Here you will find our research collaborators, where expertise converges with community in order to support connection across departments. Our scholars focus on research questions that benefit youth, families, and communities. Our diverse research teams have expertise across disciplines, methodologies, and cultures. Our faculty teams come together with common purpose to ask innovative research questions in the service of addressing the needs of families, schools, and communities. 

Our Leadership


Jennifer Coffman

Associate Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Health and Human Sciences

Our Network

Use the categories on the left to find CFRN members with expertise in your areas of interest.

  • Shelly Brown-Jeffy
    My work on social inequalities looks at race and ethnic inequality and relations in k-12 and higher education educational polices (structural) and interactions
  • Julia Mendez Smith
    I study risk and protective factors for low-income and ethnic minority children including school readiness, family engagement in education and ECE utilization by Hispanic families.
  • Esther Leerkes
    origins and outcomes of parenting, particularly in response to child negative emotions; emotional development in the family; inter generational transmission of parenting
  • Jasmine DeJesus
    children’s social attitudes, their reasoning about social and cultural groups, food preferences and eating behavior, and early health concepts.
  • Margaret Fields-Olivieri
    Parent-toddler emotional and verbal communication, especially in the context of risk; Early emotional and language development; Child effects on parenting
  • Bridget L. Cheeks
    Racial socialization; racial discrimination; racial identity beliefs, academic motivation, psychological well-being; resilience; African American adolescents and emerging adults
  • Heather Coleman
    Dr. Coleman’s research focuses on young children with autism. She is interested in communication interventions, parent coaching, and personnel preparation.
  • Karen M. La Paro
    My area of research is teacher preparation, professional development and high quality early education settings.
  • Benjamin “Benji” Chang
    My work focuses on teaching and teacher education, community engagement, and language, literacy and culture, particularly with minoritized communities.
  • Kelly Wester
    Examines the factors that increase risk of engaging in nonsuicidal self-injury or suicidal behaviors. Explores aspects of counseling that are effective in decreasing or preventing NSSI.
  • Crystal Epstein
    I am interested in the cumulative effects of life course adversity on chronobiology during pregnancy and the stress-buffering effects of social support and physical activity.
  • Jennifer Deaton
    Jennifer aims to conduct interdisciplinary, community-engaged research that supports helping professionals working with trauma; focusing trauma-informed intervention and support to the helping professional and improve client outcomes.
  • Laurie Wideman
    Development of cardiometabolic risk across the lifespan
  • Marie Hull
    My work focuses on the importance of family background for education, specifically among immigrant children; educational technology; and health insurance.
  • L. DiAnne Borders
    My focus on clinical supervision involves the need to be cognizant of all age groups and populations, as counselors work with clients from the wide range of populations. My current focus is on trauma-informed supervision, including a grant-funded project with Rockingham County Schools and several community-based mental health agencies. This work includes enhancing the training of clinical supervisors (doctoral students and practitioners) as well as all aspects of the clinical supervision process itself.
  • Michaeline Jensen
    My lab leverages novel methodologies and modern tools (i.e. Ecological Momentary Assessment via smartphone, text message analysis, social media) to better understand the ways in which young people’s social contexts and relationships impact their mental health and risk taking behaviors. We focus closely on the role of parents and the cultural environments within which families are embedded.
  • Jennifer Coffman
    My program of research is directed toward understanding mechanisms of change in cognitive development and is directly influenced by my experiences as an elementary school teacher. I am interested in the socialization of cognitive and affective functioning in young children.
  • Kierra Sattler
    My research focuses on risk and resilience among children and families that live in poverty or are involved in child protective services.
  • Stephanie Irby Coard
    Racial, ethnic, and cultural influences on youth development and family functioning; Racial socialization processes, racial identity development; Prevention of youth problem behavior and promotion of resilience; Culturally relevant and evidenced-based approaches to parenting; Intervention development and community dissemination in diverse cultural contexts
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