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School of Education

Caroline Gaudreau

Ph.D. in Education – Learning Sciences

I started the Ph.D. in Education program at UD immediately after finishing my undergraduate degree. I was working in a psychology lab and was impressed with the opportunities for independent research available in the College of Education and Human Development. Now, in my third year in the Learning Sciences specialization, I can say confidently that the research opportunities have exceeded my expectations.

Upon entering the program, I first worked on a large, federally funded grant with Dr. Roberta Golinkoff to train preschoolers’ spatial thinking skills. During my first year, I was given the time and freedom to explore my individual interests. Through classes and individual reading, I slowly identified my main research interest: the role of questions in children’s learning.

By my second year in the program, I was able to start my own study, investigating the role of questions in toddlers’ word learning. In my third year, I began a new study, which explores the role of parents’ cell phone use in preschoolers’ information-seeking behaviors. Additionally, I am testing whether preschoolers can learn through reading over video chat technologies.

I have had the opportunity to present my research at ten national conferences and much of my conference travel has been funded through the department, grants, or travel awards. I even had the opportunity to travel to California last May to attend a three-day colloquium, fully funded through a travel award.  Thanks to strong mentoring relationships with Dr. Golinkoff and others, I have been able to publish blog posts, book chapters, and journal articles with other colleagues.

Throughout my time here, I have been impressed with the collaborative and supportive nature of CEHD faculty and students. The department works as a team, pushes each other, and also genuinely supports one another. I am grateful for these opportunities and feel well prepared to begin the dissertation phase of the program.