Graduate students in Auburn’s College of Human Sciences receive research grants

AUBURN – Kelly Tu and Larissa Ferretti, graduate students in Auburn University’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Human Sciences, have received fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, respectively.

“I am so very happy to see two graduate students receiving such prestigious awards,” said Paul Harris, associate director of Auburn’s Honors College. “It is a direct reflection of the outstanding caliber of graduate level teaching and research being conducted at Auburn.”

Tu, a doctoral student, will use the NIH Fellowship to support her dissertation research, which focuses on how parents can best help their children with peer relationships and coping with peer challenges around the transition to middle school.

Professor and Distinguished Graduate Lecturer Jacquelyn Mize said the NIH Fellowship is highly competitive, as it is only awarded to a few students in the social-behavioral sciences nationwide.

“I am honored to receive this prestigious NIH Fellowship and excited about the opportunity to enhance my graduate training. I am hopeful that my research will help improve interventions to support children’s social development and psychological health,” said Tu.

Officials with the National Science Foundation said Ferretti earned the fellowship based on her abilities and the potential to help support the country’s science and engineering initiative.

“Being awarded an NSF Graduate Fellowship is a true honor, one that speaks highly to the training and mentoring I have been privileged to receive here at Auburn as well as at my undergraduate institution, Elon University,” said Ferretti, who is expected to earn her master’s degree this month. “For me, it validates the importance of child development research and motivates me to continue pursuing research as a tool to benefit not only the academic community, but more importantly to advocate for underserved populations.”

The awards are the latest in a series of accolades both Tu and Ferretti have earned while at Auburn. Last year, Tu was named one of the 10 outstanding doctoral students at Auburn, and this year, Ferretti was named one of the 10 outstanding master’s students.

(Written by Amy Weaver.)

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