College of Education and Human Development

Institute of Child Development

ICD’s Ferguson and team awarded a $600k grant from William T. Grant Foundation for antiracist parenting research

L to R: Project Coordinator Maggy Deschane, Post-Baccalaureate Research Assistant Salma Ibrahim, Dr. Gail Ferguson, Dr. Melissa Koenig, Lauren Eales, Dr. Charisse Pickron


ICD Associate Professor Gail Ferguson and team have been awarded a $599,932 grant from the William T. Grant Foundation to advance their award-winning research into White parents’ racial identity and how they socialize their children on the topics of race, racism, and antiracism.

The grant will fund a three-year longitudinal mixed methods study of CARPE DIEM (Courageous, Antiracist, and Reflective Parenting Efforts – Deepening Intentionality with Each Moment), an antiracist parenting intervention for White mothers of young White children.  As the name CARPE DIEM suggests, the aim of this intervention study is to explore new ways to support White mothers hoping to “seize the day” for antiracist parenting. The project is a collaboration between Ferguson, ICD Professor Melissa Koenig, and ICD Assistant Professor Charisse Pickron, as well as ICD doctoral candidate Lauren Eales. The first phase of the study will involve families in the Twin Cities and the second phase will recruit a national sample of families for replication. The CARPE DIEM study is in partnership with EmbraceRace, a national organization committed to supporting children’s racial learning.

This collaborative project brings together ICD researchers with expertise in various subfields of psychology. As lead researcher, Dr. Ferguson brings a background in cross-cultural developmental psychology, child clinical psychology, and team science, and has expertise in community-based research on cultural socialization in families. Her Culture and Family Life Lab, in which Lauren Eales has been a research fellow and developmental clinical psychologist in training, is committed to translating research findings ‘from the lab to the living room’ through resilience-promoting interventions for children and parents. As project co-lead, Dr. Koenig is a cognitive developmental psychologist whose Early Learning and Experience Lab uses experimental methods to study children’s trust in and learning from their parents’ testimony about moral, social or ordinary matters. Dr. Pickron brings expertise in young children’s perceptions of racial differences using laboratory-based research methods in her Child Brain and Perception Lab.

The William T. Grant Foundation’s Research Grants on Reducing Inequality support research to build, test, or increase understanding of programs, policies, or practices to reduce inequality in the academic, social, behavioral, or economic outcomes of young people ages 5-25 in the United States.

Congratulations to Dr. Ferguson and the team!