FSOS welcomes three new faculty

The Department of Family Social Science welcomes three new faces to the halls of McNeal Hall on the UMN St. Paul campus. Jennifer George, Michelle Pasco, and Kay Simon join Xiaoran Sun, who became a member of the FSOS faculty in December 2021.

Jennifer George

photo of a professor.
Jennifer George is an assistant professor in the Family Social Science Parent and Family Education program.

George is an assistant teaching professor and will be teaching in the FSOS Parent and Family Education program. She received her doctorate in education with an emphasis in human development in educational contexts at the University of Rochester, a master’s of public administration in community services administration from Alfred University and a bachelor’s degree in health education from Penn State University. George has taught at a variety of levels from elementary through graduate as well as a community services provider and afterschool program director.

Her teaching and research interests lie in the connections between families, schools, and communities, as well as equity and inclusion, and embracing the diversity between of individuals, families, and communities. She joins the University of Minnesota from the University of Georgia.

Michelle Pasco

Michelle Pasco is an assistant professor in Family Social Science.

Michelle Pasco joins FSOS as an assistant professor. She received both her doctoral and master’s degrees in family and human development from Arizona State University, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. She comes to Minnesota after completing a post-doctorate appointment at ASU working with the Arizona Youth Identity Project.  Pasco’s research incorporates a culturally-informed lens to understand the lived experiences of ethnic-racial minoritized youth and families situated within neighborhood contexts, and uses different methods including, quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods to examine how neighborhood factors influence developmental processes and experiences such as ethnic-racial identity, political identity, discrimination, and cultural socialization.

Her work is interdisciplinary, informed by perspectives from psychology, sociology, justice studies, and ethnic studies. In recent work, she uses qualitative interviews and photovoice to examine youth’s identity and political and civic engagement centered around the 2020 election.

Kay Simon

Kay Simon is an assistant professor in Family Social Science.

Kay Simon joins FSOS as an assistant professor. They received a master’s degree in psychology and a doctoral degree in experimental psychology from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology and zoology from Ohio Wesleyan University. Simon was most recently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Connecticut where they were a researcher on the “Stories and Experiences of LGBTQ+ Families from Youth (SELFY) Project,” that explored the lives of youth who have an LGBTQ+ parent. This study was conducted under the guidance of their PhD advisor, Dr. Rachel Farr and funded by the William T. Grant Foundation.

 Simon’s research agenda also focuses on the experiences of sexual and gender minority (SGM) parent families and SGM youth as well those from underrepresented racial-ethnic groups as they relate to identity development, parenthood and family life, experiences of prejudice, and health disparities.

Xiaoran Sun

Xiaoran Sun joined the FSOS faculty December 31, 2021, as an assistant professor, Read more about her in this story. She has already been awarded an University of Minnesota Grants-in-Aid of Research, Artistry and Scholarship for her research project on examining teenagers’ overnight smartphone use. Learn more in this story.