The UCF Institute for Social and Behavioral Science (ISBS) engages in community-centered research and program evaluations, specializing in research relevant to public health and policy issues across the state of Florida. To meet this end, ISBS employs various quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including, but not limited to, interviews, focus groups, secondary data analysis, statistical analysis, survey administration, content analysis, and GIS mapping. ISBS clientele are diverse and include local governments, not-for-profit agencies, and academics to answer critical research and evaluative questions on health, violence, crime, food insecurity, homelessness, and other social problems. In this way, we advance the science that guides improving the lives of individuals, the health of communities, and the well-being of the broader population.

ISBS works with community partners through a holistic approach. The core of this approach is a focus on mixed methodology. Moreover, adherence to stakeholder voices—from the stories of violence survivors residing in a shelter, to the experiences of those who navigate substance abuse issues—is a hallmark of our approach. In these ways, we are able to piece together an in-depth understanding of the issues addressed by our partners.

Current Projects

At any given time, ISBS has a variety of projects underway. Below you will find our recent and current projects!

Hand holding beaker
Uplifting Women in STEM
ISBS is currently collaborating with entities across UCF to evaluate a research initiative dedicated to fostering equity for women in STEM. ISBS’s role involves determining alignment of project implementation with initial planning and measuring the impact of the efforts.
Overdose Deaths in Orange County
ISBS has been involved in research on overdose deaths in Orange County, FL. A critical task involves utilizing medical examiner data to understand the dynamics of fatal overdoses.
Papers on Table
Drug-Free Education
ISBS staff annually serve as evaluators on applications for schools striving to achieve Red Ribbon certification. Red Ribbon is a drug use prevention program that is found in K-12 schools across the United States.
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Vaccine Decision Making
ISBS is currently working on a recurring project on attitudes toward vaccines. A critical component of this work involves focus groups.

Completed Projects

ISBS has a UCF STARS (Showcase of Text, Archives, Research & Scholarship) page that houses some of its previously completed projects.

ISBS page on the STARS website

Visit the ISBS STARS Page

Meet the Team

Amy Donley

Amy Donley, Ph.D.

Director, ISBS
Associate Professor
Department of Sociology, UCF

Dr. Amy Donley, Director, has been conducting community-based research across Florida for over fifteen years and has led over 70 unique studies to date. She is well-versed in all major social research methods and specializes in designing mixed- methodology research studies.

Jacquelyn Fernandez

Jacquelyn Fernandez-Reiss, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Research Associate, ISBS
Department of Sociology, UCF

Jacquelyn Fernandez-Reiss, MA, Senior Project Manager, specializes in developing evaluation plans, GIS analysis, and qualitative analysis. Jackie’s research focuses on social determinants of health and the impact of social media on behaviors.

Caroline Austin

Caroline Austin, M.A.

Senior Project Manager, ISBS
Doctoral Student
Department of Sociology, UCF

Caroline Austin, MA, Senior Project Manager, specializes in survey construction, conducting qualitative interviews, and participatory research. Caroline’s research focuses on social inequalities, specifically poverty and precarious work.

Julio Montanez

Julio Montanez, M.A.

Project Manager, ISBS
Doctoral Student
Department of Sociology, UCF

Julio Montanez, MA, Project Manager, specializes in statistical analysis, social policy reviews, and content analysis. Julio’s primary areas of research are intimate partner violence and social policy.

Jonzelle Bell

Jonzelle Bell, B.S.

Assistant Project Manager, ISBS
Master’s Student
Department of Sociology, UCF

Jonzelle Bell, BS, Assistant Project Manager, specializes in qualitative interviews and Geographic Information Systems. Her research interests include medical sociology and social inequalities, specifically women’s access to healthcare.

Alexandria (Ally) McCarty

Alexandria (Ally) McCarty, B.A.

Assistant Project Manager, ISBS
Master’s Student
Department of Sociology, UCF

Alexandria McClarty, BA, Assistant Project Manager, specializes in secondary data analysis and GIS analysis. Her primary research interests include substance use disorders and spatial sociology.

Reach Out to Us!

Applying for a grant?
ISBS can work with you to develop a data collection strategy or an evaluation plan.

Need an evaluation conducted to measure the impact of your work?
ISBS can design and execute an evaluation that measures the impact of your work, within your budget.

Contact Information

UCF Department of Sociology

4297 Andromeda Loop N.
Howard Philips Hall, 114
Orlando, FL 32816-1360

Phone: 407.823.1357