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Four named Early Career Fellows by Fred Rogers Center

Public Relations
Posted: Monday Jun 30, 2014

June 30, 2014

The Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at Saint Vincent College has named four new Early Career Fellows for 2014-2015, according to an announcement by Rick Fernandes, executive director of the Rogers Center.


The Fellows, who will work on individual and collaborative projects through the mentorship of the Fred Rogers Center, are James Alex Bonus of Madison, Wisconsin, Anna Ly of New York, New York, Alanna Peebles of Madison, Wisconsin, and Brian Puerling of Chicago, Illinois.


The Early Career Fellows are early-career producers, animators, technologists, writers, artists, musicians, educators, researchers and others who are interested in supporting early childhood development and learning and advancing the legacy of Fred Rogers through innovative uses of technology and media. These young professionals will be engaged in developing media and conducting research to support social-emotional development and self-expression among children birth through age 8.


“This program provides a tremendous opportunity to follow in Fred Rogers’ footsteps to explore the potential of media for nurturing children’s social and emotional development,” shared Fernandes. “These young professionals are the next generations of Fred Rogers and we strive to provide them with the knowledge, guidance and experience to make major contributions as content developers and researchers. We are pleased to welcome Alex, Anna, Alanna and Brian to our growing network of Fred Rogers Early Career Fellows.”


“Our Fellows are at the forefront of how technology can be used to make children and caregivers' lives better and I am looking forward to sharing their innovative ideas and projects with the community” added Dr. Michael Robb, director of education and research, who manages the program.


Bonus is pursuing his Ph.D. in communication science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he studies children’s use and interpretation of educational and prosocial media. Last summer, he interned as a research assistant at Sesame Workshop. While there, he gathered data for his master’s thesis that examined how children decide what’s real and pretend in a show about Hispanic culture and how their decisions influence their transfer of knowledge into a real-world setting.


Ly completed an undergraduate degree in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) with a focus in Communication Design and Business from Carnegie Mellon. After her studies, she worked for three years as a Business Strategy Consultant at IBM before completing a Master’s degree at Stanford’s Learning, Design and Technology program. Presently, she is an Industry Fellow at the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, where she supports research efforts and growth of the Center through strategic partnerships and creation of innovative tools for media producers and stakeholders.


Peebles is entering her second year in the Communication Arts Ph.D. program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the mentorship of Marie-Louise Mares. She received her bachelor’s in psychology with Highest Honors at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi and the Children, Adolescents, and the Media subdivision of the International Communication Association. Her research revolves around how media can be used and developed to encourage positive outcomes.


Puerling is a National Board Certified Teacher and author of Teaching in the Digital Age: Smart Tools for Age 3 to Grade 3. He is currently the Director of Education Technology at the Catherine Cook School in Chicago. Brian is on the Board of Directors for the Chicago Metro AEYC (Association for the Education of Young Children), has worked as an early childhood teacher coach and is an international presenter and consultant. He has also been a guest blogger for numerous early learning and children’s media resources. He was a recipient of the PBS Innovative Educator Award and PBS Teacher’s Choice Award in 2010.


The mission of the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College (www.fredrogerscenter.org) is to help children grow as confident, competent and caring human beings. The Fred Rogers Center enriches the development of current and emerging leaders in the fields of early learning and children’s media by supporting the professional advancement and mentoring of the next generations of Fred Rogers through the Early Career Fellows program; educational opportunities for undergraduate Fred Rogers Scholars; research and special collaborations by Rogers Center Senior Fellows; and resources and information on the developmentally appropriate use of media. The Center is the official home of the Fred Rogers Archive as well as a straightforward, understanding and compassionate voice for the healthy social and emotional development of children birth to age 8.

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Photo: Brian Puerling, James Alex Bonus, Alanna Peebles, Anna Ly

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