Spring 2018 End-of-Semester News

spring 18 hooding

With tonight’s Spring semester Graduate School Commencement, the major part of the 2017-18 academic year is over. Shown above in screen-captures from the university’s streaming video of the ceremony are, from left to right, newly minted Ph.D.’s Jennifer (Harris) Chapman (hooded by her advisor, Dr. Sybil Hart), Brandon Logan and Holly Wright (both hooded by their advisor, Dr. Malinda Colwell). Over the course of the semester, the list of accomplishments and honors in the department grew to be very long. Without further ado…

  • Four faculty/staff members received grants or foundation gifts for their respective research activities and centers.
    • Dr. Zhe Wang received a National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development Program (NSF—CAREER) Award, for her project “Getting to the bottom of mathematics anxiety: A longitudinal investigation into its developmental operating mechanisms.”
    • Dr. Monica Martin is part of a team of investigators at Texas Tech awarded an NCAA Choices-Alcohol Education grant from the governing body of collegiate sports.
    • The Center for Adolescent Resiliency, headed by Dr. Sara Dodd, “was awarded a $102,000 grant from Covenant Health to fund the Community Advocacy Project for Students (CAPS), beginning in July 2018… on improving the health and well-being of secondary school students in Lubbock-area schools” (quoting from the College of Human Sciences’ April edition of Internal Insights). The United [Supermarkets] Future Leaders (UFL) program, also associated with the Center for Adolescent Resiliency, will collaborate with Family Promise of Lubbock, a program that provides housing for homeless families. Children being served through Family Promise will be able to participate in a leadership program associated with UFL.
    • Stacy Johnson, director of the Child Development Research Center (CDRC), received gifts of $100,000 from the James A. “Buddy” Davidson Charitable Foundation and $5,000 from the Dallas Foundation, to provide tuition assistance for families whose children attend the CDRC.
  • Six members of the HDFS faculty were honored with nominations at the college level for prestigious awards in the 2018-19 academic year.
    • At the university level, Dr. Sylvia Niehuis was nominated for the President’s Excellence in Teaching Award;
    • Dr. Sara Dodd was nominated for the Spencer A. Wells Award for Creativity in Teaching; and
    • Dr. Colwell received the college’s nod for the President’s Academic Achievement Award.
    • At the TTU System level, Dr. Wonjung Oh was nominated for the Chancellor’s Council Distinguished Research Award.
    • At the college level, HDFS associate chair Mitzi Ziegner is the recipient of the Kathryn Burleson Faculty Service Award; and
    • Dr. Stephanie Shine received the Faculty Award for Commitment to Outreach and Engagement.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo received the Faculty International Scholarship Award at the Global Vision Awards Ceremony of Texas Tech’s International Week. In addition, Dr. Trejos and her doctoral student Nancy Trevino-Schafer saw the release of their edited book, the Handbook of Foster Youth published by Taylor & Francis/Routledge.
  • Dr. Colwell and Holly Wright (shown above during her Ph.D. hooding) “received the 2018 ‘Best Published Article’ for the Children, Adolescents, and Media Division of the International Communication Association for their article about the social and emotional developmental effects of the PBS show Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood for preschoolers. Colleagues in the College of Media and Communication are co-authors on the article” (from the March Internal Insights).
  • Three HDFS faculty/staff were honored at the university’s annual Length of Service ceremony. Sandra Vasquez, who oversees undergraduate and graduate program activities in the HDFS office, was recognized for 15 years of service at Texas Tech. Professors Hart and Alan Reifman were recognized for 20 years of service. Photos from the ceremony, with each honoree posed with TTU system chancellor Robert Duncan (left) and TTU president Lawrence Schovanec (right), are available at this link.
  • Dr. Colwell was approved for promotion to Full Professor, and Dr. Yoojin Chae was approved for tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at the Texas Tech System Board of Regents mid-Spring meeting.
  • Dr. Dana Weiser’s research on infidelity continues to attract media attention. A study of hers from the journal Personal Relationships on possible links between parents’ and offspring’s propensity to cheat was featured on KOMO News in Seattle and in a Psychology Today blog. Further, a study involving Drs. Weiser and Niehuis that was published in Personality and Individual Differences on using Tinder for “extradyadic” involvement was featured in Texas Tech Today back in February. Dr. Weiser also spoke to the Daily Star in the United Kingdom on defining different kinds of cheating.
  • Ph.D. student Jennifer Rose received runner-up honors at the 17th annual TTU Graduate Student Poster Research Competition, Human Sciences category. Jennifer’s project was entitled “A Systematic Twenty-Five Year Review of the Family Stress Model” and included as co-authors Dr. Ann Mastergeorge and Dr. Martin.
  • Also from the college’s April Internal Insights: “Two undergraduate research students, Benjamin Neugebauer and Hollyanne Bowler from Dr. Wonjung Oh’s Child Development and Relationships Laboratory, presented their work ‘The Impact of Father’s Marital Satisfaction and Co-Parenting on Child’s Self Perception’ at the 2018 [TTU] Undergraduate Research Conference.” Other participating undergraduates included Matthew Koehl, who worked with Dr. Weiser on a survey of the campus climate for LGBTQIA individuals; Jerra Miller, who worked with Dr. Wang in studying math-anxiety; and Lorena Posadas, who worked with Dr. Niehuis on newlywed couples’ references to money-related terms in their discussions. Click for list of abstracts.
  • Mr. Koehl was also selected as Outstanding Senior in HDFS, as was Alyssa Wilson from the Early Childhood major.
  • Another undergraduate, Melanie (Caitlyn) Morgan, who worked as a research assistant in Dr. Niehuis’s SMITTEN Lab, was selected to participate in the National Science Foundation’s Research Experience for Undergraduates program.
  • Finally, a couple of transitions to report:
    • Dr. Zhen Cong (pronounced “Tsong,” like “tsunami”), a faculty member in our department for the past 10 years, is moving to the University of Texas-Arlington to become an associate dean in the School of Social Work. We wish Dr. Cong the best in her new endeavor!
    • The ubiquitous Dr. Colwell, who served the department for the last three years in the role of Graduate Program Director, will return to being a “regular” professor. We thank her for this service.
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Research, Staff

2017 End-of-Summer News

The August graduation, held on the 12th of the month, marked the end of summer school, and the start of the Fall semester is little over a week away. In this posting, we list the accomplishments of HDFS students, staff, and faculty since our last posting in late June.

Two of our graduate students received their Ph.D.’s at the August commencement: Cassandra Huey (wearing gold cord), shown with her adviser Dr. Yvonne Caldera (left photo) and Andrea Parker, shown with her adviser, Dr. Mike McCarty (right photo).

cassandra & andrea phd

Miriam Lieway and Cindy Martinez Garza received Master’s degrees at the same ceremony.

Dr. Sybil Hart’s research on sibling-rivalry was featured at

Finally, we have two items that were originally reported in the TTU College of Human Sciences’ “Internal Insights”:

“Instructor Stacy Johnson is awarded a grant from the Helen Jones Foundation for a project entitled ‘Creating Opportunities: Expanding Research and Training Environments for Faculty, Students and Community Professionals.’ This grant will be used to upgrade the equipment at the CDRC to be state-of-the-art for both observations and research endeavors.”

“Dr. Zhen Cong has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant entitled: ‘A multi-level dynamically coupled model for evaluating older adults’ vulnerability and resiliency to disasters.’”

Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Staff

Late Spring/Early Summer 2017 Updates

Numerous HDFS faculty members and students achieved recognition over the past few months. They include:

  • Sylvia Niehuis was elected member-at-large to the governing board of the International Association for Relationship Research for a two-year term.
  • Drs. Niehuis and Jean Scott presented at the annual conference of the Groves Conference on Marriage and Family, held in early June in Charleston, South Carolina. The two are also on the group’s board (Dr. Scott as president and Dr. Niehuis as secretary). Helyne Frederick, a Ph.D. graduate of our program and a faculty member at Winthrop University, served as this year’s program chair. Other participants included Kim Corson, also a Ph.D. alumnus, now at Penn State-Behrend, and Professor Emerita Judy Fischer. Here is a link to the program.
  • Talking about Ph.D. graduates, we have four more! Drs. Janis Henderson and Ryan Tingey were hooded in the May ceremony, whereas Cassandra Huey and Andrea Parker recently completed their dissertation defenses (Andrea had also received a Research Support Award from the Graduate School). Miriam Lieway completed her Master’s defense. Other defenses were scheduled at “press time” and will be noted.
  • Dr. Stephanie Shine and Andrea Parker visited Ethiopia, where they spoke at a conference on early-childhood education.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo was selected as a TTU Integrated Scholar.
  • Cindy Bruington, Associate Director of the Child Development Research Center, received the Robbie McGrew Child Advocacy Memorial Award from the Early Learning Centers of Lubbock.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sharp was recently appointed as the university’s Interim Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Community Engagement. In addition, Dr. Sharp and her colleague from the TTU Dance program, Genevieve Durham-DeCesaro celebrated the release of their new book, Ordinary Wars: Doing Transdisciplinary Research with a signing at the campus bookstore.
  • Mitzi Ziegner will be the new Associate Department Chair in HDFS, replacing Dr. Sharp.
  • Sothy Eng, another Ph.D. alumnus of our program, was profiled in an article from Lehigh University (Pennsylvania), where he is on the faculty.
  • Two of our current Ph.D. students had journal articles come out: Jennifer (Harris) Chapman (with Dr. Sybil Hart; abstract) and Rebecca Oldham (with Drs. Dana Weiser and Elizabeth Sharp; abstract).
  • Drs. Weiser and Niehuis were mentioned in this College of Human Sciences newsletter article for their awards in the Come ‘N Go Seed Grant Program, which funds TTU faculty to visit with a colleague at another university and host that colleague.
  • Bachelor’s alum Whitney Squyres received an award for her work as a local educator.
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Graduate-Degree Alumni, Research, Staff, Undergraduate Alumni

Awards and Honors to HDFS Faculty and Students (Early Fall 2016)

The Fall 2016 semester is only a few weeks old, but several faculty and students have already received professional awards and honors of various kinds:

  • Dr. Malinda Colwell and Child Development Research Center (CDRC) director Stacy Johnson were profiled in the university publication Texas Tech Today, for their work with other colleagues in the College of Human Sciences on improving the education of children in Malawi, Africa. The HDFS Blog first reported in 2013 on the efforts of Dr. Colwell and graduate student Holly Wright in Malawi.
  • Dr. Sylvia Niehuis has been invited to serve on the editorial board of the Journal of Family Theory & Review. This journal is one of the flagship publications of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR).
  • Rebecca Oldham has been selected as the College of Human Sciences’ Graduate Student of the Month for October 2016. A profile of Rebecca will appear on this archive of honorees on or around October 1.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Sharp will receive the NCFR’s 2016 Anselm Strauss Award for innovation in family qualitative research, at the organization’s annual meeting in November. Dr. Sharp is also the new associate department chair, replacing Dr. Alan Reifman, who served in the post for the past six years. The associate chair mainly oversees the HDFS undergraduate curriculum.
  • Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo is only days away from officially being inducted into the Texas Tech Teaching Academy (click here for brief profiles of incoming members). The Teaching Academy honors faculty on campus for their effectiveness, creativity, and commitment in the teaching domain.
  • Dr. Dana Weiser was quoted in Redbook magazine, in an article on the satisfaction of single women in their 30s.
Categories: Faculty, Graduate Students, Research, Staff, Teaching

Mid-Semester News Briefs (Spring 2013)

Five Texas Tech faculty and staff members associated with HDFS were recognized at the annual Length of Service Awards Ceremony last Thursday, March 28. The ceremony recognizes employees who have completed 15 or more years of service at Texas Tech (in increments of five years). Professors Sybil Hart and Alan Reifman received their 15-year pins, as did two of our Ph.D.-program alumni, Jim Childers, who teaches in Forensic Sciences, and Andrea McCourt, who specializes in distance/online education. HDFS office manager Sidney Fleming was honored for 25 years at the university (which includes time in other departments before joining us). A full list of recognized employees is listed here.

Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo was honored as one of “14 Hispanic Professors Making a HUGE Difference in Texas.”

The annual Texas Council on Family Relations conference gets underway tomorrow in Austin. Janis Henderson, a Ph.D. student in our department, has served this past year as Vice President of the organization in charge of planning the conference.

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

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