Five PBS Students Receive CRF Student Research Grants and Awards

Five PBS students (clockwise from top left), Durga Kolla, Rachel Herman, Albert Lo, Chaia Flegenheimer, and Shirley Plucinski, are among the 10 recipients of the 2017 Student Research Grants and Awards from the Center for Research on Families.

Honors Thesis / Capstone Award - $500
Durga Kolla, recipient of a $500 Capstone Award, is a psychology (neuroscience) and public health double major with a minor in biology. Working with advisor Laura Vandenberg, Kolla’s honors thesis characterized the effects of two common xenoestrogens on the female mouse mammary glands at prepubertal and pubertal stages of development. She will pursue her master’s in environmental health sciences next year where she will investigate the effects of xenoestrogens on pubertal timing and altered hormonal status.

CRF Dissertation Awards - $500
Rachel Herman, a fourth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Program, is the recipient of a $500 CRF Dissertation Award. Herman’s research focuses on how social and contextual factors influence health disparities, family processes and child wellbeing. Her dissertation research, conducted with Maureen Perry-Jenkins, will evaluate the efficacy of a group-based preventative intervention aimed at reducing depression and stress among first-time, low-income mothers and their partners early in the prenatal period.

Spring Travel Award - $300
Albert Lo, recipient of a $300 Spring Travel Award, is a second-year clinical psychology doctoral student working with Harold Grotevant. His travel award helped to fund his trip to the Society for Research in Child Development conference in Austin, Texas, where he presented “Trajectories of Birth Family Contact in Domestically Adopted Individuals Over Time.” Lo recently completed his master’s thesis, which focused on how adoptive parents’ views of adoption influence the parent-child relationship. He is currently the program coordinator for the Adoption Mentoring Partnership.

Dissertation Fellowship - $10,000
Chaia Flegenheimer, doctoral student in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, is the recipient of a $10,000 Dissertation Fellowship. Flegenheimer studies, with the guidance of her mentor, Jennifer McDermott, the development of attention systems and its relationship to social cues in typically and atypically developing populations. Over the next year Flegenheimer’s work will explore the behavioral and neural effects of implicit stereotype threat on task performance and engagement in young women, and the protective impact of the stereotype inoculation model (SIM). She hopes her work will help researchers and educators better understand the extent to which the SIM can protect against stereotype threat effects, and help implement it to lessen gender disparities in STEM fields.

Undergraduate Research Assistantship - $3000
Shirley Plucinski, winner of a $3,000 Undergraduate Assistantship, is an honors student pursuing a degree in psychology with a double minor in education and political science. She is working under the mentorship of Rebecca Spencer to study the influence of daytime napping on motor memory in preschool children.

CRF is committed to supporting students engaged in family research—our student researchers are addressing family challenges such as childhood obesity, family violence, school readiness and immigration policies. News Office release