Student Funding

2018-2019 Koop Grant Recipients

Jacqueline Bible, MA, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University. Her research interests include the influence of culturally based stigma on comprehensive sexual health, with a specific focus on women and sexual minority groups. She aims to promote sexual health through individual empowerment and positive frameworks. Jacqueline intends for her research to be translational with hopes that it will alter the negative cultural messages surrounding sexual health and promote more positive holistic conversations about sexual health.

STUDY TITLE: The Influence of LGBT-Specific Healthcare Training on Practitioner Attitudes and PrEP Prescription Practices.

Brittany Wilbourn, MPH, is a doctoral candidate in Translational Health Sciences at the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She graduated from the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine with an MPH in Epidemiology. She is currently a Research Associate in the GW Milken Institute School of Public Health coordinating a variety of studies related to HIV. Her research interests include; HIV prevention; LGBTQ sexual health; health disparities among sexual, gender, and racial minorities; and adolescent and young adult sexual health. Her dissertation research will explore pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) screening and assessment of PrEP need among men who have sex with men and transgender persons of color in the DC Metro Area. The study's findings are intended to be translated into recommendations, protocols, and best practice guidelines that better identify MSM who could benefit from PrEP and are inclusive to transgender persons.

STUDY TITLE: Assessing Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Screening and Need among Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Persons of Color: A Mixed Methods Case Study of the IMPACT DMV Demonstration Project.

Seul Ki Choi, MPH, is a doctoral student in the Department of Health Behavior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and received her MPH in biostatistics from Indiana University. She has been a research assistant at the Behavior and Technology Lab at UNC (Director: Dr. Lisa Hightow-Weidman) since 2015. Her research interests are reducing sexual risk behavior among minority population and developing effective HIV prevention interventions. In the past, she conducted research investigating continuum of care among HIV-positive Young Black Men who have Sex with Men (YBMSM) and the relationship between condom use intentions, psychosocial predictors, and sexual risk behaviors among YBMSM. Her current research focuses on exploring safer sex empowerment among YBMSM, investigating how safer sex empowerment is linked to engagement in sexual risk behaviors, and how HIV prevention interventions may be enhanced by targeting safer sex empowerment.

STUDY TITLE: Empowering safer sex among Young Black Men who have Sex with Men: healthmpowerment.org, a mobile phone optimized online intervention to reduce sexual risk behaviors.



Rebecca Ryan, MPH, is a second year doctoral student in Health Behavior at the School of Public Health at Indiana University.  Her background in sex education spans twelve years with a career as a high school health science teacher followed by teaching at the community college level. She earned her Masters in Public Health degree from San Jose State University in 2010.

Research in sexuality drew her to Indiana University where she has assisted in intervention research with the Kinsey Institute Condom Use Research Team working with interventions in condoms-use for women and couples. Her research interests include low sexual desire in women, HPV vaccination mandates for school entry, sexuality issues within aging populations, and sexual health among immigrant tech workers in the Silicon Valley, California.

STUDY TITLE: A pilot test of a self-guided, home-based intervention to improve condom-related sexual experiences, attitudes, and behaviors among heterosexual student couples.



Karen B. Vanterpool, MPH, is a PhD student in Health Behavior at Indiana University. She graduated from the University of Florida with an MPH in Social & Behavioral Sciences. Her research interests include risk perception and decision-making regarding sexual behaviors, and reducing health disparities among disadvantaged populations. Karen intends to pursue research focused on risk reduction, specifically related to HIV and other STIs among vulnerable populations.

STUDY TITLE: A pilot test of a self-guided, home-based intervention to improve condom-related sexual experiences, attitudes, and behaviors among heterosexual student couples.

Joyell Arscott, BSN, RN, ACRN is a PhD candidate in Nursing at Duke University, and received her A.S. in in Nursing from Essex Community College, and later her Bachelor’s Degree in Science in Nursing from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Over the past two decades, she has worked with adolescents and young adults in various settings, which included schools, community clinics, and the prison system, providing HIV education and testing services, linkage to care, and technical assistance. She has combined her past community and clinical work with at-risk and HIV-infected adolescents and young adults and their providers to inform her dissertation, which focuses on exploring the use of HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis in young African American men who have sex with men. Once she graduates, she plans on continuing her program of research focusing on adolescent and young adult sexual and reproductive health, LGBTQ health, HIV/STI prevention, and health disparities.

STUDY TITLE: Likely use of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis for young African American men who have sex with men


Tiara C. Willie, MA, is a Ph.D. Candidate in Chronic Disease Epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health and predoctoral fellow in the NIMH Interdisciplinary HIV Prevention Training Program at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on AIDS. Her research examines the etiology and health consequences of gender-based violence, domestically and globally. She has authored several publications and presentations related to determinants of gender-based violence victimization and perpetration, and its impact on the mental, sexual, and reproductive health of marginalized populations. Her dissertation focuses on the implications of intimate partner violence on women’s engagement in the HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) continuum.

STUDY TITLE: She’s PrEPared: The impact of intimate partner violence on women’s engagement in PrEP care

Alice Ma, MPH, CHES, is a doctoral student in the Department of Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research interests include the promotion of sexual and reproductive health, HIV prevention, and reducing health disparities among vulnerable and marginalized populations. She has co-authored manuscripts, presentations, and papers related to challenges to HIV care linkage and engagement among HIV-positive persons, adolescent pregnancy prevention efforts, and care-seeking challenges among Latino sexual and gender minorities. Her current research focuses on barriers to, and opportunities for, HIV testing among Latino sexual and gender minorities living in a new settlement state.

STUDY TITLE: Effects of an intervention to increase HIV testing among immigrant Latinos


Dennis Flores is a doctoral student in the School of Nursing PhD program at Duke University under the mentorship of Dr. Julie Barroso. He graduated from Emory University with an MSN in Public Health Nursing Leadership and is board member of the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care. His current research focuses on the sources of sexual health information of gay, bisexual or queer-identifying adolescent males with emphasis on the role sex communication may play during puberty. Dennis has been active in frontline nursing care of people with HIV/AIDS and several national HIV prevention campaigns. He intends to pursue research focused on health equity issues and intervention work for access to HIV care by children and families from minority populations.

STUDY TITLE: Exploring parental sex communication with gay, bisexual and queer sons: Implications for targeted HIV prevention at home.

Megan Hicks, M.S. is a doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at The University of Georgia. Her research focuses on community and relationship factors affecting African American men’s health behaviors, specifically those related to HIV and other STIs. Her current research focuses on the psychosocial factors predicting inconsistent condom use among African American young men who report having main and casual sexual partners. In addition to research, Megan is active in the community volunteering in community education and prevention programs with African American youth.

STUDY TITLE: Correlates of condom use with casual partners among African American men who report main and casual sexual partners


Danielle Haley is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University. Her research focuses on whether and how neighborhood environments (e.g., violent crime rates, the ratio of men to women) are associated with sexual risk behaviors and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among US women. Her dissertation will integrate individual-level data (e.g., sociodemographics, sexual risk behaviors) from the Women’s Interagency HIV Study research sites in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina with administrative data on the places where these women live (e.g., US Census data, police records, state alcohol licensing). An understanding of whether and how neighborhood environments contribute to the sexual health of women living with HIV or at high risk of HIV acquisition can inform the development of future multilevel interventions to improve women’s sexual health and reduce HIV/STI transmission.

STUDY TITLE: Neighborhood factors, sexual risk, and STIs in HIV-infected and high-risk women

Krystal S. Frieson is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology and a master’s student in Public Health at the University of Kentucky. Her professional, clinical, and research interests involve combining counseling psychology with public health science to create a version of health psychology that addresses the overall health and well being of individuals, groups, communities, and entire populations. Additionally, Krystal has a specialty focus in the psychological, physical, and sexual health issues of oppressed, marginalized, and underserved populations along with an emphasis in health behavior and HIV/AIDS/STD treatment, education, and prevention. Her current study focuses on the effectiveness of a computer-based HIV prevention program in decreasing HIV-related risks for rural African American women.

STUDY TITLE: Saving Our Sisters: Effects of a Computer-based Version of SISTA on the HIV-related Risk Behaviors of African American Women

Junhan Cho is a doctoral student in the department of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia working under Dr. Steven Kogan. His research interests include the association of social contextual factors with sexual risk behavior among African American adolescents. His studies focus on psychosocial models that specify how contextual factors influence adolescents' risky behavior and on protective mechanisms including family-centered prevention. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, he earned a Master of Arts degree in Child and Family Studies at Yonsei University in South Korea.

STUDY TITLE: The influences of adverse rural environments on African American adolescents' sexual risk behavior.


Lauren Brinkley-Rubinstein is a third year PhD student in the Community Research and Action program at Peabody college at Vanderbilt University. Lauren's primary research interests include investigating the social context of health, health equity and health policy specifically related to HIV. She has an educational background in sociology and social policy and practical research experience and specific training in public health research methodology. Lauren also has a research interest in exploring the impact of setting level determinants and community contexts (e.g. urban vs. rural) on individual health.

STUDY TITLE: Understanding the role of rural religious organizations in HIV prevention and intervention.

2018-2019 Doug Kirby Adolescent Sexual Health Grant Recipients

Reina Evans, BS, is a doctoral student in the Applied Social and Community Psychology Program at North Carolina State University. She received her bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Neuroscience from St. Edward’s University, where she began research on the long-term effects of early sex education on the sexual health of emerging adults. Her research broadly examines adolescent health with a focus on parent-teen sexual communication, positive sexuality, and community-based intervention practices. With the support of the Doug Kirby research grant, she will conduct a meta-analysis on sexual health interventions for Black and Hispanic youth to better understand what factors contribute to more effective interventions for these adolescents.

STUDY TITLE: Sexual health interventions for Black and Hispanic youth: A meta-analysis.



Val Wongsomboon, M.S., is a doctoral candidate in the social psychology program at the University of Florida. Her research employs methods from interdisciplinary areas such as behavioral analysis, social psychology, and personality psychology. Her topics of interests include sexual function and satisfaction, uncommitted sexual relations (e.g., hook-ups), sexual risk-taking behavior, and sexual-health information avoidance (e.g., why some people avoid getting an STI test). Many of her ongoing projects examine how situational factors and partner characteristics affect condom use behavior in young adults (e.g., when using a condom decreases their partner’s sexual arousal).

STUDY TITLE: Sexual Risk-Taking and Safer Sex Communication in Young MSM Using Online-Dating Applications: Effects of Profile-Picture Visibility and Self-Perceived Attractiveness.

Maya Luetke, MSPH, is a doctoral student in Epidemiology at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her background is in infectious disease, specifically HIV, and she formerly conducted a state-wide survey of people living with HIV in state of Florida for the Florida Department of Health. She is passionate about ending gender-based violence and her dissertation research involves evaluating sexual violence prevention on IU’s campus, investigating the risk of perpetration and victimization, and designing transformative interventions that reduce sexual violence and encourage healthy, positive, and ethical sexual practices among college students. After graduating, she intends to continue her work to reduce sexual and gender-based violence in other populations and hopes to work internationally.

STUDY TITLE: Investigating how to ask hard questions and get honest answers: Surveying male college students about sexual assault perpetrators.



Stacey Griner, MPH, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Community and Family Health in the College of Public Health at the University of South Florida. She received her MPH in Social and Behavioral Sciences from the University of Florida and a Graduate Certificate in Women and Gender Studies from the University of South Florida. Broadly, her research focuses on risky sexual behaviors and the associated health outcomes among college students and emerging adults. Specifically, Stacey is interested in college-based approaches to improving sexual health, community-level determinants of student health, and the influence of the social determinants of health on sexual health. Her dissertation examines factors influencing college women’s intention to be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea using self-collected sampling methods.

STUDY TITLE: Self-sampling methods of screening for non-viral sexually transmitted infections among college women

Malachi Willis is a doctoral student and Distinguished Academy Fellow in the Community Health Promotion program at the University of Arkansas. He works with Dr. Kristen Jozkowski in the Sexuality and Education and Consent Studies lab. Malachi has earned MA degrees in Forensic Psychology form Marymount University and from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. He broadly researchers the sexuality of college students (e.g. unwanted sexual activity, sexual pleasure, and sexual education). Specifically, Malachi is interested in the role of consent communication plays in each of these domains

STUDY TITLE: The dynamics of sexual consent and sexual precedent: A daily diary study


Riley Steiner is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, she received her MPH from the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and has worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Her research focuses on adolescent sexual and reproductive health, with a particular emphasis on integration of pregnancy and STI prevention. Her dissertation is examining the STI prevention implications of adolescent long-acting reversible contraceptive use.

STUDY TITLE: Understanding differences in condom use by contraceptive type: A qualitative study of adolescent and provider perspectives

Alyssa Lederer is a doctoral candidate and Graduate Pedagogy Scholar in the Department of Applied Health Science at Indiana University’s School of Public Health-Bloomington. She received her MPH in Behavioral Sciences and Health Education from Emory University and BA in Studies in Health and Society and Studies in Women and Gender from the University of Virginia. Her research aims to improve the health and well-being of adolescents and emerging adults, particularly through the design and evaluation of school-based interventions. She is interested in best practices in sexuality education, the intersection of health education and behavior change, and applied research.

STUDY TITLE: An exploration of the intended and unintended effects of exposing young people to graphic images of sexually transmitted infections in sexuality education


Emily Scheinfeld is a doctoral student in the Communication Studies program at The University of Texas at Austin, working under Dr. Erin Donovan. She graduated from The University with highest honors, and received her MA from the University of Georgia in Communication Studies. Her primary areas of research are family and health communication, primarily how families talk about risky behaviors, including sexual health, and uncomfortable topics (e.g., genetic testing and end-of-life care). Her current study focuses on how young adults experience sexually transmitted infections and the shame and stigma as they relate to STIs, including getting tested, adhering to treatment, and seeking out social support from peers, partners, and/or parents. These factors may help us better understand the motivation to engage in safe sex communication as well as seeking out the necessary support post-diagnosis.

STUDY TITLE: Exploring emerging adults’ felt shame and stigma of sexually transmitted infections in the process of disclosing and seeking support from parents and sexual partners.

Christopher Stults is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at New York University, working under the mentorship of Dr. Perry Halkitis. He is also a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in independent practice in New York City. Prior to relocating from South Florida to attend NYU, he worked as a counselor in private practice, in research settings for the University of Delaware and University of Miami, and as an adjunct college instructor. His research and clinical interests focus on the mental and physical health of LGBT people, including: HIV prevention, intimate partner violence, consensual non-monogamous relationships, and novel interventions that promote wellness.

STUDY TITLE: Assessing HIV/STI risk in emerging adult gay and bisexual men in consensual non-monogamous relationships


Sophia Choukas-Bradley is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and received her M.A. in Psychology from UNC. Her primary areas of research focus on psychosocial predictors of adolescents’ and young adults’ sexual behaviors. Her current study combines an experimental paradigm and a longitudinal study design, to examine the roles of peer norms, peer influence susceptibility, and gender in adolescents’ trajectories of sexual behavior. She also has broad research interests in adolescent girls’ and young women’s interpersonal relationships, health risk behaviors, technology use, and mental health.

STUDY TITLE: Peer Influences on Adolescents’ development of sexual behavior: An innovative experimental paradigm and longitudinal study design