Sharon Carver '82

There are so many ways that learning more about teaching and about how children learn can be helpful in personal and professional life, so it's worth getting some focused teacher training even if you never plan to be a "teacher" in the traditional sense.

TPP was one of the best parts of my Princeton experience.  One aspect of the program that I particularly valued was that the program was built on courses from a variety of disciplines rather than all within a school of education. That serves as a foundation for my interdisciplinary approach to educational design and research. Henry Drewry was an inspiration to Princeton students, especially in terms of helping us understand our responsibility to utilize our talents to improve education for all children, and he encouraged us to make contributions at any level of the educational system. I also valued his teaching about the history of education and the cultural aspects of living and learning.

The small classes in the evening were my favorite. I remember learning how to thread a film projector, which started my comfort level with technology and perhaps led to my desire to conduct research on technology in education. The lesson I most vividly remember was one that required us to review profiles of students and choose who would get placed in special education vs. gifted education. Most of us ended up putting Albert Einstein and a few other famous innovators in special education because of their poor school performance. Now one of the most important parts of my job as an early childhood school director is to help the educational team build on children's unique strengths while supporting their development in any weak areas.

After graduating from Princeton, I earned a doctorate in Developmental Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University and stayed for a 2 year Post-Doctoral Fellowship. Next, I served as an Assistant Professor at the University of Rochester, jointly appointed in the Graduate School of Education & Human Development and the Department of Psychology. Since 1993, I have been the Director of the Carnegie Mellon University Children's School and a Teaching Professor in the Department of Psychology. Since 2004, I have also been the Associate Training Director of CMU's cross college Program in Interdisciplinary Education Research (PIER), a pre-doctoral training program funded by the US Institute of Education Sciences.

I have the privilege of supporting the learning of researchers, undergraduates, young children, their families, their teachers, and teachers in training. No two days are the same and there's always something new for me to learn so that I can better help others to learn.