Child Development Researcher - Frances Chang


After completed a Masters in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard, Frances joined the Early Childhood Innovation Network of Washington DC as a Research Specialist. Frances' interest in psychology began in high school when she first took IB Psychology here at AISG. Her experience in community service has also helped to guide her to where she is today. 

Please tell us about your life after AISG. 

After AISG, I attended Wheaton College (MA) for a year and a half, then transferred to Brandeis University. I started out majoring in Music (Performance) at Wheaton but decided to change to Psychology when was at Brandeis. While I was at Brandeis, I studied abroad in Kyoto, Japan, for a semester. After receiving my Bachelor's degree, I worked for a year in research and early childhood education, then completed my master's in Human Development and Psychology at Harvard Graduate School of Education. Currently, I am working at the Early Childhood Innovation Network as a Research Specialist.


Could you please tell us how you first got involved in this industry? What drew you to this field? 

I've always been interested in the human mind, psychopathology, and helping people. My interest in psychology began in high school when I took IB Psychology. In my IB Psychology class with Mr. O'hara, I learned the basics and fundamental theories. Outside of class, I volunteered for Helping Hands and had the opportunity to interact with community members who had developmental and learning disabilities. Little did I know, these experiences were setting me up for the career I have now. 

When I studied in college, I worked in different clinical and developmental psychology laboratories to gain research skills. For instance, I was able to work with different personnel (psychologists, pediatricians, social workers, etc.) in various hospitals and universities. In addition to research, I also taught young children music at a preschool and Gymboree Play and Music. Through my work in both research and education, I found myself wanting to provide more support for children's development and well-being. 


Do you feel AISG prepared you for your college life or your work? 

AISG definitely provided me a great foundation in my academics and interpersonal skills. As much as students complained about the rigor and intensity of the IB curriculum, it did help me think more critically and realize my learning style. Interpersonally, AISG gave me opportunities to practice skills such as leadership, collaboration, conflict management, and communication. With this foundation, I grew even more in college.

What advice would you give to current AISG students who are considering pursuing the same path?

The field of psychology is quite broad. There are many different tracks (clinical, developmental, social, industrial and organizational etc.) and paths (research, education, clinical, policy, etc.) you can take. Be open and flexible. Explore different areas and roles by taking classes, connecting with people from the field, and/or doing internships. 

A lot of people in AISG community still remember your performance at the 30th anniversary gala in 2012, do you still sing or perform in your daily life? How do you balance your hobby and your work?

Thanks for still remembering my performance at the 30th anniversary gala! I am still very much involved in singing and performing. In college, I participated in a cappella groups and performed at campus events. Now, I continue to sing and share my music by recording song covers and performing at local events. Singing is my way of balancing life. For me, singing is a form of self-care and stress-relief. It was more difficult to juggle everything I needed to do and sing when I was a student, but nowadays, as a working professional, I have more control over how I want to schedule my off time! Feel free to follow my music on Instagram: @franphran! 

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