Watson Chronicle


Watson College News

Jes Fyall Cardenas Elected to NCIMHA Board of Directors

Monday, December 05, 2022

Jes Fyall Cardenas has been elected to the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Association. NCIMHA is a statewide, interdisciplinary non-profit organization established to promote and support the optimal development of infants, toddlers, young children and families through relationship-focused workforce development and advocacy efforts.

Her two-year term began in November.

Dr. Cardenas is an assistant professor of Early Childhood education at the Watson College and an endorsed Infant Mental Health Mentor (IMHM – Research/Faculty), who has devoted her career to supporting and advocating for the social-emotional health of young children and their families, especially in the context of early childhood education. Prior to joining the faculty at UNCW in 2020, she worked as a preschool teacher, education director and state-wide professional development trainer for the Texas Association for Infant Mental Health (First3Years).

Cardenas earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Texas Tech University, a M.S. in Family and Child Development from Texas State University, and a B.S. in Biology from Texas A&M University. Her research agenda focuses on social support and the relationships between parents and early childhood educators. Recent work has centered on family transitions to formal school and childcare environments, focusing on maternal reports of well-being as influenced by first experiences with their child’s teacher.  

“I am looking forward to my work with other members of the NCIMHA board,” she said. “NCIMHA was the first organization I reached out to participate with when I moved to North Carolina in 2020, and the NCIMHA team and membership have been a source of powerful education, advocacy, and hope especially in our world today.”