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Student Profiles

Here we highlight some of the students who work on center research projects.

portrait of Lauren AronsonLauren Aronson
BCTR Alum
HD '17

Lauren is currently a first year graduate student pursing her Master of Social Work at NYU Silver School of Social Work. Her field placement this year is at an agency called Harlem Children's Zone. She is interning at their Promise Academy I Elementary Charter School where she does both individual and group counseling with 3rd through 5th grade students. 

Lauren joined the BCTR her sophomore year with the Cornell Research Program on Self-Injury and Recovery (CRPSIR), directed by Janis Whitlock (now named the Youth, Risk, and Opportunity Lab). She learned so much collaborating with this research team and gained new skills pertaining to translational research such as conducting literature reviews and transcribing interviews, and about non-suicidal self-injury. In addition, the student showcases at the end of each year were so valuable in her gaining experience presenting research and practicing public speaking. Lauren's experience with CRPSIR shaped her current professional interests in childhood trauma and child and adolescent mental health. Lauren's first research project at CRPSIR was creating an information brief on the association between child maltreatment and the development of self-injurious behaviors in adolescence. Working in the BCTR was her first experience in a research lab, and she continues to be interested in participating in research both during and after graduate school.

Lauren's interests with social work are in childhood trauma and adverse childhood experiences, and their association with mental illness in adolescence and early adulthood. Following graduate school, she would like to be part of an outpatient team working with children and adolescents struggling with mental illness. She also wants to continue to take part in research, particularly on developing interventions and preventative programs to mitigate the mental health impacts of early childhood trauma.    


portrait of Lily McGovernLily McGovern
Undergraduate student
Human Biology, Health & Society '19

Lily is an undergraduate senior studying human biology, health & society in the College of Human Ecology. She is a Program for Research on Youth Development and Engagement (PRYDE) scholar, and works with ACT for Youth under the mentorship of Dr. Jane Powers. Lily has worked on numerous projects within ACT for Youth, and has devoted much of her time to The CDC Sexual Violence Prevention project. This project, a collaboration among ACT for Youth, Dr. Janis Whitlock and the NYS Department of Health, seeks to evaluate the efficacy of a strength-based program for middle school boys as an upstream prevention strategy for sexual violence. Thoughout this project, Lily has been able to work alongside community partners to develop translational research skills as well as a deeper appreciation for the challenges associated with program implementation. Lily is also excited to be a part of the upcoming Independent Living Survey, which seeks to identify and understand the needs of homeless youth in Tompkins County, conducted by ACT for Youth in partnership with The Learning Web.

As a former NY 4-Her, Lily has a special connection to Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Bronfrenbrenner Center’s mission of translating research to community partners. Originally hailing from a tiny town in rural Allegany County, Lily understands the challenges associated with youth development and outreach in rural, lower-resource areas. This context has helped to shape her Cornell experience and translational research interests as to best promote university connection and information dissemination to practitioners and communities. Lily and the rest of the senior PRYDE cohort are now in the process of creating a program evaluation for the 4-H public presentations program in Ulster County, NY under the direction of Dr. Tony Burrow and research collaborator Melanie Forstrom.

Lily is pursuing a global health minor at Cornell and had the opportunity to travel to Tanzania for eight weeks over the summer of 2017. There she conducted a policy analysis case study on community health worker training, and shadowed medical professionals in rural villages surrounding Mt. Kilimanjaro. She is also an active volunteer at the Ithaca Free Clinic, an organization that provides free medical and holistic care for the under-insured and uninsured. Through these experiences and others, Lily has strengthened her understanding healthcare inequity and access, as well as furthered her drive toward a career in medicine. Lily hopes to attend medical school after working in the field for two years post-graduation from Cornell. She would like to continue working with adolescent populations and translating research to practice in the physician's office to best promote healthy development.

Outside of her profession-driven academic pursuits, Lily devotes much of her time to the Cornell University Wind Symphony. As the current president and lead saxophonist, Lily helps to organize and manage the ensemble under the direction of assistant professor and director of winds, Dr. James Spinazzola. She is also preparing for an ensemble tour to Haiti and the Dominican Republic this coming January.


Student Profiles archive:

Fall 2015 student profiles

Spring 2015 student profiles

Fall 2014 student profiles

Spring 2014 student profiles

Fall 2013 student profiles

Spring 2013 student profiles

Fall 2012 student profiles

Spring 2012 student profiles