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Diversity, Collaboration, Inclusion Research Academy

FHSS Student Research Academy

The FHSS Student Research Academy is a program whose initial mission is to support students of color who have an interest in being involved in academic research. The goal of this effort is to provide resources for students so they can make educated decisions about their future. The primary way we hope to achieve this goal is to pair students with faculty who are conducting research so students can build quality relationships with faculty in the context of a high quality research experience. We will also provide structure for Academy Students to meet together on a regular basis and form relationships with each other and faculty, and to gain access to resources that would support future education and careers in academia or research (e.g., GRE prep, resume building, graduate school prep, networking, etc). In order to apply, please see the stipulations below:

  • Academy students will be given a $2500 scholarship, half of which will be paid at the beginning of Fall semester and half at the beginning of Winter semester.
  • Follow this link to faculty research in the college that aligns with this effort. You can also find a list of available research projects by department in the list at the bottom of this page. Please carefully consider which projects might best fit your interests.
  • Fill out the application below, noting at least three faculty members with whom you would be interested in working given the above website Application.
  • Applications will be reviewed and students who are selected for the program will be paired with a faculty member or research project.If you are already working with a faculty member on research you may still apply, just specify you’d like to continue to work with that faculty member while in the program. Specific research experiences will vary, but will generally be for (two semesters)and you will be expected to work on the project 8-10 hours per week.
  • The program will culminate in the creation of a research poster and presentation. A banquet will be held each year to celebrate academy students and to highlight their research presentations.
  • Students will attend a 1-credit class in the Fall of their Academy year (so Fall 2020 this year) that will consist of opportunities to learn about research and be connected with resources that will aid students in their graduate school and career goals. This Fall the class will be delivered remotely, with in-person meetings when possible. The time will be determined after candidates are accepted to the program and a common time can be found.

Application deadline on July 23, 2020

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    Dr. Greg A. Thompson

    I conduct research in three field sites where the focus is education. I am currently conducting ethnographic research on education in elementary schools in Seoul, South Korea. I have also recently been working on a project that looks at the language usage of Latinx children in elementary schools here in Provo, and I continue to work on research that I conducted on a tutoring program for low-income African-American students on the south side of Chicago. In all of this work, my focus is on understanding how learning works.

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    Dr. Joseph Price

    My research lab ( is constructing a longitudinal panel that includes nearly every Black family that lived in the United States between 1870 and 1940. The construction of this dataset is a combination of machine learning and traditional family history tools. We are using this to data to study factors that contribute to black-white gaps in income, education, and lifespan. We are also exploring sources of racial and ethnic prejudice and the impact that this prejudice has on the outcomes of children.

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    Family Life

    Dr. Roy Bean

    MORE (Minority-Oriented Research Evaluation) is a cross-disciplinary content analysis project examining the social sciences literature and its attention to racial/ethnic/cultural minorities. Student researchers will categorize and code journal articles based on topic, level of minority focus, methodology and sample characteristics. Involved students will benefit in terms of: greater familiarity with PsycINFO (digital database for social science research), increased ability to dissect and understand the structure of journal articles, insight into the larger breadth of social science research topics (clinical and non-clinical),an awareness of the relative under-supply of research focused on racial/ethnic/cultural minorities. Dr. Bean will also provide orientation to the application process for graduate school (especially clinical programs), and what admissions committees look for in students. RAs can participate in the project by enrolling in SFL 403R/PSYCH 430R with Dr. Bean (offered F/W/Spring). Students are then eligible to be considered for paid RA positions. RA Tasks: Reviewing and qualitatively coding journal articles, Working in partnerships for better accuracy/reliability in coding, Working in partnerships for better accuracy/reliability in coding, Participate in weekly quality control meetings, Verify accuracy of data previously collected, Developing research posters/presentations. Contact:

    Dr. Sarah Coyne

    Body image and Latter-Day Saints - we are currently collecting qualitative and quantitative data on perceptions of body image in a Latter-Day Saint population. Joint media engagement - Students will also code interactions between parents and children around media.

    Dr. Ashley Larsen Gibby

    My research considers the intersection of family, gender, and child well-being. A main goal of my work is to examine how socio-demographic characteristics, primarily gender and adoption, influence parents' decision-making and other family processes. One branch of my research focuses on adoption. Here, I consider how child characteristics (i.e., race and gender) shape adoption decisions, are correlated with family structure for adopted children, are related to parental investments and, moving forward, how child characteristics relate to motivations to adopt and sibling relationships. My gender research considers the complexity of fertility decisions for men and women as well as how parental characteristics, like gender ideology, shape adolescents’ housework.

    Dr. Chelom Leavitt

    My research projects include research on healthy sexuality and sexual mindfulness. We are writing a number of manuscripts on healthy sexual functioning, how sexual mindfulness is linked to better relational and sexual outcomes, the ability to teach couples to be more mindful during sex and the change process of being able to slow down arousal, emotions, and behavior to act with more intention and purpose during sex. My research lab is still accepting student applications

    We also work on a blog/podcast on my website

    Dr. Jeremy Yorgason

    Dr. Jeremy Yorgason studies how married couples manage illness in their relationships. He is currently studying older couples wherein one spouse has a sensory impairment (hearing loss, vision loss), and how social connections buffer the impact of sensory impairments on later cognitive functioning. He is also conducting a study of young married couples wherein one spouse/partner has type 1 diabetes. Interested students would be able to work on one or both of these projects.

    Dr. Loren Marks

    For 20 years, the American Families of Faith (AFF) research project has explored how high quality, enduring marriages and families are built. Specifically, we conduct and analyze in-depth interviews with wives and husbands from diverse races, religions, and regions of the country. To date, more than 100 publications have come out of this project, including three student-led “Paper of the Year” award winners. Large subsets of interviews are available for coding and analysis by interested and motivated students. These data sets include: Strong Black Families (43 families), Strong Latino families (30 families), Strong Asian families (24 families), and Strong Native American families (10 families). Interested students may contact Dr. Loren Marks at

    Dr. Jocelyn Wikle

    Dr. Wikle is beginning a state-wide family policy initiative to use research to build better public policy for families in Utah. This project involves collecting past research on family policy topics and creating research briefs. This project also involves sharing findings with state legislators and staff at state agencies.

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    Dr. Jeff S. Hardy

    I'm interested in being a mentor for the FHSS research academy for students of color. I am able and willing to help with any project involving prisons or concentration camps or other forms of incarceration (but not slavery). I personally work on the Gulag and could supervise on one of my own projects, but am also willing to help will a student's own project.

    Dr. Christopher Hodson

    I work on early American history, broadly construed. Right now I am completing a book manuscript on the history of French colonialism in the Atlantic world from the Crusades up through the 19th century. I’m also beginning work on a new book set to be published by Wiley-Blackwell; it is a student-friendly history of the entire Atlantic world (so, western Europe, West Africa, and the Americas) from the medieval period through the age of revolutions – I’d love to have students working on this project with me.

    Dr. David-James Gonzales

    The student participating in this project would be asked to assist in archival data collection and transcription of historical documents. The documents are accessible through digitized university collections. Some of this work will involve transcribing handwritten documents. If the student is fluent in Spanish, then it may also involve translating and transcribing documents and recorded interviews into English.

    Dr. Amy Harris

    Fall 2020: Historical content for new online database, London Centre Lives. A joint project between the Kennedy Center and the Center for Family History and Genealogy, (link not yet live), traces the history of all the people who lived in the buildings that now house BYU’s London Centre. The research into the individuals is complete. Research covering the social, cultural, and political context of west London, 1870s-1960s, now needs to be conducted. This is an ideal project for someone considering graduate school in history, public history, geography, anthropology, or sociology as it requires the ability to read scholarship on the topic and synthesize it in a way that will be accessible and interesting to the public. Fall 2020-Winter 2021: Research in original 17th and 18th century English records for an ongoing project, Kinship and Poverty in Early Modern Britain ( Research assistants need the ability to read pre-1800 handwriting and be detail-conscious. Research assistants need the ability to read pre-1800 handwriting and be detail-conscious. The project strives to reconstruct the kinship and family connections of the poor. Preliminary findings reveal ways overseers of the poor and the poor themselves viewed family decisions and gender roles differently. The project might also begin collaboration with scholars at different schools working on similar topics. Fall 2020-Winter 2021: Join the Early British Census research team ( A team of students researchers and volunteers are digitizing and extracting pre-1841 British census records. These documents are scattered across dozens of archives and have never been brought together in one database. Ultimately, the database will likely include nearly half a million people from across the British Isles between 1801 and 1840. Once complete the database could prove a game-changer for both genealogical and historical research covering early industrial Britain. Research assistants need the ability to read 19th-century handwriting.

    Dr. George Ryskamp

    Professor Cacey Farnsworth and I do family history research in Spanish and Portuguese. We have a couple of projects that are building websites on the Center for Family History and Genealogy website ( The paleography tutorials in Spanish and Portuguese at are of potential value for developing skills in reading historical documents in these languages. I am also working on a public history website that is not yet posted. It has as its goals 1) Serve as a public history website, exposing users to 18th century life in a Spanish village; 2) Teach concepts that bring family history alive using geography, social history and material culture in the context of an 18th century village; 3) Demonstrate how women in Garganta la Olla exercised significant legal and economic rights; played unique and key roles in maintaining village life and found significant means of creative expression; and 4) Act as a laboratory for teaching Spanish genealogical methodologies.

    Dr. Matthew Mason

    Given the nature of my research I’d be best suited to supporting student-led research projects. My research interests are in the politics of slavery in the 18th and 19th centuries in Britain and the United States.

    Dr. Rebecca DeSchweinitz

    My current research explores the movement to lower the voting age to 18 and youth and electoral politics more broadly from World War II to the early 1970s. I began work on this project as I was exploring what "mainstream" youth civil rights activists were doing in the era of Black Power. It turns out they were doing lots of voter registration work, and got involved in a campaign to lower the voting age. The project has taken off from there, but a significant part of it centers on questions about and its relationship to the long black freedom movement. I anticipate having a student from this group work on two aspects of this project. Some of their work for me would involve going through documents I've collected in the archives--organizing and pulling out key themes, ideas, and quotes from those documents. The other part would be in helping me put together a documentary reader on the movement to lower the voting age. This might entail things like helping to choose, identify, and excerpt primary sources for inclusion in the reader, securing permissions/copyrights, drafting contextual summaries of the sources and creating discussion questions.

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    Dr. Jeffery Edwards

    Dr. Edward’s lab studies the mechanisms mediating learning and memory as well as Reward/Addiction pathways. Using electrophysiology, pharmacology and molecular biology techniques the lab studies synaptic plasticity, the cellular mechanism allowing our brains to learn and adapt. We study synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus, the region involved in learning and memory and the ventral tegmental area, the reward region of the brain. The goal is to understand normal brain function and as a result apply this to abnormal states such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s in the hippocampus and addiction in the ventral tegmental area.

    Dr. Dixon Woodbury

    My research is in cellular and molecular physiology, particularly vesicle membrane fusion in neuronal cells and its modulation by alcohol, anesthetics, and botulinum toxin. More information can be found here:

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    Political Science

    Dr. Ethan C. Busby

    This project considers how race and gender influence how elected officials respond to their constituents. Specifically, I will consider how holders of public office respond to their constituents differently based on (1) constituents’ presumed racial identity, (2) constituents’ presumed gender identity, and (3) whether or not constituents bring up race or gender to public officials. I plan to conduct an audit experiment – where elected officials are emailed a randomized message from a constituent and we measure both if elected officials respond and what they say if they do – with a large sample of elected officials from across the US (~30,000) obtained through Google Civic Information API.

    Dr. Adam Dynes

    I study legislative politics and the factors that influence how elected officials represent their constituents. Though I have published research on the national, state, and local levels in the US, my more recent work focuses on municipal politics. I often use surveys of elected officials in my research as well as experiments on these officials to examine their attitudes and behavior with regards to how they represent their constituents. Right now, I am compiling a massive database of municipal officials to examine how different electoral institutions affect how well municipal officials line up with their constituents' partisanship, gender, and race. I am in the process of creating the largest and most comprehensive dataset of municipal officials (including all elected municipal officials), around 200,000 or so. I also have a team of RA's who are searching for institutional data about these officials' cities. With this information, we can examine how well municipal officials represent their constituents in terms of their partisanship, gender, and race. (I.e., how well do officials match their constituents on these dimensions?) We can also examine whether different institutions (such as whether local elections are held at the same time as national ones or whether the elections are partisan or not) affect how well municipal officials represent their constituents. We are also interested in expanding this research to examine how it may impact local policies, such as policing.

    Dr. Darren Hawkins

    I am developing a website,, that makes data about policy effectiveness with respect to human wellbeing (for example, income level among the poor) available to decisionmakers in developing countries. I am carrying out a series of experiments about what sorts of information or psychological nudges might prompt those decisionmakers to use our website and the rich data within it.

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    Dr. Melissa Jones

    I'm working on a mixed methods project about the experience of MotherScholars during Covid. I'm collaborating with faculty from CAPS, Education, and other faculty from University of Arizona and Central Florida University.

    Dr. Bruce Brown

    Logan Kowallis, a doctoral candidate in the Psychology Department, during July 2020 will complete a dissertation in which he created what is the largest linguistic corpus of vocal emotion recordings in existence (8GB). It is currently being archived in the Brigham Young University ScholarsArchive as a resource for future replication studies and also as seed data for many yet to be designed future vocal emotion studies. During the 2020-2021 academic year we plan to conduct a research group online through Zoom in which several small teams of students can design and carry out their own studies, analyze results, and create publishable papers. Some studies will be based upon human subjective ratings and identifications of the portrayed emotions (using Qualtrix), and some studies will involve statistical and psychometric analysis of the acoustic and linguistic properties of the vocal emotion recordings.

    Dr. Sam A. Hardy

    I study adolescent and young adult religious/spiritual development. Right now I’m using longitudinal datasets to look at things like religious affiliation differences, developmental trajectories of religiosity, and processes of conversion and deconversion. Dr. Hardy is not available to run student-led projects.

    Dr. Rebecca Lundwall

    Dr. Lundwall will be working on two research projects during the Fall 2020 - Winter 2021 Academic year: (1) We are comparing fecal samples in infancy and social and cognitive testing results in toddlerhood of infants with siblings with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to infants from the same age who have no relatives with autism; (2) We are comparing attention task performance in children and young adults with and without mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). For more information, see

    Dr. Jared Nielsen

    In the Nielsen Brain & Behavior Lab, we are interested in answering questions about the organization of the brain and how neurological and psychiatric illnesses disrupt its organization. To answer these questions, we use a variety of analytical techniques to extract quantitative information from MRI scans. We currently have projects that investigate how the brain is affected in individuals with autism, OCD, suicidal thoughts, dementia, and mood and anxiety disorders. Our hope is that the information we learn as scientists will inform and improve the way clinicians diagnose and treat their patients.

    Dr. Niwako Yamawaki

    My research interests are often focused on examining the effects of sexism, stereotypes, and gender-role traditionality on individuals’ attitudes toward violence against women. Another area of my research is to investigate the cultural factors, such as stigma, discrimination, collectivism, and so forth that may influence one’s attitudes toward mental health services. I conduct these studies in cross-cultural settings.

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    Dr. Eric Dahlin

    In partnership with Chris Mattson (faculty member in Mechanical Engineering), the research project has been funded twice by the National Science Foundation and examines the social impacts of products designed by engineers for communities in developing countries. I would need an RA to do a variety of research tasks including literature searches, data collection (primarily qualitative at this stage), data analysis, and writeup. As part of the research team, the RA would attend weekly meetings with other sociology and engineering students. We help RAs oversee individual research projects that fit within the broader scope of our research and work toward publishing the results in peer-reviewed journals.

    Dr. Jane Lilly López

    I have two ongoing projects related to immigration and citizenship. The first is an interview-based project examining the experiences of integration and belonging for immigrants living in Utah. The second is an archival project examining the meaning and substance of the obligations associated with citizenship (like taxation, jury duty, and military service). If you're interested in honing your qualitative research skills, one or both of these projects could be a great fit.

    Dr. Lance Erickson

    Using a sample of high school juniors and seniors from Washington State from 1966, we are examining how early-, mid-, and later-life social environments might trigger genetic propensities to cognitive decline and dementia in the elderly. Without any effective treatments for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, scientists are increasingly hoping to find avenues for prevention. The problem is that little data is available on older adults from earlier on in their lives. These data provide a unique opportunity to examine how early-life experiences might influence the genetic expression of late-life dementia. We are currently collecting data from a survey, telephone interview, and saliva samples but are nearing the data cleaning stage, which will be followed by data analysis.

    Dr. Renata Forste

    I would be willing to help mentor a student on his or her own student-led research if it fits my expertise, or I’m happy to initiate a project that I could guide them through. My background includes demographic processes (fertility, mortality, women and child health), or women’s studies related to patterns of family formation, maternal education, and maternal/child health. The project could be domestic (US) or other country (global).