The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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CRF Grants Over $70,000 to Students and Celebrates Work of Current Student Grant Recipients

Student award recipients 2011-2012

The Center for Research on Families continues its mission of nurturing the next generation of researchers dedicated to understanding and unlocking issues related to the family with its annual grants and awards program. This year, 26 graduate and undergraduate students received over $70,000 dollars of funding to advance their research. The students received one of five separate grants or awards, Graduate Fellowships, Travel Awards, Methodological Studies Awards, Undergraduate Assistantships, and the Honors Thesis/Capstone awards.

A record number of applications were submitted to CRF’s grants and awards program this year.  CRF Director Sally Powers attributes this to “the increased number of students conducting family research and the dire need for funding.  Virtually all the applications from the students and their faculty mentors were extraordinary.  We wished we could have funded them all!”

For the student recipients of the grants and awards, the opportunity provides them with guidance, support and time, which helps launch their careers as family research scholars.  As one current graduate fellow writes, “the financial and institutional support at this early stage in my career, along with the supportive and stimulating relationships fostered with my mentor, fellow awardees, and CRF staff, have been invaluable for my professional and intellectual development.”   The current CRF student graduate fellows meet regularly throughout the year and have all made significant progress on their research projects.  Some have submitted articles to major peer-review journals and all have presented their research at national conferences. (This year's fellows Irene Boeckmann, Owen Thompson and Jillian Crocker are shown in photo.)

Additionally, the current undergraduate assistantship winner Amanda Otto worked over the year with a mentor faculty member to gain experience in field research, as they sought to examine the link between post-partum and menopausal hot-flashes.  Amanda, who is applying to graduate school, sees the experience as making her a more competitive applicant through building her skills in primary research.    

The core of the student grant and awards program is the FAMILY RESEARCH GRADUATE FELLOWSHIP.  Each Graduate Fellow will receive $10,000 of funding to work with a faculty mentor for the 2012-13 academic year.  The six Fellows selected this year have a wide array of research interests, coming from sociology, psychology and economics.    

Jessica Looze, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology
“The Effects of Motherhood and Education on Women’s Early Career Job Mobility”
Mentor: Michelle Budig (sociology, CRF Family Research Scholar ’06-‘07)

Danila Musante, Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology
“How Parent-Adolescent Relationships Affect Adopted Individuals’ Experience of Young Adulthood”
Mentor:  Harold Grotevant (psychology, CRF Family Research Scholar ’12-‘13)

Katherine Newkirk, Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology
“The Division of Housework and Childcare in Diverse Family Structures”
Mentor: Maureen Perry Jenkins (psychology, CRF Family Research Scholar ’06-‘07)

Eiko Strader, Ph.D. candidate in Sociology
“Social Inequalities Surrounding Motherhood in East Asia”
Mentor: Joya Misra (sociology, CRF Family Research Scholar ’04-‘05)

Joo Yeon Suh, Ph.D. candidate in Economics
“The Economic Value of Time Devoted to Raising Children and Caring for Elders”
Mentor: Nancy Folbre (economics, CRF Family Research Scholar ’12-‘13)

Marianne Tichovolsky, Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology
“Parenting and Parent Predictors of Changes in Child Behavior Problems”
Mentor:  David Arnold (psychology, CRF Family Research Scholar ’03-‘04)

The FAMILY RESEARCH UNDERGRADUATE ASSISTANTSHIP enables an undergraduate to work with a faculty member on a family research project through a grant of $3,000. This year, two assistantship grants were given to deserving, rising seniors:

Talia Grossman, (class of 2013) Communications Disorders
“The Impact of Developmental Disabilities on Family Relationships”
Mentor:   Mary Andrianopoulos (communication disorders)

Ashley Silvia, (class of 2013) Veterinary and Animal Sciences
“Epigenetic Alteration through Diet:  Can Broccoli Sprouts Reduce Breast Cancer Risk?”
Mentor:  Kathleen Arcaro (veterinary and animal sciences, CRF Family Research Scholar ’12-‘13)

CRF expanded both the graduate and undergraduate program this year, awarding eleven Family Research Graduate TRAVEL AWARDS and four FAMILY RESEARCH HONORS THESIS/CAPSTONE AWARDS.  Three additional awards were given to non-UMass students for the Family Research Methodological Studies Grant, which will allow these students to attend the CRF Summer Methodology Program for no fee. 


To find out more about the work of all of these talented students, please visit: