More Awards to HDFS Faculty and Students

The department has received several additional awards recently, beyond the ones announced in March. The latest recipients include:

  • Dr. Stephanie Shine and her colleagues in Texas Tech’s Early Head Start program, who received a large grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to team up with the Lil’ Precious Steps daycare center and serve additional children in East Lubbock. It’s one little precious step for our community, one giant leap for child-development programming!
  • Dr. Jacki Fitzpatrick, who was honored as a “Raider Who Rocks” in the area of Academic Integrity.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo, recognized for “Professing Excellence” by University Student Housing.
  • Two students, Marisol Alonzo and  Grace Mihalyov, who won awards at the annual TTU Undergraduate Research Conference. As shown in the program, Marisol worked with researchers in the College of Education’s Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research on the study “Evaluating the Television Show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood as a Video-Based Model to Teach Social Skills to Children with Autism,” whereas Grace’s project was entitled, “The Effects of Code-Switching on Preposition Stranding in Spanish-English Bilinguals.”
  • One of our students has won the Helen DeVitt Jones Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award. Check here for the awardees’ names to be made public.
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students

Chilly in Philly for SRCD

Several Texas Tech HDFS faculty members and graduate students participated in the biennial Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) conference, held March 19-21. The host city should “ring a bell.”






Though some parts of the country were starting to warm up in late March, Philadelphia still had some snow. There was also better weather during the weekend, however.


Dr. Malinda Colwell (left) and Ph.D. student Holly Wright presented a poster on their research into nutrition and child development in Malawi, Africa. Background information on this unique project is available in one of our earlier postings.



Meanwhile, Ph.D. student Jennifer Harris presented a poster (co-authored with her advisor, Dr. Sybil Hart) on their study of older siblings’ “expectant” status awaiting the arrival of a new brother or sister.



Anuradha Sastry, another doctoral student who works with Dr. Hart (and with Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo), presented on an intervention with infants in India, based on Dr. Hart’s book Lullaby Massage.

anuradha srcd


Finally, another of our faculty members, Dr. Yoojin Chae, ventured south of Center City to the famous intersection that hosts two of Philly’s leading cheese-steak restaurants.


Thanks to the pictured individuals for allowing use of their conference photos!

Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Research

HDFS Faculty and Students Recognized on Multiple Fronts

HDFS faculty and students have been earning recognition on the Texas Tech campus in many areas:

  • Ph.D. student Paulina Velez-Gomez was featured in Texas Tech Today‘s “Student Spotlight” on March 5 (article link). The article discusses Paulina’s plan to return to her home country of Colombia after finishing her degree and use the knowledge gained here at Texas Tech to help communities back home.
  • Another of our Ph.D. students has earned a dissertation fellowship from the TTU Graduate School. Once the Grad School publicly reports the winners (which we expect to happen soon), we will disclose the HDFS student’s name.
  • HDFS undergraduate Gilde Flores was also featured in Texas Tech Today (February 26). While the main article focuses on his musical career outside of school, there is a sidebar column to the right of the article in which he discusses his time in the HDFS program. Flores lists the following people as his favorite instructors: Mitzi Ziegner, Yvonne Caldera, Shera Jackson, Jeffrey Wherry, Ronda Eade, and Alan Korinek.
  • Judy Fischer, whose retirement was covered here, has officially been granted Emeritus Professor status by the TTU Board of Regents.
  • Also as part of the Regents’ agenda, they granted Dr. Michael O’Boyle a Faculty Development Leave for the Fall 2015 semester. During this time, he will “visit the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center (UNMHSC) for one semester, during which time we will analyze a myriad of behavioral and neuroimaging data on the neuroscience of creativity… Also, he will develop future collaborative studies between UNMHSC/MIND Research Network and the Texas Tech Neuroimaging Institute (TTNI).”
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Outreach, Research, Undergraduate Students

Welcome Back for Spring 2015 Semester

We hope everyone had a good holiday break and is excited to be back for the Spring 2015 semester. Here are a couple of news briefs:

  • Professor Yvonne Caldera and former Texas Tech colleague Eric Lindsey (now at Penn State-Berks) are the editors of a new volume entitled Mexican American Children and Families: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (link).
  • This HDFS Ph.D. student appeared as a contestant on Jeopardy! in an episode that aired during the break. If you asked,”Who is Jennifer Harris?”, you would be correct. In case you missed the episode, you can watch it here.
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Welcome

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

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