Texas Tech at the 2014 NCFR Conference

This year’s National Council on Family Relations conference was held in Baltimore, Maryland this past weekend, with the headquarters hotel just a baseball throw away from the Orioles’ Camden Yards ballpark.

camden yards 1

Numerous Texas Tech HDFS faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and alumni presented their research (see conference program). Below are pictures from the conference (thanks to Sylvia Niehuis). You may click on the photos to enlarge them.

sothy, erin, & jacki

jacki stands by poster

Erin Kostina‐Ritchey (a newly minted Ph.D.) and faculty member Dr. Jacki Fitzpatrick presented a poster entitled, “Literary Portrayals: Adoptive Families’ Causal Attribution for Adopting.” In the left-hand photo directly above, Erin (center) and Jacki (right) are joined by Ph.D. alumnus Sothy Eng, now a faculty member at Lehigh University.

wendy, stephanie, & ivette

wendy, ivette, & rebecca

Another Texas Tech presentation was in the form of a roundtable session, in which Dr. Niehuis’s lab group, consisting of faculty members, graduate students, and undergrads, discussed “Mentoring Undergraduate Research in the Social Sciences.” Authors of the presentation were Rebecca Oldham (grad student, at right in right-hand photo), Ivette Noriega (grad student, at right in left-hand photo and center of right-hand photo), Hannah Baird (grad student), Sylvia Niehuis (faculty), Wendy Wood (undergrad, at left in both photos), and Molly Ireland (faculty, Psychological Sciences). Undergraduate Stephanie Michelle Ortiz (left-hand picture, center), a participant in the Tech Council on Family Relations, also joined in.

miriam & shera

Finally, Drs. Miriam Mulsow (left) and Shera Jackson enjoy an informal chat. Dr. Mulsow directs our graduate program, whereas Dr. Jackson supervises the undergraduate Tech CFR group.

Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research, Undergraduate Students

TTU HDFS and Family Policy Activities

texas capitolOne area in which the HDFS department has enhanced its teaching and research in recent years is the application of basic research on families and individuals across the life span to the formulation of laws and public policies. We offer a graduate course (which is also open to advanced undergraduates) called Family Law and Public Policy (FLAPP). We also offer an undergraduate course called The Family in the Community. Among others, Drs. Alan Reifman, Jacki Fitzpatrick, and Shera Jackson, and doctoral students Janis Henderson and Brandon Logan, have been involved in these endeavors.

Another element of our family policy work is our involvement with the national Family Impact Seminars network (hosted for many years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, but now moving to Purdue University). As seen in this network map, roughly half of all states in the U.S. are involved. Within a participating state, university researchers, legislators and other policymakers, and experts from policy organizations collaborate to put on an annual or biennial seminar, each seminar focusing on a single topic of mutual interest. Texas’s liaisons to the Family Impact Seminar network include Texas Tech’s Dr. Reifman (replacing Jeff Wherry) and the University of Texas-Austin’s Dr. Cynthia Osborne.

garner podium

Last Friday, November 14, the Child & Family Research Partnership at UT-Austin’s LBJ School of Public Affairs, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, and the organization TexProtects teamed up to present a half-day seminar at the Texas State Capitol in Austin, entitled “Toxic Stress and Early Childhood: What Policy Makers and Funders Need to Know.” The featured speaker was Dr. Andrew Garner of Case-Western Reserve University, a practicing pediatrician and Ph.D. in neuroscience, who spoke about toxic stress and early brain development.

Additional speakers included Dr. Osborne (below left), Sarah Abrahams (below right), and others on nurse home-visiting programs as a policy to mitigate toxic stress and improve parents’ and children’s outcomes. (You may click on all photos to enlarge them.)

 

cynthia osborne sarah abrahams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though the event was not an official Family Impact Seminar, it functioned very much like one. Importantly, the organizers of the Toxic Stress seminar kindly agreed to let Dr. Reifman administer the standard Family Impact Seminar evaluation questionnaire to members of the audience. We will thus have systematic feedback on the event, alongside the feedback received from Family Impact Seminars in other states.  A further summary of the Toxic Stress seminar (with links to the PowerPoint slideshows from the talks) is available here. In conclusion, we have a shot of our graduate student Janis Henderson chatting with Dr. Garner following his talk.

garner & janis

Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Outreach, Research

HDFS Student and Faculty Awards in Fall 2014

Several people from our department have won university awards during the current Fall semester:

  • Lauren Thompson won the “Best of Conference” award at the annual Graduate School Arts and Humanities Research Conference, for her paper entitled “The Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse and Child Physical Abuse: An Examination of Internalizing and Externalizing Behaviors.”
  • Faculty members Jacki Fitzpatrick, Sybil Hart (with co-Principal Investigator Dr. Shera Jackson), Sylvia Niehuis, Alan Reifman (with Dr. Niehuis as co-PI), and Elizabeth Sharp each received small grants ($3,000-5,000) in the university’s Scholarship Catalyst Program. These grants are designed, in part, to help recipients conduct early-stage “pilot” studies, the results of which can support larger, external grant applications. Details on these faculty members’ projects are available here.
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Research

Meet Wonjung Oh, Our Newest Faculty Member

We are pleased to introduce Dr. Wonjung Oh, who has joined the Texas Tech HDFS faculty this fall. Below the photo is a brief interview with Dr. Oh, to help readers get to know her…

wonjung oh

Tell us about yourself.

Before I joined faculty at Texas Tech University, I had been fortunate to work with wonderful scholars in Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Michigan as Postdoctoral Fellow. I earned my Ph.D in Human Development at the University of Maryland, College Park, along with a Graduate Certificate (doctoral minor) in Measurement, Statistics and Evaluation. I received Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. You might have noticed a wide range of geographical locations (East and North of USA and Northeast Asia) that I spent my years. To complement the compliments, I have traveled to Hawaii (the very West of USA), Southeast Asia (Thailand), Europe, and Australia, not in chronological order. And, now I live in Texas.

What are your research interests?

My research interests are in social and emotional development in childhood and early adolescence, with a particular interest in risk and protective factors for adaptive and maladaptive behavior. I am especially interested in the study of the developmental transition periods in school and family environments focusing on the influence of child biosocial characteristics, parent, peer and contextual factors (culture, school climate) on the child’s psychosocial functioning.

In doing my research, I actively seek novel, innovative approaches to address applied research questions pertaining to children’s development and the processes by which child, family and peer factors facilitate children’s developmental outcomes.

What are you teaching in the Fall?

HDFS 6343 Quantitative Methods III in HDFS, a doctorate-level Multivariate Data Analysis course.

What kinds of things are you looking forward to at Texas Tech?

I look forward to continuing my program of research on affective and behavioral regulation, relationship processes (peer and family) and developmental processes across the transitional periods in school and family environments. Having experienced warmth, encouragement and support from the teachers and mentors who have taken an interest in my own work, I look forward to continued opportunities to bring this process full circle with my own students at Texas Tech University.

How are you adjusting to Lubbock thus far?

Well. I have learned the usefulness of “Hi y’all” in both singular and plural manners, and am enjoying TexMex cuisine. I also have gone to a couple concerts at Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, which I enjoyed very much. Adjusting to the sunny weather in Texas from the Michigan weather is such a treat!

What do you like to do outside of school?

So many! Music – Listening to music, going to music concert, and playing music. Tasting and cooking. Traveling to the places with nature beauties, architectural wonders, fascinating markets & shops and, of course, the cuisine!

Categories: Faculty, Welcome

Lubbock Mayor Robertson Visits “Family in the Community” Class

Students in Dr. Shera Jackson’s HDFS 3322 course, “The Family in the Community,” got to hear about community development from a major player, none other than Lubbock Mayor Glen Robertson, who visited on Wednesday, October 1. Robertson discussed his idea to extend Interstate 27 southward (and possibly also northward) to increase commerce and highway safety between Lubbock and other cities such as Midland and Odessa.

Though the discussion focused mostly on long-range infrastructure planning and political coalition-building, the mayor also addressed the impact his plans could have on families. One positive impact would be through the (estimated) increase in jobs associated with the project. Highway projects can sometimes have negative impacts on families if they displace established communities (click here for an example). However, Robertson was confident that, with limited exceptions, the towns through which the extended highway would run would be immune from construction-related disruptions.

Mayor Robertson also encouraged the students to vote in local elections, noting the role that city government plays in wide-ranging issues from water and electricity bills, to whether alcohol could be sold in city supermarkets and convenience stores.

 

mayor 1

 

In the photo below, Mayor Robertson, Dr. Jackson (center), and visitor Dr. Gail Bentley chat at the end of the class. Dr. Jackson and Dr. Bentley each received her Ph.D. in our department and the two have remained at Texas Tech as instructors.

 

mayor 2

Categories: Outreach, Teaching

Early Fall 2014 Briefs

A couple of items as the new academic year gets underway:

Dr. Dana Weiser’s research was featured in a recent Daily Toreador article.

Kim Corson, a 2011 Ph.D. recipient in our program, has a new position. She is Director of Educational Initiatives and Projects for Houston Public Media at the University of Houston. Before studying with us at Texas Tech, Kim worked at Chicago public broadcasting station WTTW, so her new role seems like a natural fit.

Categories: Faculty, Graduate-Degree Alumni, Outreach, Research

Retirement of Judy Fischer

The last time Texas Tech completed a semester without Judy Fischer on the HDFS faculty, Jimmy Carter was President of the United States, Walter Cronkite still anchored the CBS Evening News, and the first music album had yet to be released on compact disc.

Now, after 35 years with us (1979-2014), Judy has retired. Among her career milestones, Judy chaired the HDFS department from 1993-1999; was elected as a Fellow by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) in 2009; served as program chair of the 2013 NCFR conference; served many important roles with the Groves Conference on Marriage and Family; won Texas Tech’s President’s Academic Achievement Award (2007); and chaired countless students’ Master’s theses and doctoral dissertations.

On a more personal side, Judy always looked after new faculty members, whether it was making sure they had a place to go for Thanksgiving dinner if they were staying in town or inviting them to sample Lubbock’s folk/country music scene. She frequently made her home available to HDFS parties and celebrations (which we hope she’ll continue to do!).

2014-08-22 12.04.33Like any diligent scholar, Judy accumulated a lot of academic journals and research articles (both her own and others’) over the years. With the ready availability of electronic versions, however, such hard copies are no longer really necessary. Many people still prefer hard copies, though, so Judy made them available to anybody who wanted them, as seen in the next photo.

2014-08-22 12.00.48

Judy will still be around the department, analyzing data, writing up manuscripts, and guiding to completion some graduate students with whom she has long worked. In the hearts and minds of Judy’s colleagues and former students, of course, her ties to Texas Tech will always remain intact.

Anyone wishing to share their thoughts may do so via the comments feature.

Categories: Faculty | 1 Comment

Ph.D. Alum Cat Pause Returns to Promote New Book

Cat Pause (pronounce Paus-ay), a 2007 Ph.D. recipient in our program and since that time a Lecturer in Human Development and Fat Studies Researcher at Massey University in New Zealand, returned to Lubbock in July to discuss her new book (co-edited with Jackie Wykes and Samantha Murray) Queering Fat Embodiment. More than 20 people attended the event, including several Texas Tech HDFS faculty and grad students, faculty from other departments, Texas Tech staff, and members of the community. Pictured below (left to right) are Dr. Lynne Fallwell (History and Honors College), Dr. Elizabeth Sharp (HDFS), Cat, and Dr. Kristina Keyton. Dr. Sharp organized the gathering.

cat pause 1

Here’s another picture of Cat and Elizabeth.

cat pause 2
The Amazon.com page for the book can be accessed by clicking here, whereas the publisher has made Chapter 1 of the book availble  free online at this link for those interested in getting a preview. The Texas Tech library has added the book to its holdings, although it is checked out at the moment!

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Dr. Keyton, who completed her Ph.D. with us in 2012 and remained on board to teach several classes, will begin as a full-time faculty member at South Plains College in the fall. We thank her for her service to the department and we will miss having her around the department (although she won’t be too far away).

Categories: Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research, Uncategorized

Summer 2014 Briefs

Dr. Jeff Wherry, who served on our HDFS faculty for six years before moving to become the founding director of the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center Research Institute, is featured in this Dallas Morning News article.

Dr. Stephanie Shine, director of our Early Childhood training program for students who plan to teach children up through grade 6, has announced a welcoming event for EC majors. There will be a barbeque on Wednesday, September 3, from 6:00-7:30 pm in El Centro of the Human Sciences building.

The East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood program, with which Dr. Shine is also involved, is running a book-donation drive for children in the program. If interested, you can click on this link to be taken to a registry of children’s books for the drive at Amazon.com.

Dr. Yvonne Caldera reports that Mary Sciaraffa, “my very first graduate student here at Tech back in the 90s,” has obtained tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Mary’s ULL faculty webpage is available by clicking here.

Categories: Faculty, Graduate-Degree Alumni, Teaching, Undergraduate Students

Ph.D. Alums Eng and Frederick Featured in NCFR Family Focus

The Summer 2014 issue of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) Report is out, with article contributions by two of our Ph.D. alumni. Both articles appear in the Family Focus insert, which has the theme of Early Childhood in this issue. The contents of the issue are listed here, but full-text of the articles is available only to NCFR members.

Sothy Eng, a Professor of Practice at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, is co-author of the article “Home-based preschools in village communities: Lessons from field work in Cambodia,” with graduate students Anu Sachdev and Whitney Szmodis.

In addition, Helyne Frederick is co-author with two of her Eastern Kentucky University faculty colleagues, Carol Patrick and Lisa Gannoe, on the article “HOT tips for early learning.” In this case, HOT stands for Higher-Order Thinking.

Categories: Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research

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