Research Resources

The Shaw Center is a research facility located a few blocks from the University of Notre Dame campus. We are located within the community so that it is easier for our community partners and participants to come visit us (and find parking!). Our goal is to give a warm welcome to those who enter our doors, with a comfortable reception area with a play area and greeting from our Center Coordinator, Terri Sweeney, or other project staff. We offer a variety of resources at the Shaw Center including facilities, research tools, and support staff.




In the approximately 11,000 square foot facility, a large proportion of the space is shared among the research projects including the following resources:

  • Student Researchers And Child Playing

    Reception area with seating and open play area
  • An additional enclosed play space
  • Kitchen to be used as a break room or as additional meeting space (seats approximately 12 people)
  • Two interview rooms with computers for data collection or analysis
  • 8 rooms with two pan-tilt-zoom cameras and multiple flat panel microphones (with wall jacks for additional types of microphones) controlled by computers in 2 centralized control rooms
    • 6 lab spaces with round table and 4 chairs
    • 1 room with 4 armchairs and a coffee table with a nearby smart TV
    • Conference room with projector and cameras and microphones (seats approximately 18 people)


Child Playing Under Observation

We have a variety of additional resources that we share among our researchers:

  • A toy lending library to help entertain participating children or siblings of varying ages and ability levels
  • A measurement and materials lending library to borrow measures and manuals for smaller projects or to review more closely prior to purchasing
  • Webcam to be used for video conferencing
  • Two iPads that can be used for data collection (Qualtrics surveys, NIH Toolbox)


Support Staff

Although most of the staff at the Shaw Center are grant-funded and work for specific projects, there are three staff members who support the research of our faculty and student affiliates.

Jen Burke Lefever, Ph.D., is the managing director of the Shaw Center and has decades of hands-on experience in grant-writing, research design, and the ethical treatment of human research participants. She is also experienced in data collection, management, and dissemination. Faculty affiliates and their students can reach out to at Jen (574) 631-8595 or for consultation on:

  • finding funding opportunities and writing grants
  • data collection and management issues
  • developing protocols for the ethical treatment of participants
  • hiring and managing staff
  • budgeting for research
  • publishing research 

Terri Sweeney, M.S., Center Coordinator, offers a warm reception to the Shaw Center, makes sure the facilities in the building are running smoothly and provides administrative support for grants. Faculty affiliates and their students can reach out to Terri at (574) 631-0959 or to:

  • learn how to schedule space within the Shaw Center
  • gain access to the Shaw Center
  • coordinate the gathering of grant materials
  • consulting on University-specific processes and procedures

Heidi Miller, Community Liaison and Recruitment Coordinator, is a seasoned participant recruiter and a consistent presence in community groups supporting the healthy development of children. Faculty affiliates and their students can reach out to Heidi at (574) 631-0952 or to:

  • consult on recruitment strategies
  • consult on sample retention strategies
  • gain introductions into community groups
  • learn how to safely conduct research within the community.