Psychology, Gender Studies
Social & Behavioral Science, Cultural & Social Transformation
**This project is a part of the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR), which provides undergraduate students with an intensive 10-week research experience under the mentorship of a University of Utah faculty member. SPUR 2022 begins on May 25 and ends on August 4. If you are interested in this project, please review all program information on the SPUR site. If you wish to apply to this project, you must apply using the SPUR 2022 application.**
Over the past several years I have become interested in understanding the biopsychosocial mechanisms through which stigma and marginalization “get under the skin” to shape the health and well-being of individuals who are socially marginalized because of their sexuality or gender (queer people, asexual people, nonbinary people, trans people, etc). Previous research on these topics has focused on “minority stressors” that face these individuals (everyday discrimination, victimization, family rejection, etc). Yet I have become convinced that the absence of social safety (i.e., the absence of clear unambiguous indicators that you are included, valued, and affirmed in your social world) is just as detrimental as the presence of explicit discrimination. Social safety is a difficult construct to assess, and I have been engaged in a number of different projects attempting to capture and understand how social safety, in the lives of sexually-diverse and gender-diverse individuals, influences their mental and physical health, and how best we can INCREASE social safety for marginalized individuals.
This is a paid research position
I envision a number of different roles for students. Because I have already collected a great deal of data on various life experiences that are plausibly related to social safety, there are opportunities for students to "carve out" research questions on social safety that are particularly relevant to their interests, and to pursue independent analyses and write-ups (co-authored with myself and my graduate students) of data on experiences of social safety and social danger among sexually-diverse and gender-diverse individuals here in Utah. For students interested in applying to graduate school, this is a GREAT way to demonstrate that you have the initiative and the analytical "chops" to pursue graduate training. Additionally, one of my projects involves detailed interviews with LDS families and their trans/non-binary children, around issues of health and psychological safety, and students involved in that project will be transcribing these interviews and assisting me with developing a coding scheme that can help us understand how best to promote social safety in LDS families with gender-diverse children. This project will also afford opportunities for co-authored publications.
I expect that students will gain skills related not only to academic work, but also in working with sensitive populations. They will learn how to manage a research project, analyze data, and disseminate that data in academic publications. For students interested in the project with LDS families, the project will help them develop skills on interpreting complex qualitative interview data and translating this information into smaller "chunks" that can be analyzed quantitatively. Students will also have important opportunities to develop writing skills.
35-40 hours per week on research and program-related activities, begins May 25, 2022, and ends August 4, 2022
Admission to the program is competitive. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria: 1) be a matriculated, degree-seeking undergraduate student in the Fall 2022 semester (beginning or continuing college career in Fall 2022 and not graduating before December 2022; concurrent enrollment while in high school does not meet this eligibility requirement). Applicants do not need to be a University of Utah student. 2) eligible to work in the United States: If you are a University of Utah Dreamer (with or without DACA), you are eligible to participate. U Dreamers with DACA will be hired and paid through U payroll. U Dreamers without DACA who graduated from a Utah high school will be compensated via a different mechanism. If you are a Dreamer from a different institution: If you have DACA, you are eligible to participate and will be hired and paid though U payroll. If you do not have DACA, you are able to participate and gain research experience, but we do not currently have a mechanism that allows us to compensate you. For more information, please contact Megan Shannahan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-581-2478. If you are an international student or scholar, you must either a) be a degree-seeking undergraduate student at the University of Utah, OR b) possess documentation that establishes your eligibility to work in the United States (if you hold US citizenship, it is likely you have these documents). 3) able to commit to approximately 35-40 hours per week of employment at the University of Utah for the entire duration of the program (May 25-August 4, 2022). 4) at least 18 years old by May 23, 2022 (required if you wish to use on-campus housing; preferred if you will not be using on-campus housing).