From the Department Chair
By Raeann Hamon, PhD, CFLE
This is an academic year to remember!! Our students and faculty experienced numerous wonderful opportunities, as you will read in this newsletter. Students engaged in amazing internships and student teaching experiences, learned about the world by studying abroad, developed professionalism by attending and presenting at conferences, fostered leadership skills through the Messiah College Council on Family Relations student organization, and participated in many of the “normal” events of the college experience. We also shared in many of our usual community-building gatherings and department events: the bonfire at Dr. John’s house, the Christmas party at my house, the alumni career roundtables and all the rest.
However, this year, we encountered the upheaval of a “nonnormative” event – the Corona Virus—and what a disturbance it created! Faculty used to teaching in face-to-face contexts were thrust into crash courses on Zoom and teaching online. We set up offices in our homes and became best friends with our amazing IT staff as we tried to creatively and effectively deliver our courses online. Uncertain about the remainder of the semester when they left for spring break, students, too, were encouraged to take what they needed in case they had to complete their courses from home. While none of us wanted to “maintain social distance,” staying at home, working from home, and studying from home became the new normal. All of these new “guidelines” shaped our daily lives.
As so many of my students learn during their Dynamics of Family Interaction class, flexibility/adaptability and cohesion offer important resources to individuals and families during times of stress. For me, it was encouraging to see how everyone mustered the fortitude to adapt to our new circumstances and make the most of the situation. While we could no longer meet our students for lunch or assemble for social networking, Dr. Johns created a Canvas site where all the members of the department could share pictures and make jokes in our effort to maintain some level of community. Similarly, since we couldn’t acknowledge our seniors through our traditional senior banquet, we invited faculty, students and their families to a celebratory Zoom gathering to recognize this important rite of passage. So, too, greeting each student as their picture popped up on the screen as they joined our virtual classes, became more precious than ever.
In addition to knowing that we can adapt when necessary, we are also witnessing newfound appreciation for many of the simple things in life, much of which we take for granted. I really look forward to greeting my colleagues again each morning as I arrive on campus. I long for the ability to meet with my students in my office and have interesting conversations with them in the Falcon. I can hardly wait to just walk across our beautiful campus from Boyer to Old Main or from the library to Eisenhower Campus Center. I fondly imagine myself again driving by the Yellow Breeches Creek on my way home from work each night and seeing the stacks of student-filled hammocks hanging from the trees. I eagerly anticipate meeting and speaking with prospective students and their families during open house events. I hope to again be surprised by an alum who stops by to say “hi” while they are in the area. I welcome the opportunity to gather in a classroom in Boyer Hall with students who are dreaming of doing incredible things to help people and make this world an even better place. I anticipate witnessing the power to make a difference that comes from a shared faith within the Messiah community.
I hope that you, too, have gained enhanced appreciation for all of life, but especially for the privilege of being part of Messiah College. I hope that you will continue to pray for the important work we do as we educate men and women toward maturity of intellect, character and Christian faith in preparation for lives of service, leadership and reconciliation in church and society.
Anders Rocks at NCFR Conference
By Victoria Anders
This school year I have had the wonderful opportunity to work under the Dr. Robert & Marilyn Smith Scholar Intern Grant with Dr. Hamon. As part of this mentorship program, I have been assisting on a couple different research projects. For some of my hours I have been researching articles, careers, and activities relevant to family theories for the textbook that Dr. Hamon and Dr. Suzanne Smith, from Georgia Southwestern State University, are planning to submit for publication this year. The other part of the internship has involved a project that I was able to present with Dr. Hamon at the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) 2019 Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. We presented a poster on the pedagogical research and benefits of using concept maps in family science classrooms. As first author, I won the Undergraduate Wesley Burr Award in the Advancing Family Science (AFS) section of NCFR and received a $200 cash prize. Dr. Hamon and I submitted another proposal for this year's NCFR Conference, which will take place in St. Louis, Missouri in November. This project will involve analyzing scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) research data which I will be collecting on the storytelling portion of the Elder Service Partner Program, which is part of the Sociology of Aging course at Messiah. We will find out this summer if the proposal has been accepted. We also plan to write an article and submit it to a teaching journal.
I am immensely grateful for all the valuable research skills I have learned thus far, along with the insights into the life of a professor. Since I myself hope to be a professor in family science someday, the professional enrichment I have been receiving through this grant will have long-term influence on not only the rest of my undergraduate college experience, but also my education to come in the future.
Johns Wins Family Therapy Section Award
Dr. Paul Johns was the recipient of the new professional best poster award given by the Family Therapy Section at the 2019 NCFR conference. His poster, entitled “How Husbands Experience the Trust of Their Wives: A Qualitative Study” highlighted aspects of his dissertation completed December of 2018. The national conference provided a wonderful opportunity to disseminate and discuss his findings with other family science students and professionals.
Spackman Participates in Kenya Cross Cultural
By Meagan Spackman
Jambo! My name is Meagan Spackman, and I was able to spend my January term studying abroad in Kenya! My time in Kenya was considerably one of the most precious times of my life. Although short, it was full of impactful moments that I’ll cherish forever. As an HDFS major with a minor in Pre-Counseling and Therapy, I was interested to learn if there was a stigma about counseling in Kenyan culture compared to American culture. The course description of the Kenya J-term mentioned we’d be forming relationships with families and people we’d work with for the majority of the time. I thought this would be a great way to use some of the things I’ve learned while taking HDFS courses and be able to apply them throughout the trip. I also was interested to learn about the entirety of Kenyan culture and excited to experience it firsthand, rather than learn about it in a classroom.
After enduring the 13 hour plane ride, our excitement level finally peaked as we safely landed in Nairobi. We then drove a couple hours to the Moffat Guest House in Kijabe where we lived for the majority of the trip. We spent the first couple days in Kijabe learning about the history of the town and getting acclimated to the area. We quickly befriended some of the monkeys roaming around our guest house as well! For the next week or so we were fortunate enough to partner with a local ministry called Rift Valley Hope (RVH) that was located in Maai Mahiu. RVH’s mission is to restore the lives of people in the community and give hope to the broken through the power and love of Jesus Christ. While partnering with RVH, we were able to visit families in their homes, hear their stories, and pray with them. Being an HDFS major, I am all about building and cherishing relationships, so the days we were able to meet local families in Mai Mahiu were hands down the highlight of the trip for me. We were also able to build relationships with the staff of RVH over the 2 weeks we worked with them, and were able to hear their unique stories and how they got involved with RVH. Although I was half way around the world from where I was studying to be a counselor, there were already counselors recognizing and meeting the emotional need of the families they were working with. Seeing the staff at RVH’s drive to not only physically help families, but emotionally, mentally, and spiritually, solidified the fact that studying to be a counselor was right where God was calling me. This fueled my fire for counseling and my passion to help others in that field. To see firsthand the impact of recovery groups, counseling programs, and God’s love had on people’s lives in Maai Mahiu was absolutely incredible. Working with people from Maai Mahiu showed me, at the end of the day, how important relationships are and the value that they hold in our lives.
Along with learning a little bit more about counseling, I was overwhelmed by the hospitality and generosity of everyone we encountered. It made Kenya quickly feel like home. We also felt very connected because we were able to encounter a couple folks affiliated with Messiah College along the way. For example we ran into a Messiah HDFS alum who is a missionary in Tanzania! It was exciting to hear her talk about some of the classes I had just taken and how beneficial they were to her as a missionary and overall.
Although my time in Kenya was short, it was one of the most impactful moments of my life. I think I speak for my entire group when I say I’d go back in a heartbeat. I was able to experience all of Kenya, including the people, the animals, and the delicious mangos (I’m serious, Untied States mangos can’t compare). I was able to see career options that HDFS opens doors to, and meet some incredible people along the way. Being able to study abroad for a couple weeks was a time I’ll never forget and I encourage you to do the same!
FCS Intern Charlene Smith Aids Department
By Raeann Hamon, PhD, CFLE
The HDFS Department is fortunate to have Charlene Smith, doctoral student at Old Dominion, completing an internship with us this year. Ms. Smith is helping to achieve some objectives related to our Family and Consumer Sciences program.
Charlene Smith is a Ph.D. student at Old Dominion University pursuing her degree in occupational studies and STEM education. She has a B.S. from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Education, an M.S. from American University in Nutrition Education, and a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) endorsement from Millersville University. She has been teaching at the high school level for 14 years and hopes to someday use that experience, her passion for FCS, and her degrees to teach in higher education.
Her favorite part of FCS education is that the content is relevant to life. She enjoys integrating STEM concepts into her classes and watching students make connections between FCS and their other subject areas.
In her spare time, Charlene enjoys traveling with her family, hiking, coaching cross country, listening to audiobooks, cooking, and eating. She is also trying to run a marathon in all 50 states. Only 34 to go!
Hoerl Enthused by Internship with the Bair Foundation
By Ricky Hoerl
For my Experiential Learning Initiative credit, I wanted to intern in a field that interests me. Through one of my jobs, I was provided with a connection to someone who works for a foster care agency. After talking with her, I was able to secure an internship with The Bair Foundation in their York, PA office. The Bair Foundation is a Christian foster care agency dedicated to providing quality Christian services to children and families. I was able to spend the majority of my internship alongside their Intake Coordinator, Stephanie DeAngelo.
Stephanie works primarily with the foster parent applicants. She takes care of them and takes them through the entire application process. She assists them in navigating the literal TON of paperwork involved with the application process. She also helps with training them in order to be well-equipped to take in foster children. Stephanie also takes them through the entire interview process involved with applying. She is also responsible for writing a home study document which encompasses all of the information the family has provided. The home study must be accepted by an assessor in order for the family to be approved. At the same time, Stephanie receives the referrals for the children in care who are in need of homes. She works with the current homes and tries to place the kids in a home that would best suit their needs. The majority of my internship was spent doing this kind of work. I was able to gain experience in everything listed above. I was able to take the lead in a lot of visits and interviews as I gained more and more experience.
Within my first week there, I was already working alongside families and kids. Every time a child moves or is placed in a new home, we have to visit the home within 72 hours to complete paperwork and to see how everyone is adjusting. On the fourth day of my internship, I accompanied Stephanie on one of these visits. The visit was for two kids who were placed with first-time foster parents. The children had experienced unimaginable abuse and neglect at the hands of their biological family. They came to this home with absolutely nothing. Stephanie and I brought them backpacks with some toys, clothes, soap, and pillows- just a few of the essentials. Their faces lit up when we handed them the bags! As we sat with the family, the kids ran chaotically through the house. It was apparent that these kids had never experienced structure in a home. We could definitely tell the foster parents were overwhelmed in this situation. We reassured them that they are doing well and that they have the tools to make this placement successful! After all, moves can cause trauma for these kids. The last thing we wanted was for the parents to give up. If they do, what kind of message does that send to the kids?
Since I worked mostly with the applicant families, I did not get to see this family much after this visit. Every month, The Bair Foundation holds a support group for the foster families to attend. Lucky for me, this family came to almost every support group. The kids remembered me from coming out to their home and were always excited to see me. I also worked in the room with one of the kids, so I was able to work with them directly. Throughout each month, you could see a difference in their behaviors. For first time foster parents, they did an outstanding job with these kids. I know they will continue to make a positive difference in their lives. I will definitely miss this family once my internship ends.
After my internship, I will be starting a full-time position with The Bair Foundation. I have been hired as an Intake Coordinator out of their office in Pittsburgh, PA. I am able to utilize information I have learned from my HDFS classes every day. I highly recommend getting an internship while in college. It is a great way to make connections, learn about a field that interests you, and to get a foot into the door!
2020 Department of Human Development and Family Science Outstanding Alumni Award Recipient
Congratulations to Sheri Peifer, 1995 graduate in Family Studies, for being selected to receive the 2020 Department of Human Development and Family Science Outstanding Alumni Award! The award, initiated in 2012, is designed to recognize HDFS alumni for distinguished contributions to the service of individuals and families.
The HDFS faculty applauds Ms. Peifer’s work at Eskaton for enhancing the lives of older adults in the Sacramento, California area. We recognize that Sheri collaboratively works with healthcare, technology, academic and business partners to lead Eskaton’s forward-thinking approaches aimed at positively transforming the aging experience. We also understand that her team focuses on establishing integrated service and care networks for the over 14,000 older adults Eskaton serves today, expanding services for people living at home. Ms. Peifer serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for the book series Leading Principles and Practices in Elder Care and participates on the LeadingAge California Planning and EMERGE Leadership Selection Committees, among many other noteworthy activities. She is a graduate of the national LeadingAge Leadership Fellow program, based in Washington D.C. In addition to receiving her Bachelor’s degree from Messiah College, Sheri also earned a Master’s degree in Gerontology and Education from California State University, Sacramento. These are laudable professional accomplishments!! Congratulations to Sheri for work well done!
Sheri lives in California with her husband, Scott, and their three boys (twin 9 year olds and a 13 year old).
View her profile on our website
Say Yes to FCS: Helping to Fill the FCS Teacher Shortage
By Raeann Hamon, PhD, CFLE
Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) educators teach subjects such as nutrition and foods, culinary skills, personal and financial resource management, interpersonal and family relationships, interior design, sewing and fashion design, child development and child care, and many other life skills. They work in middle and high schools, and sometimes oversee childcare centers on their campuses. There is a national shortage of FCS teachers!!
In order to address the FCS teacher shortage, particularly in the Northeast, several FCS professionals secured a USDA Grant to create The National Partnership to Recruit, Prepare and Support Family and Consumer Sciences Educators. The objective of the project is to create resources to support FCS educator recruitment, to prepare future FCS educators, to promote FCS careers, and to share preparation resources on a national level.
One outcome of the grant is the creation of State Action Teams. State Action Teams are comprised of Family and Consumer Sciences individuals, stake holders, and advocates. They work to create state plans for recruiting FCS Educators and supporting FCS programs. Ms. Sasha Roble (FCS adjunct instructor) and Dr. Raeann Hamon (HDFS Chair) are active participants in the PA State Action Team. Some of their activities have included: promoting the Say Yes to FCS campaign among Messiah’s FCS majors on our HDFS Department Facebook page, and promoting the value of FCS for families and communities dealing with COVID-19 through multiple social media outlets.
Another purpose of the National Partnership is to facilitate collaborative relationships with educational institutions to provide online courses for people who want to teach FCS courses at the middle and high school levels. Since some states no longer provide FCS teacher preparation courses, this course bank will make online courses available to students who would otherwise not have access to prepare to teach FCS. Messiah is among the first institutions to add some of our own HDFS/FCS courses to the course bank. This summer, Professor Kristen Reitz will offer HDFS 245 Family Resource Management, Dr. Bev Goodling will teach HDFS 210 Child Development, and Professor Jennifer Ransil will offer HDFS 311 Adolescent Development online to both Messiah students, as well as students enrolling through the course bank. We are also hoping that our involvement in the course bank will raise the visibility of Messiah’s strong FCS program and draw undergraduates to our campus who intend to pursue FCS as a career.
We always welcome your ideas for recruiting students to our FCS program. We have an excellent opportunity to help meet the FCS teacher shortage and prepare strong, Christian educators to teach essential topics for individual well-being and healthy family functioning.
HDFS Offers First Online Class for High School Students
The Department of Human Development and Family Science is offering an online college class to high school students during fall 2020. HDFS 237 Interior Design (1 cr.) examines the fundamentals of interior design, recognizing the aesthetic quality of space and human built environments. Course objectives include 1.) Recognize basic vocabulary, concepts and theories in interior design. 2.) Identify basic principles, elements, and styles of design 3.) Evaluate the built environment based upon user needs and universal design and 4.) Interpret a space by utilizing evidence-based design problem solving. Tuition is an amazing deal at $150! The course will be taught completely online so students can take it from anywhere! HDFS 237 is one of the requirements for the Family and Consumer Sciences major at Messiah College (University as of July 1, 2020). All students can register for fall semester beginning in early July, so interested students should complete the online application process by the end of June.
Please feel free to contact Matthew Reitnour, Admissions (firstname.lastname@example.org; 717-766-2511 x4991) for questions about the application process or Dr. Raeann Hamon, Chair of Human Development and Family Science (email@example.com; 717-766-2511 x2850), for questions about the course or the Family and Consumer Sciences major.