Family Resiliency Center | Illinois

FRC Undergraduate Supervised Research Program

Food and Family Program Overview

The purpose of the Food and Family Program is to provide compelling evidence that food and family is connected in healthy ways.  Positive interactions around food can promote healthy eating habits, strong family relationships, and reduce the stress of daily living.  Families face multiple barriers to consuming healthy food including food insecurity, targeted marketing of unhealthy foods, a lack of knowledge of nutrition and basic cooking skills, limited access to healthy foods, and other socio-cultural factors. 

The research team includes investigators from the following disciplines:  Advertising, Agricultural & Consumer Economics, Communication; Human & Community Development, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Law, Social Work, and University of Illinois Extension.

Overview | Course Description | Course Expectations | Research Projects | To Apply

Course Description


The purpose of this two-semester year-long supervised research course is to provide students with a first-hand experience working as part of a research team as well as to help them develop a working knowledge of the theory and applications of trans-disciplinary research used to guide the Food and Family Program. Students will:

  • Be provided with an overview of the connections between food and family and how these relationships can contribute to child and family health;
  • Develop oral and written communication skills; data management skills; team building skills; critical thinking skills; and professional work environment skills;
  • Be trained in mixed methods relevant to factors that contribute to child and family health;
  • Identify opportunities and barriers in transdisciplinary team work;
  • Prepare a scientific presentation that reflects the students' knowledge of transdisciplinary science gained through working on one of the Food and Family Program subprojects. The presentation will be given at a scientific conference held in the Spring.

Overview | Course Description | Course Expectations | Research Projects | To Apply

Course Expectations


Students are expected to:

  • Comply with all policies outlined in FRC policies and procedures manual as well as the research course  syllabus;
  • Attend all scheduled project events;
  • Participate in orientation and training sessions;
  • Attend and participate in all scheduled bi-weekly meetings;
  • Complete all assignments listed in the course syllabus.

Overview | Course Description | Course Expectations | Research Projects | To Apply

Research Projects

The following are examples of activities that students may be engaged in as a part of this research experience:

Growing Sprouts

  • Assist with the development of healthy habits curriculum for pre-school and early elementary school children.
  • Pilot test and evaluate curriculum.

Project DINE

  • Work with researchers in recruiting families for mealtime observation study.
  • Assist with data compilation, storage, and management.

Shared Family Mealtimes: Mealtimes Minutes 

  • Assist in development of new Public Service Announcement videos and supporting materials.
  • Pilot test existing PSA video messages.

Early Childhood Health and Food Project

  • Assist in survey and focus groups with day care providers to determine barriers for participation in CACFP.
  • Develop tip sheets and compile resources for families and day care providers on CACFP (Child and Adult Care Feeding Program).

To Apply

You are eligible to sign up for this course if you:

  • Have Sophmore, Junior or Senior standing for Fall 2013;
  • Are available to work regular hours on an assigned research project at least 6 hours/week (if taking course for 2 credit hours) or 9 hours/week (if taking course for 3 credit hours) between 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.
  • Are able to attend a lab meeting every other week on Tuesdays from 4:30-6:00 p.m.

Applications are now closed for the Fall 2013/Spring 2014 school year.

If you have questions please contact Jen Themanson at 217-244-5119 or by email at