The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Samantha Bernecker Receives NIMH National Research Service Award

Samantha Bernecker

The Center for Research on Families (CRF) at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) is pleased to announce that Samantha Bernecker has been awarded a National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) for her dissertation work entitled, “Crowdsourcing Mental Health with a Web-Based Peer-Delivered Intervention.”

Underscoring the scientific merits of the work, her proposal was funded on its first submission. She was also awarded a 2013-2014 CRF Graduate Student Family Research Fellowship to support the project.

Bernecker, a third year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program, works with advisor Dr. Michael Constantino in the Psychotherapy Research Lab at UMass. “Her academic promise is off the charts,” Constantino says. “I simply could not speak more highly of a student at this stage of her graduate career.”

Bernecker’s research aims to discover ways to empower interpersonal family relationships to improve an individual’s mental health and to understand how human change processes operate. For her dissertation, she is developing an online program to teach people basic, evidence-based counseling skills that they can use in a peer counseling format to alleviate psychosocial distress.

The NRSA, named in honor of the late Dr. Ruth L. Kirschstein, is a highly competitive, national fellowship program designed to support the training of health-related scientific investigators in the pre- and post-doctoral phases of their careers. The goal of the program is to prepare talented student scientists to meet the nation’s need for mental health research.

CRF offers many funding opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students conducting family research. Click here to learn more about the Student Research Program.