The Human Development and Family Life Education department has promoted undergraduate research for more than a decade by requiring a senior research project of every undergraduate student. This capstone project is built upon prior coursework and conducted over a period of one year to 18 months, similar to a thesis project found in many graduate programs.
As examples of the successes in this program, nine of our students presented research at a regional conference last year. Topics included investigations of parenting and self-esteem, alcohol use in the home and underage drinking, body perceptions in Caucasian and African American women, academic entitlement and household responsibilities, academic burden and depression, and early intervention and Hispanic elementary school achievement.
One outstanding project in the past few years involved collaboration with a local nonprofit, Sex and Family Education, Inc., who agreed to work with a pair of students, LaBrena Friend and Jennie Boone, who would evaluate the impact of their abstinence-based program on the sexual knowledge and behavior of students in the local schools. After an extensive literature review and collaboration with both SaFE and schools, this project was a major success that won the national undergraduate student research award from the National Council on Family Relations.