Research Interests
Family

Sophia Anong
Assistant Professor

I am very interested in the impact of mobile finance (transfers as well as payments) particularly mobile money through non-bank providers in African countries. This is mostly from the point of view of consumer empowerment in using mobile technology for financial access and transactions. My research interests also include financial knowledge and its impact, and also interrelationships between indicators of financial vulnerability, health-related decisions, and health status and how they vary across socioeconomic groups.

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Diane Bales
Associate Professor and Extension Human Development Specialist

I conduct applied research to evaluate the effectiveness and short- and long-term impact of outreach programs on early brain development, healthy eating and physical activity for young children, appropriate use of technology in early childhood education, and other topics. 

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J. Bermudez
Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy and Human Development and Family Science

Latino/a family dynamics, the intersections of race, class, gender, and sexuality among Latinos, narrative family therapy, and feminist informed therapy and research

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Don Bower
Professor Emeritus and Extension Specialist

Dr. Bower's research focuses on the effectiveness and impact of a variety of community-based educational outreach initiatives.  In particular, these include parenting education, adolescent development, gerontology, and childhood injury prevention.

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Gene Brody
Distinguished Research Professor of Human Development and Family Science

My research focuses on those family and school processes that are linked with academic and psychosocial competence among children and adolescents.  The contributions of parent-child relationships, sibling relationships, and classroom experiences during elementary and junior high school are of particular interest.

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Geoffrey Brown
Assistant Professor

I am interested in social and emotional development in infancy and early childhood. My research has focused on the ways in which family relationships may mutually influence one another, and the contributions of family functioning to children's early development. I have a particular interest in fathering, and much of my research has explored the development of the early father-child relationship. Past work has examined the correlates of father involvement, paternal sensitivity, and father-child attachment security. Relatedly, I have also explored aspects of triadic (mother, father, and child) family interactions as important contexts for adaptive family functioning and child development. I am also interested in the role that family relationships play in the development of young children’s self-concepts. My current research is examining father-child relationships, emotion socialization, and children’s representations of attachment figures in diverse populations. It is my hope that this work will continue to make important contributions to our understanding of the family system as a crucial context for the social and emotional development of young children from a variety of racial, ethnic, and socio-economic backgrounds.

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Chalandra Bryant
Professor

I am currently examining the marital relationships of newlywed African American couples. The primary goal of this longitudinal research is to examine the effect of social, familial, economic, occupational, and psychological factors on marital and health outcomes, as couples transition through the newlywed phase of their relationships. Given that relatively little is known about (a) the marital relationships of African Americans, (b) the impact of distinct stressors experienced by African Americans, and (c) the interrelationship between health and marriage among African Americans, it is important to conduct a within-group study in order to carefully examine these issues.

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Margaret Caughy
Georgia Athletic Association Professor in Family Health Disparities

Dr. Caughy’s research combines the unique perspectives of developmental science, epidemiology, and public health in studying the contexts of risk and resilience affecting young children. She is particularly interested in race/ethnic disparities in health and development and how these disparities can be understood within the unique ecological niches of ethnic minority families. Dr. Caughy has been the principal investigator of several studies focused on how inequities in family and community processes affect the cognitive development, socioemotional functioning, and early academic achievement of young children in diverse race/ethnic groups. Another theme of her research has been methodological, specifically methods related to measuring neighborhood context and the utilization of these measures in models explaining child developmental competence using multilevel and structural equations modeling methods. 

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Swarn Chatterjee
Associate Professor, Graduate Coordinator

My research focuses on three primary areas: Performance evaluation across different stages of the financial planning process; Examination of the association between financial well-being, welfare dependency, and health among underserved populations; and Identification of factors that improve financial decision making among transitioning young adults and the elderly households.

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Ted Futris
Associate Professor and Extension Family Life Specialist

I research couple and coparenting relationships across various contexts in order to inform the development of educational programs and resources that promote healthy and stable families. As well, I evaluate the efficacy of family life programs in order to better understand educational practices that lead to healthy couple and family relationships.

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Jerry Gale
Professor

PI on a project developing and testing a treatment protocol for an interdisciplinary approach to financial and relational stress. Also doing research on attachment of families with adopted children; meditation and family therapy, and premarital counseling and HIV-AIDS in Black Churches.

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Jennifer George
Lecturer

Dr. George's research has focused on the influence of gender role attitudes on the romantic relationships and future aspirations of rural youth. 

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Amy Kay
Clinical Assistant Professor (Director of Child Development Lab)

My research has focused on the relationships established between families and teachers/homes and schools by co-creating a dialogic bridge.

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Steven Kogan
Associate Professor

Dr. Kogan's areas of research include African American men's sexual health and substance use in emerging adulthood and evaluating family-centered alcohol prevention programs for rural African American youth. His research includes conducting randomized prevention trials and logntiduinal studies of development.

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Melissa Kozak
Lecturer; Undergraduate Program Coordinator

I research pedagogy through a Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) lens. This allows me to implement pedagogical strategies and systematically explore their effectiveness. Past research in this area includes peer review on research papers. I am actively researching the use of alternative texts (novels) in Human Sexuality across the Lifespan. I am interested in also exploring the impact of internships on students and am currently developing an interdisciplinary project around this topic. In the past, I explored family and community involvement through school gardens, looking at funds of knowledge and environmental literacy.

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Melissa Landers-Potts
Lecturer

Dr. Landers-Potts is interested in how socioeconomic status and overall access to tangible resources and social capital influences the success of children as they grow--particularly as it relates to their educational outcomes.

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Carol Laws
Assistant Clinical Professor / Coordinator of Interdisciplinary Pre-Service Education

My research focuses on the enhancement of the quality of community-based supports for adults with disabilities through workforce development. 

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Denise Lewis
Associate Professor

My research examines influences of culture and cultural dissonance on marginalized populations with a particular focus on elderly individuals and their families. As a qualtiative methodologist, I employ methods grounded in anthropology, gerontology, and family science. I maintain a global focus by examining intergenerational relationships of families in the US, Cambodia, and other regions of Asia and Southeast Asia. Multiple graduate and undergraduate students engage in research on aging and sexuality, end of life caregiving, generativity among LGBT families, the role of transmigration on family relations, resilience and well-being, and household production of health. More information can be found on the web page of my research lab: LIFE Lab http://www.fcs.uga.edu/hdfs/research-life-lab

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Jay Mancini
Adjunct Professor, Former Haltiwanger Distinguished Professor

Dr. Mancini researches the intersections of resilience and vulnerabilities within family and community contexts. Active research projects included quantitative studies on adolescents in military families, as well as whole-famiily research, also focused on military families. Dr. Mancini's theorizing focuses on families within the context of communities.

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Catherine ONeal
Assistant Research Scientist

Dr. O'Neal's major research interests include development over the life course and cumulative life experiences that are influential in health and well-being outcomes. Her research focuses primarily on the adolescent life stage and unique populations typically deemed as vulnerable, such as miltiary families and racial/ethnic minorities as well as longitudinal data sets that allow the exploration of precursors to positive health outcomes.

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Assaf Oshri
Assistant Professor

I am interested in studying how interactions and coactions among child personality, psychopathology, genetic and biological markers underlie the link between chronic stress in childhood (e.g., child maltreatment, poverty, cultural stress) and adolescent health risk (e.g. substance use and sexual risk behaviors) and resilience. I hope that knowledge generated by my research would inform intervention and prevention programs, as well as promote resilience among children and adolescents at risk.

I also direct the Youth Development Institute (YDI); On Twitter: @YDIatUGA 

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Desiree Seponski
Assistant Professor

My scholarly interests are in the field of marriage and family therapy, specifically critical couple, family. and societal programs including family health, immigration, family diversity, and trauma. My research is broadly focused on culturally responsive therapeutic intervention processes and outcomes (US, International: Cambodia, Southeast Asia), with particular interests in immigrant and marginalized families who have experienced poverty, trauma, and discrimination. I am guided by Social Justice and Feminist Family Therapy lenses, especially focusing on the intersections between Gender, Aging, Spirituality, and Ethnicity. My current work explores the implementation of Western-based therapy models in Southeast Asia, specifically EMDR, Solution-Focused, and Narrative Therapies. I am also interested in therapy models that emerge within indigenous cultures, and how these may be responsively integrated with Western models. 

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Emilie Smith
Janette McGarity Barber Distinguished Professor and Department Head, Interim Graduate Coordinator

    My work builds upon a cultural-ecological framework to understand the ways in which family, school, and community factors influence child and youth development.  I am particularly interested in family and care-giving approaches that foster youth agency, collective efficacy, and positive identity.   I explore the complex interactions of race-ethnicity, social class, and geography.  Given increasing demands on families for work-life balance, my most current research uses mixed-methods (observation, surveys, focus groups) to examine the role of community-based afterschool settings in terms of supporting children and families through the prevention of problem behavior and the promotion of positive youth development.

I direct The Family and Community Resilience Lab.

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Kimberlee Spencer
Clinical Assistant Professor and Child Life Coordinator

Dr. Spencer is interested in the emotional well-being of children in hospital settings and how to support children through death, dying, and bereavement. She is currently devleoping research on family satisfaction with child life services in Regional medical centers. 

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Ann Woodyard
Assistant Professor

My research focuses on the area of financial wellness and tries to answer the questions of what financial practices lead to healthier lifestyles. I am interested in charitable giving and wellness, as well as financial literacy and the relationship between the practices we undertake and the impact those practices have on our health and wellness.

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