Research & Discover

Lauren Papp

Dr. Lauren Papp, Associate Dean for Research

As the Associate Dean of Research for the School of Human Ecology at UW–Madison, I am pleased to introduce you to our robust research program. SoHE’s dedicated team of experienced research support staff help faculty and their teams identify and win millions of dollars in competitive grants every year from federal, private, university, and community sources investing in the human ecology approach to research and engagement.

Across our various labs and initiatives, and in collaboration with our five Centers of Excellence, SoHE supports researchers across their career stages to execute high-level, high-impact work that improves wellbeing and quality of life for children, families, consumers, and communities. I invite you to learn more in the sections below and to reach out to me with questions or to connect with our research program.


Lauren Papp, PhD
Associate Dean for Research; Vaughan Bascom Professor in Women, Family and Community, Human Development and Family Studies Department

Recent highlights

Huambachano: Values, Knowledge, and Rights Shaping Land Use in the Peruvian Amazon

Dr. Mariaelena Huambachano, Assistant Professor of Civil Society and Community Studies, is first author on a new paper in Case Studies in the Environment, “Values, Knowledge, and Rights Shaping Land Use in the Peruvian Amazon: The Shimaa and Diamante Case Studies.”, comparing two Traditional Ecological Knowledge models of sustainable land management.

Barringer, Papp publish on college students’ Rx stimulant misuse

Human Development and Family Studies PhD student Allie Barringer and Dr. Lauren Papp, Associate Dean for Research, Vaughan Bascom Professor in Women, Family and Community, and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, have coauthored a new paper in the Journal of American College Health on the academic factors associated with college students’ prescription stimulant misuse in daily life.

Collins, Odders-White find childhood allowances improve young adult financial responsibility

A new paper in the Journal of Family and Economic Issues by Dr. J. Michael Collins, the Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance and Professor of Consumer Science, and Elizabeth Odders-White, formerly of UW–Madison, found that young adults who received an allowance as children reported modestly higher levels of financial responsibility.

Departments and centers

The School of Human Ecology hosts a broad range of innovative work in research, art and design, and community-based projects across our four departments and five centers. Learn more about the specialties of each via the links below.


Civil Society and Community Studies
Consumer Science
Design Studies
Human Development and Family Studies

Centers of Excellence

Kohl’s Center for Retailing
Center for Child and Family Well-being
Center for Financial Security
Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (“the CommNS”)
Center for Design and Material Culture

Key SoHE Research Intersections

At SoHE, we find strength in thoughtful cross-unit collaborations. These efforts expand our capacity to seek and obtain funded research support and provide students with high-impact research and learning opportunities. Currently, we are particularly focused on two broad intersectional themes that bridge research, scholarship, teaching, and outreach across multiple SoHE departments:

Ecology of human interdependence with natural environments

Human well-being and the ecology of relationships and contexts that support it are the core of SoHE’s identity. Generally, though, when people hear the term “ecology,” they think only of relationships with the natural world. We know these two ecological frameworks are intimately linked; that is, human thriving and healthy natural environments are interdependent, and there is a pressing need for work at this intersection. SoHE researchers pursue these critical nodes of inquiry, including on topics of environmental hazards and public health, adaptive built environments, sustainable consumption and design, and food security and sovereignty.

Health and well-being across the lifespan

The School of Human Ecology supports its faculty members as they conduct impactful research on growth and development from the prenatal period into older adulthood.  The need to understand individuals, relationships, and families across the lifespan – and in social, community, and financial contexts – is recognized and distinguishes the research and scholarship conducted in the School.  Efforts to characterize at-risk populations, transition periods, and implications for policy and practice are particularly valued.  Our faculty members’ focus on health and well-being is broadly defined and can include measures of biological, physical, emotional, cognitive, environmental, and financial health, among others.  Understanding these relationships and outcomes with respect to diverse populations and in health equity terms is critically needed and appreciated.