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Department of Consumer and Design Sciences

Undergradute Research Opportunities

CADS research and creative scholarship advances creative leadership in the Science of Design through the integration of consumer sciences, technology, and design & creativity. CADS research and creative scholarship is transdisciplinary, collaborative, and consumer-centered, focused on the goal of human sustainability. Utilizing cutting edge technologies and methodologies, CADS’ research and creative scholarship address consumer and business needs locally and globally.

Study Concentration Credits Contact
Financial Resource Management (FRM) Lab

The Financial Resource Management (FRM) Lab is seeking an undergraduate research assistant. The student will engage in: (1) data entry & data analysis, (2) evaluate community programs, and (3) conduct literature reviews. The student will have the opportunity to co-author Extension articles, popular press, and academic publications and make a tangible impact in the 67 counties across Alabama. The FRM Extension area delivers FAFSA decision-making, money management, and housing education to over 160 community partners each year. The FRM Lab supports the mission of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to deliver science-based programs that promote the quality of life and well-being of Alabamians.

Any CHS 1-4 Portia Johnson
CHS Pathogen Lab

The lab team’s research explores pathogen transmission through non-living vectors (aka fomites) of the near environment – interiors, apparel, and products.

Any CHS 1-4 Lindsay Tan
Design Ecology Lab

The lab team’s research explores the design ecology of global health issues, with particular emphasis on the modern urban ecosystem. We are interested in the multimodal, multilayered interaction of people, places, products, and processes as they impact global health and quality of life. The lab regularly engages undergraduate and graduate students in systematic and targeted literature reviews, visual and mathematical modeling, data management, and lab management. Duties may be tailored to students’ strengths and areas of interest – contact us.

Any CHS 1-4 Lindsay Tan
Design Historians

Quantitative, qualitative, & mixed methods research in design history and historic preservation of architecture & interiors.

INDS students only 1-3 Anna Ruth Gatlin
Interior Design Resource Library

This project engages undergraduate students in the scholarship of teaching and learning. Activities include development of evidence-based learning resources, development of online media (video, visuals, written content), and assessment data collection and analysis.

INDS 1-3 Taneshia Albert
Institutionalizing Nonprofit Studies

The project investigates the contributions of US philanthropic foundations to the growth of the field in the United States and beyond. The project aims to stimulate a reflection on how academia, the nonprofit sector, and philanthropy have worked together over the past three decades to increase the capacity and quality of the many and varied organizations committed to the public good.

Students will be tasks with bibliographical search, desk reviews of websites, and collecting background information.

Any Major;
Priority given to PNPS students
1-3 Peter Weber
Investigating the barriers and facilitators in bridging the pro-environmental attitude-behavior gap in the apparel context.

Green clothing can be described as clothing that is designed for long lifetime use, produced in ethical production system, it causes little or no environmental impact, and it makes use of eco-labelled or recycled materials. Increasingly, many consumers have favorable attitude toward such products and are willing to buy them. However, there is a large discrepancy between their attitudes and actual buying and consumption behavior. This attitude-behavior gap is also known as 4/40 gap which indicates that 40% of consumers are open to the idea of buying sustainable products but only 4% act on it. The purpose of this project is to investigate various factors focusing on attitude-behavior gap in the apparel context.

Apparel Merchandising 1-2 Amrut Sadachar
“Designing an Intelligent Decision Assistant for E-Healthcare Decision Tools for Older Adults: Application for Medicare Plan Finder

E-healthcare decision tools (eHDTs) help consumers make informed healthcare decisions. However, barriers linked to cognitive aging exist in older adults’ use of eHDTs due to their low internet competency and decision making capacity, suggesting a critical need for on-screen, real-time cognitive assistance on eHDT interfaces to extend older users’ ability to make effective e-healthcare decisions. This project addresses this need by 1) identifying older adults’ e-healthcare decision challenges, 2) designing a user-adaptive, context-aware, goal-oriented artificially intelligent decision assistant (IDA) that can infer users’ decision strategies and provide an intervention to guide optimal decision strategy choice, and 3) evaluating IDA’s effectiveness.

HDFS/Apparel Merchandising 1-3 Wi-Suk Kwon, Ph.D.
Philanthropic Innovations

The project focuses on when foundations adopt philanthropic innovations and how these innovations diffuse throughout the sector. It thus frames foundations as adopters of innovation and not (just) funders of it.

Students will be involved in research on program-related investments (PRIs) in the 1960s-1980s. PRIs (typically, equity investments and loans) are investments by foundations supporting programmatic goals rather than seeking financial return. Students will be tasked with collecting background information on organizations and individuals, as well as searching relevant literature.

Any Major;
Priority given to PNPS students
1-3 Peter Weber
Design Technology Lab

The lab equips various cutting-edge design technologies, including 3D printer, portable 3D scanner, and digital textile printer. The research team explores the application of these technologies to the design, development, and prototyping of wearables. As a member of this team, students will enhance their knowledge on these technologies, their uses in wearables’ design and prototyping, and the evaluation of wearables. They will introduce to appropriate 3D prototyping software to build wearables. Students will also be able to network and builds relationships with peers and graduate students.

Any CADS (undergraduates) 1 - 2 Young-A Lee, Ph.D.
Assessment of Current PPE for Healthcare Workers Using Leading-Edge Design Technologies

The large scope of this project is to improve PPE used in healthcare settings for infection control by introducing a novel design for isolation gowns, one type of PPE. This study examines the comfort, function, and movement provided by current isolation gowns to determine ways for improving these attributes of isolation gowns. As a member of the research team, you will enhance your knowledge of how to conduct the scientific research on product design and development including the product wear trials and evaluation and different types of design technologies used for prototyping and data analyses. You will also be able to network and build relationships with peers, graduate students, and faculty in various disciplines.

Any CADS 1-3 Young-A Lee, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Ulrich
For More Information Contact:

Department of Consumer and Design Sciences
308 Spidle Hall
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