Course Faculty


Aaron Ebata, professor - human development and family studies

Aaron T. Ebata is an associate professor and extension specialist in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). His research and outreach interests focus on applying research to develop and evaluate programs that promote healthy parenting practices. His current work focuses on exploring how time in nature can facilitate family relationships, and using technology to support families. Dr. Ebata is the Principle Investigator for the Autism Program (TAP) at UIUC. Dr. Ebata was born and raised on the island of Hawaii, and was an elementary and preschool teacher before getting his Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State.  Dr. Ebata is the father of two young adult sons.

For more information, see Dr. Ebata’s HDFS Faculty Page.

Teaching Assistant


Samantha Iwinski, M.S. is a third-year doctoral student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Her research focuses on parent-child relationships, specifically with child attachment behavior, executive function, and eating behaviors. She graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in 2018 with a B.S. in Clinical Psychology and took a year to work in research labs at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has been working with the Strong Kids project since 2016 and will continue to work with them for her doctoral degree. Sam completed her M.S. in HDFS in 2021 and is also the graduate president of the Illinois Student Council on Family Relations.