Grounded in ecological and developmental frameworks, Dr. Smith's training and specific research interests center around the impact of economic conditions such as poverty, parental job loss, and parental work characteristics on the well-being of children and families. Her graduate work focused on the intersection of work and family as it relates to maternal work schedules and preschooler's early learning environments and academic readiness.
Dr. Smith is also interested in how child care experiences are linked to children's academic readiness and later school success. The intersection of these themes is perhaps best reflected in the new direction of her research, which examines parental perceptions of child care. More specifically, the focus of this research is on how economic factors guide parental choices of child care. Currently, she is exploring these linkages among low-income and ethnically diverse populations, as well as the pathways through which these conditions influence children's cognitive, behavioral, mental, and physical well-being.