Inside the mind of researcher Bobbie Weber

“Learning more about the effectiveness of different strategies for improving the lives of children and families can inform the decisions of policy makers and others,” Bobbie Weber says.

From left to right: CPHHS Faculty Research Assistant Michaella Sektnan, Faculty CPHHS Research Associate Bobbie Weber, CPHHS Graduate Student Grace Hartman, CPHHS Graduate Student Jennifer Finders.

College of Public Health and Human Sciences Faculty Research Associate Bobbie Weber joined Oregon State in 2005 after earning a PhD in Human Development and Family Studies in the CPHHS. She earned a master’s degree in child development from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

What made you decide to get into this field of study? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?

“I grew up in a child-centered family. When I learned that not all families were able to meet the needs of their children, I wanted to understand why and what would be helpful to these families.”

What does your current research entail?

“My research focuses on families with young children and most directly with early learning programs and other family supports.”

What sparked your interest in this topic?

“Support in the early years is an efficient and effective strategy for improving both child and family outcomes. Today’s families face multiple stressors, and support for them is limited.”

How will this make a difference?

“Learning more about the effectiveness of different strategies for improving the lives of children and families can inform the decisions of policy makers and others.”

What would you say is the most fascinating aspect of this research?

“I find any aspect of children’s lives fascinating. Being able to help others understand what is happening to children and their parents and how we can help is rewarding work.”

What do you hope is the outcome of your research?

“The desired outcome is that decision makers base decisions on what research has demonstrated supports children and families.”

Why is research important in the field of human development and family sciences?


“Few things impact the future as much as how well families and society support the development of children. Increasing understanding of human development and what best supports it impacts the whole society.”

What’s next for you? Do you have any future research projects lined up?

“Over the next year my work will focus on the quality of early learning and development settings. This includes validating the Quality Rating and Improvement System Oregon recently implemented and learning more about how to train, educate and support the adults who work directly with young children in these settings.”

What is the best advice you’ve ever received, and who gave it?

“Pay attention to what you love to do. That love is probably a sign of where your gifts lie. A counselor shared the advice when I was a teenager, and I am still paying attention to what I love to do.”

What advice would you give to current students and recent alums?

“Look for areas in which you can contribute and where doing so would give you satisfaction and joy. The world is full of worthy work opportunities and it is important to find those that use the interests, knowledge and experience that are uniquely yours.”

What are your favorite activities outside of work?

“Right now being with my grandchildren is my favorite activity. I love learning in any way an opportunity to do so appears, whether it be something as simple as knitting to figuring out the best way to design a research project.”

Click here to learn more from CPHHS researchers in these “Inside the mind of researcher” feature stories.