College of Education and Human Development - George Mason University

Dr. Colleen K. Vesely
PhD, University of Maryland
Associate Professor
Human Development and Family Science
Early Childhood Education

Contact Information

Send email to Dr. Vesely

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

George Mason University
Fairfax Campus
West Building 2104
4400 University Dr.
MS 4C2
Fairfax, VA 22030


Colleen K. Vesely, Ph.D. is an associate professor of Human Development and Family Science and Early Childhood Education in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. Her work examines the experiences of diverse, marginalized and minoritized young children and their families.  Dr. Vesely's work also focuses on family engagement, particularly among families from diverse racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, linguistic, and ability backgrounds.  Dr. Vesely also studies early care and education teachers' well-being, especially in relation to human and social capital development, as the ECE workforce transforms. Dr. Vesely’s most recent work, funded by the Bruhn Morris Family Foundation, utilizes a Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach to understand immigrant families’ experiences accessing early care and education, while negotiating parenthood in the US.  A second and emergent area of work is focused on anti-racism and equity in the academy. In collaboration with colleagues and students in CEHD, Dr. Vesely developed a course equity audit tool for university instructors to examine anti-racism opportunities in their individual courses. Dr. Vesely also contributed to creating tools to examine college-level equity data specific to race and gender. A third 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, Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, and the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences. Her work has also 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 Bernard van Leer Foundation.  Dr. Vesely teaches courses focused on family engagement in early care and education, family processes and dynamics, as well as research methods.  Dr. Vesely received her PhD in Family Science from the University of Maryland- College Park in 2011.

Research Interests
  • anti-racism and equity in education
  • immigrant families' access to early 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., DeMulder, E., Sansbury, A., Davis, E., Letiecq, B., Willard, I., Goodman, R., & Amigas de la Comunidad. (in press). ‘A place where my children could learn to read, write, and play’: The search for early care and education among undocumented Central American immigrant mothers. Early Childhood Research Quarterly.

Letiecq, B., Vesely, C.K., & Goodman, R. (in press). Participatory action research with, by, and for families. In K. Adamson, A Few-Demo, C. Proulx and K. Roy (Eds.), Sourcebook of Family Theories and Methodologies. Springer.

Vesely, C.K., Baily, S., Klee, H., Woltz, S., Ambegaonkar, J. (in press). Implementation process to examine diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) data needs at a large diverse public university. Inside Higher Education.

Vesely, C.K., Mehta, S., Sansbury, A., Gundling, R., & Arora, S. (2021). Reimagining teacher education for family engagement: A response to the 2020 health and sociohistorical context. The Teacher Educators’ Journal.

Vesely, C.K., Bravo, D.Y., & Guzzardo, M.T. (2019). Immigration: Policy issues across the life course. NCFR Policy Brief. Minneapolis, MN: National Council on Family Relations.

Letiecq, B.L., Mehta, S., Vesely, C.K., Marquez, M., Goodman, R.D., & Moron, L. (2019). Central American immigrant mothers’ mental health in the context of illegality: Structural stress, parental concern, and trauma. Journal of Family and Community Health.

Vesely, C.K., Goodman, R.D., & Letiecq, B.L. (2019). Parenting across two worlds: Low-income Latina immigrants’ aAdaptation to motherhood in the U.S. Journal of Family Issues.

Vesely, C.K., Letiecq, B.L., Goodman, R.D., Marquez, M.*, Lazo, W.*, & Martinez, R.* (2019).  What does this mean to you?: Collaborative data analysis in partnership with Amigas de la Comunidad.  In Eds. A. Humble and E. Radina (Eds.), How Qualitative Data Analysis HappensMoving Beyond “Themes Emerged”. Taylor & Francis.

Speirs, K.E., Vesely, C.K., & Roy, K. (2019).  Lost in the data: Strategies for analyzing large-scale collaboratively-collected qualitative datasets. In Eds. A. Humble and E. Radina (Eds.), How Qualitative Data Analysis HappensMoving Beyond “Themes Emerged”. Taylor & Francis.

Goodman, R.D., Vesely, C.K., & Letiecq, B.L. (2018). 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.

Vesely, C.K., Brown, E.L., & Mehta, S.* (2017). Developing cultural humility through experiential learning: How home visits transform early childhood pre-service educators; attitudes for diverse family engagement. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education.

Goodman, R.D., Letiecq, B.L. Vesely, C.K., Marquez, M., & Leyva, K. (2017). 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.

Vesely, C.K., Letiecq, B.L., & Goodman, R.D. (2017). Immigrant family resilience in context: Using a Community-based approach to build a new conceptual model. Journal of Family Theory and Review, 9, 93-110. doi10.1111/jftr.12177.

Goodman, R.D., Vesely, C.K., Letiecq, B.L., & Cleaveland, C.L. (2017). Trauma and resilience among refugee and undocumented immigrant women.  Journal of Counseling and Development, 95, 309-321. doi: 10.1002/jcad.12145

Brown, E. L., Vesely, C. K., Mahatmya, D., & Visconti, K. (2017). Emotions matter: The moderating role of emotional labour on preschool teacher and children interactions. Early Child Development and Care. doi:

Brown, E. L., Mahatmya, D., & Vesely, C.K. (2016). Family and school influences on the behavioral and academic competence of low-income children of color. Journal of Children and Poverty, 22. doi:

Brown, E. L., Vesely, C.K., & Dallman, L. (2016). Unpacking biases: Developing cultural humility in early childhood and elementary teacher candidates. The Teacher Educators’ Journal, 9, 75-96.

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.

Other Information


Vesely, C.K., Letiecq, B.L., & DeMulder, E. (2019). Early care and education experiences and kindergarten readiness among ACPS students. Bruhn Morris Family Foundation, $80,478. Role: Co-PI.

Letiecq, B.L., Vesely, C.K., DeMulder, E., & Goodman, R.D. (2018). Collaborative data analyses and data dissemination in partnership with two Alexandria communities. Bruhn Morris Family Foundation, $56,388. Role: Co-PI

Kidd, J., LaCroix, L., Stone, D., Coogle, C., Fisher-Maltese, C., & Vesely, C.K. (2018). Collaborative development of a Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Development. College of Education and Human Development Academic Program Innovation Award, $10,000.

Letiecq, B.L., Vesely, C.K., & Goodman, R.D. (2016). Amigas de la Comunidad: Promoting the health and well-being of Alexandria’s immigrant families. Bruhn Morris Family Foundation, $54,412. Role:     Co-PI

Williams, J., Letiecq, B.L., & Goodman, R.D. (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., Vesely, C.K., DeMulder, E., Stribling, S., & Ginsberg, M.R. (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: Co-investigator

Brown, E.L., & Vesely, C.K. (2013).   Early childhood educators’ emotional labor and well-being. Center for the Advancement of Well-being, 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 and Early Education Policy Research Consortium (CCEEPRC) Parents and Families and Child Care Access theme groups and the CCEEPRC steering committee. CCEEPRC is a national group of child care researchers and policymakers who work to link research, policy and practice. The CCEEPRC 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).