Sarah Mitchell, Ph.D., CFLE

Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Science
Sarah Mitchell


Research and advising

Sarah N. Mitchell earned her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science from the University of Missouri. Her research focuses on family structure and process; her primary areas of interest include LGBTQ+ individuals, identity formation processes, sexual orientation disclosure decisions, perceptions of familial support, gender, ethnicity, and the impact of intersecting identities (particularly minoritized statuses) within the context of family.

She also has a background in psychology, utilizing intersectional and feminist frameworks in her research. Additionally, she is interested in social identity theory and symbolic interactionism as they pertain to the lived and familial experiences of individuals with multiple minoritized identities (especially for LGBTQ+ BIPOC individuals). She heads the IIRS (Intersecting Identities and Relationships Study) Research Lab mentoring undergraduate and graduate students.

She has a passion for mentoring and is always looking for curious and motivated research assistants and advisees! Current Undergraduate and Graduate students interested in joining the IIRS Research Lab should email with inquiries regarding opportunities for the upcoming semester.

Undergraduate students may volunteer, receive HDFS 401: Independent Study credit, work with Dr. Mitchell as a McNair scholar, or apply for a PREP or NURA award to receive a salary and funding for their research. Graduate students may volunteer or receive HDFS 752: Graduate Research credit and/or HDFS 791: Internship credit as either a lab affiliate or as an official advisee.

Prospective students interested in attending graduate school for an HDFS degree at the University of Nevada, Reno should apply for the M.S. or Ph.D. program. Prospective doctoral students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in Interdisciplinary Social Psychology should see the following admissions information. Prospective doctoral students (those interested in HDFS or Interdisciplinary Social Psychology), please email to see if there are open spots for a given academic year.

Teaching and service

The courses Dr. Mitchell has taught in HDFS (e.g., Human Sexuality, Intimate Relationships and Marriage, Black Families, Divorce, Introduction to Families and Children and Families in a Multi-ethnic Society) incorporate the study of diverse and underrepresented individuals and families. She loves teaching and helping students grow in their knowledge of HDFS. Courses taught at University include:

  • HDFS 720: Graduate Seminar – Theories of Human Development
  • HDFS 438: Children and Families in a Multi-Ethnic Society
  • HDFS 430: Advanced Studies in Human Sexuality
  • HDFS 202: Introduction to Families
  • HDFS 201: Lifespan Human Development

Undergraduate students who are interested in being a TA (and have taken one of the classes listed above) should email with inquiries regarding opportunities for the upcoming semester.

Dr. Mitchell is also a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) and is interested in community service and engagement involving working with and/or on behalf of diverse populations.

Recent publications

*Indicates undergraduate student; indicates graduate student

In the media


  • Ph.D., Human Development and Family Science, University of Missouri
  • M.A., Human Development and Family Science, University of Missouri
  • B.A., Psychology, University of Missouri