Child and Family Health Lab

Researcher - Dr. Astrida Kaugars

The Research

Current Research Projects:

The “Type 1 Diabetes Management Among College Students” study is no longer active.  Thank you for your interest.

  • Family Experiences During COVID-19
  • Clinical Utility of Behavioral Questionnaires in Families of Children Receiving Psychological Services in a Pediatric Cardiology Clinic
  • Family Influences on Type 1 Diabetes Management in Young Children: The You Can Study
  • Parent-Adolescent Communication About Health Risk Behaviors Among Adolescents with Chronic Medical Conditions
  • The re-CHARGE Study: Our Children’s Health and Learning Get Energized

Apply for a Research Position

Students who are interested in submitting an application for a research position are encouraged to contact Dr. Kaugars by e-mail to request an application.

Graduate Students

  • Natalie Benjamin - Natalie is a fourth year doctoral student. She received her master’s degree in May 2017, and her master’s thesis examined cognitive performance and glycemic control in adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Natalie’s research focuses on pediatric psychology, with a specific focus on youth with type 1 diabetes and the psychosocial processes surrounding their health and disease management
  • Christopher Fitzgerald (received doctoral degree in May 2014; currently at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia)
  • Ashley Moss - Congratulations to Ashley for being awarded the Spring 2012-13 Psi Chi Graduate Research Grant and a student poster award from the Society of Pediatric Psychology (Division 54) at the American Psychological Association 2014 Annual Meeting.
  • Kara Lindstedt Leiser (received doctoral degree in May 2010; currently at Gillette Children’s)

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Undergraduate research assistants have an opportunity to be involved in ongoing research studies in the Child and Family Health Lab. Research assistant responsibilities will vary depending upon the status of ongoing studies. Research assistants may be involved in participant recruitment, data collection, coding of observational data, data entry in SPSS, and preparation of presentations and/or publications. Depending upon the study, research assistants may travel to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin or collect data in the community. Requirements include attendance at weekly laboratory meetings. Typically students are asked to provide a one-year commitment to working in the lab. Dr. Kaugars collaborates with other pediatric psychologists in the greater Milwaukee area, and there may be possibilities for working in other pediatric psychology research laboratories.

Current Undergraduate Research Assistants

  • Sara Pardej (Class of 2018; Psychology major)

Former Undergraduate Research Assistants

Former Undergraduate Research Assistants

Class of 2016

  • Lucille Christenson (Biomedical Sciences major)

Class of 2015

  • Lauren Borchardt (Psychology major)
  • Katherine Van Horn (Psychology major)
  • Saffire McCool (Psychology and Criminology and Law Studies majors) 

Class of 2014

  • Maura Coffey (Psychology major; Spanish for the Health Professions minor)
  • Sara Egel (Psychology major; Biological Sciences minor)
  • Claire Guidinger (Psychology major; English Literature minor)
  • Heidi Hemling (Psychology major)
  • Hanna Meidl (Biomedical Sciences major)
  • Clarissa Shields (Psychology and Elementary/Middle School Education majors)

Class of 2013

  • Stephanie Ocwieja (Psychology major; Family Studies minor)
    Congratulations to Stephanie for being awarded the Grand Prize in the J.P. Guilford Undergraduate Research Awards
  • Lisa Wolff (Psychology major)

Class of 2012

  • Alison Heinen (Psychology major)
  • Maura Coffey (Psychology major; Spanish for the Health Professions minor)

Class of 2011

  • Sarah Hodges (Elementary Education and Psychology major; German minor)
  • Emily Peiffer (Nursing and Psychology major)
  • Nicole Wuerl (Psychology major; French minor)

Class of 2010

  • Patricia Esparza (Psychology major; English minor)
  • Carrie Massura (Psychology major; Family Studies minor)
  • Cristina O’Brien (Doctor of Physical Therapy)
  • Chelsey Roberts (Psychology major; Spanish Language, Literature, and Culture minor)

Class of 2009

  • Emily Bird
  • Kelly Brutto
  • Allison Graf

Class of 2008

  • Susan Heinze
  • Lisa Reinemann

Class of 2007

  • Elizabeth Jorgenson
  • Lauren Perazzo

Class of 2006

  • Jill Juedes
  • Dorothy Schultz

Conference Presentations

Conference Presentations

Undergraduate and graduate students have been authors on posters and/or papers at professional conferences for the following organizations:

  • American Association for the Surgery of Trauma
  • American Diabetes Association
  • American Dietetic Association
  • American Psychological Association
  • Children’s Research Institute
  • International Neuropsychological Society
  • Midwestern Psychological Association
  • Society of Pediatric Psychology
  • Society for Personality Assessment
  • Society for Psychotherapy Research
  • Society for Research in Child Development
  • Wisconsin Psychological Association

Laboratory Photos


Lab photo Fall 2014:
(Back row left to right) Astrida Kaugars, Ashley Moss, Lauren Borchardt (Front row) Katie Van Horn, Claire Guidinger


Ashley Moss’ blue ribbon award for her poster at the American Psychological Association 2014 Annual Meeting


Sara Egel and Hanna Meidl’s poster presentation at the Wisconsin Psychological Association Annual Meeting April 2013


Lab photo Fall 2012: Award winning ice cream sundaes! (left to right) Lisa Wolff, Ashley Moss, Stephanie Ocwieja


MU attendees at the Midwest Regional Conference on Pediatric Psychology:(Left to right) Chris Fitzgerald, Lauren Haack, Astrida Kaugars, Denise Gardner, Jeffrey Karst


Lab photo Fall 2011: (Left to right) Chris Fitzgerald, Astrida Kaugars, Ashley Moss, Maura Coffey, Alison Heinen


Lab photo Fall 2010: (Left to right; back row) Denise Gardner, Sarah Hodges, Nicole Wuerl, Annele Kaugars (honorary lab member); (Front row) Allison Ellsworth, Emily Peiffer, Astrida Kaugars


Lab photo Fall 2009: (Left to right; back row) Denise Gardner, Patricia Esparza, Astrida Kaugars (front row) Carrie Massura, Chris Fitzgerald, Sara Lamb


Lab photo Spring 2008: (Left to right) Susan Heinze, Lisa Reinemann, Allison Graf, Chris Fitzgerald, Kara Lindstedt Leiser


Chris Fitzgerald Forward Thinking presentation (Marquette University) December 2007


Lauren Borchardt and Dr. Debra Oswald at the Honors Program Poster Session October 2014


Lisa Wolff and Stephanie Ocweija poster presentations at the Wisconsin Psychological Association Annual Meeting April 2013


Lab photo Fall 2013:
(Back row left to right) Saffire McCool, Lucy Christenson, Ashley Moss (Front row) Astrida Kaugars, Sara Egel, Hanna Meidl, Clarissa Shields, Ashley Langford


Former and current Kaugars lab members at the Midwest Regional Conference on Pediatric Psychology:(Left to right) Lauren Perazzo, Ashley Moss, Astrida Kaugars, Susan Tran, Chris Fitzgerald


Lab photo Spring 2012: Children’s Research Institute conference (left to right back row) Astrida Kaugars, Alison Heinen, Maura Coffey, (front row) Christopher Fitzgerald, Ashley Moss


Lab photo Spring 2011: (Left to right) Allison Ellsworth, Nicole Wuerl, Denise Gardner, Emily Peiffer, Sarah Hodges, Chris Fitzgerald


Lab photo Spring 2010: (Left to right) Emily Peiffer, Carrie Massura, Patricia Esparza, Denise Gardner, Chris Fitzgerald, Chelsey Roberts, Astrida Kaugars


Lab photo Fall 2008: (Left to right; back row) Chris Fitzgerald, Emily Bird, Sara Lamb, Carrie Massura, Astrida Kaugars, Kelly Brutto, Patricia Esparza (front row) Allison Graf, Denise Gardner


Patricia Esparza MPA presentation April 2010