Center for Social and Behavioral Research



Mary Losch

Mary Losch, Ph.D.


Dr. Losch is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI) and was the Assistant Director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) at UNI from 1998 to 2014. She is also an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Iowa College of Public Health in the Department of Community and Behavioral Health. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Iowa.  Dr. Losch has been the Principal Investigator for numerous grants, contracts and investigations of public policy, public health and other topics.

Megan Ruxton

Megan Ruxton, Ph.D.

Assistant Director

Megan M. Ruxton is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Northern Iowa, and joined the Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) as Assistant Director in the Summer of 2018. Previously she was a Survey Research Associate with the Institute for Research in the Social Sciences (IRISS) at Colorado State University, and has consulted for state and federal government agencies in the U.S. and Canada. Her academic research draws on political behavior and public policy and administration, with a particular emphasis on the role of public engagement and science in policy decision-making and implementation, particularly regarding environmental and sustainability issues. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science in 2017 from Colorado State University, and prior to that earned her B.A. and M.A. in Political Science from Iowa State University.

Gene Lutz

Gene M. Lutz, Ph.D.

Director Emeritus and Senior Consultant

Dr. Lutz is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI), and was Director of the Center for Social and Behavioral Research (CSBR) at UNI from 1988 to 2014.  He was also an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the University of Iowa College of Public Health Department of Community and Behavioral Health.  He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Iowa State University.  Dr. Lutz has been the Principal Investigator for over 70 studies of public health and other topics, and the administrator for scores of additional studies.

Erin Heiden

Erin O. Heiden, MPH, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist 

Erin Heiden is a Senior Research Scientist at the CSBR. Her education includes a Master of Public Health degree and Ph.D. in Community and Behavioral Health from the University of Iowa with an emphasis in health communication and occupational injury prevention research. Erin’s research interests include evaluation and policy research, psycho-social factors and effects of injury, and injuries among individuals with disabilities.  She leads several CSBR projects focused on STEM evaluation and monitoring in the state.

Ki Park

Ki Park, Ph.D.

Senior Research Scientist 

Ki Park is a Senior Research Scientist at the CSBR. He holds an M.A. in Health Education and Promotion from UNI and a Ph.D. in Community and Behavioral Health with an emphasis in health communication from the University of Iowa. He has been part of the CSBR research team as a student research assistant before joining as a staff member in 2013.  Dr. Park leads CSBR projects focused on understanding gambling outcomes and treatment, analysis of complex data and use of social media and organic data as complements to traditional quantitative and qualitative methods.

Rod Muilenburg

Rod Muilenburg, B.L.S.

Field Supervisor 

Rod Muilenburg is the Field Supervisor at the CSBR. He graduated from UNI with a B.L.S in 2000 and joined the CSBR as a staff member in 2001. Rod coordinates and supervises the day-to-day activities in the telephone interviewing lab. He oversees WinCATI operations and programs questionnaires in Ci3. Rod is also the Project Coordinator for the Iowa Barriers to Prenatal Care Project and the Iowa Gambling Treatment Outcomes Study and coordinates logistics for projects involving large self-administered mailback surveys.

Tom Turner

Thomas M. Turner, B.A.

Information Technology Specialist

Since graduating from UNI in 1994 with a B.A. in Computer Science, Tom Turner has been responsible for all aspects of technology at the CSBR, from maintaining the network servers and PC workstations to coding programs in Ci3, C/C++, ECMAScript, and SPSS.  Tom assists with dataset development and testing and development of information and data security policies.

Sharon Cory

Sharon Cory


Sharon Cory performs a variety of administrative and accounting functions in the Center for Social and Behavioral Research.  She came to the CSBR in 1997 after spending 8 years assisting with the UNI Overseas Placement Fair for Educators.  Sharon's work supports all dimensions of CSBR work.

Mitch Avery

Mitchell Avery, M.P.P.

Project Coordinator

Mitch has worked as a project coordinator at CSBR since 2014. He received his B.A. in Economics in 2010 and his Masters of Public Policy in 2013, both from the University of Northern Iowa. He was part of the CSBR research team as a student Research Assistant before joining as a full-time staff member in 2013.  Mitch provides support for multiple projects and plays a central role in the ongoing CAPP and Tobacco Quitline evaluations and provides expertise and support for projects utilizing online data collection. 

Stephanie Strong

Stephanie Strong, M.A.

Project Coordinator

Stephanie is a project coordinator at the CSBR. She received her Bachelors in Psychology and a certificate in Industrial and Organizational Psychology in 2014 and her Masters of Psychology with a Clinical Science emphasis in 2017, each from the University of Northern Iowa. She started with the Center in May 2013 as an interviewer in the Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI) lab. The following year, she began working as a Graduate Research Assistant before joining as staff in May 2017. Stephanie provides support on multiple projects and plays a key role in numerous program evaluations including the state’s tobacco cessation program, Quitline Iowa, and the gambling helpline, 1-800-BETS OFF. Her research interests center around addiction and substance use.

Nahida Begum

Nahida Begum, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Scholar

Nahida Begum is a Postdoctoral Scholar at the Center for Social and Behavioral Research. She holds an MSc. in Rural Planning and Development from University of Guelph, Canada and a Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Previously she worked with Aga Khan Development Network as a researcher and evaluator in Northern Pakistan. She also worked with University of Northern Carolina Charlotte as Research Assistant.  Her academic research lies in the realm of environment and education policy. She has also conducted applied research on issues such as energy, environmental health, and STEM Education.