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Relational and Ecological Aspects of LGBTQ Lives (REAL Lives Lab)

REAL Lives Lab 

The REAL Lives Lab focuses broadly on socio-contextual influences on health and wellbeing for sexual and gender minority populations. We recognize that people’s lived experiences are shaped by their intersectional identities and how these are situated within broader systems of power and inequity. We are interested in multilevel factors (e.g., at the individual, interpersonal, setting, and structural levels) that shape health and
wellbeing for sexual and gender minority populations.

We examine factors that contribute to mental and physical health disparities as well as those related to resilience and thriving. We value qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods, including tools that support relational and multilevel analyses (e.g., social network analysis, GIS). As our lab grows, we plan to pursue translational research related to clinical practice and intervention with LGBTQ people and communities.

Current projects focus on the following areas:

  • Projects to enhance clinical service delivery and training within the Sexual and Gender Identities Clinic
  • How COVID-19 is impacting the social support networks of gay and bisexual men of different
  • racial/ethnic groups, and how it might impact racial disparities in HIV for this population
  • The potential utility of collaborative network visualization as a tool for intervention
  • Student dissertations using qualitative and quantitative methods and focused on a range of topics, particularly the experiences of specific cultural groups and minoritized populations


  • Attendance and active participation in weekly lab meetings.
  • Individual mentoring meetings at least 1x/quarter.
  • Completing a variety of research-related tasks. Specific duties will be determined based on both
  • student interests and project/lab needs.
  • Collaborating as co-authors on conference presentations and/or publications.
  • Contributing to a positive and supportive lab culture that supports members’ broader professional development.


2-3 students will be invited to join the lab each year.

How To Apply

Please submit the following to Dr. McConnell ( by the application deadline:

  • Cover letter (1-2 pages) detailing your fit with the lab, previous research experience, research goals for
  • graduate school, and long-term career goals
  • Curriculum vitae (including 3 references with email contact information)
  • Current unofficial PAU transcript
  • Research proposal from PAU’s Research Methods course

Select students will be invited to interview to learn more about their possible fit with the lab. Accepted

students will be notified on the PAU uniform notification date, and will have the option to start in Spring.