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NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates 

NSF Students and Mentors at Ohio University

Darcey Allan, Ph.D.

Darcey Allan is an assistant professor of clinical psychology. Her research interests focus on the development and measurement of attentional processes in early childhood and how these processes relate to important aspects of child development. Her research thus far has examined the underlying structure and effective measurement of attention, impulsivity, and inhibitory control in preschool children. She has also conducted a number of multi-method studies demonstrating the early linkage between specific components of self-regulatory processes and the attainment of early academic skills in preschoolers. Dr. Allan’s current research projects focus on 1) examining the underlying structure of attention and how it relates to other self-regulatory constructs (e.g., working memory, impulse control) in early childhood, 2) improving the early identification of ADHD, and 3) developing an understanding of how deficits in attention and other self-regulatory processes are associated with early academic performance. She also has an interest in developing and evaluating school-based interventions that target early childhood behavior problems in ways that facilitate both behavior change and early school success.

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Steven Evans, Ph.D.

Steven Evans is a distinguished professor in the Department of Psychology, co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools, and editor in chief of the journal School Mental Health. Dr. Evans’  research focuses on academic and social impairments of adolescents with ADHD and other emotional and behavioral disorders. He has data from large randomized trials of school mental health interventions with adolescents that REU students can use for their research. In addition to treatment outcome research, Dr. Evans has published extensively on school mental health, emotional regulation in adolescents, social and academic functioning of adolescents, and assessment. 

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Berkeley Franz, Ph.D.

Berkeley Franz is a medical sociologist whose research and teaching focus on health disparities, substance misuse, community and population health, health policy, and community-based engagement. She is currently assistant professor of Community-based Health at Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Athens, Ohio and Heritage Endowed Career Development Faculty Fellow in Population Health Science, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation Ralph S. Licklider, D.O., Research Endowment. She holds adjunct appointments in the Departments of Classics and World Religions and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Ohio University. She is passionate about providing research mentorship related to diversity and inclusion in health care, the integration of social determinants of health into the health care system, expanding treatment for substance use disorders and related trauma among children, and the use of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Dr. Franz currently directs a project related to the programs that U.S. Children’s Hospitals initiated to address social and behavioral health needs in their communities. Students are welcome to pursue research using these data or collect novel primary data related to health disparities and public health.

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Dawn Graham, Ph.D.

Dawn Graham’s areas of teaching and research interest include creativity and mental health, community psychology, rural health and policy change. Current projects include qualitative research on integrated health care in rural settings across the United States. Dr. Graham has been involved in multiple studies involving the impact of compassion fatigue for health care professionals working with underserved patients and practices part time at Ohio University’s Hudson Health Center. Dr. Graham’s current research spans across global, national and local initiatives in various projects. A current university-sponsored research project includes a qualitative exploration of how working on interdisciplinary teams impacts provider-to-patient care in rural settings across the United States. In addition, Dr. Graham is working with colleagues from the College of Health Sciences Professions and Global Studies to measure the impact of study abroad experiences in southern Africa. She is continuing research with colleagues from the Heritage College Department of Primary Care to determine basic knowledge of diabetes with college faculty. In addition, Dr. Graham is working with colleagues within the medical school's Department of Social Medicine on a developing curriculum to provide trauma-informed care education to local primary care providers. She is also the instructor of record for the Heritage College's Pathways to Health and Wellness Curriculum. 

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Julie Owens, Ph.D.

Julie Owens, professor in the Department of Psychology, is co-director of the Center for Intervention Research in Schools at Ohio University. Her expertise is in behavioral treatments for children with SEB, family and teacher engagement in evidence-based interventions, and school mental health program development and evaluation. Dr. Owens has recently completed trials examining the impact of various consultation strategies on teachers' use of classroom interventions, and the impact of these classroom interventions on student outcomes. Dr. Owens and her team have also been developing and evaluating the Daily Report Card.Online (DRC.O) program. Students working under the mentorship of Dr. Owens can pursue research projects using data from these projects.

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Brian Wymbs, Ph.D

Brian Wymbs is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at Ohio University and is faculty in the Center for Intervention Research in Schools. His current work and future directions involve examinations of family functioning, especially among co-parents or couples, of children with SEB. It is quite common for parents of children with SEB to report being less satisfied in their relationships, arguing more frequently and without resolution in front of their child, and among those who are married, they are more likely to divorce than parents of children without SEB. However, until recent studies by Wymbs and colleagues, it was unclear whether disruptive child behavior conferred risk of marital discord in families of youth with SEB. Wymbs found that SEB conferred unique risk factors for divorce in families of youth with SEB. They also found that parents who had children with more severe disruptive behavior problems tended to have shorter marriages than parents with less severe behavior problems. Wymbs and colleagues have also found that married couples communicate less positively and more negatively during interactions with disruptive children than couples who interacted with typical children. Notably, in looking at children with SEB grown up, recent work by Wymbs and colleagues has shown that adults with childhood histories of SEB are at risk for a host of romantic relationship difficulties, including being more likely to perpetrate and be victims of intimate partner violence. His current work is examining the degree to which adults with childhood histories of SEB arre particularly susceptible to acute effects of alcohol intoxication in terms of the degree to which they perpetrate intimate partner violence. These studies will provide information needed to guide interventions to strengthen interparental relaitonship stability among parents of children with SEB and to improve long-term interpersonal outcomes of children with SEB.

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Fran Wymbs, Ph.D

Fran Wymbs is an assistant professor of primary care in the Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine at Ohio University and is faculty in the Center for Intervention Research in Schools (CIRS).  Her research focuses on factors related to enagement in evidence-based services among families of children with SEB. Specifically, given the high rate of untreated children with SEB and the high percentage of service drop-out among families of chilrend with SEB, Wymbs is examining the impact of parental preferences, barriers, knowledge and skills on engagement in community, school, and primary care interventions for youth with SEB. A secondary line of research involves examination of the effect of exercise on youth and young adults with SEB. She also has clinical research interests in integrated primary care and has begun examining factors related to engagement in mental health services among families affected by SEB and their providers. 

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