Undergraduate Research Opportunities

HDFS faculty welcome the participation of undergraduate students in their research. Interested students should contact faculty directly to learn about the focus of the various research projects and available opportunities for participation. Involvement in undergraduate research is a great way to strengthen your application for graduate school.


Internship Details

Study Concentration Credits Contact
Staying Connected: A Father Engagement Program

Staying Connected is a father-focused parent interventions with Head Start fathers. Dr. Akande is collecting parenting data from fathers with children in Head Start programs through individual interviews and focus groups.

Fatherhood 2 - 4 Katrina Akande, Ph.D.
Preservation of Local African American History

The focus of the research project is to assist with researching, writing, and presenting the forgotten history of African Americans interred in historic cemeteries.

3 Robert Bubb, Ph.D.
Child Sleep, Health, & Development Lab

Our research focuses on examining the effects of stress (e.g., poverty, marital aggression) on adolescents’ sleep patterns, mental and physical health, physiological regulation and cognitive functioning.

Adolescents 2-3 Mona El-Sheikh, Ph.D.

This qualitative black feminist project will be using an intersectional lens to explore how racism, sexism, and socioeconomic status interconnection to impact the body image of black mothers in hopes of then understanding how their body image impacts how they mother their preschool-aged daughters regarding physical activity.

Any HDFS 2-3 Ania Evans
Social Development Lab

he Social Development Lab examines the peer relationships of children and adolescents with a focus on how those relationships influence socioemotional health and school adjustment. Currently, we are conducting the Friendship Hero Project, an evaluation of a clinical intervention to increase positive bystander behavior (i.e., defending) in response to bullying.

Elementary age 1 - 4 Wendy Troop-Gordon, Ph.D.
Marriage and Family Therapy Center Clinical Research

We evaluate how therapists-in-training effectively offer services to clients who receive relationship therapy at our on-campus clinic. We want to make sure that our services to all clients are practical and beneficial. We need undergraduate team members who enter and clean data, who score and post client assessment reports for therapeutic review. Eventually, you can also gain the ability to audit case files, code therapy sessions, and role-play with developing therapists.

Any HDFS concentration 2 - 6 Scott A. Ketring, Ph.D.
Military REACH

The Military REACH team welcomes undergraduate students as research assistants and interns. The purpose of this project is to translate research on military families into implications and useful tools. Policy makers at the Department of Defense, military leadership, helping professionals, and military families use our work to inform their decisions and practices with regard to military families.

Any HDFS concentration 1 - 3 Mallory Lucier-Greer, Ph.D.

The “DEIPH” study (Developing Early Intervention for Physical Health) is a short term community-based project which is partnered with child care providers to explore how they implement play curriculum. If you are interested in child care settings, physical activity curriculum or landscapes of play (landscape architecture) this innovative rural project may be of interest. Dr. Vilches leads this with a collaborator, Dr. Alisha Farris, at Appalachia State.

Any HDFS concentration 1 - 3 Beth McDaniel
RESTORE Research Lab

RESTORE stands for “Research and Education with Sex Trafficking Survivors on Resilience and Empowerment.” This team conducts quantitative and qualitative research on the unique needs and experiences of sex trafficking survivors to improve the quality of person-centered recovery resources available to survivors and their family members.

Adult survivors 1 - 4 Lauren M. Ruhlmann, Ph.D.
Adolescent and Young Adult Development Lab

Dr. Samek’s lab is currently focused on collecting data from first- and second- year college students. We collect data on their substance use, personality, family, peer, and romantic relationships, as well as other related topics.

Adolescents Minimum of 3 Diana Samek, Ph.D.
Strengthening Families Study

This community-based research study will explore how community programs and services successfully support the development of protective factors and prevent child abuse and neglect in Alabama and will identify ways that services and supports can be exchanged to promote child development and family functioning.

Parenting 1-4 Silvia Vilches, Ph.D.
Auburn University Early Learning Center

The Auburn University Early Learning Center is an accredited laboratory preschool serving children ages 3, 4 and 5 years old in half day sessions. Children attend from 8:30-11:30 or from 12:30-3:30. The center, begun in 1926, has been continuously accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children since 1986.

Early Childhood Development 2 - 6 Sharon Wilbanks