Winners of the 2009 Kinsey Institute Student Research Grants
The Kinsey Institute Student Research Grants are awarded annually to six emerging sexology scholars: three at Indiana University, and three at accredited research universities nationwide. Through the Student Research Grants, the Institute seeks to fund significant and innovative research, from a wide array of disciplines and perspectives, that deals with human sexuality.
The 2009 grant awardees are:
Mike C. Parent, a student in the Department of Psychology at Florida University, received his award based on his work with cognitive biases that individuals hold about lesbians, gay men, and bisexual men and women. In his research project, Stereotypes about Gay Men, Lesbians, and Bisexual Men and Women: Content Elucidation and Instrument Development, he aims to create a standard measure that would be useful to future researchers in determining from where particular stereotypes are drawn, and be applicable in various different domains. He also hopes his work will provide educators with better understanding of where to focus education and intervention to the greatest impact for social justice.
Alexis Roth-Graneros of Indiana University is also a graduate student fellow at the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. Her work on Trichomonas vaginalis, It's Trichy: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Understanding Trichomonas Vaginalis in Women, aims to fill a gap in current information regarding this disease, the most common curable sexually-transmitted disease in the world. While it's known that the disease can increase susceptibility to HIV, cervical cancer, and pelvic inflammatory disease, information is scant regarding the population of women at high risk.
Roth-Graneros' study will employ a variety of methods with a high-risk population sample in Indianapolis, Indiana to establish risk factors, determine the preferred method of STI-care within this group, and explore issues around partner referral. Roth-Graneros hopes the results of her work will inform future strategies and policy change for T. vaginalis control locally and nationally.
Kristin Scherrer of Michigan University's Department of Sociology and Department of Social Work, was recognized for her project to understand how families respond to and understand the sexuality of bisexual family members. Scherrer identified two large gaps in current research - a lack of research into the attitudes of non-parental family members, including siblings, aunts & uncles, grandparents, and cousins; and very limited information about how parents may understand their children's bisexual sexuality differently than other kinds of sexuality, particularly as reflected in the coming out experience of bisexual children versus homosexual children.
Scherrer has reported on preliminary findings in her research that suggest the coming out experience for bisexual individuals is a unique experience, and that beyond the parent-child relationship, other family members may also hold great importance to the bisexual individual.
Christopher Harte is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at University of Texas. His project, Effects of Smoking Cessation on Sexual Health in Men with Erectile Dysfunction, proposes a randomized clinical trial for smokers. Subjects would be randomly assigned to an 8-week long step-down program using a nicotine patch treatment, or to a waiting list.
Harte hypothesizes that individuals successfully treated with the nicotine patch will demonstrate superior sexual arousal compared to the subjects randomized to a wait list, and that this offers possibilities for improvements in treatments for the cessation of cigarette smoking in men.
Kelly Donahue, graduate student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, is examining the link between adolescent alcohol use and early dating, and a tendency to early sexual activity.
Where previous research has assumed a causal link between these behaviors, Donahue's project, Early Drinking and Early Dating as Predictors of Sexual Onset: Exploring Potential Genetic and Environmental Confounds, pursues common genetic or shared environmental influences that may underlie these behaviors. She will be using longitudinal data, including that available for multiple adolescents in the household. Using these sibling comparisons will control for a portion of the environmental and genetic factors that may confound the relationship between alcohol use or dating history and onset of intercourse, and may illuminate gaps in the privous research which compared individuals from differing families.
Brandon Hill's study, "The Face of Gender: Sexual Dimorphism, Facial Features and Transsexual Passability," will attempt to to examine to what degree sexually dimorphic features are used in the perception of facial sex using computer modelling and image morphing. Participants will be shown full or partial images, which will then be morphed in 10% intervals along a scale of "masculine" and "feminine," and participants will be asked to categorize the images as male or female.
A graduate student in the Department of Gender Studies at Indiana University, Hill believes the findings of this study will inform future research on face recognition generally, and will also provide improved standards for surgical interventions on patients with facial disfigurements and traumatic injuries, and aid transgender and transsexual individuals seeking to 'pass' convincingly as opposite-sex.
Congratulations to all our award winners!
For more information on these students, their research projects, and the Kinsey Institute Student Research Grants, please visit the Kinsey Institute website.
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