Graduate Student Spotlight  -  September 2022

Madeline Jones, HDFS Graduate Student


Madeline JonesMadeline Jones received her Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry from Spring Hill College (AL) in 2019 with a minor in Philosophy. She graduated summa cum laude and was a member of various honor societies, including Sigma Alpha Nu. In addition, she was awarded the President’s Scholar Award in Biochemistry, a faculty-nominated award for a senior excelling in biochemistry. In 2022, she received her Master of Science degree in psychology from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her first year, she was nominated for Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant, and the next year, was awarded the Richard G. Neiheisel Phi Beta Kappa Graduate Award, awarded to a graduating master’s student from one of the classical Arts and Sciences curriculum.


Madeline joined UConn’s HDFS graduate program in 2022 to work with Dr. Eva Lefkowitz. Her general research interests are in understanding how sexuality and gender expression influence the development and maintenance of close relationships. Specifically, Madeline is interested in the relationship experiences of LGBTQIA+ individuals and couples, especially romantic ones, and how intersecting identities, such as political or religious identities, may impact these relationships. She hopes to improve discussion, understanding, and overall relationship quality and satisfaction.


Madeline began studying sexuality as an undergraduate student, but officially shifted career paths when she spent a year volunteering in the Sexuality and Secularity lab run by Dr. Dena Abbott and attended classes at Louisiana Tech University. From this work, Madeline, Dr. Abbott, and colleagues published a paper on sexual education in predoctoral internships.


In 2020, Madeline began a master’s program in psychology working with Dr. Hung-Chu Lin in her Developmental Science Laboratory. There, she assisted Dr. Lin and the lab in exploring adverse childhood experiences, sexual self-esteem, and romantic attachments. In addition, Madeline worked with Dr. Lin on her thesis on discrimination based on gender and sexuality. Specifically, she explored how men’s perceived non-conforming gender expression and sexual orientation affect social distance and what factors mitigate and exacerbate this effect. Madeline and Dr. Lin are in the process of publishing her thesis and continue to collaborate on projects related to romantic attachment and non-conformity.


As a new student, Madeline looks forward to actively participating in her lab and its multiple research projects. She is especially excited to work on projects related to the developmental aspects of sexual health and religious identity, LGBTQIA+ college students’ relational and general well-being, and romantic relationship development. In addition, she hopes to pursue a graduate certificate in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Lastly, she looks forward to teaching and getting involved on campus through leadership positions and graduate school activities.


In her spare time, Madeline enjoys exploring restaurants, watching movies, and attending local festivals and farmer’s markets. She looks forward to exploring Connecticut and New England’s food and trails. Upon obtaining her Ph.D., Madeline aspires to become a professor and continue her research on sexuality and gender in relationships.

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