Research Fellowships and Independent Study

Undergraduate Student Fellowships

Jacqueline Morris was the Center’s first undergraduate honors thesis student. She was a rising senior, majoring in Psychology and Public Policy, when she passed away in a tragic car accident in her native Arizona in 2000. Her parents established the Jacqueline Anne Morris Memorial Foundation to support research by undergraduate students who, like their daughter, are “dynamic, bright, ambitious and idealistic.”

The foundation has endowed two fellowship programs to support students who are interested in conducting research in the following areas:

Morris Fellowship Award for Research on Child and Family Policy

Undergraduate students engaging independent research (e.g. honors thesis, independent study) on topics related to children and families can apply for the Morris Fellowship Award for Research in Child and Family Policy. To qualify, students must fill out an application, agree to share your research product with CCFP, and prepare a poster presenting your research results.

  • Applications for the 2022-2023 school year will be open from March 28, 2022-April 8, 2022
  • Each award is for $1,000

Morris Fellowship Award for Research on Gifted and Talented Education

Undergraduate students engaging independent research (e.g. honors thesis, independent study) on policy issues regarding education of gifted and talented students can apply for Morris Fellowship Award for Research on Gifted and Talented Education. To qualify, students must fill out an application, agree to share your research product with CCFP, and prepare a poster presenting your research results.

  • Applications for the 2022-2023 school year will be open from March 28, 2022-April 8, 2022
  • Each award is for $1,000
  • Up to six awards may be granted each year
Morris Fellows graphic (1)

                     (Pictured above, left to right, rows 1-3) 

Morris Fellowship Award Recipients for Research on Gifted and Talented Education:

  • Alana Agron is double majoring in public policy and psychology. Her research project is titled, “Racial Disproportionality in North Carolina: An Analysis of Identification Practices for Special Education and Gifted Programs and Educator Perspectives," and she is being mentored by Ken Dodge.
  • Georgia Price is double majoring in public policy & cultural anthropology. Her research project is titled, "Who’s on the Right Track? Exploring the Relationship Between Race and Tracking into Gifted Programs in North Carolina Public Schools." She is being mentored by Kristen Stephens.

Morris Fellowship Award Recipients for Research on Child and Family Policy:

  • Katie Lutz is majoring in psychology and minoring in education. She is also pursuing the Child Policy Research Certificate through the Center. Her project is titled, "COVID-19 and Mental Health: The Impact of the Coronavirus Pandemic on the Mental Health of Ninth- and Eleventh-Graders in Georgia," and she is being mentored by Katie Rosanbalm.
  • Anna Jiang is double majoring in public policy and economics and minoring in history. Her research project is titled, "Child Marriage in the United States: An Exploration of Contributing Factors." Anna is being mentored by Jennifer Lansford.
  • Emily Raich is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in psychology, and is minoring in neuroscience. She is also pursuing the Child Policy Research Certificate. Her research project is titled, "Exploring the Relationship Between Prenatal Discrimination/Bias and Maternal Fetal Attachment." She is being mentored by Michael Gaffrey.
  • Ysanne Spence is double majoring in public policy and cultural anthropology. Her research project is titled, "Pickney Fi Learn: An Analysis of Jamaica’s Response to COVID-19 for Elementary-Aged Students," and she is being mentored by David Malone.
  • Sydney Albert is majoring in psychology, minoring in education, and pursuing a Child Policy Research Certificate, offered through the Center. Her research project is titled, "Toppling America’s King: Teaching Martin Luther King, Jr. For Liberation." She is being mentored by Martin Smith.
  • Violet Greene is majoring in public policy, minoring in art history, and pursuing an Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate. Her research project is titled "Diversion Programs in the Era of Raise the Age: A Study on Adapting North Carolina’s Programs to Uniquely Serve 16–17-Year-Old Youth." She is being mentored by Nicole Lawrence.
  • Sonia He is majoring in psychology, minoring in education, and is also pursuing the Child Policy Research Certificate. Her research project is titled, "Childhood Teachers' Responses to their Students' Emotions: Validation of a Novel Measure," and she is being mentored by Rick Hoyle.
2020-21 Morris Fellow

Catherine McMillan, history major, education minor
Project: Supporting a North Carolina elementary school mentoring program during COVID-19
Mentor: Adam Hollowell, Adjunct Instructor of Education; Senior Research Associate, Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity

Independent Study Opportunities

Dr. Ken Dodge is the Pritzker Professor of Early Learning Policy Studies and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke University. He is also a faculty fellow at the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, which he founded in 1999. Dodge would like to work with a student who has ambitions to complete an honors thesis. Possible topics include prevention of child abuse and how chronic violence develops across the life span. He can provide access to several large, funded research studies that link social science to clinical practice and public policy.

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Dr. Katie Rosanbalm is a research scholar with the Center for Child and Family Policy. Trained as a child clinical and quantitative psychologist, her work at the Center has focused on program evaluation in the areas of child maltreatment prevention, self-regulation development, and early childhood systems. Current research topics include: evaluation of a preschool social-emotional curriculum, coordination of child mental health and child welfare systems, and creation/evaluation of trauma-sensitive schools. Contact: katie.rosanbalm@duke.edu

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Dr. Anna Rybińska  is a Research Scientist with the Center for Child and Family Policy.  Trained as a social demographer and family sociologist, she is interested in family formation patterns and the differentiation of family behaviors across social and regional contexts. In her work, she ask questions about who has children and how many, when individuals have children, and how these transitions impact the well-being of parents and their children. Her research has addressed the following topics: childbearing intentions and unintended pregnancy; timing of childbearing; pregnancy spacing; pro-natalist policy interventions; prevention of child maltreatment/neglect; the role of social policy in perpetuating income inequality and family inequality.  Contact: a.rybinska@duke.edu

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Dr. Liz Snyder, a research scientist with the Center for Child and Family Policy, is trained as an experimental psychologist, with a focus on cognitive development. Since joining the Center in 2006, her work has focused on program evaluation within the child welfare and mental health systems. Currently, she serves as the evaluation co-director for the SAMHSA child mental health initiative in Durham, North Carolina. This grant builds upon Durham’s System of Care by targeting transition-age youth (16-21) who are experiencing mental health challenges. Another project includes the evaluation of the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI), which is modeled after the acclaimed Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), and seeks to provide a pipeline of services and supports that allows children to become high academic achievers and successfully complete college or vocational training. A third evaluation project includes the Book Babies Home Visiting program in Durham. Contact: liz.snyder@duke.edu