Student Spotlight: Master’s Candidate Libby Hunt

Each month, our Outreach Team highlights a current student who is innovating to positively advance the department’s mission while excelling in their studies at Tufts.

This month, Outreach Coordinator Nick Woolf interviewed Libby Hunt, who just completed the first year of her Master’s program, to learn more about her experiences at E-P.

Who: Libby Hunt

Graduation Year: 2021

Program: Child Studies and Human Development, M.A. Candidate

Nick: Tell me about your path — what brought you to Tufts, and what were you doing prior to enrolling?

Libby: My journey to graduate school was a little all over the place. I worked in a number of different fields between undergrad and grad school – I’ve been a server, a paralegal, an office manager, and more. Working in offices wasn’t really feeding my soul, so I started taking night classes in psychology (I was an English major in undergrad). Through those courses I became really taken with early childhood development – I was (and am) particularly interested in the impact of screens on social, emotional, and cognitive development, so I sought out a program that would help me pursue those interests. I was drawn to E-P because it is a development-specific program, and because the department’s mission resonated with my own.  

Nick: What types of research and/or applied work are you involved with at E-P?

Libby: Throughout my first year at E-P I worked as a research assistant in the DevTech research group. I was fortunate to participate in a few different types of research projects, most relating to the group’s KIBO robotics kits and how they can be implemented in K-2 classrooms. I conducted numerous ethnographic observations and gained experience in data collection. I also helped craft a curriculum for DevTech’s coding app, ScratchJr. In the fall (COVID-19 permitting) I will be interning at the Center on Media and Child Health at Boston Children’s Hospital, and starting my thesis research. 

Nick: How would you describe your experience as a Master’s student at E-P so far?

Libby: I feel so thankful that this is the school and the program I ended up in. I have felt so supported by the faculty, who go above and beyond to encourage our interests and help create opportunities for growth. In each course I’ve taken thus far, my foundation of developmental theory has strengthened, my perspective has broadened, and my goals for the future have become more focused. I’m also grateful to be part of a small cohort of excellent individuals who represent a broad array of interests an experiences. Throughout our first year we have learned as much from one another as we did our professors.  

Nick: Do you have any advice, tips or words of wisdom to incoming E-P students?

Libby: It’s a good idea to look at the faculty page of the website, and seek out the faculty whose research most aligns with your interests, but also be open to talking to everyone. Every professor is willing to meet with you, and everyone has worthwhile advice to offer. Try to get involved in a lab within the department – it will give you research experience and insight on where your passions lie. Attend workshops (Sasha Fleary’s workshop on being a 9-5 academic changed my life) and social events hosted by the department/masters student association. Talk to other students – second-year masters students and PhD students have all been where you are now, and are happy to answer any questions you might have/share their own experiences. Finally, and I can’t stress this enough, take care of yourself and take pride in your work. Grad school is no joke – get sleep, drink water, stay active, and know that you deserve to be here. 

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