Interior Design faculty members Natalie Ellis and Mia Kile, along with colleagues at OU-Tulsa, the OU Health Sciences Center, and Johns Hopkins University, were recently awarded $8,500 to pursue research related to “Infant-toddler teachers’ physical and psychological well-being.” The project is funded by the Early Childhood Education Institute at OU-Tulsa.

Ellis commented, “Mia [Kile] and I are very proud of this developing work and the opportunity to engage with this multidisciplinary, multi-college, and multi-university research team.”

According to Ellis, the proposal has three primary goals:

  • “to examine how infant toddler teachers’ physical and psychological well-being is associated with the quality of their interaction with children;
  • “to investigate how environmental factors (e.g., work conditions and climates) are associated with infant toddler teachers’ physical and psychological well-being;
  • “to modify and validate a measure to assess the quality of the work environment for infant toddler teachers.”

The principal investigator is Kyong-Ah Kwon, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum, Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education.

Co-Principal Investigators are Lieny Jeon, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Education; Mia Kile, ASID, IIDA, IDEC, LEED Green Associate, Associate Professor, Interior Design Division, College of Architecture, University of Oklahoma; Natalie Ellis, Ph.D., IIDA, LEED BD+C, Assistant Professor, Division of Interior Design, The University of Oklahoma; Ken Randall, PT, Ph.D., MHR, Associate Professor, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, College of Allied Health, OU-HSC, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Community Engagement, Co-Director of Office of Community Engagement at OU-Tulsa.

For more information, please reach out to Natalie Ellis ( or Mia Kile (

Featured photo: The Early Childhood Education Institute, OU-Tulsa.