Category Archives: FSoS Student News

Family Social Science hosts undergraduate showcase

Jiayin (Julia) Qian and Alicia Kim posed for a photo during a past Undergraduate Showcase.

 

The Department of Family Social Science will host the Fall Semester Undergraduate Showcase Monday, Dec. 4, 5:15 – 6:45 p.m. The event will begin in McNeal Hall room 33 and then move upstairs to McNeal rooms 274 and 278 on the University’s St. Paul campus.  Refreshments will be served.

Family Social Science Undergraduate Showcase gives undergrads the opportunity to showcase their scholarly work related to their field experiences for family, friends and the FSOS community. The FSOS Field Study requirement is generally completed by senior students close to graduation. Students are asked to complete 180 hours of work in local or global communities. During the Showcase students display their ability to synthesize theoretical classroom learning with practical real-world experiences. These experiences also allow students to explore potential employment opportunities.

Through excellence in academics, contributions to research projects, and immersion in work, internship, and volunteer experiences in communities both domestic and abroad, FSOS undergraduates are dedicated to enhancing the well being of diverse families in a changing world.

The event is held both in fall and spring semesters and helps students develop their presentation and communication skills in discussing their academic projects.

For more information or to RSVP, visit the Showcase webpage.

Family Social Science faculty and students storm south for national conference

Nine students in the Department of Family Social Science’s Ph.D. specialization in Couple and Family Therapy are presenting their research at the annual meeting of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy held in Atlanta, GA.

In addition, four FSOS faculty members – Steven Harris, Tai Mendenhall, Lindsey Weiler and Elizabeth Wieling –  will also be presenting and leading workshops and research discussions during the four-day conference.

Students attending include Kadie Ausherbauer, Jackie Braughton, Sarah Crabtree, Daniel Cooper, Lekie Dwanyen, Eugene Hall, Heather Hensel, Aimee Hubbard and Damir Utzran.

Their research represents the breadth of key topics affecting families nationally and internationally including: investigations with Syrian refugees resettled to the United States, local needs assessments conducted with resettled Liberian families, parenting dynamics in a Mexican context, sexual satisfaction and dysfunction and marital separation research.

“Our students are conducting research on critical issues impacting families, especially those affected by social disparities,” said Elizabeth Wieling, associate professor and program director of the Couple and Family Therapy doctoral specialization in Family Social Science. “Each of their studies represent cutting edge work advancing the clinical and implementation fields of research.”

The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) represents more than 50,000 marriage and family therapists. The Department of Family Social Science Ph.D. program’s Couple and Family Therapy specialization is among the 20 academic programs accredited by AAMFT in the country.

More about this program

Tai Mendenhall, associate professor in Family Social Science,  addressed the National Institutes of Health’s Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health in August.

Lindsey Weiler, assistant professor in Family Social Science, led a research team gathering data at the Minnesota State Fair.

Graduate students Kadie Ausherbauer and Heather Hensel won a national ethics competition.

Family Social Science team gathers data at state fair

Amber Anderson gets a fair visitor started on the FSOS team’s survey. Photo by Julie Michener.

 

More than 400 parents and guardians of school aged children were surveyed on how communities can better support children during the Minnesota State Fair.

Assistant Professor Lindsey Weiler, Ph.D., led a Department of Family Social Science team at the new Driven 2 Discover Research Facility three days during the recent fair. They were among 37 teams from the University of Minnesota seeking research participants over the course of the Minnesota State Fair in the D2D facility.

Weiler and her team were collecting data for a research study, “How to Build a 21st Century Village,” and surveyed 425 respondents to gain their insights on the following questions:

  • It might be true that it takes a village to raise a child, but what does that look like in 2017?
  • How do parents connect their children to other caring role models or mentors?
  • What do parents do when they move to a new community or live away from extended family?
  • How can parents unlock the power of community when raising children?

“We were looking for State Fair visitors to help us understand how today’s parents build a village of safe and supportive family, friends, and neighbors,” says Weiler. “I was very happy with the turnout and received positive feedback from fairgoers. The students had a great experience too!”

Seven students assisted Weiler over the three days, including three Family Social Science graduate students, Angela Keyzers, Vaida Kazlauskaite, and Sarah Burcher, and four undergraduate students, Family Social Science Majors Ka Lor and Amberson Anderson, Psychology Major Koisey Hiama, and Urban Studies Major Sarah Hill.

Next steps include analyzing the data to understand parents’ experiences of building their own villages and making important connections for their children, and then developing an intervention for parents seeking mentors for their children.

McNair Program is launchpad for future scholars

Chen Vue discusses his research with guests at the McNair Program poster session and reception in August.

Family Social Science Senior Chen Vue drew from his own experience as a starting point on research that he hopes will help other students in his community make the leap to higher education.

A 2017 McNair program scholar, Vue, guided by his faculty mentor Dr. Zha Blong Xiong, a professor in the Department of Family Social Science, examined how much a parent’s involvement in their child’s school and at home influenced academic achievement and performance.

His project grew out of the challenges he overcame to attend the University of Minnesota.

“My research was about what predictors would engage parental involvement at home/school that would influence Hmong children’s academic performance,” says Vue. “I chose this topic because it connects to my story growing up as a low income immigrant student struggling in my academics. I want to use this research as a bridge not for myself but for others to follow into graduate school and research. I plan to continue to study parental involvement as I progress into graduate school.”

His research project included a review of current literature that suggested that homes where two parents are present, the degree of English fluency, the size of the family and the age of children all had an influence on academic performance, but results were inconclusive. Vue and his team worked with a Twin Cities elementary school and parents to conduct survey of 332 students. His research indicated parents’ engagement with their children’s school and teachers had a bigger impact than just their influence at home.

Senior Chen Vue and his faculty mentor, Dr. Zha Blong Xiong, professor of Family Social Science. Photo by Julie Michener.

“I believe Chen learned a lot during the summer about the research process, from creating a research question to selecting the appropriate variables for the analysis,” said Xiong. “Chen is such a brilliant, hardworking scholar. I was so glad to have the opportunity to mentor him. I have really enjoyed working with all the brilliant students in the McNair Scholars program.”

About the McNair program

Named for Physicist Ronald McNair, who was a member of NASA’s ill-fated Challenger space shuttle that exploded moments after liftoff in 1986, the McNair Scholars Program is among the educational opportunity TRIO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education that help first generation college students with financial need, or those who are members of traditionally underrepresented groups.

The McNair prepares undergraduate students for doctoral studies through involvement in research and other scholarly activities with the goal to increase graduate degree awards for students from underrepresented segments of society.

Students receive financial support for a ten-week summer research apprenticeship that include weekly seminars that help them prepare for graduate school as well as year-round seminars and advising.

The program is administered at the University of Minnesota with support from the College of Education and Human Development, the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education and the Office of the Vice President for Diversity and Equity.

Students sharing South Korea experience

Three Family Social Science undergraduate students are among a College of Education and Human Development group exploring and blogging about South Korean culture, language, and education during a  study abroad course. Faculty leaders are CEHD Program Specialist Marina Aleixo and Dr. Catherine Solheim from FSoS (who joins the group August 12).

Nina Thao, Cathy Xiong, and Isabella Xiong will be sharing their experience as they examine the historical background of Korean education and its impact on current social, political and educational policies. They will return to the Twin Cities August 23.

Students pose for a photo during their South Korean study abroad experience.

Family Social Science grad students win national competition

Heather Hessel (left) pictured with Lynne Borden, head of FSoS. was also the recipient of a CEHD Women’s Philanthropic Leadership Circle scholarship. Photo by Julie Michener.

 

Heather Hessel and Kadie Ausherbauer, doctoral students in the Department of Family Social Science, won first place in the Doctoral Category of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy’s 2017 Student Ethics Competition.

“Being grounded in ethics and knowledgeable about ethical practices is essential to credible research and professional practice,” said Lynne Borden, head of the Department of Family Social Science at the University of Minnesota. “These two young professionals are positive role models for our community and leaders of the future.”

Only in its second year, the competition is designed, according to AAMFT, to “foster an interest in ethical issues and enhance their ability to analyze and respond to the various ethics issues that they will undoubtedly encounter throughout their career.”

The ethics competition has two categories: one for Master’s and PDI students and one for Ph.D. students. Open to teams of two to three students at the same program level, the competition is unique because students do not know the exact case study on which they will be asked to respond until after they have registered. The “hypothetical scenario” is posted on the AAMFT’s website and students have six weeks to research, analyze, and write an essay.

“Our essay required that we research and discuss ethical codes, legal statutes, and commentaries on ethical issues,” said Hessel. “As is usually the case with ethics questions, there was quite a bit of “gray” area to debate between ourselves. We also selected and applied an established ethical decision-making model to the scenario, which helped us provide additional structure to our response.”

A fourth-year doctoral student, Hessel is working on a dissertation that explores how both noncollege and college-going emerging adults are using communication technology with extended family members.

Kadie Ausherbauer teamed up with Heather Hessel to win the national ethics competition sponsored by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy.

“I had a great time working on this project,” said Kadie Ausherbauer. “It was interesting to sift through areas where best practices didn’t correspond with specific ethical codes, so some things that initially seemed very problematic weren’t necessarily violations of the code of ethics. We applied the ethical decision making model to find ways that the hypothetical therapist could have prevented or improved the situation at different junctures in the process.”

Ausherbauer is a third year doctoral student whose research centers on development of self-regulation, early childhood trauma and micro-level behavioral analyses.

In addition to a cash prize, both Hessel and Ausherbauer were awarded complimentary registration, hotel accommodations and airfare to attend the AAMFT’s annual conference in Atlanta in October. Their winning essay will also be published on the AAMFT’s website and will be recognized in the organization’s publications and other communication channels.