Family Resiliency Center | Illinois

FRC Undergraduate Supervised Research Program

STRONG Kids Overview

The STRONG Kids Research Program is a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to the study of childhood obesity and health. The purpose of this project is to examine how genetic, family, community, child care provider, cultural, and media factors contribute to the development of childhood weight imbalance, obesity, health behaviors, and health beliefs. This approach complements national initiatives to understand obesity and health and is necessary to discover the processes involved in these complex relations.

The research team includes investigators from the following disciplines: Communication, Human & Community Development, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Kinesiology & Community Health; Social Work, Medicine, and the 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 STRONG Kids research program. Students will:

  • Be provided with an overview of the multiple contributors to childhood obesity;
  • Develop oral and written communication skills; data management skills; team building skills; critical thinking skills; and how to work professionally with community partners;
  • Be trained in mixed methods relevant to child and family health issues of social significance;
  • 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 STRONG Kids 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 and the STRONG Kids Transdisciplinary Research in the Social and Behavioral Sciences syllabus;
  • Attend all scheduled STRONG Kids 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:


  • Assist with research participant enrollment.
  • Assist with biometric and saliva data collection with participating families.
  • Assist with data compilation, storage, and management.

Knowledgeable Kids

  • Conduct interviews with preschoolers about their views on healthy food.
  • Maintain positive and reliable working relationships with administrators and staff at target child care centers being used for data collection.
  • Assist with data compilation, storage, and management.

STRONG Kids Communication

  • Work with a team of students to create dissemination pieces for child care providers, parents, researchers, and policy makers.
  • Create podcasts and videos highlighting research personnel and projects.

To Apply

Download the application or flyer.

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

  • Have Sophmore, Junior or Senior standing for Fall 2016;
  • 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. - 7:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. You need to have at least two 3-hour blocks of time each week.
  • Are able to attend a lab meeting every other week on Tuesdays from 4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • You must complete and submit an application along with your resume for review.

Application deadline extended to Friday, April 8 Submit to: Elizabeth Mosley (

If you have questions please contact Jennifer Themanson, STRONG Kids Coordinator at 217-244-5119 or by email at