Texas Tech University

Sara Dodd, Ph.D.

Executive Director and Associate Professor
Center For Adolescent Resiliency

Email: sara.dodd@ttu.edu

Dr. Sara Dodd became the Director of the Center for Adolescent Resiliency in July 2011. She is an associate professor in the College of Human Sciences.  From 2009-2016, she was jointly appointed to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension as a specialist in 4-H and Youth Development. Prior to her faculty appointment, she worked at Texas Tech as a research associate and project director for an NIH grant studying the effects of frequent work travel upon families (Dr. Anisa Zvonkovic, principal investigator). Prior to graduate studies, Dr. Dodd worked as an analyst in the IT industry and as a legislative staff member for a Texas state senator. She earned her bachelor's degree (government) from Abilene Christian University and her MBA (management) and PhD (family/consumer sciences) from Texas Tech. Dr. Dodd's research interests include leadership processes, positive youth development, and adolescent wellness and health behaviors. 

Sara Dodd

Research Focus

Dr. Dodd's research interests include youth leadership development and mentoring, adolescent health and wellness, service-learning, and community engagement.

My research focus is transdisciplinary, reflecting my interests and beliefs about the complexity of human behavior, particularly with regard to adolescents and their well-being.  As the Director of the Center for Adolescent Resiliency, I work collaboratively with scientists and practitioners from many academic disciplines (e.g. communication, human development, counseling, education, human nutrition, family & consumer science, health).  Our work looks at contexts and individual factors from socioecological and developmental perspectives, always seeking to understand how and why individuals can be equipped, motivated, and supported to adopt behaviors that promote and sustain health across multiple life domains.   I value working collaboratively in order to identify and enlist expertise, experience, and methodology to best answer diverse research questions and test new models.  Consequently, most of my research projects utilize mixed methods.

During the past decade, I have worked closely with a variety of community partners to support Texas Tech University's strategic commitment to engaged scholarship, including Covenant Health, United Supermarkets, the Talkington Foundation, Lubbock Independent School District, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension/Texas 4-H, Communities in Schools, Lubbock County juvenile justice programs, and numerous other area school districts. I firmly believe that community-based research and engagement are necessary to the growth of Texas Tech University and to the overall well-being of young people and their families in West Texas.

Areas of expertise

  • Youth development and youth leadership
  • Leadership theory and development; mentoring
  • Comprehensive wellness; health behavior and health competence
  • Mixed methods research design

Selected publications

Follmer-Reece, H. E., Velez-Gomez, P., Moratto-Vásquez, N. M., & Dodd, S. L. (2021). On the right path: Youth development amidst Colombia's sociocultural transition. Journal of Youth Development, 16(2-3), 175-196. https://doi.org/10.5195/jyd.2021.1034

Saha, S., Dawson, J., Murimi, M., Dodd, S. L., & Oldewage, W. (2020). Effects of a nutrition education intervention to promote fruit and vegetable knowledge, preference, cooking, and consumption self-efficacy among Title I elementary school children. Published online July 31, 2020, Health Education Journal, 79, 963-973. doi.org/10.1177/0017896920944421

Dodd, S. L., Long, J. D., Hou, J., O'Boyle, M., & Kahathuduwa, C.N. (2020). Brain activation and affective judgement in response to personal dietary images: An fMRI preliminary study. Appetite, 148, 1 May 2020, 104561.  doi.org/10.1016/j.appet.2019.104561

Dodd, S. L., Follmer-Reece, H., Gonzales, G., Nunez, C., & Cude, K. (2020). Integrated Service Learning Strategies for Student Engagement. In A. Zimmerman, (Ed.), Preparing Students for Community-Engaged Scholarship in Higher Education. Hershey, Pennsylvania:  IGI Global.

Long, J. D., Dodd, S. L., Doumit, R., Boswell, C., O'Boyle, M., & Rogers, T. (2020). Integrative Review of Evidence Related to Dietary Choice Revealed by fMRI: Considerations for Obesity and Weight Loss Education.  Worldviews on Evidence Based Nursing, 17, 151-157.  doi.org/10.1111/wvn.12424

Sherman, K., Gonzales, G., Dodd, S. L., & Kostina-Ritchey, E. (2017). United Future Leaders Ambassadors: How do we engage young leaders in community service? The Journal of Leadership Education, 16(3), 9-23. DOI:1012806/V16/I3/A2.

Kostina-Ritchey, E., Velez-Gomez, P., & Dodd, S. L.  (2017). Student assets and      commitment to learning in an afterschool leadership development program: Looking beyond the myths. Middle Grades Research Journal, 11(2), 49-60.

Sherman, K., Gonzales, G., Kostina-Ritchey, E., & Dodd, S. L. (2016). Mentoring the mentors:  A systematic approach to formal and informal training of collegiate leaders. In F. Salamone & M. Snipes, (Eds.), Passing the Torch: Mentoring the Next Generation. Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom:  Cambridge Scholars Publishing.

Dodd, S., Follmer-Reece, H., & Ritchey, E. R. (2015).  Food Challenge: Cultivating Food Competence among Adolescents. Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 5(4), 71-84.  

Kostina-Ritchey, E., Follmer-Reece, H., Dodd, S. L., Sherman, K. & Gonzales, G. (2015).  United Future Leaders: A Case of the Use of Technology in Youth Programming and Hidden Curriculum.  In S. Blair, P. Claster & S. Claster (Eds.), Sociological Studies of Children and Youth (pp. 439-461).  Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Publishing.

Dodd, S., Follmer-Reece, H., Kostina-Ritchey, E., & Reyna, R. (2015). Food Challenge: Serving Up 4-H to Non-Traditional Audiences. Journal of Extension, 53(4), Article 4IAW4.  Available at http://www.joe.org/joe/2015august/iw5.php

Long, J. D., Dodd, S., & Boswell, C. (2015). Technology application for dietary control: participants' viewpoints. Journal of clinical nursing, 24(5-6), 869-871.

Kolyesnikova, N., Dodd, S. L. S., & Callison, C.(2011).  Appeal strategy and consumer response in direct mail advertising: How induced gratitude and obligation affect message influence.  Journal of Marketing Communications, 17(5). 337-353.

Couch, S., & Dodd, S. (2005). Doing the Right Thing: Ethical Issues in Higher Education. Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, 97(3), 20-26.

Center for Adolescent Resiliency