Gigliana Melzi
Associate Professor of Applied Psychology


  • Child development
  • Early childhood and preschool
  • Early learning
  • English language learners
  • Hispanic students
  • Language acquisition
  • Low-income students

Gigliana Melzi is an associate professor of applied psychology and affiliated faculty at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at New York University. She studies the multiple ways Latino families support their children’s early development and learning. In one line of work, she has examined various discourse and linguistic features of Spanish-speaking mother-child dyads from non-immigrant and immigrant Latin American families across socioeconomic groups. She has also examined the unique ways Latino parents support their preschoolers’ learning, developing and validating a new measure of family engagement for Spanish- and English-speaking Latino families of preschoolers. Most recently, she developed and is assessing the efficacy of a preschool classroom intervention that trains teachers to build bridges between home and school through the use of storytelling in the classroom. A native of Lima, Peru, Melzi came to the U.S. to pursue her undergraduate degree at Clark University, where she majored in Spanish literature and psychology. She continued her studies in developmental psychology, focusing on language development, and obtained her doctorate at Boston University.