One of the best aspects of being a professor at Northern Illinois University is the association I have with the members of my research team! My research team is comprised of both undergraduate and graduate students in the Human Development and Family Sciences Programs at Northern Illinois University. Each of the students on my research team were carefully selected based on their performance in the classroom, as well as their personal passion for helping individuals, couples, and families. I invite you to get know these wonderful researchers by reading their biographies below! 🙂
Jessie Brucki – Undergraduate Student
I am an undergraduate senior with a major in Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Family Social Services and a minor in Psychology. I am pursing this degree because I am strongly passionate to work with families and couples and making a positive difference within their lives. I joined the research team at the end of the Spring-2017 semester and have contributed to several projects since then, including having the opportunity to present at the 2017 Summer Research Symposium with data from our study on The Game is Rigged. This upcoming semester, I will be working on collecting and analyzing data for our NIU Relationship Survey, among many other projects. I really wanted the experience of being on a research team and having the chance to discuss topics that spark my interest. I also wanted to be proactive with shaping my future and I believe that being involved on this research team before beginning Graduate school will give myself crucial knowledge and experience beforehand. I am currently applying to several graduate schools, and once I am accepted and have chosen which one I would like to go to, I will begin the Marriage and Family Therapy program in the fall.
On campus, I am the Treasurer and member of Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Beta Alpha Chapter, Order of Omega Honor Society, NIUSCFR, and the Psychological Student Association. I would like to pursue a career in Marriage and Family Therapy and ideally, I would very much enjoy working with military couples and families to help repair and maintain healthy relationships within their family systems. I am from a military family myself and lived in many different places growing up. One of the most interesting places that I lived was Hawaii for five years!
Kelsey Goodwin – Undergraduate Student
My name is Kelsey Goodwin and I am an undergraduate junior in the Human Development and Family Sciences major with an emphasis in Family Social Services, and a minor in Psychology. I joined the research team to contribute to hands-on work with research and data analysis so that I can develop skills that will be beneficial to my future career. What I am particularly interested in researching about commitment and couple relationships is correlations between family upbringing and resilient relationships. My ultimate goal is to pursue my master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and positively impact the lives of individuals and families that I will work with in the future.
Laura Hill – Undergraduate Student
I am a senior undergraduate student majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Family Social Service and a minor in Sociology. I chose this major because I have a passion for helping people and wanted to make a direct positive impact on families and individuals. I am hoping to pursue a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy after completing my undergraduate degree. I joined the research team in August of 2017 and am currently helping with recruitment and expanding the websites to visit section of our blog. I joined the research team to help prepare myself for graduate school and to gain more experience with researching in addition to widening my knowledge of current research within the field.
On campus I am the secretary and fundraising chair of Sigma Alpha Iota, a women’s music fraternity at NIU. My future goal is to immediately pursue a graduate degree in Marriage and Family therapy following my undergraduate completion. A fun fact about myself is that I was born on Halloween! I also was able to perform halftime at a Chicago Bears game at Soldier field with the NIU Huskie Marching Band during my freshman year at NIU!
Jamye Hunter – Undergraduate Student
Hello, my name is Jamye Hunter. I am an Undergraduate at Northern Illinois University. This is my Junior year. My major is Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Family Social Services. I also have a minor in Psychology. I am on the research team to gain hands on experience in my field. I hope to gain professional work habits, network with others, and expand my knowledge on topics in my field that are important to making a difference in people’s lives. I am personally interested in researching about commitment and couple relationships because I come from a broken home. I want to be knowledgeable about what it takes to have a healthy and long-lasting relationship. I intend to use my experiences to help others grow and inspire them with my decisions. I would like to continue my studies at Northern Illinois University and obtain my Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy.
Amie Kahovec – Undergraduate Student
My name is Amie Kahovec and I am a senior undergraduate student with a double major in Rehabilitation Services, as well as Human Development and Family Science with an emphasis in Family Social Services. I chose these majors because I want to become a person who can make a difference in other peoples’ lives. I love being able to help others and guide them through difficult situations and circumstances. I have been on the research team since Fall of 2016. I try to stay involved in many different projects on the research team, I am currently helping to write both the Proceed with Caution and The Game is Rigged manuscripts, and I have been a part of presenting several of our projects at various conferences.
I am on the research team to gain knowledge on not only the research we are studying, but to develop strong research skills. From coding to writing, I have gained so much from being a part of this and I am thankful for the opportunities it has given me this far. The professional experiences this team has presented me has been so much help in bettering myself and getting into graduate school. Along with the research team, I am the Vice President of the NIUSCFR and a member of Kappa Omicron Nu Honors Society. Upon graduation, I am planning to attend graduate school at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the Fall of 2018 to obtain my master’s degree in Child and Family Studies.
Kelli Kohlstedt – Undergraduate Student
I am an undergraduate senior majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Family Social Services, and a minor in Psychology. I chose this major because I have a passion for helping people. I wanted to dedicate my life to making a difference in families and individual lives. In my future, I hope to attend graduate school to study Marriage and Family Therapy.
I have been on the research team since January 2017. On the research team, I am an editor of our blog, I run our Facebook and Instagram pages, and I am working on quantitatively analyzing data. I am on the research team for many reasons. One would be to get research experience during my undergraduate years. Another reason is because I hope to go onto graduate school in the future and I know this experience will help me in my future plans. Most importantly, I am on this research team because I am interested in the topics that we are exploring and I love working with other people and learning together on our projects and accomplishing things as a team. Researching commitment and couple relationships interests me because it is something that almost everyone can relate to in some way. I think the relationships that we build have an impact on who we become as individuals. For my future on the research team, I hope to be a part of new projects, present at conferences, and to continue to learn more about emerging adult relationships.
Taylor Lupo – Graduate Student
I am a first year Graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) program here at NIU and through my graduate assistantship, I am Dr. Sibley’s research assistant. I have my undergraduate degree in Family and Child Studies with an emphasis in Family Social Services from NIU. I currently work with perpetrators of domestic and sexual abuse, as well as the victims of domestic and sexual abuse. I have been on the research team since the beginning of the spring 2017 semester. I want to learn more about the research process including coding, focus groups and analyzing data. I have gained so much insight during my time on the research team thus far and I hope to continue to learn more. I also really enjoy working closely with peers who have the same interest in research as myself.
I am currently helping with the blog, helping write on the results section of Proceed with Caution and working on IRBs. My future goals regarding my professional career in marriage and family therapy would to be work closely with individuals, couples and families with a systematic approach to enhance relationship quality. I have a passion to work with perpetrators of intimate partner violence so I hope to also work in offender services as an MFT. A fun fact about myself is that I love to golf!
Keilene McCants – Undergraduate Student
I am an undergraduate sophomore majoring in Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Family Social Services and a minor in Deafness. I am on this research team because family dynamics and relationships are something that I am passionate about and can talk about for hours. Being surrounded by other individuals who are also passionate about relationships. Personally, I am interested in further researching on the way dating has changed today and the new stages that have emerged in recent decades. My future goal is to one day become a marriage and family therapist and to help others better succeed in their relationships.
Hillary Schraufnagel – Graduate Student
I am a first year Graduate student in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at NIU. I am studying Marriage and Family Therapy because I truly believe this life represents an amazing opportunity to be of service to others. I firmly believe in families and their ability to overcome obstacles. When individuals and families are working together as a cohesive unit, they are able to live more productive and prosperous lives.
I have been a part of Dr. Sibley’s research team since Fall 2016. I joined the research team because I value being a part of a team that is working to uncover new knowledge and conduct original research that stands to benefit the broader community. The projects I am currently involved in are: Proceed with Caution Manuscript, The Game is Rigged Manuscript, and SSEA 2017 in Washington, D.C. I will also be doing a book review on Fighting for your Marriage by Howard J. Markman, Scott M. Stanley and Susan L. Blumberg for our blog.
I will begin my Graduate Assistantship in the Fall and am also going to be involved with NIUSCFR on campus. In the future, I hope to obtain a PhD and work towards pursuing a career in the helping profession. A fun fact about myself is that I love to travel and have visited 12 foreign countries.
Lauren Slivinski – Undergraduate Student
Hi! My Name is Lauren Slivinski. I am a junior Undergraduate student with a major in Human Development and Family Sciences with an emphasis in Family Social Services. I am also completing a minor in Psychology. I am pursuing degree that allows me to work with families because I find it intriguing how family dynamics play a key role in individual development. In my career I hope to help families overcome struggles within their relationships. I believe that maintaining healthy relationships allows for greater individual prosperity in addition to stronger commitment within the family system.
My intentions with the research team are to gain experience for graduate school, in which I want to pursue a degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. I believe that this experience will allow me to improve my personal research skills as well as introduce me to other people in my field that have the same passion of working with families. I am interested in researching topics such as commitment and couple relationships because it will enable me to build stable relationships in my life and eventually help others with their own. I am optimistic about being a part of the team and the doors it will open for my future.