Eva Lefkowitz, HDFS Faculty Spotlight, August 2021

Professor and Department Head, Human Development and Family Sciences

Eva LefkowitzEva Lefkowitz moved to UConn in Summer, 2016 to become Department Head of HDFS. She recently agreed to a second five-year term as Department Head. Over the past five years, Eva has enjoyed getting to know the faculty, staff, and students in HDFS, CLAS, and around UConn.

Prior to coming to UConn, she served as a professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the Pennsylvania State University for 18 years, including roles as Professor-in-Charge of the HDFS Graduate Program and Professor-in-Charge of the Undergraduate Program. She earned her Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles in Developmental Psychology.

Eva’s research focuses on sexual health, using a developmental perspective to examine predictors of negative and positive aspects of sexual health, and the broader health and relationship implications of sexual health. Her research demonstrates that a range of individual and contextual factors, from the couple level of who the partner is up to the institutional level of identification with a religious institution, are associated with sexual health. In addition, her research highlights the importance of sexual behaviors beyond their implications for physical health, demonstrating that by young adulthood, sexual behavior can positively contribute to well-being. Eva views mentoring as the most important and rewarding aspect of her career, and her students strongly influence the direction of her research. In Spring 2020, she and her students received pilot funding to collect data on LGBTQ+ college students around the country as they adjusted to the COVID-19 pandemic. This project has sparked further interest in how LGBTQ+ students’ experiences with family, peers, romantic partners, and close others affect their well-being.

Eva has served as a principal investigator, co-investigator, or faculty mentor on projects funded by the NICHD, NIAAA, NIDA, NIA, and the WT Grant Foundation. She has published 90 peer reviewed articles and book chapters. At the national level, Eva has been in leadership roles for the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA) and the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood (SSEA). She has contributed to the review process as Associate Editor for Developmental Psychology, on the editorial boards of Journal of Research on Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood, as a reviewer for 25 other journals, and as a Review Panel Chair and Reviewer for SRA and SRCD. She also has reviewed grant proposals for NIH National Institutes of Health, and for similar federal agencies outside the United States. In 2008 Eva received the Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award from the Penn State College of Health and Human Development.

At UConn, Eva’s favorite classes to teach have been the 350 student lifespan individual and family development class (for many students, their first college class ever), and a small graduate seminar on professional and career development.

When not working, Eva spends time with her husband Eric, also a UConn professor, and her teenage twins, who are frequently delighted by her extensive knowledge of adolescent development (not exactly). Eva spent the first 18 years of her life in Fairfield County, Connecticut and after living in Massachusetts, California, and Pennsylvania was excited to return to Connecticut. She loves cooking and baking, barre class and walking, beach vacations, and listening to audiobooks.

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