TCU FACES provides opportunity for students to study families

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    One research lab at TCU is allowing students the unique opportunity to do research on families.

    Although most other research labs on campus offer students the opportunity to participate in student or animal-based research, the FACES lab is different.

    FACES, which stands for Families, Autism and Child-Emotion Studies, is designed to research the social and emotional development of infants and children, including those with autism spectrum disorder, said psychology professor Naomi Ekas.

    Madeline Rhoden, a junior psychology and child development double major, said her experience with the FACES lab equipped her with the necessary skills to succeed after graduation.

    “I know that I want to work with families, so FACES is a great opportunity for me to see what an actual career in this field would be like,” Rhoden said.

    Although the TCU Institute of Child Development offers off-campus research opportunities with children, FACES is the only lab within the department that conducts family-oriented studies here on campus, Ekas said.

    FACES is currently conducting two studies, Ekas said. One is called the Babies and Infant Project and another is focused on five and six-year-old children.

    The Babies and Infant Project has been going on for six months and will continue for another year and a half, Ekas said. The latter study is a semester-long study that will conclude this May.

    “We are focused on not only benefiting research but on helping the undergrads who work in the lab, and also the families who come in,” Ekas said. “We do a developmental assessment on each child’s cognitive, motor and language development and discuss our findings with the child’s parents.”

    The Babies and Infant Project needs 100 families for its research and has met with about 20 families, Ekas said.

    “We work to accommodate families schedules by conducting research if necessary in the evenings, on weekends and even on holidays,” Ekas said.

    Rhoden said the study has opened her eyes to the variety of family-specific fields within psychology. She said is looking forward to attending graduate school because TCU has prepared her for the responsibilities a graduate student may have.

    Families who participate in the research are also compensated with a gift card. For more information on FACES, email Lisa Keylon at [email protected]