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KI Student Research Grants Winners

The Kinsey Institute Student Research Grants are awarded annually to up to six emerging sexology scholars: three at Indiana University, and three at accredited research universities nationwide. Through the Student Research Grants, the Institute seeks to fund significant and innovative research that deals with human sexuality, from a wide array of disciplines and perspectives.

The 2012 grant awardees are:

  • Elizabeth Pfeiffer, Indiana University
  • Nicole Smith, Indiana University
  • Amanda Denes, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Kristina Gupta, Emory University

Honorable Mentions:

  • Gopinath Kannabiran, "Human Computer Interaction and Sex Toys"
  • David Lick, "Physiological Stress Responses Following Exposure to Gay-Related Prejudice"

About Our Awardees:

Elizabeth Pfeiffer, Indiana University

Elizabeth Pfeiffer is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology and the African Studies program at Indiana University. Her research interests are HIV/AIDS, women, marriage, sexuality, and Kenya.

Using intensive ethnographic methods in a small town located along the trans-African highway in western Kenya, Elizabeth’s dissertation research explores shifting gender, marital, and sexual relations within the context of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. More exactly, she investigate the trajectories through which women come to identify themselves as commercial sex workers (CSWs) and thus, come to experience AIDS-related stigma and discrimination.

Nicole Smith, Indiana University

Nicole Smith
is a doctoral student in the Department of Applied Health Science and also Project Coordinator for the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University. Her research project, "Assessing the Sexual Experiences of Infertile Couples Who Have Utilized Assisted Reproductive Technologies," seeks to explore the emotional, psychological, and sexual effects of infertile couples who are currently undergoing or who have undergone infertility treatment.

Using a cross-sectional survey design, Nicole hopes to gain new knowledge on how infertility and the utilization of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) affect the sexual functioning and relationship dynamics of couples.

Amanda Denes, UCSB

Amanda Denes' project explores “pillow talk,” or conversations after sexual activity, by looking at the relationship between physiology and communication. She is interested in whether individuals’ genotypes for a certain oxytocin receptor gene are related to their communication patterns during times when oxytocin is known to increase, such as during sexual activity. “Pillow talk” provides an ideal context for exploring the relationship between communication and the body, and I hope this project will provide valuable insights on the unexplored intersection of sexuality, physiology, and communication.

Amanda is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication at University of California, Santa Barbara with a Feminist Studies Doctoral Emphasis.

Kristina Gupta, Emory University

Kristina Gupta
is pursuing a Ph.D. at Emory University in Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She is investigating asexuality as a minority sexual identity by conducting in-depth qualitative interviews with people who identify as asexual. She believes her research will help individuals who experience low levels of sexual desire and medical professionals to determine when low sexual desire is a condition in need of treatment and when it simply an alternative way of being in the world.

Congratulations to all our award winners!

For more information on these students, their research projects, and the Kinsey Institute Student Research Grants, please visit the Kinsey Institute website.




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