About Us

Emily Slusser, Andrea Golloher, and Maria Fusaro

ECI Leadership

We have long known that early childhood (birth through age five) is a crucial time for children’s cognitive and socioemotional development. In fact, research suggests that high-quality care and education during this period can prevent or ameliorate health and educational risks that could become difficult and costly to resolve later in life. But what constitutes high-quality early care and education, and how can the field increase access to benefit all children, right from the start?

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) released a statement explaining that an effective approach to strengthen early supports is to create and promote strong interdisciplinary teams that share knowledge across disciplines, including speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, special education, bilingual education, family dynamics, mental health, and other specialities that address the comprehensive well-being of young children and their families. 

ECI's core goals are to move the needle towards equity, quality, and inclusion across all early learning and care settings, in ways that benefit all children.

Meet Our Team

Maria Fusaro

Maria Fusaro, EdD, Co-Founder

Dr. Fusaro’s research centers on how young children, under age 5, learn from and with other people, through verbal and gesture-based communication and through question-answer exchanges. Bridging her teaching and research, she also studies the preparation of undergraduate students for careers in infant/toddler care and education, and for providing high quality, supportive learning experiences for young children.

Andrea Golloher

Andrea Golloher, PhD, Co-Founder and Director

Dr. Golloher has been passionate about the field of early childhood special education and the power of research to improve practice since she entered the field as an in-home therapist for children with autism. Her current work focuses on developing support systems to increase capacity for inclusive practices to benefit each and every child, from the start.

Emily Slusser

Emily Slusser, PhD, Co-Founder

Dr. Slusser began her career in child development as the program coordinator for a community based organization where she developed language and literacy curriculum for preschool children. Her current research explores how cognitive resources drive language learning and how language, in turn, supports further conceptual development.

Jeremy Walters ECI Researcher

Jeremy John Walters, MA, Research Associate

Jeremy Walters is a PhD student in Curriculum Studies and Teacher Education at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education. He earned a master’s degree in applied linguistics from the University of Massachusetts and an additional master’s degree in language and literacy from The Harvard Graduate School of Education. Jeremy worked for the Boston Public Schools' Early Childhood Department writing curriculum, leading professional learning, and developing summer programming. His research interests include policy and pedagogy related to literacy development in early childhood education, and the psychology of school change.

Janet Bang

Dr. Janet Bang, PhD, Research Associate

Dr. Janet Bang recently joined the team as a Research Associate. Dr. Bang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Development who studies how interactions with young children shape their early language development. In collaboration with researchers at Stanford University, Dr. Bang has been investigating how family activities influence caregivers’ speech to young children.