NSF REU Site: Scientific Study of Interpersonal Relationships Across the Lifespan

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The scientific study of interpersonal relationships over the lifespan is important to our broader understanding of the human experience.  These relationships begin with our earliest interactions and continue well into later life, and through them we learn how to communicate with, trust, and support others, as well as handle conflicts and negative interactions. These relationships are also studied through a variety of different social and behavioral science disciplines, including psychology, human development, family sciences, and interpersonal communication.  Increasing interdisciplinary insights into how close relationships and human social networks function and impact well-being across the lifespan is important to consider in training the next generation of scholars.

The University of Missouri (MU) is hosting a new National Science Foundation REU Site centered on the scientific theme of Close Relationships (Award # 2244383).  This nine-week summer program (8 students per summer) is centered on the interdisciplinary, lifespan developmental, and diverse nature of the scientific study of close relationships.  This REU site will take advantage of the collaborative and interactive research environment fostered by the Family and Relationships Research Network of Missouri (FARR-net) at MU.  Each undergraduate will be mentored by a primary FARR-net-affiliated faculty member from the departments of Communication, Human Development & Family Sciences, or Psychological Sciences, to design a project related to one or more primary close relationships (i.e., parent-child, sibling, friends, romantic/marital partners) from a developmentally-informed perspective. 

Students should expect to work 40 hours per week in their lab, attend mandatory weekly meetings, and join in various professional development activities.

Students will receive:
  • Stipend of $5,400 (minus taxes)
  • On-campus housing – valued at $1,500, (air conditioned dorm room, 2 students per room)
  • Meal Plan – valued at $1,100
  • Travel to/from Columbia, Missouri (Limitations apply when traveling by personal vehicle. Based on mileage, up to $600 roundtrip.)
  • Travel funds to present at a professional academic conference with summer mentor in the year following participation
  • Students who choose to apply to a graduate program at MU after their participation will have their application fee covered.
Below is the list of the 2024 mentors

Applicants are required to review the list of mentors and their focus of research so that the applicant may rank their choice of mentor in the application.

Rising sophomore, junior, or senior undergraduates with interests in close relationships research and graduate study in any relevant social and behavioral science degree program from across the U.S. are eligible for the program.  We are particularly interested in reviewing applications from students who may not have strong research opportunities at their current institutions, as well as students who are either first-generation college students or students with minoritized identities.

Please note:

May 2024 graduates are not eligible (must have at least one semester left as an undergraduate after the conculsion of the summer program.)

Applicants must complete an online application at the link below by February 11, 2024, as well as submit a CV or resume, an unofficial transcript, a one-page (400 words) description of the student’s educational and career goals, and one letter of recommendation (ideally from a faculty member at their current institution).

Applicants should have their letters of recommendation emailed directly to ugr@missouri.edu by Friday, February 16th. Recommenders will not receive any email from the program, the applicant is responsible for conveying this information to them.

Applicants will be notified by April 4th if they were accepted into the program or not.

The REU program site will cover admitted students’ travel to and from the University of Missouri, as well as campus lodging and meals for the entire 9 week program (Tues 5/28 – Fri 7/27, 2024).  Students will also earn a stipend of $600 per week ($5400 over the course of the summer) while participating approximately 40 hours per week in:

1) Research with an individual faculty member in their area of expertise,
2) Participating in weekly seminars on close relationships, as well as other areas of professional development (e.g., graduate school application preparation, competitive fellowship funding),
3) Opportunities to present the research conducted while at Mizzou
4) Social programs sponsored by the MU Office of Undergraduate Research along with students from other on-campus summer research experiences.
5) Research travel funds to present at a professional academic conference with summer mentor in the year following participation
6) Participants will receive a graduate application fee waiver if they choose to apply to a graduate degree program at MU.

2024 NSF REU Site: Scientific Study of Interpersonal Relationships Across the Lifespan Information Sheet

Questions? Contact program coordinator, Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr, campionebarrn@umsystem.edu

To preview the application click the PDF below.
If you are ready to apply, click the button below:
Application Link
The deadline to apply is February 11th, 2024