Student Spotlight

Since 2008, more than 200 graduate and undergraduate students have worked at MFRI, making valuable contributions to the lives of military and veteran families. Through our internship opportunities, students earn credits, build resumes and enhance their research knowledge. In addition, MFRI students interact with and learn from some of the world’s most respected military family researchers at the International Research Symposium on Military Families. They participate in service learning opportunities such as Stand Down. Equipped with skills learned here, they go on to serve in the military, and as researchers, professors and behavioral health specialists.

September Student Profile

MFRI student profile Taylor Dove

Taylor Dove

Taylor Dove works with the Military Family Research Institute’s education and employment team, where she has been involved with a number of projects. This includes community Stand Downs and Reaching Rural Veterans . She also facilitates conference calls among Indiana’s student veteran organizations, acting as their MFRI point of contact. 

A chance email from her advisor alerted Dove to MFRI’s internship program . It piqued her interest.

“Once I read more about MFRI, I contacted its assistant director,” said Dove, whose father and grandfather both served in the armed forces. “After the conversation, I received the internship, and eventually this job.”

Working at MFRI has helped Dove gain a better understanding of different cultures, including military culture. She has learned more about the professional world, about herself and her own professional aspirations, which include a desire to work with families.

“Working with such diverse people has been one of the best learning experiences I could have asked for,” she said. “Members of the military will always have a special place in my heart and I have always wanted to work with them, so I am thankful for the opportunity to do so.”

A human services major, Dove expects to graduate from Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences in December 2016.

Previous Student Profile

Mollie Daily

MFRI student profile Mollie Daily

Mollie Daily: Keeping it all in the family

Mollie Daily, a marketing and business management student (Class of 2016), became familiar with the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) when her older sister worked here. When Mollie became a Boilermaker, her sister repeatedly urged her to get a job at MFRI, explaining she wished that she had known about MFRI earlier in her college career, because she loved the organization so much. At the beginning of her sophomore year, Mollie reached out to Research Director Dave Topp. She has worked here ever since. Mollie works on the Family Journeys project as a participant retention specialist, and says she is “thankful to have such an amazing and fulfilling job.”

As a participation retention specialist, Mollie strategizes on ways to increase families’ retention in the Family Journeys research study and enhance their experience throughout the interviewing process. She ensures the team is on time, prepared and professional when scheduling interviews. She contacts families when they complete the daily diary section of the study, and when they complete the entire study, offering congratulations on behalf of MFRI for their participation in growing the body of research on military families. Her role at MFRI enables her to grow personally and professionally every day. In addition to improving her time management and organization skills, she is developing her business savvy, analytical thought and emotional intelligence.

After she graduates, she hopes to work in marketing for a company whose work makes a meaningful difference and about which she is passionate.

“People who work here are truly phenomenal,” she said. “I learn and grows each day I am in the office, and I couldn’t work with better people!”

Mollie is part of a military family. Her older brother,  1st Lt. Mitch Daily, graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in May 2013. He is now is a platoon leader and Blackhawk pilot in the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade.  Her brother-in-law, Captain Mason Dill, graduated from Purdue and was commissioned in the United States Marine Corps through Purdue’s NROTC program. He served as a fire direction officer, platoon commander and battery executive officer and currently serves as the inspector instructor to Headquarters Battery Second Battalion Fourteen Marines.  Her grandfather, Ronald Lasecki, was an Army Ranger, and her cousin, Tom Gillund, was a captain in the Army who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mollie loves that MFRI’s work is meaningful, purposeful and fulfilling.

“Service members, veterans and their families have made sacrifices for our country and our freedom,” she said. “It is an honor to assist them in their Family Journeys experience.”.

Kassandra Moench

MFRI student profile Kassandra Moench

Kassandra Moench

studies psychological sciences and works on MFRI’s research team. There she schedules interviews for the Family Journeys Project, having previously processed and quality checked the data for the project.

Moench said both of her grandfathers served in the military during World War II, and two of her uncles were Marines. But her interest in the military primarily stems from her relationships with two of her closest high school friends, both of whom entered the Army National Guard after graduation. During basic training, Moench exchanged letters with both of them.

“I was fascinated by the changes I saw in them and what they experienced,” Moench said.

Meanwhile, Moench entered Purdue University, where she learned about MFRI in a human development and family studies class. After Moench expressed a desire to work with military families, her professor introduced her to MFRI’s research director, and Moench was quickly hired.

Her favorite thing about working for MFRI is the people she works with.

“To them this isn’t just a job,” she said. “They actually care about the military and veteran families that they work with. Yes, MFRI is a research institute, but we don’t solely do research. We also have outreach programs. The opportunities I have here are incredibly valuable for both my career and personal growth.”

Now a senior at Purdue, Moench plans to obtain her master’s in psychology and hopes to work with families to help parent/child relationships grow and mature. She is grateful for the funding that supports her position.

“My work at MFRI will be a great stepping stone for my future,” she said.


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