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An intensive program for undergraduates interested in mental health research

Application Deadline is March 6, 2016 at 8:00am.

Student Researchers The Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) at the University of South Florida is dedicated to research and education related to mental illness and related disorders. FMHI invites undergraduate students to apply for a highly selective Summer Research Institute.


The SRI@FMHI is designed for students interested in building their research skills within the context of mental health to help them prepare for a Senior Thesis and/or graduate school.


The SRI@FMHI is a ten week summer program. The dates for the 2016 SRI@FMHI are June 2, 2016 through August 10, 2016.

Program Structure:

The SRI@FMHI consists of four components: an independent research project conducted with guidance from a distinguished faculty mentor; research seminars; professional development seminars; and skill-building workshops. The research seminars will complement the research that students are conducting with their faculty mentors. Throughout the ten week period, students will work intensively with faculty mentors on their research projects. In addition, students will gain experience with research ethics, IRB practices, and will participate in a community rotation to gain experience with mental health services in an area related to their research project.

Students will be required to write a research report describing their research project, present the report at a Research Symposium and Poster Session, and submit the completed paper for consideration at an Undergraduate Research Conference or Symposium. Because of the intensity of the summer program, students must participate on a full-time basis and may not be employed or attend other classes during the ten-week program.

Student Application and Selection Process:

Applications must be received no later than March 6, 2016. Students accepted to the program should be notified by March 25, 2016.

Up to 12 students will be selected for the SRI@FMHI. Because each SRI Scholar will be matched with a faculty mentor, primary consideration will be given to those applicants whose area of interest is closely aligned with the expertise of a faculty member who is available to provide mentorship during the summer. Typically, students will be considered for the program if they have begun coursework in their academic major, completed a minimum of 60 hours of college coursework, and have an expected graduation date no earlier than December, 2016. Priority will be given to students who are within 7-15 months of graduation. Courses in statistics and research methodology are required to be eligible. The application form may be obtained at or by contacting An official transcript from your university as well as a letter of reference from a faculty member who is familiar with your academic performance is required.

Student Support:

All students who are accepted for the program will receive the following benefits as part of the SRI:

Students are responsible for paying for the cost of housing and food. On-campus housing is available on the USF campus.

Potential Faculty Mentors:

Student researcher with faculty mentor

Mary Armstrong, Ph.D. (Child and Family Studies) Dr. Armstrong conducts research on children with serious mental health problems, out-of-home treatment for children, and the financing of children’s mental health services.
More Information:

Roger Boothroyd, Ph.D. (Mental Health Law & Policy) Dr. Boothroyd specializes in measurement, evaluation, and research design and applies these skills to research investigating access to and quality of care of individuals receiving services through publically funded mental health programs.
More Information:

Jose Castillo, Ph.D. (Educational and Psychological Studies) Dr. Castillo’s research interests include (a) evaluation of the implementation of a multi-tiered system of menal health support in schools and (b) factors that facilitate or hinder comprehensive and integrated school psychological service delivery in schools.
More Information:

Kya Conner, Ph.D. (Mental Health Law & Policy) Dr. Conner conducts behavioral research in the area of minority health and health disparities. Her work focuses on the identification, development and evaluation of culturally sensitive interventions to help engage and retain vulnerable populations into needed quality behavioral health services. Dr. Conner has NIMH funded data available as well as two proposals under review that may create an opportunity for a SRI project based upon these activities.
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Kathleen Moore, Ph.D. (Mental Health Law & Policy) Dr. Moore conducts research focusing on co-occurring mental health and substance abuse disorders and homelessness among persons with mental health problems.
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Rex Philpot, Ph.D. (Psychiatry) Dr. Philpot conducts behavioral research using laboratory animals that focuses on cognition and diseases and drugs that lead to impaired cognitive function including chemotherapeutic agents and addiction.
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Ráchael Powers, Ph.D. (Criminology) Dr. Powers’ main research interests are in the area of violent victimization including the causes and mental health consequences of victimization as well as how victims interact with the criminal justice system.
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John Robst, Ph.D. (Mental Health Law & Policy) Current research projects and interests of Dr. Robst, who is a health economist, include youth in the child welfare system (specifically the utilization of mental health services and juvenile justice involvement), coordination of physical and mental health care for individuals with serious mental illness, and the perceived experiences of patients that receive mental health care.
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Alison Salloum, Ph.D. (Social Work) Dr. Salloum focuses her research on developing and testing psychosocial interventions in community-based settings for children experiencing trauma, loss and/or anxiety.
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Summer Institute Alumni:

FMHI has previously conducted Summer Research Institutes for undergraduates through funding from the National Science Foundation. Students from those programs have successfully published their research and presented their work at conferences. One goal of the SRI@FMHI is to help students prepare research publications and presentations.

Past SRI@FMHI Presentations:


Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute USF College of Behavioral & Community Sciences The National Institute of Mental Health
Student researchers

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