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Program Faculty

Catherine Main (Program Coordinator) Heading link

Cathy Main headshot

Catherine Main is a senior lecturer in the College of Education, program coordinator of the MEd in Early Childhood Education, and a visiting scholar on the Early Investments Initiative with the Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA) at the University of Illinois.

She earned a BS degree in Finance and Economics from Marquette University in 1987 and a MEd degree in Instructional Leadership from UIC in 1992.  She has more 25 years of work on behalf of young children and their families in the state of Illinois. Her work at the UIC College of Education has included innovative and responsive program development and coordination in Early Childhood Education. Main designed and developed a Blended Early Childhood/Early Childhood Special Education program and an Early Childhood Alternative Licensure program. Both programs were the first of their kind approved by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and both reflect a focused, much needed, response to specific demands for early childhood teachers in Chicago. Currently she is also the principal investigator (PI) the McCormick Foundation on an Early Childhood Workforce grant where she co-leads the Illinois team on the Innovation to Incubation (i2I) project with the National Academy Medicine (NAM) and the co-PI on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Group Foundation grant, Math Access for Teachers and Family Child Care Providers. She regularly presents her work at national conferences and as an invited speaker at local conferences.  She also serves on several advisory groups and boards including the Illinois Early Learning Council Program Standards and Quality Committee, the Chicago Community College Child Development & Human Services Program Advisory Board, and is a member of the Illinois Articulation Initiative Early Childhood panel.  She is co-chair of the Illinois Higher Education Learning and Professional Development Work Group, President of the Illinois Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (ILAECTE) and a member of the board for Chicago Youth Centers.


MEd, University of Illinois at Chicago
BA, Marquette University

Sarai Coba-Rodriguez, PhD, CFLE Heading link

Sarai Coba-Rodriguez headshot

Sarai Coba-Rodriguez, PhD, CFLE, is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Learning in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her qualitative research focuses on how ecological context (community), individual, and family factors promote the resilience of low-income, ethnic-minority families and children’s transition from preschool to kindergarten. Challenging notions of dysfunction, Sarai emphasizes families’ strengths and cultural resources, and highlights the active role that low-income families play in preparing their child for school entry. Sarai also explores concrete ways to further enrich home-school collaboration.


PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Human Development and Family Studies
MS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Human and Community Development
BA, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Sociology; Spanish (minor)

Marisha Humphries, PhD Heading link

Dr. Marisha Humphries

Marisha L. Humphries, PhD is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Humphries’ research seeks to develop an integrated approach to studying African American children’s normative and prosocial development, and utilizing this basic research to create culturally and developmentally appropriate school-based behavior promotion programs. Her work examines African American children’s emotional and social competence, and the ways in which educational settings can support children’s development in this area. Due to her interest and experience in applied research, Dr. Humphries’ work considers the contextual and cultural factors associated with children, families, and schools.


PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
MS, Clinical Psychology, University of Illinois at Chicago
BS, Psychology, Howard University

Larissa Mulholland Heading link

Larissa Mulholland

Larissa Mulholland is a Visiting Clinical Lecturer in Educational Psychology. She has been in early childhood education (ECE) for about thirty years in a variety of roles and settings. She has many years of experience in direct service working with diverse children and families. She also has extensive experience supporting the professional development of in-service teachers as a coach and curriculum coordinator and of pre-service teachers as faculty in and director of teacher education programs. Her approach is grounded in the work of Dewey, Erikson and sociocultural constructivism. As an ECE professional committed to social justice and concerned with political implications of dominant discourse around childhood and education, her focus is on supporting the voice, agency, well-being and sense of belonging of both children and teachers and to put those at the center of programmatic and policy decisions.

Kathleen Sheridan, PhD Heading link

Kathleen Sheridan headshot

Kathleen M. Sheridan, PhD is an associate professor and chair in the Department of Educational Psychology. She is also the program coordinator of the undergraduate Human Development and Learning program.  Kathy is the principal investigator on the grant-funded projects Early Math Counts (formerly Math at Home), which focuses on the development of early math skills in children between the ages of birth and five, and Early Science Matters.


PhD University of Wisconsin-Madison
MA Ed Washington University

Stephanie Torres, PhD Heading link

Dr. Stephanie Torres

Stephanie Torres, PhD is a Bridge to Faculty Fellow in the Department of Educational Psychology. Her program of research focuses on ecological risk and resilience factors among low-income, Latinx communities, particularly Latinx families impacted by immigration-related stress. Her research emphasizes the resilience and cultural strengths among the Latinx community. She hopes to create school-based and community-based programs that promote well-being and mental health while utilizing a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. She is also interested in avenues for promoting psychologists’ involvement in policy and advocacy efforts. Her clinical work has focused on addressing trauma exposure and she specializes in serving bilingual, Spanish-speaking families.


PhD Loyola University Chicago, Clinical Psychology (2019)
MA Loyola University Chicago, Clinical Psychology (2016)
BA DePaul University, Psychology and Latin American/Latinx Studies (2013)

Artin Göncü, PhD (Emeritus) Heading link

Artin Göncü is a professor emeritus of educational psychology and a nationally renowned scholar of human development, particularly on the role of play in children’s development.  His research focuses on the role of social and cultural contexts in human development and education.  Current research projects examine the role of community and school influences on children’s play, teacher education and professional development, and pretend play in mother-child interaction.  Artin’s books include “Children’s Engagement in the World,” “Play and Development,” “Children in play, story, and school,” and “Analyzing children’s play dialogues.”