 6-year-old sister's kindergarten class and I has so much fun that I decided to continue here at Carnegie Mellon. I work with the Kindergartners and the PreSchool 3’s. I really enjoy my job here because it provides a nice break in my hectic school schedule. The children and work are so fun that it oftentimes doesn't feel too much like work.

February 2022

During the spring 2022 semester, two undergraduate interns are taking Dr. Carver’s Practicum in Child Development course. They support our children and educators in the classroom six hours per week, while also engaging in a seminar with Dr. Carver every Monday. Both of these interns are also Dr. Carver’s Psychology advisees. All adults working in the Children’s School this year have up-to-date vaccinations against Covid-19 and participate in weekly Tartan Testing.

Intern Megan Matsko (Preschool 3’s, T/R mornings)

matsko.jpgHello, my name is Megan Matsko, and I am from Baltimore, MD. I am a sophomore student-athlete studying psychology and decision science in Dietrich College and playing basketball for the CMU Tartans.  Last semester, I worked at the Children's School as a work study helping with the 3's class and the kindergarten class.  This semester I am an intern in Dr. Carver's practicum class, working primarily with the 3's.  I am very excited to see first-hand the developmental growth the children undertake, and I love the joy and happiness they radiate every day.  It is always one of my favorite parts of the day.

Intern Susanna Hur (Kindergarten, M/W mornings) 

hur.jpgMy name is Susanna Hur and I am from Long Island, New York. I am currently a Senior at CMU, majoring in Learning and Developmental Psychology and minoring in Music. My passion for working with children and music led me to intern at the Children's School this year. Last semester, I worked directly with the Children School's music teacher, Lauren Hraber. Together, we planned and taught music lessons for each of the age groups. We created interactive musical activities that are parallel to their curriculum. On the days where music class was not held, I helped in the classroom and interacted with the children. The best part about working at the Children's School is seeing how creative all the children are. No day with the children is the same, which makes my job so exciting and fun! After I graduate, I plan to go to graduate school for Education to continue pursuing my love for working with children. My goal is to focus on Special Education in Early Childhood.

March 2022

During the spring 2022 semester, undergraduate employees are supporting the children and educators both in and out of the classroom. All adults working in the Children’s School this year have up-to-date vaccinations against Covid-19 and participate in weekly Tartan Testing.

Vivian Lin (First-Year, Psychology)

lin.jpgMy name is Vivian Lin, and I am an undergraduate first-year student studying Psychology. I'm from Reno, Nevada, home of sagebrush, Levi jeans, and casinos. I love getting to know new people, listening to and playing music, and drawing art. So far, I've worked here for one semester with the 4-year-olds at the Children School, and I love the energy they bring to the classroom and those around them! In college, you meet people who are confident that they know everything already, but when you're working with children, you're guaranteed to learn something new every day, especially vital information such as a neighbor's dog's birthday or the latest plot twists on Paw Patrol! I love working here not only because of my interest in developmental psychology, but also to remember what it's like to be a child again. Working here reminds me to stay curious, ambitious, creative, and zealous.

Divyasri Krishnan (First-Year, Undeclared) 

krishnan.pngMy name is Divyasri Krishnan, and I'm from Boston, Massachusetts. I'm a first-year student in Dietrich, currently undeclared, though I'm planning on studying decision science and business analytics. I love to read and write and engage with literature, go on runs, bike, and cook. I started working at The Children's School this semester, and I work with the younger Preschool 3’s. I've always loved working with children, and it's a great de-stresser to help them play and learn.


April 2022

During the spring 2022 semester, undergraduate employees are supporting the children and educators both in and out of the classroom. All adults working in the Children’s School this year have up-to-date vaccinations against Covid-19 and participate in weekly Tartan Testing.

Lily Hazam (First-Year, Undecided Major)

lily.jpgHello! My name is Lily Hazam and I'm from Massachusetts, in a town not far from Boston. Here at CMU, I'm a freshman and am currently undecided, but looking into majoring in decision sciences and/or psychology. I enjoy working with people and learning about behavior. In my free time, I enjoy binge watching tv shows, hanging out with friends, crocheting, and listening to music. I've been at the Children's school for a little over a month now, working with the Preschool 3's and 4's. It's been an incredible opportunity to work with such amazing kids, while getting a break from the big responsibilities of college. I specifically enjoy the welcoming community of the school, where everyone greets me and helps me find belonging in the classrooms. I look forward to spending more time at the school and getting to know the children better!


Undergraduate Researchers 

The undergraduates in Dr. Lauren Burakowski’s Developmental Research Methods class are working in small groups to conduct their final projects for the semester, and they are studying many educationally relevant early childhood tasks.  Discovering the impact of the variables studied on children’s learning can help adults choose better approaches for supporting their progress. 

Here are the topics:

  • The Day & Night and the Happy & Sad Game (Preschool 3’s & Kindergarten) The Impact of Music Complexity on Inhibitory Control in Preschool-Aged Children
  • The Birthday Party Game (Preschool 3’s & 4’s) The Effect of Positive Self-Affirmation on Mathematical Ability of Preschool Aged Children
  • The Coloring Game (Kindergarten) Gendered Color Bias in Children for Objects with Natural vs. Variable Colors
  • The Hungarian Board Game (Kindergarten) Assessing Foreign Language Acquisition of Abstract and Concrete Words with Pictorial Visual Aids

May 2022

Farewell and best wishes to the four Children’s School graduates this spring.

Susanna Hur

hur-min.jpegHello! I am a Learning and Developmental Psychology major and a Music minor in my last semester at CMU. Last semester, I worked directly with the music teacher, Mrs. Hraber. I saw how she planned her music lessons and how she implemented them with the children. I loved seeing the children get so excited each time they saw me and Mrs. Hraber because they knew it was a music day. I love music, so it was encouraging for me to share what I love with the children. This semester, I am working with the Kindergartners. What I love about this semester is that I get to know each child and work with them one on one. The Children's School has given me so much experience teaching children with intentionality and a skillset to move forward in my career path in education. After I graduate from CMU, I am attending Harvard Graduate School of Education for their Human Development and Education Master’s program. I aspire to become a teacher who supports children with disabilities.

Julie Lee

lee-min.jpegWorking at The Children’s School has been an honor because of the educators who are dedicated to the children’s learning. During the Fall, I took Dr. Carver’s Practicum in Child Development course, where I got to intern in the Kindergarten classroom. This semester, I am a student employee helping with the 4’s classroom. I have learned that it truly does take a community, with time and resources, to raise a child. When we work together, we are investing in their lifelong learning journey. These intergenerational mentorships and connections allow us to imagine better futures, which is what the Children’s School has shown me. After undergraduate school, I would love to be involved in art education, where I could facilitate the exchange of ideas that help form a community. I am excited for what the future holds and am thankful for my time at the Children’s School!

Enza Potter

potter-min.jpegLooking back on my years of undergraduate education at CMU, I can confidently say that I have made some of my best memories at the Carnegie Mellon University Children’s School. I have been privileged enough to assist with all age groups in a variety of roles (teaching assistant, researcher, office helper, toy sanitizer, etc.). One of the amazing things that I’ve learned here has been the ability to watch our students grow in confidence and into more complete people. I have been lucky enough to observe two classes of children progress from the Preschool 3’s into the Kindergarten, and the amount of growth I have seen is truly incredible. It inspires me to continue in this career despite the issues COVID introduced to the environment. I am looking forward to continuing my time at the Children’s School in the 2022 Summer as I assist in Summer Camp activities. In the coming years, I am hoping to gain more practical applications of my developmental psychology degree by working in schooling environments as well as being able to pursue hobbies outside of academics, like painting, playing the ukulele, and pursing my ongoing quest to pet every dog in Pittsburgh.

Madison Williamson

williamson-min.jpegAlthough my time at the Children’s School has been short, as I only started working in the Green Room this academic year, the experience has allowed me to grow more than I could have imagined and has given me more insight about my plans and goals for after graduation. Working with a classroom full of four-year-olds has been challenging, and I have faced many bumps along the way, but working with full-time teachers to create and implement curriculum and solve problems that may arise in a classroom has pushed me to gain more applicable skills for working with children and learning more about how to support their development. While I do not yet have postgraduation plans, I am hoping to take some time away from my own education and find work in a public-school setting for a few years. I would enjoy continuing to work with children, perhaps with an older age group or with children with special needs, but I feel that this field experience would prepare me for graduate school somewhere along the line. I’m very thankful for my time in the Green Room and for the ability to play like a child again a few times each week!

Senior Design Capstone

Emily Spooner is a senior majoring in Design with a minor in Psychology. For her senior capstone project, she created Artifacts of Childhood by making toys based on drawings from the kindergarten class journals. With the kindergartners being at the age where imaginative play begins and they are most creative, she wanted to capture that time in a child's life by bringing their ideas to life as tangible figures, with some being sewn, some 3D printed, and some made of wood. She was able to visit the Children's School to present the drawings and toys to the kindergartners following their unit on inventions to show the children how their creative ideas inspired her toy designs and share the varied processes she used to make the toys.

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