Faculty & Staff

Current Faculty & Staff

Jennifer Mata-McMahon is an Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education at UMBC. Dr. Mata graduated from Universidad Metropolitana in Caracas, Venezuela with a BA in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Educational Leadership and Administration. She received her MA, EdM, and EdD from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her graduate work was also in the field of Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Bilingual/Bicultural Education. Since 1995, Dr. Mata has been an infant, toddler, preschool, and kindergarten teacher, as well as taught at middle school, undergraduate, and graduate levels, both in the US and abroad. Dr. Mata has also offered ample professional development to teachers and professors in public and private settings, as well as conducted program evaluations for non-profit educational organizations in India, New York, Illinois, and Maryland. She is the co-author of Ambiente en Acción (Environment in Action) (2006), author of Spiritual Experiences in Early Childhood Education (2015), and co-editor of Spirituality: An Interdisciplinary View (2016) and The Bloomsbury Handbook of Culture and Identity from Early Childhood to Early Adulthood (2021), as well as the author of many book chapters and journal articles. In addition to her professional responsibilities in the education department’s early childhood program, Dr. Mata conducts school-based research centered on children’s spirituality and bilingual education and provides professional development to in-service and preservice early childhood educators. She is the recently appointed Director of the Sherman Center. You can learn more about Dr. Mata’s research on her website.

Jennifer Mata-McMahon

Director & Associate Professor of Education

Anika Aquino is a PhD candidate in applied developmental psychology at UMBC. She is interested in understanding cultural contexts of human development, particularly in early childhood settings and among immigrant families. Anika is interested in translational research and equity promotion, aiming to support program development, implementation, and evaluation in the service of marginalized communities.

Anika Aquino

Graduate Assistant

Eliza Triolo is pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching at UMBC, concentrating in Early Childhood Education, where she is a Sherman Scholar. She is interested in diverse classroom literature, reading science, and community schools, and is excited to directly support teachers and students in the Sherman Center’s partner schools. Prior to beginning her graduate studies, Eliza served with Americorps as a Pre-K literacy tutor with The Literacy Lab, working with students at an elementary school in Baltimore City. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UMBC where she studied music composition and Spanish, and frequently collaborated with the dance department on new works. Born and raised in Baltimore, Eliza is passionate about ensuring equitable access to quality education across Baltimore City. At the Sherman Center, Eliza works with Dr. Mata-McMahon on the Diverse Books Project in addition to managing the Center’s databases and social media accounts.

Eliza Triolo

Graduate Assistant

Former Faculty & Staff

Karrie Goodwin

Research Faculty & Assistant Professor of Psychology, 2020-2023


Shana Rochester

Assistant Director & Research Associate, 2020-2022

Melissa Bailey

Program Coordinator, 2018-2022

Mavis G. Sanders

Inaugural Director, 2017-2021