Sarah Eason

Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Areas of Expertise

  • early childhood education, family engagement in learning, parent-child interactions

HHS Signature Research Area(s)

  • Developmental Health and Wellness
  • Sustainable Organizations and Thriving Communities

Department of Human Development and Family Science Research Area(s)

  • Early Childhood Education and Care
  • Interpersonal Relations


I joined the faculty in Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue in 2019. Previously, I worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago after receiving my PhD in Human Development at the University of Maryland. My research stems from an interest in how young children learn from the world around them, and how we can best prepare all children for success in school and beyond. I investigate how experiences in informal learning settings such as the home environment can equip children with skills and knowledge, especially in mathematics. I also consider how, through interactions with parents and other family members, children have opportunities to develop positive attitudes towards learning. My research program aims first to understand the factors that contribute to family engagement and children’s learning, using naturalistic observations and experimental studies that systematically examine contextual variables influencing how families engage in math activities. I am especially interested in understanding families using a strengths-based lens and centering families’ perspectives to recognize how the ways in which families do math reflects their cultural, linguistic, and socioeconomic contexts. Findings from these studies then help to inform the second aim of my research, which is to identify effective approaches to enhancing family math engagement and children’s learning in ways that are culturally-valid.


Accepting graduate student applications for the December 1, 2023 deadline.


  • PhD, 2015, University of Maryland
  • MS, 2006, Loyola University Maryland
  • BA, 2003, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Current Courses

  • HDFS 405 - Teaching Language, Literacy, and Social Studies in Preschool and Primary Grades
  • HDFS 341 - Working With Parents