Monthly Archives: November 2014

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.

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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

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