College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University


School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism - George Mason University

The School of Recreation, Health, and Tourism (SRHT) offers exciting, career-ready majors in dynamic fields such as athletic training, tourism and events management, health and physical education, kinesiology, sport management, and recreation management. SRHT features renowned faculty, cutting-edge research, six laboratories and centers, and a diverse student body of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students each year. Each major requires one or more internship or clinical experiences, ensuring that students graduate not just with a transcript but with a resume that demonstrates their professional aptitude and skills.

PhD, University of Maryland
Assistant Professor
Early Childhood Education
Human Development and Family Science

Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Vesely

Phone: (703) 993-5346
Fax: (703) 993-4370

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
Thompson Hall 1102
4400 University Dr.
MS 4C2
Fairfax, VA 22030


Colleen K. Vesely, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of Inclusive Early Childhood Education and Human Development and Family Science in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Her work focuses on the experiences of diverse, marginalized young children and their families.  Dr. Vesely’s most recent work utilizes a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to understand low-income immigrant and refugee families’ experiences of trauma and resilience, and how these experiences shape families’ experiences navigating and negotiating parenthood, including experiences with the early childhood care and education system, in the US.  A second area of work, funded by the Center for the Advancement of Well-being at George Mason University is focused on early childhood education teachers’ ecosystemic well-being, and how this shapes teachers’ interactions with young children.  Dr. Vesely’s work is published in Early Childhood Research Quarterly, Early Education & Development, Educational Psychology Review, Journal of Family and Economic Issues, Journal of Counseling and Development, Journal of Family Theory & Review, Journal of Children and Poverty, and the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences.  Her work has been funded by the Office for Child Care in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as a Child Care Scholar, as well as the Bruhn Morris Family Foundation and the Bernard van Leer Foundation.  Dr. Vesely teaches graduate courses focused on family engagement in early childhood care and education and qualitative methods and undergraduate courses focused on family processes and dynamics.  Dr. Vesely received her PhD in Family Science from the University of Maryland- College Park in 2011.


Research Interests

  • immigrant and refugee families' experiences with early childhood care and education (ECCE)
  • Community-based Participatory Research (CBPR)
  • qualitative methods
  • ecosystemic well-being
  • culture and parenting
  • family engagement
  • ecological connections to children's social and emotional learning

Recent Publications

Vesely, C.K., Letiecq, B.L., & Goodman, R.D. (in press). Immigrant family resilience in context: Using a Community-based approach to build a new conceptual model. Journal of Family Theory and Review.

Brown, E. L., Mahatmya, D., & Vesely, C.K. (in press). Family and school influences on the behavioral and academic competence of low-income children of color. Journal of Children and Poverty.

Goodman, R.D., Vesely, C.K., Letiecq, B.L., & Cleaveland, C.L. (in press). Trauma and resilience among refugee and undocumented immigrant women.  Journal of Counseling and Development.

Goodman, R.D., Vesely, C.K., & Letiecq, B.L. (in press). Counseling refugees. In J. Webber & J.B. Mascari (Eds.), Disaster Mental Health Counseling: A Guide to Preparing and Responding (4th ed.).  Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association Foundation.

Goodman, R.D., Letiecq, B.L. Vesely, C.K., Marquez, M., & Leyva, K. (invited, in press). Community practice with immigrants and refugees.  In A. Hilado & M. Lundy (Eds.), Reorienting transnational practice with immigrants and refugees: Theory, practice and culture. New York, NY: SAGE.

Brown, E. L., Vesely, C.K., & Dallman, L. (2016). Unpacking biases: Developing cultural humility in early childhood and elementary teacher candidates. Action in Teacher Education.

Vesely, C.K., Letiecq, B.L., & Ewaida, M. (2016). Immigrant families in the United States. The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Family Studies. 1–8.

Speirs, K.E., Vesely, C.K., & Roy, K.M. (2015).  Choosing care? Stability and instability in low-income mothers’ child care arrangements. Children and Youth Services Review, 53, 147-156.

Halgunseth, L.C., Vesely, C.K., & Catlett, C. (2015). Resources within reason. Young Exceptional Children, 18, 48. DOI: 10.1177/1096250615586030.

Vesely, C.K., Goodman, R.D., Ewaida, M., & Kearney, K.B. (2014). A better life? Immigrant mothers’ experiences building economic security. Journal of Family and Economic Issues. DOI 10.1007/s10834-014-9422-3.

Vesely, C.K., Goodman, R.D., & Scurlock, S. (2014). Turning points and transitions: The role of family in women’s immigration experiences. International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, 5, 308-331.

Garner, P.W., Mahatmya, D., Brown, E.L., & Vesely, C.K. (2014). Promoting desirable outcomes among culturally and ethnically diverse children in social emotional learning programs: A multilevel heuristic model. Educational Psychology Review, 26, 165-189. DOI 10.1007/s10648-014-9253-7.

Vesely, C.K., Ewaida, M., & Anderson, E.A. (2014). Cultural competence of parenting education programs used by Latino families: A review. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, 36, 27-47. DOI 10.1177/0739986313510694.

Vesely, C.K., Brown, E.L., & Mahatmya, D. (2013). It takes two: Sensitive caregiving across contexts and children’s social, emotional, and academic outcomes. Special Issue: Early Education and Development, 24, 960-978.

Vesely, C.K., Ewaida, M., & Kearney, K.B.* (2013). Capitalizing on early childhood education (ECE): Low-income immigrant mothers’ use of ECE to build human, social, and navigational capital. Early Education & Development, 24, 744-765.

Vesely, C.K. (2013). Low-income African and Latina immigrant mothers’ selection of early childhood care and education (ECCE): Considering the complexity of cultural and structural influences. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 28, 470-486.

Vesely, C.K., Ewaida, M., & Kearney, K.B. (2012). Two sides of the Potomac: A qualitative exploration of immigrant families’ health care experiences in Virginia and Washington, DC. Research in the Sociology of Health Care, 30, 85-112.

Hofferth, S.L., Pleck, J., & Vesely, C.K. (2012). The transmission of parenting from fathers to sons. Parenting: Science and Practice, 12(4), 282-305.

Vesely, C.K., & Ginsberg, M.R. (2011). Exploration of the status of services for immigrant families in early childhood education programs. Young Children. 84-89.

Roy, K., Vesely, C.K., Fitzgerald, M., & Buckmiller Jones, N. (2010). Young fathers at work: The influence of parental closeness and contact. Research in Human Development, 7(2), 123-139.

Roy, K. & Vesely, C.K. (2009). Caring for “the family’s child”: Social capital utilization in kin networks of young low-income African American fathers. In R. Coles & C. Green (Eds.), The Myth of the Missing Black Father. New York: Columbia University Press.

Vesely, C.K. & Anderson, E.A. (2009). Child care and development fund: A policy analysis. Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare, 36(1), 39-59.

Other Information


Letiecq, B.L. (2016). Amigas de la Comunidad: Promoting the health and well-being of Alexandria’s immigrant families. Bruhn Morris Family Foundation, $54,412. Role: Project Co-director

Letiecq, B.L. (2016). African American children, youth, and their families in Alexandria, VA:  Documenting  community strengths, resources, and unmet needs. Bruhn Morris Family Foundation, $72,180. Role:  Advisor.

Letiecq, B.L. (2014). Early childhood care and education for vulnerable families in Alexandria:Building strategic partnerships through community-engaged research. Bruhn Morris Family Foundation, $62,988. Role: Project Co-director

Brown, E.L., & Vesely, C.K. (2013).   Early childhood educators’ emotional labor and well-being.  Center for Consciousness and Transformation, George Mason University, $32,083Role: Co-PI          

Vesely, C.K., & Brown, E.L. (2013). Early childhood educators’ emotional labor and well-being. Seed grant.   College of Education and Human Development, George Mason University, $3,000.  Role: Co-PI

Vesely, C.K. (2013).  Role of early childhood educators’ well-being in sensitive interactions with young children and their families.  Summer Research Funding, George Mason University, $2,500.  Role: PI          

Vesely, C.K. (2012). Longview Global Education for Teachers Collaborative Scholar. George Mason University and American University. $250. Role: Consultant

Ginsberg, M.R. (2012).  Exploring intergenerational trauma among refugees and their young children. Bernard van Leer Foundation. $25,543.  Role: Co-investigator

Vesely, C.K., Roy, K., & Hofferth, S. (2010).  Child care decision-making, subsidy use, and the development of economic self-sufficiency among immigrant parents of young . U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Planning Research and Evaluation Child Care Research Scholars Dissertation Grant. $29,708.  Role: PI    

               Vesely, C.K. (2010).  Jewell L. Taylor National Graduate Fellowship.  American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. $5,000. Role: PI.                                                          

               Vesely, C.K. (2008).  Jewell L. Taylor National Graduate Fellowship.  American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. $5,000. Role: PI.


Dr. Vesely is a member of the Child Care Policy Research Consortium (CCPRC) Parents and Families theme group and the CCPRC steering committee. CCPRC is a national group of child care researchers and policymakers who work to link research, policy and practice. The CCPRC is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Child Care, and Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE).