The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Current News

Joseph McGaunn, Student Award Winner, Receives Academic Excellence Award for Perfect GPA

The Center for Research on Families is proud to announce that Joseph McGaunn, recipient of Center for Research on Families distinguished Undergraduate Research Assistantship Award for the 2018-19 academic year, has earned a perfect 4.0 GPA during his overall undergraduate career. Joseph is a senior honors student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences who is double-majoring in Biochemistry/Molecular biology and Psychology (Neuroscience Track). He is also a member of the UMass Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons) program on the biomedicine track.

A Message from our Director

The Center for Research on Families recognizes how challenging this time is for families, students, faculty and researchers alike, and we would like to share with you what we are doing to support our community. We don't need to tell you that all of our worlds have been heavily impacted by the pandemic affecting our global community. With so many unknowns, and the uncertainty this can bring, we remain focused on what we do know. We know we have to quickly adapt to a life more isolated than we are used; we know we need good science to address COVID19; and we know we need to support for families, now more than ever, in order for all of us to emerge from this crisis in a better place. Our Center would like you to know that much of our important work will continue and that we will stand by to support our community in every way that we are able to.

CRF Graduate Assistant Presents Research at International Conference

Olivia Laramie, Graduate Assistant for the Center for Research on Families and candidate for Masters in Public Policy & Administration, presented her research at the 16th International Research Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (RAIS) Conference on Social Sciences and Humanitiesan. This selective conference, hosted by Johns Hopkins University, serves as a platform for young scholars to present their research on a national level. Olivia's presentation detailed her work with Pure Water for the World (PWW), a Vermont-based nonprofit that partners with communities in Central America and the Caribbean to help establish sustainable safe water, hygiene and sanitation programs. 

Introducing our 2020-2021 Family Research Scholars

The Center for Research on Families at the UMass Amherst is pleased to announce our class of 2020-21 Family Research Scholars.

Six faculty members in various stages in their research were chosen to participate in this highly selective, year-long interdisciplinary research support program. The program serves to build lasting and productive connections among researchers of varying disciplines by providing concrete skills for successful grant submission, peer and faculty feedback on their developing proposals, individualized methodology consultation with CRF faculty and renown experts, and guidance on funding sources. 

Nancy Folbre (Former FRS) Quoted in Article about "Gender New Deal"

Former Family Research Scholar and Professor Emerita of Economics at UMass Amherst was recently quoted in an article regarding the future of work in the United States and how that future will apply to gender representation in the workplace. 

The author of the article, Sarah Ashwin, discusses how basic income debates may ignore, "the potential to challenge the resiliently gendered division of paid and unpaid labour." 

Rebecca Spencer (FRS '10-'11) cited in Article about Napping

An article recently published in the Washington Post titled, "Naps don't work for everyone. Genetic differences are why" cites former FRS Rebecca Spencer who specializes in studies on sleep and cognition. “If you are a regular napper, you can get these two forces [HSP and your circadian rhythm] into a good rhythm so they are nicely balanced,” says Rebecca Spencer. “The problem is few people nap so regularly.”

Former Family Research Scholars Chosen as 2020 Public Engagement Project Fellows

Seven faculty members from across six departments and five colleges have been chosen as 2020 Public Engagement Faculty Fellows by the Public Engagement Project (PEP). The faculty fellows will draw on their substantial research records to impact policy, the work of practitioners and public debates. Faculty fellows receive a stipend and technical training in communicating with non-academic audiences, and will travel to Beacon Hill to share their research with lawmakers. 

Kathleen Arcaro (FRS '12-'13) Aims to Develop New Screening for BRCA-Positive Breastfeeding Women

Kathleen Arcaro, a former Family Research Scholar, supported by a $718,000 grant from the Department of Defense's Breast Cancer Research Program, is hoping to develop a new screening for BRCA-Positive Breastfeeding Women. The new, noninvasive test uses women’s breast milk to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages. New mothers, and to a greater extent those with a BRCA mutation, face an increased risk of pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC), which is often aggressive, for about a decade postpartum.

CRF Mourns the Passing of Health Promotion and Policy Assistant Professor Louis Graham

We at the Center for Research on Families (CRF) at UMass Amherst were deeply saddened to learn that Louis Graham passed away suddenly on December 29, 2019. Louis was a former Family Research Scholar from 2016-2017, a member of our Stress Research Group, and a member of the Public Engagement Project. His research focused on understand the psychological determinants of mental and sexual health among ethnic minorities and sexually marginalized groups - including depression, anxiety, and HIV prevention among black and Latino gay and bisexual men and transgender women. He used community based participatory approached to facilitate power sharing amongst community stakeholders. Louis was committed to his work and a valued member of the communities he served. His passion, drive, and kindness will be missed. We will remember Louis for his important contributions to the field and for his advocacy.