Bradley alumna works to raise poverty awareness

Dr. Judith Carta '72

November 16, 2011

By Steven Johnson ’13

Dr. Judith Carta '72 will return to her alma mater to deliver a presentation entitled “When More Means Less: How Cumulative Risks Associated with Poverty Affect Children and Families.” The event will take place Dec. 2 at 4 p.m. in the Michel Student Center’s Marty Theatre.

Carta is an alumna of the Department of Psychology and currently a professor at the University of Kansas. She is an international expert in early childhood education, particularly on the effects of poverty and interventions, such as Head Start, on educational outcomes.

“Poverty exerts its negative influence on children in many ways,” Carta said. “Children who grow up in low-income environments are often exposed to a wide range of biological risks such as poor nutrition, inadequate health care and psychosocial risks.

“These numerous factors are known to prevent over 200 million children in the developing countries from attaining their developmental potential. What compounds these effects, however, is that these risks often co-occur, exposing children to the more serious effects of cumulative risk factors.”

Carta has spent more than 30 years studying children in poverty and will provide an overview of the ways in which multiple risks can affect children and families. She hopes to meet with students studying psychology and/or education to explain how Bradley was influential in shaping her career as a researcher of young children.

“Dr. Carta is a nationally-recognized expert on school-related risk factors and interventions for at-risk children,” said Dr. Derek Montgomery, chair of the Department of Psychology. “The importance of identifying solutions for at-risk children cannot be overstated.  It is also significant, if less obvious, that Dr. Carta's work demonstrates the effectiveness of research as a means for addressing, and ultimately improving, societal problems.”

Carta is excited to come back to her old stomping grounds and is looking forward to speaking with the Bradley community.

“I am thrilled to be returning to Bradley,” Carta said. “I feel that Bradley provided me with a great start in a career which I thoroughly enjoy – it is great to do work that is meaningful and fulfilling. I look forward to meeting Bradley students and giving them a vision for careers that are possible, and also to re-establishing connections with Bradley friends, faculty and alums.”