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CFS Associate Professor Trina Spencer's Research Lab Provides Early Research Experience for Students at All Levels

As a child language professional and intervention scientist, CFS Associate Professor Trina Spencer has worked with culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse children, as well as children with disabilities, their teachers, and their families for more than 20 years. She also works with undergraduate research students and provides mentoring as part of the Rightpath Research and Innovation Center at USF. She encourages students to learn the science of behavior so that it can be applied to interdisciplinary and general education issues such as professional development, instructional design, and the promotion of academic language.

“Working with the undergraduate students through research is one of the most rewarding parts of my job,” said Dr. Spencer. “I love watching them gain an appreciation of science through their hands-on experiences and become better consumers of science as they learn to generate it.”

Dr. Spencer has already seen how the research experience has helped students achieve success. Three of her students (majoring in programs in USF’s Communication Sciences and Disorders Department) won USF’s Undergraduate Scholar Awards - and they are three of only five recipients. Jaidon Angel and Perdita Samuel-Lopez graduated in spring and Jessica O'Reilly will graduate this year.  Jessica also received a Mom’s Project scholarship in 2020. In addition, she won the UGR Scholar Award, and had a college research internship during summer 2021. She has also led her peers (Jaidon and Perdita) to publish a manuscript in the USF UG Journal, Thrive, which is in press now.

Three additional undergraduate research students (Jade Brown, Iman El-Kolalli and Irene Febres) also won scholarships through the The Moms Project in 2021. They continue to work with Dr. Spencer through Directed Research.

“Because of their early research experiences, these students are well prepared for success in graduate school and in life,” added Dr. Spencer.

Dr. Spencer has an organized research lab that involves students at all levels. She encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and empowers students to achieve high goals.