Brackenridge Introduction: Sivan Lurie

Hello everyone! My name is Sivan Lurie. I am entering my fourth year as an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh pursuing a major in Psychology and minoring in Applied Statistics, Classics, and Italian. Throughout my time at Pitt I have joined several student organizations and have had many amazing experiences! I have had the opportunity to choreograph and perform tap dance for the Pitt Dance Ensemble, and I currently serve as the President of Pitt Quo Vadis, the student tour guides of the Nationality Rooms in the Cathedral of Learning. I also had the chance to study abroad in Florence, Italy, where I worked as a Student English Teacher for two middle school classes in the Florence Suburbs.

The University of Pittsburgh has given me the incredible opportunity to be able to pursue research starting as early as the spring semester of my first year. Through the First Experience in Research Program, I began working in the Office of Child Development under the School of Education. Dr. Caitlin Forbes Spear gave me the opportunity to review literature dissecting the intersection of racial and disability identity development. Through this work, I developed a passion for understanding the experiences of children with disabilities and advocating for the betterment of their educational environment, especially in early childhood.

Starting in Fall 2021, I joined the Kid’s Thinking Lab in the Department of Psychology under the direction of Dr. Melissa Libertus and began studying children’s early cognitive skills, their concepts of number, and how parent interaction contributes to later math skill. During the fall and spring semesters, I became fascinated by mathematical learning and development while working on the Parents Promoting Early Learning study (PPEL), transcribing and coding videos of toddlers and their parents performing interactive tasks for number talk.

This summer I have been given the incredible opportunity to combine my two passions and conduct my own independent research project as a Brackenridge Fellow under my research mentor Dr. Libertus.

My research is focused on understanding the mathematical development of preterm children, who disproportionately begin kindergarten with significantly lower mathematical competency than their peers. Specifically, I am working to test if parents of premature children talk about math with their young children less than parents of full-term children. To address this question, I will expand on the Kid’s Thinking Lab’s prior work with full-term children and analyze the relationship between gestational age at birth and parental number talk while also taking into account the child’s age at the time of testing and controlling for parents’ characteristics.

During my final year at Pitt, I hope to build on the work completed through this project and complete and defend my Honors Thesis in Psychology as well as a Bachelor of Philosophy thesis. Once I complete my undergraduate education, I plan to attend graduate school in Development Psychology so I can further pursue and study my research interests.

I am so thankful for this Brackenridge Fellowship as it has allowed me to lay the groundwork for these future pursuits as well as connected me to an unbelievably talented and bright interdisciplinary community. I am so excited to begin learning and growing from this experience!

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