University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Student Award Winners

Use the dropdown to display award winners from previous years.

CRF Dissertation Fellowships in Family Research

Matthew LaClair

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Matthew LaClair is a second year Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program. He will use the CRF grant to complete a project examining how dysfunction within the sex steroid and the dopaminergic systems produce the cognitive and emotional symptoms of schizophrenia. By better understanding the way these two systems interact, it may be possible to discover novel therapeutic treatments for these symptoms. This project will be completed in collaboration with his advisor, Dr. Agnès Lacreuse (psychology).Read more

Sarah Miller

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Sarah Miller is a Ph.D. candidate in sociology and holds an M.A. in women’s studies from San Francisco State University. Sarah’s research focuses on youth, culture and social inequality. Her current ethnographic work explores the ecology of bullying, investigating the relationship between schools, families, communities and youth conflict.

Sarah has worked as a research assistant for Advocates for Youth and for Prof. Amy Schalet on her Ford Foundation funded study, Advancing Sexuality Education, Health and Policy. Prior to graduate school, she...Read more

Samantha Schenck

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Samantha Schenck is a Ph.D. student in the economics department at UMass Amherst. She received her B.A. in economics and management from Wells College and an M.A. in economics from UMass Amherst in 2008. For the past three years she has worked with Dr. Lee Badgett on studying the effects of state-level laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Her primary research interests include studying the usage of family leave policies among non-traditional families as well as analyzing the effects of state laws that expand upon...Read more

CRF Family Research Honors Thesis/Capstone Project Award

Jarrod Stein

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Since his freshman year, Jarrod has been researching age related changes in sleep-dependent memory consolidation. His recent interest in preschool-age naps has culminated in an honors thesis that examines the interactions of caregiver-child sleep behavior, mental health, and socioeconomic status. Passionate about both the humanities and the sciences, Jarrod is looking forward to pursuing a career in health care.Read more

Shirin Hakim

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Shirin Hakim is a senior majoring in public health and is a student in the Commonwealth Honors College. Her senior honors thesis focuses on the impact of social services on the lives of the homeless. In the fall of 2013, Shirin established a patient-navigation program at the Craig's Doors homeless shelter in Amherst, dedicated to providing social service connections and case-management for homeless guests. She trained and directed 20 student advocates to provide assistance with food stamps, housing applications, resume building, healthcare, transportation and more.

She is...Read more

Margaret Hislop

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Margaret Hislop is a senior sociology major at UMass Amherst with minors in both education and economics. After graduation she will be pursuing a Master’s degree in elementary education at Simmons College in Boston. Margaret’s thesis, titled “Comparison of Parenting Advice after the Attack on Pearl Harbor and the Attacks of September 11,” is an in-depth content analysis of parenting literature in the years following each attack.

She finds similarities between the two time periods in how parents and caregivers were advised to explain these events to children, and investigates how to...Read more

Nicholas Otis

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Nicholas Otis is a kinesiology and nutrition dual-degree student with concentrations in education and global society. He is fascinated by the social undercurrents that impact health, well-being and opportunities for success. His honors research with Drs. Lorraine Cordeiro and Jerusha Peterman examines predictors of under-nutrition among rural and urban Tanzanian adolescents. After graduating, Nick hopes to return to Tanzania to disseminate the results and engage in...Read more

Sarah Walsh

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Sarah Walsh is an undergraduate student studying developmental health through the Bachelor's Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC) program. Her major looks at the interaction of ecology and biology in the context of children's health. She is using her CRF award to support her senior honors thesis, chaired by Dr. Karen Kalmakis (Nursing).

Exploring research linking adverse childhood experiences to physical and mental health issues in adulthood, her thesis takes approach to illuminate what is currently being done...Read more

CRF Family Research Methodological Studies Award

Alyson Cavanaugh

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Alyson Cavanaugh is a doctoral student in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in human services from the University of Delaware (2010) and a Master of Science degree from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (2012).

Her dissertation will examine culturally-relevant coping strategies in the context of adversity (i.e., discrimination) for mental health outcomes (i.e., internalizing and externalizing symptoms) and academic engagement among Mexican-origin...Read more

Nicholas Perry

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Nicholas Perry is currently a second-year graduate student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Utah. Prior to graduate school, he attended Vassar College, and then worked as a research assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research interests focus on HIV and other health disparities in sexual minority populations. Currently, he is interested in understanding relationship factors influencing HIV risk in same-sex male couples. The award will give him the opportunity to attend a workshop on data analysis of complex longitudinal data...Read more

Nan Zhou

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Nan Zhou is a graduate student in the department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He works with Dr. Cheryl Buehler on several projects, including the influence of maternal employment on family and individual well-being, and the impact of interparental conflict on children and adolescent adjustment. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in special education and Master’s degree in developmental psychology from Beijing Normal University in China. As an undergraduate, he conducted studies on autistic children’s theory of mind as well as peer...Read more

CRF Family Research Travel Award (Spring)

Jennifer Zenovich

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Jennifer Zenovich is a first-year Ph.D. student in the department of Communication. She is interested in performance studies, feminist studies and critical cultural studies. Her research focuses on gender as it is performed in post-communist Montenegro. Jennifer’s essay, “Gendered Inheritance: A Feminist Autoethnography of Montenegrin Private Property,” examines the familial relations that preclude women from owning property in Montenegro. She presented at the Western States Communication Association 2014 Conference in Anaheim, California last February.Read more

CRF Family Research Travel Award (Fall)

Seda Saluk

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Seda Saluk’s research concentrates on political and medical anthropology. Her research explores the dynamics of women’s reproductive rights in Turkey and how they are being affected by the interplay between European Union governance, Turkey’s convergence towards standardization of healthcare, and feminist activism. Saluk examines this relationship by investigating controversial healthcare policies currently being implemented in Turkey, where she recently conducted 12 weeks of ethnographic research.

Saluk’s research, which she documents in her paper Harmonizing Reproduction: Pro...Read more

Kimberly Doughty

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Kimberly Doughty’s research attempts to shed light on a link between breastfeeding intensity and rapid weight gain before 12 months of age. Kimberly uses statistical analysis to identify correlations between the intensity of breastfeeding and early life weight gain.

“In the study I presented, I found that both mixed feeding (formula and breast milk) and exclusive formula feeding were associated with significantly increased risk--approximately 2 to 3-fold--of gaining weight rapidly from birth to 12 months of age. This finding is important because rapid postnatal weight gain has...Read more

CRF Family Research Undergraduate Student Assistantship

Sean Higgins

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Sean Higgins is a sophomore majoring in political science and legal studies. This assistantship enabled him to work as a research assistant for Prof. Brenda Bushouse (political science and public policy). Sean will be conducting research on the effects of economic recession on state budget appropriations for prekindergarten funding. He will analyze individual case studies by interviewing interest groups and state actors and collecting budget data in order to gain a concrete understanding of public policy surrounding...Read more