Growing up in Connecticut with working parents, UC Irvine education doctoral candidate Maria Parente had a well-defined after-school routine: “I’m from a strict Italian family,” she says. “My mother and father told me to come home, sit on the couch and not move until they returned.” According to the 2005 U.S. Census, 5.2 million children ages 5 to 14 regularly experience unsupervised time outside school. With a $10,000 Public Impact Fellowship from UCI’s Graduate Division, Parente is studying the effect of this on children’s academic performance and behavior. Parente hopes to determine which self-care settings are most beneficial for children and their families.