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Dr. Sara Schmitt is the Bricker-Squires Faculty Chair in Early Intervention and an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and Clinical Sciences. She is also a research scientist at the Prevention Science Institute, and a faculty member in the Prevention Sciences Graduate Program. Dr. Schmitt currently teaches and is on the Leadership Council for the Ballmer Institute. She was an Associate Professor and Co-Director of the Center for Early Learning at Purdue University prior to joining the faculty at the University of Oregon.

Dr. Schmitt’s research is generally centered around answering critical questions related to how children develop strong self-regulation, social-emotional competence, and school readiness during the early childhood period and how to best strengthen these skills prior to kindergarten entry. Specifically, her research agenda is focused on two areas: 1) identifying contextual and individual predictors of the development of self-regulation, social-emotional competence, and school readiness during early childhood, 2) designing and evaluating targeted interventions, curricula, and policies to enhance these skills in underserved children (e.g., those from socioeconomically disadvantaged populations). These research lines are in the service of detecting and preventing early learning problems and, ultimately, reducing socioeconomic disparities as children make their way through formal schooling. Dr. Schmitt’s research is funded by various federal, state, and foundation grants.

Dr. Schmitt is also interested in training practitioners to better support children’s development of self-regulation in early childhood. For example, she is currently leading training and implementation support efforts for a new early childhood curriculum (Early Learning Matters) that is being implemented in over 500 military child development classrooms worldwide, serving hundreds of thousands of children and families.

This faculty member is interested in having a new doctoral student for the 2024-2025 academic year.