NCFR 2015 in Vancouver

vancouver skyline

Several Texas Tech HDFS faculty and graduate students ventured up to the Great Northwest — Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, specifically — for the annual conference of the National Conference on Family Relations (NCFR) in mid-November. The distant mountains were clouded over and it rained much of the time, but there was no figurative dampening of people’s spirit!

One of the highlights for the Texas Tech group was Dr. Elizabeth Sharp’s receipt of the  Alexis J. Walker  Award for Mid-Career Achievement in Feminist Family Studies, captured in this linked photo from the official NCFR website. Elizabeth is shown in the following montage with (clockwise from upper-left) Dr. Shannon Weaver (a graduate-school colleague of Elizabeth’s at Missouri); Andrea Roets Swenson (a former TTU graduate student); a visitor to our department’s table at the universities’ reception; and Dr. Anisa Zvonkovic (a former faculty colleague at Texas Tech).


Dean Linda Hoover of Texas Tech’s College of Human Sciences (right, shown with Dr. Jean Scott) traveled to Vancouver to host a reception in honor of Elizabeth’s award.


The upper-left photograph in the next montage shows (left to right)  HDFS graduate students Rebecca Oldham, Ivette Noriega, and Jennifer Lindsey, and Dr. Dana Weiser. The lower-right photo shows Andrea, two Ph.D. recipients from our program, Jeremy Boden and Jennifer Rojas-McWhinney (both seated), and a visitor.

small groups

Our new HDFS department chairperson, Ann Mastergeorge (left) chats with, among others, Elizabeth’s graduate advisor, Larry Ganong (right), from Missouri.


Finally, we have a group shot with Ivette, Rebecca, Dr. Sharp, Jennifer, Satabdi Samtani (grad student), and Dr. Weiser.


On various people’s shirts and lapels, an orange button may be seen with the expression “E#.” In musical terminology, this would represent “E Sharp,” thus serving as a nickname for Elizabeth. In actuality, there is no such musical note as “E#,” but why let that detract from a great nickname?

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

Award to Dr. Sylvia Niehuis

Dr. Sylvia Niehuis was among only five recipients on the entire Texas Tech campus of the 2015 Mortar Board and Omicron Delta Kappa Faculty Recognition Award. According to the award notification, “This is a student nominated award based on the outstanding qualities of the faculty in and out of the classroom.” Dr. Niehuis received the award at a reception on November 12 in the McKenzie-Merket Alumni Center. In the following photo, Maria Maza (left) presents the award to Dr. Niehuis. (Maria and Jessica Corder oversaw the award-nomination process.)

sylvia award

Categories: Faculty, Teaching

Fall 2015 Mid-Semester Notes

  • Several people from our department participated in the recent Society for the Study of Human Development conference in Austin, Texas. SSHD is a relatively small association that, in contrast to the many organizations in our field that concentrate on specific age groups (e.g., infancy, childhood, adolescence, old age), features studies on any part of the lifespan. The following photo shows two of our graduate students who attended, Paulina Velez and John Purcell (right), visiting with Tufts University professor, Richard Lerner, a prominent scholar in areas such as applied developmental science and child and adolescent temperament. Presentations from Texas Tech faculty and students are listed in the conference program.

SSHD 2015

  • It was announced that Dr. Elizabeth Sharp will receive the Alexis J. Walker Award for Mid-Career Achievement in Feminist Family Studies at next month’s annual meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, in Vancouver. As always, we’ll have extensive coverage of the NCFR conference, including Dr. Sharp’s award.
  • Each October, we have three opportunities to reach out to current and prospective Texas Tech undergraduates about majoring or minoring in HDFS. These opportunities come at the South Plains Career Expo for area high school students; the Texas Tech Preview for prospective students and their families; and the Majors and Minors (M & M) Fair for students already attending Texas Tech, who are either undecided on a field of study or are considering a switch. These events are now complete. For the first time, we had an Outreach Committee of faculty and instructors who staffed our table at these events: Mitzi Ziegner (committee chair), Dr. Alan Reifman (associate department chair), Dr. Stephanie Shine (Early Childhood program director), and Drs. Zhen Cong, Miriam Mulsow, and Dana Weiser. In the first photo below, Drs. Reifman and Cong stand in front of our new HDFS banner at yesterday’s M & M Fair. The second photo shows a little game we created for the 2014 Career Expo, in which statistics from the New York Times (“How Many Households Are Like Yours?“) were used to make cards showing different family structures and students were invited to guess how common each family form was in the U.S.

mm fair ttu

career expo blurred

Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Research, Undergraduate Students

Early Fall (2015) Briefs

Here are a few brief items as we settle into another academic year:

  • Dr. Jacki Fitzpatrick was among three recipients of the Lawrence Schovanec Teaching Development Scholarship, out of 17 candidates. The award, honoring the current TTU provost (chief academic officer), provides funding for faculty members to attend a teaching-oriented conference.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sharp will be giving a webinar on September 30, as part of the National Council on Family Relations’ (NCFR) series on qualitative analysis. Her presentation is entitled “Foregrounding Space and Affect in Qualitative Data Collection — Walking Interviews and Emotion Mapping.”  Further information is available at this link.
  • Dr. Sybil Hart has a new monograph out, entitled Jealousy in Infants: Laboratory Research on Differential Treatment (link).
Categories: Faculty, Research, Teaching

Oblad Defends Dissertation for Ph.D., Moves to New Faculty Job

Tim Oblad-Dissertation

Tim Oblad recently defended his dissertation research project to receive his Ph.D. He has accepted a position as an Assistant Professor of Human Development in the Department of Human Sciences at Texas A&M-Kingsville. The school is located way down in South Texas. We wish Tim the best in this new endeavor!

Categories: Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research

New HDFS Chair Mastergeorge Profiled on Main University Website

Visitors to the main university website ( were greeted today by a profile of our new HDFS chairperson, Ann Mastergeorge. The profile article is available here.

Categories: Faculty, Welcome

First Graduate of Online Youth Development Master’s Program

Our department has long participated in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GP-IDEA), a consortium of 13 universities (on the Human Sciences side). Students select a home university among the available schools, but can take online courses at any university in the group. Different GP-IDEA programs offer Bachelor’s degrees, Master’s degrees, and graduate certificates (see list of programs).

Dr. Jean Scott, who has spearheaded our department’s involvement with the Alliance, reports that, “Brittany Selph will be an August 2015 graduate — our first GP-IDEA master’s with concentration in Youth Development.” The following photo shows, from left to right, Dr. Scott, Brittany, and Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, Texas Tech’s faculty representative in the Youth Development program.

GP IDEA Youth Devt

Dr. Scott’s area is the Gerontology program.

Categories: Graduate Students, Teaching

HDFS and Media

We have three brief items, all within the theme of “HDFS and Media.”

  • One story is about using the tools of child-development research to study media presentations for children. Dr. Malinda Colwell, who is part of a Texas Tech faculty consortium studying the impact of the public broadcasting cartoon show “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” on young children’s “cognitive, emotional, and psychological development,” presented earlier this week at the national PBS conference in Austin, Texas. Dr. Colwell’s former grad student, Kim Corson, Ph.D., who works at the University of Houston’s PBS station, was also on hand. Kim tweeted this photo of her (right) with Malinda.
  • The second story is about having students use media in the college classroom. To help students in her undergraduate Gender Development course prepare for their final exam, Dr. Elizabeth Sharp had small groups of students create short videos that reviewed key concepts within a given course topic. Two YouTube videos, voted as the best by students in the two sections of Gender Development, are available here and here.
  • Finally, another of our Ph.D. alumni, Lehigh University Professor of Practice Sothy Eng, has begun writing a column for the Huffington Post. Sothy writes about historical and contemporary issues in his native country of Cambodia. His author page, with links to his articles, is available here.
Categories: Faculty, Graduate-Degree Alumni, Outreach, Undergraduate Students

Still More Awards to HDFS Faculty and Students

Since our last installment of HDFS awards, we garnered a few more:

  • Dr. Sybil Hart was recognized at the April 28 TTU Faculty Honors Convocation as the College of Human Sciences nominee for the Barnie E. Rushing, Jr., Faculty Outstanding Research Award.
  • HDFS students Shu Yuan, Ivette Noriega, and Andrea Parker took first, second, and third place, respectively, in the Human Sciences II category at the university’s 14th Annual Graduate Research Poster Competition. (The Human Sciences I category appeared to center on business/financial fields such as hospitality and financial planning, whereas Human Sciences II focused more on social sciences.)
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Research

Professor and Grad Students Promote Safe, Consensual Sexual Behavior

Dr. Dana Weiser and students in her graduate Human Sexuality course developed materials and staffed a table by the Student Union on Wednesday, April 15, to promote safe and consensual sexual behavior. The event was held in conjunction with the national Faculty Against Rape organization’s Faculty Day of Action.  A detailed report on the activity is available from the Daily Toreador at this link, whereas photos of the event and the materials are available here.

Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Outreach

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