People

Margaret Owen

Margaret T. Owen, PhD, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Margaret Owen earned her doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Michigan and is the Robinson Family Professor at The University of Texas at Dallas. Her research interests focus primarily on children’s relationships with their parents and others who care for them, and how the quality of these relationships nurture children’s optimal growth and development.

Her recent work centers on the role of self-regulation in children’s readiness for school and how parents help their preschool children develop these important skills.

Faculty Profile on BBS Website

Margaret Caughy

Margaret Caughy, ScD, Co-Principal Investigator

Dr. Margaret Caughy’s research combines the unique perspectives of developmental science, epidemiology, and public health in studying the contexts of risk and resilience affecting young children. She is particularly interested in race/ethnic disparities in health and development and how these disparities can be understood within the unique ecological niches of ethnic minority families and have completed several studies focused on how inequities in neighborhood structural characteristics and social processes affect the cognitive development, socioemotional functioning, and early academic achievement of young children in diverse race/ethnic groups.

She is currently Co-Principal Investigator of the Dallas Preschool Readiness Project (DPReP). In addition, the theme of her research has been methodological. Specifically, in measuring neighborhood context and utilizing these measures explaining child developmental competence using multilevel and structural equations modeling methods. Finally, she is Director of the Maternal and Child Health Training Program at the UTHealth School of Public Health. Dr. Caughy is married to Dennis Caughy, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in child/adolescent behavioral health. They have two children, Michaela and Aidan.

Margaret Caughy’s Faculty Profile at the University of Georgia

Laura Von Hatten

Laura Von Hatten, MPH, Program Director

Laura Von Hatten joined DPReP in July 2014. She worked with the bilingual home visiting team before becoming a Project Director. Laura received her master of public health in health behavior and health education from the University of Michigan. Her interests include maternal and child health, healthy pregnancy, and providing support to new mothers and their families. When she is not working she enjoys time with her husband and young daughter.

Plaststilla Arnold

Plaststilla Arnold, Home Visit Coordinator

My name is Plaststilla Arnold, my friends and family call me Plas for short. I’ve been with the program since the study started in September 2009. I have two kids, a boy who is 29 and a girl who is 27, with one grandchild who is 2. My husband and I have been together for 35 years. I attend Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship Church where I serve in the Deaf Ministry, so I know sign language. I’m also a Child Passenger Safety Technician and a community volunteer.

Samantha Redig

Samantha Redig

Samantha Redig is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Dallas in the psychological sciences program. Sam received her bachelor of science degree in psychology from Oklahoma Christian University in 2019. Her research interests include intervention implementation and program evaluation, specifically relating to children’s social, emotional, and educational outcomes.

Taifoor Ahmad

Taifoor Ahmad

Taifoor Ahmad is an undergraduate student majoring in psychology. As a senior, he will be graduating in May 2020 with a BS and plans to attend medical school to pursue a career in medicine. He joined the Children and Families Lab this year due to his interest in research but more importantly to understand the challenges and difficulties families face in lower economic strata.

Antonio Santa Cruz

Antonio Santa Cruz

Antonio Santa Cruz is an undergraduate senior pursuing his degree in psychology. He is currently writing his honors thesis with a focus on connecting schema theory and intelligence. After graduating in the spring of 2020, he plans to pursue a PhD in cognitive psychology. His goal is to conduct research in areas such as language development (production) and memory to provide a better understanding of the roles they play in cognition.

Javariah Sohail

Javariah Sohail

Javariah Sohail joined the team as an undergraduate research assistant in January of 2020. She is majoring in psychology and will be graduating in May of 2022. Upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she plans to continue her education and go to graduate school to obtain a PhD in psychology and further her research endeavors. She is passionate about working with and advocating for women and children from underprivileged and underrepresented backgrounds, and she aims to center her life and career around that in the future. Her other interests include Islam and cats, both of which she is always happy and willing to discuss.

Sydney Washington

Sydney Washington

Hi, My name is Sydney. I joined DPReP in June of 2020. I earned my bachelors degree in psychology from The University of Texas at Arlington in May of 2020. I have worked with adolescents in domestic violence shelters and schools for intellectual disabilities. Ultimately, I plan on pursuing my PhD in Experimental Psychology after my master’s in psychological sciences. I envision helping to provide ways for minority adolescents/adolescents who have experienced trauma to succeed in school. My hobbies include eating, playing with dogs, and working with children/adolescents.

Ruth Ibarra

Ruth Ibarra

My name is Ruth Ibarra, I am an undergraduate student expected to graduate fall of 2020. I will be double majoring in speech-language and pathology and child learning and development. I would like to pursue my career as a special education teacher and in the future would like to return for my master’s in professional counseling. I am currently an intern for the program Grow with Me at the Center for Children and Families.

Maria Salome Pareja

Maria Salome Pareja

My name is Maria Salome Pareja and I am an undergraduate student pursuing a double major in child learning and development and psychology. I’m currently a volunteer for the bilingual Play with Me Program at the UT Dallas Center for Children and Families. I plan to pursue my master’s in child development shortly after I graduate from UTD in the Spring of 2021. I’m passionate about giving back to the families of the Latin community that I represent. I also hope to be able to take my education to my country, Colombia, to help educate families and contribute to resources in the underprivileged communities that my family comes from.