Welcome to HOLA STEM!

About Us

HOLA!!! We are the HOLA STEM Lab, and we aim to recognize and promote positive experiences, practices, and opportunities for Latine families to advance the development of their children’s early STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills.

Latine families bring immense linguistic and cultural assets to schools and communities. This group is the fastest-growing population in the U.S.; one in four children in the U.S. are Latine. We strive to value and leverage Latine families’ knowledge, experiences, and practices in STEM with an asset-oriented vision. 

However, Latine homes are not a monolithic environment, and the ways in which caregivers engage with their children in STEM may vary due to essential factors, including who is in the home and caregivers' generational status in the U.S.  Thus, our research examines within-group variation in Latine families' engagement.

Our projects include developing culturally and linguistically relevant measures to assess the home mathematics environment of Latine families and observing Latine families' practices in STEM.

      Meet our Team

Jimena Cosso Ph.D



Jimena Cosso is an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology at Penn State. 


Jimena’s overarching research program explores learning contexts that shape how young children develop and learn, with a particular focus on dual language learners (DLLs) from immigrant Latine communities. Latine families bring immense linguistic and cultural assets to schools and communities, yet Latine children are considered among the most vulnerable of young learners. Disparities in learning outcomes, however, rest within structural factors such as cultural and linguistic biases in our knowledge base and the reliance on measures that are not culturally or linguistically sensitive but commonly used to make instructional and policy decisions. 

Jimena's research program addresses these main issues through two main strands: (a) culturally sensitive measures and (b) contextual factors shaping early learning, with a specific interest in early mathematics skills.

Click here to see CV

Penn State Department Website

Almendra Mendizabal

Graduate Student

Almendra Mendizabal is a first-year Ph.D. student in Educational Psychology at Penn State. 

She earned a B.S. in Secondary Education from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile in 2021 and taught natural science in English to bilingual school children in her hometown of Santiago.

Almendra is interested in how the home environment affects the early mathematical and science process skills of preschool-aged dual language learning children in the context of immigrant Latine families.

Besides work, in her free time, you can always find Almendra in coffee shops - reading novels, poetry, and scientific literature from Sylvia Plath to Francisco Varela.

Paola del Campo

Graduate Student

Paola del Campo Andrade is a first-year Ph.D. student in Educational Psychology at Penn State. 

She earned her B.S. in Physical Therapy at Universidad Metropolitana de la Educación in 2016 and a M.Sc. in Neurosciences Applied to Education at Universidad Mayor in 2023. For five years, she utilized her passions for biology and social change to teach science to young children in underserved urban communities. 

Paola specializes in the relationship between executive functions and science literacy during child development. She is interested in improving science educational learning in students from marginalized communities.

Annalise Chang

Undergraduate Student

Annalise Chang is a third-year undergraduate student majoring in psychology and statistics.

Her research interests include early childhood development, learning processes, and quantitative methods. Alongside working with Dr. Cosso, Annalise studies emotion regulation in Dr. Pamela Cole's lab at Penn State. She plans to attend graduate school for measurement or statistics.

Past Members

Gala Campos Oaxaca

Graduate Assistant

Gala Campos Oaxaca is a doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology. She was born and raised in Veracruz, Mexico, and earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Biomedical Science at Dordt University in Sioux Center, IA. Before Penn State, Gala worked at a psychiatric residential treatment facility in Asheville, NC. 

Gala's main area of research focuses on studying the sociocultural and cognitive processes involved in discourse synthesis and academic writing at the higher education level. In particular, Gala is interested in exploring the power dynamics and resources available to support academic writing communities

Journal Articles

International Comparisons of the Home Mathematics Environment and Relations with Children's Mathematical Achievement

Ellis, A., Cosso, J., Duncan, R., Susperreguy, M. I., Simms, V., & Purpura, D.

Unique and Combined Effects of Mathematical Language and Numeracy Instruction: A Picture Book Intervention

Purpura, D. K., O’Real, C., Ellis A., Logan, J. A. R., King Y., Westerberg, L., Cosso, J., Zippert E., Napoli, A. R., Hornburg, C. B., Schmitt, S. A., & Dobbs-Oates, J. 

Impact of a Psycho-Emotional Skills-Building Program on Children's Social-Emotional Development in Colombia

Cosso, J., Russo de Vivo, A.R., Hein, S., Reales-Silvera, L. P., Ramirez-Verela, L., & Ponguta, L. A. 

Next Directions in Measurement of the Home Mathematics Environment: An International and Interdisciplinary Perspective.

Hornburg, C. B., Borriello, G.A., Kung, M., Lin, J., Litkowski, E., Cosso, J., Ellis, A., King, Y., Zippert, E., Cabrera, N., Davis-Kean, P., Eason, S. H., Hart, S. A., Iruka, I., LeFevre, J.-A., Simms, V., Susperreguy, M. I., Cahoon, A., Chan, W. W. L., Cheung, S. K., Coppola, M., De Smedt, B., Elliot, L., Estévez-Pérez, N., Gallagher-Mitchell, T., Gardner-Neblett, N., Gilmore, C., Leyva, D., Maloney, E. A., Manolitsis, G., Melzi, G., Mutaf-Yıldız, B., Nelson, G., Niklas, G., Pan, Y., Ramani, G. B., Skwarchuk, S.-L., Sonnenschein, S., & Purpura, D. J.


Mathematics in the Home of Latine Families

In this project, we aim to validate a recently developed measure of the home mathematics environment (HME) for Latine families (HME-L).  

With this measure, we aim to shift attention from what Latine families do not know or do to valuing and leveraging their everyday practices and experiences.  

Latine STEM Home-Practices and Digital Support

In this project, we aim to design family STEM resources (i.e., an app) using a bottom-up approach. We are conducting focus groups with Latine families to learn about their everyday practices and the use of technology. 

This work will promote meaningful STEM content in activities and interactions already taking place in Latine families' homes.

Dual Language Learners' School Readiness Skills

In this project, we aim to examine how Latine dual language learners (DLLs) perform in different school readiness domains (e.g., science, math) based on the English language skill test (preLAS). We are using two nationally representative datasets.

This work raises concerns about the validity of English-based assessments for Latine DLLs. Being DLL is a cognitive benefit that should be celebrated and encouraged; however, assessments in one language do not accurately capture DLLs’ academic abilities. 

Contact Us

We are always happy to meet new people! 

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