From the department chair
Raeann R. Hamon, Ph.D., CFLE
I’d like to ask you to pause and reflect on those people who have made a difference in your life. Take a moment and consider those who have influenced you and affected your life trajectory. For me, my mother, my father, a college professor, the chair of my doctoral committee and an experienced colleague would be among those who made a profound impact on my life choices, my opportunities, and my ability to fulfill the roles that I play.
In all probability, the individuals about whom we are thinking are mentors. Mentors are experienced and trusted advisors, people who share information and provide guidance and emotional support. Mentors serve as important role models for us relative to our familial, spiritual, personal, and vocational obligations. They take personal interest in us and willingly share their expertise and wisdom. Very importantly, they are invested in us.
I dare to say that faculty in the Human Development and Family Science Department take their role as mentors very seriously. All of us seek to build relationships with our students, express personal interest, model personal and professional enthusiasm, share our skills and knowledge, set a good example, help students explore options, and motivate them to maximize their potential. We mentor students in research, as is evident in Dr. Reyes’ Adult Development class and Rachel Jones’ work as a Smith Scholar Intern (featured in this newsletter). We mentor students by facilitating opportunities to enhance their professional growth and increase their confidence (refer to article on students presenting at the NCFR conference).
Our students also serve as mentors. Many have mentored children and adolescents in organizations like Young Life, youth groups, tutoring programs, and child care settings. In this newsletter, for instance, we feature the important mentoring role that Tariah Rozier (FCS ’21) plays for her brother and other special needs teens as a coach for Special Olympics teams.
We also want to acknowledge the essential mentoring role that Dr. Dorothy Gish played for many women faculty and administrators at Messiah College. As the College’s first female academic dean, Dr. Gish inspired many women about vocational possibilities. Be sure to note the short article on the Dr. Dorothy J. Gish Women in Leadership Endowment that was created in honor of the invaluable mentoring that Dr. Gish provided and continues to provide to women who wish to enhance their leadership skills.
Finally, you will read about an Elder Mentor program in which our GERO 231 Psychology of Aging students engaged. As part of the expectations for the class, students selected Elder Mentors with whom they spent time for the duration of the semester. These older adults served as wonderful role models in the art of living.
I hope that each of us will ponder ways in which we can invest in others through mentoring.
Experiential Learning in Adult Development
Dr. Robert Reyes
One of the main learning objectives of HDFS 312 Adult Development is to introduce students on how to conduct a qualitative research project. To this end, students enrolled in the course during the fall 2018 collaborated with the staff of the Salvation Army (Harrisburg Capital Region) to conduct a qualitative study to help evaluate one of their initiatives. The focus of the study was to understand the experience of individuals transitioning from unemployment to employment and eventually to self-sufficiency, as well as to understand the attitudes towards work and barriers and keys to success.
At the conclusion of the project the students were able to provide a report to the staff at the Salvation Army to help them determine the effectiveness of their program. In doing so, the students explored the long-term impact of the program and assisted the Salvation Army to be in a better position to apply for additional funding.
Undergrads Kickin’ It at the 2018 National Council on Family Relations Conference
The 2018 National Council on Family Relations Conference was in San Diego, California in November of this year. Because of the significant distance and increased cost, we only had four undergraduates attend; however, their experiences were as valuable as ever.
Hannah Wagner (HDFS ’21)
The National Council on Family Relations Conference was by far the most professional event that I have ever attended. I learned a great number of things while attending, and even though I was most likely one of the youngest people there, I appreciated the new crowd of people that were interested in the same field as me.
In general, the conference helped me to learn independence in a new way. It was held in a city that I have never been to before, and I traveled with peers. This gave me a chance to explore, get to know people that share my interests, and be an independent learner, which is a wonderful experience to have.
While presenting my poster with Hannah Heintzelman, multiple attendees approached us and asked about our personal experiences with the project. We were able to intellectually discuss the importance of our project with professionals, professors, and other students who related to our experiences and wanted more information. One of my professors told me how proud he was that Hannah and I pursued presenting at the conference even though we are very young; this was an encouragement to me as a student and as someone who will one day be a professional in the field as well.
As for the sessions that I attended, I focused on ones that were about immigration, adoption, individuals of mixed status, and refugees, as these are the topics that currently interest me the most. In these sessions, I learned about new terminology used to discuss the topics, such as “hyphened Americans”, and I was made aware of the process and outcomes of research studies currently being conducted. Observing these research presentations up close was a unique way to learn about what is being studied in the field today. One of the things that I love most about the HDFS major is that there is always new information to learn and study! This conference gave me a newfound excitement for learning about new topics because I was able to witness the people doing the research and learning new things firsthand.
The conference was a phenomenal experience, and I would love to attend again. Even though I am still young, I learned so much, and as I get older and discover my passions more in depth, I will be able to glean more from future conferences.
Special Olympics Has a Special Place in my Heart
Tariah Rozier (FCS ’21)
Scholarships are an important way of helping to reduce the cost of college tuition. When I heard about the PAFCS Scholarship I was very excited to apply. Several weeks after applying, I received a letter explaining that I had been chosen for the scholarship! I felt so honored and grateful. I am excited to become a Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher and this scholarship will help me achieve my goal. Becoming an FCS teacher will allow me to use my passion for helping people by guiding and supporting students through the challenging stages of life. I hope to guide students to lead better lives, be prepared for work and careers in which they choose to pursue, and build strong families. With the help of this scholarship, I will be able to do what I love and become an FCS teacher!