Table of Contents.

Greetings from Human Development and Family Science at Syracuse University.

The Department of Human Development and Family Science (H.D.F.S.) has been at the forefront of training a significant number of top-notch national and international human development and family doctoral scholars in areas such as early childhood education, human sexuality, family violence, parental socialization, and child development, among others.

H.D.F.S. at Syracuse University is involved in the scientific investigation of children and families, with a focus on the physical, emotional and social development of children across the lifespan, and the study of family dynamics and processes. The Department offers bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and provides students with internship experiences and advanced research training for understanding and working with children and families across a variety of national and international settings.

Revised undergraduate and the applied master of arts curriculums were approved by the New York State Board of Regents during Summer 2018. Undergraduate learning now includes a comprehensive set of courses that captures the overall discipline, and the program is better integrated with student career options, such as Child Life Specialist, Family Life Educator, Early Childhood Educator, and Youth and Family Program Specialist, among others.

Situated in Falk College, the Department continues to make strides through robust undergraduate and graduate student enrollment, curriculum development, faculty research, and service.

We welcome incoming H.D.F.S. chair, Eunjoo Jung, associate professor, who stepped into this leadership role on July 1 and previously served as undergraduate director in the department.

We hope our paths cross with yours in the near future. We would be delighted to talk about our work in H.D.F.S. with you!

Ambika Krishnakumar, Ph.D.
Professor, Outgoing Department Chair, Department of Human Development & Family Science.

From the Dean…

For nearly a century the Department of Human Development and Family Science has focused on the scientific study of individuals and families. What has remained constant and growing ever stronger is our commitment to educating students to be socially responsible global citizens. And they are up to this challenge.

Our current students in H.D.F.S., along with their peers throughout Falk College, are working in the local and global communities in research, service, and internships. These critical learning experiences are what give me confidence that Falk students in all of our majors are well prepared to meet today’s needs and tomorrow’s opportunities. Our mission is to challenge, teach, and mentor the leaders and thinkers of the future. Our legacy is our extraordinary people: our students, alumni, faculty, and staff of Falk College. We marvel watching our students meet the world’s opportunities and challenges with passion and skill; they will leave the world better than they found it, just as they always have.

Best wishes as we embrace the future together.

Diane Lyden Murphy, M.S.W., M.A., Ph.D.
Dean, Falk College

Student News.

H.D.F.S. students in action.

Photos with captions in this section include:

  • Pictured here is Noelle Rowe ’19 at the 2019 Association for Psychological Science conference where she presented research as lead author titled “The Influence of Traditional and Hegemonic Masculinity Norms on Academic Behaviors and Achievement.” This represents work that she completed as part of her Honor’s thesis. She was supported in this work by coauthors Rachel Uveges (a Ph.D. student in the H.D.F.S. Department) and Dr. Matthew Mulvaney (associate professor of Human Development and Family Science).

  • Dr. Matthew Mulvaney and newly inducted Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society students after ceremony on May 1.

  • Students interact and answer questions during the annual H.D.F.S. Internship Poster Presentation May 1. In the background, Aaron Druger performs as part of his presentation. pictured are Mia Kalmin, Aaron Druger, Randi Dorman and Falk College career advisor, Jessica Pitcher.

  • Students prepare to present their posters during the annual Human Development and Family Science Internship Poster Presentation May 1. Pictured are Chloe Vardi, Rashell Villar, Kelvin Almonte, Elizabeth Pierre, Ethan Rousso.

  • H.D.F.S. faculty, staff, Kappa Omicron Nu inductees, H.D.F.S. awardees, H.D.F.S. graduate students at the annual Human Development and Family Science End of the Year Celebration, May 1.

  • Dr. Ambika Krishnakumar presents Ph.D. student Xiaoyan Zhang with the H.D.F.S. Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award.

Faculty and Staff.

H.D.F.S. faculty research and scholarship:

Colleen Baish Cameron launched Arts in Medicine, a developmentally supportive art curriculum for pediatric patients at SUNY Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. A faculty advisor for Camp Kesem, a student-run camp for children with parents diagnosed with cancer, Cameron also serves on the board of directors for the Street Addiction Institute.

Bruce Carter served as the international co-chair of the International Conference on Children and Youth, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in July 2019. In addition, he spent most of the 2019 summer in China, collaborating as a visiting professor at the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Chandice Haste-Jackson joined the School Counselor Advisory Committee for the Syracuse City School District and the Building Men Advisory Board, a My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (M.B.K.) Impact Community designated by the Obama Foundation. This fall she begins a new role as associate teaching professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science.

Alice Honig had numerous journal articles published and continues to be sought out by the news media for her expertise, including an interview with C.N.N. about talking with babies. At the New York State Higher Education Forum in April, she presented the keynote address.

Eujoo Jung published articles in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Family Relations, and International Journal of Education in Mathematics, Science, and Technology. With H.D.F.S. colleagues, she earned the One University Assessment Best Poster Design Award and received the 2018 Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award.

Ambika Krishnakumar served as H.D.F.S. department chair and on the Provost’s Advisory Committee. Active in research, teaching, and service, she published articles in Psychology of Violence and International Journal of Psychology and presented at national conferences. Her research includes collaborations with faculty at universities in Thailand, Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad.

Matthew Mulvaney mentored several undergraduate and graduate student researchers including Noelle Rowe, an undergraduate researcher in his lab who was awarded the Syracuse Scholar Award. In 2019, he began his term as chair, Teaching Committee of the Society for Research in Child Development (S.R.C.D.) where he works nationally to advance teaching of developmental science.

Kamala Ramadoss, with Dr. Sudha Raj, developed and taught a study abroad course to India. The co-chair of the Work and Family Focus Group at the National Council on Family Relations, she is a founding member of the Work and Family Researchers Network. She completed 150 hours of mindfulness meditation training.

Rachel Razza is coordinator of the mindfulness and contemplative studies minor and associate director for the Contemplative Collaborative at Syracuse University. Her mindfulness-based collaborations include studies that involve neuroimaging and virtual reality. She and her graduate students completed their fifth year evaluating two school-based mindfulness interventions serving urban youth in Philadelphia.

Jaipaul Roopnarine served on the organizing committee of the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations meeting in Jamaica. He presented on parenting practices, depression, and childhood outcomes in Caribbean families in Corentyne, Guyana, and his keynote address at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname, Paramaribo, focused on Caribbean and African fathers and childhood outcomes.

Merril Silverstein chaired the Behavioral and Social Science Section of the Gerontological Society of America. A member of advisory boards of the Longitudinal Study of Aging in Amsterdam, German Family Panel Study, and National Social Life, Health, and Aging Project, his invited lectures spanned the globe including University of Hong Kong, Tel Aviv University, and University of Bozen, Italy.

Margaret Usdansky taught first-year experience and Honors seminars about using mindfulness techniques to maximize the college experience. With Dr. Rachel Razza and others, she conducted a feasibility study of a peer-based academic coaching program to help first-year students’ competencies using research-based study strategies. She was invited to participate in the Developing a National Research Agenda for STEM Academic Support conference at Northwestern.

Sara Vasilenko presented at the Society for Research in Child Development (S.R.C.D.) and published papers in Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Sex Research, and Annals of Epidemiology. She serves on the editorial board of Journal of Research on Adolescence and Applied Developmental Science.

Valerie Walsh serves as interim director of Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School following four years of teaching there. She works closely with H.D.F.S. graduate and undergraduate students during their practicums, internships, and employments while also running the daily operations of the preschool. She brings ten years of management experience.


Kitty Nasto, Office Coordinator - “I have always enjoyed helping people and the H.D.F.S. office gives me the opportunity to not only interact but support students in many ways. It is very self-satisfying to know I helped a student and possibly made their time here more memorable.”

Kathy Rainone, Administrative Assistant - “I enjoy working with both our undergraduate and graduate students and the rewards it brings to those by just being helpful and kind. Our office provides students with an inviting and comforting environment to visit. I thoroughly appreciate meeting and talking with both undergraduate and graduate students that are from all different cultures and backgrounds.”

H.D.F.S. News & Notes.

Chandice Haste–Jackson named associate teaching professor.

Chandice Haste–Jackson is appointed as an associate teaching professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science beginning Fall 2019. In addition to working as internship coordinator in Falk College since 2016, Haste-Jackson has served as adjunct faculty in the Department of Human Development and Family Science since 2005. Congratulations, Chandice!

Happenings at the Bernice M. Wright Laboratory School.

The Bernice M. Wright Lab School (B.M.W.), accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, serves as an early education training facility and supports research in early childhood education. During the past academic year, 84 toddlers and preschoolers were enrolled. During that same time, seven graduate students worked as teaching assistants at the B.M.W. Lab School, and an eighth worked as a substitute teacher during mini sessions.

Highlights from the past year shared by interim director, Valerie Walsh, include:

Field trip to Bird Library:

Through collaboration with parent and librarian, Emily Hart, as well as Falk’s own librarian, Anita Kuiken, the children were able to experience different aspects of Bird Library. We intend to continue this collaboration and build on the experience to help children cultivate an understanding of the importance of libraries and what they can offer.

Toddlers learning about an ambulance from the inside:

Coordinated thanks to a parent of a child enrolled in our program, A.M.R. brought an ambulance for the children to see that it is not a scary space, but a place to receive help and care. The early introduction to the vehicle and the tools helped children know what to expect, taking away the fear if they are ever faced with a situation in the future where they need to go into an ambulance.

Child Life at Syracuse update.

In 2018, the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Syracuse University acquired the first endorsement by the Association of Child Life Professionals. This historic honor recognizes the quality of teaching and learning in our specialized courses that prepare students to enter a global healthcare field. Photo with caption in this section: Child Life track students visit the Child Life Historical Archives.

H.D.F.S. ranked fourth nationally by

Congratulations to Falk College’s Human Development and Family Science program ranked fourth in the nation (2019) by Read more on

Congratulations, H.D.F.S. retirees!

Congratulations to faculty from the Department of Human Development and Family Science who retired this past academic year including Joe Fanelli, Terry MacDonald and Daria Webber. On the occasion of their retirements, each has shared a treasured teaching moment:

Joseph P. Fanelli, Ph. D., teaching faculty “I think my most memorable moment was a late afternoon in early August, 1985. I received a call from the chair of Child & Family Studies asking if I would teach C.F.S. 388 Human Sexuality. She indicated there were 364 students already registered and I would begin teaching in three weeks. My stunned reaction was, ‘Oh my god!’ And for the next 66 semesters, I was continually thankful for such an extraordinary opportunity and amazing privilege.”

Teresa MacDonald, Ph.D., director, Sport and Human Development Institute, part-time instructor “One of my most memorable moments was teaching a new course in H.D.F.S.: Human Development and Sport and listening to final presentations by students who embraced the challenge of creating their own sport-for-development programs. Their program proposals were personal, comprehensive, creative, and developmentally appropriate. They were awesome.”

Daria Webber, former B.M.W. director, part-time instructor “The most memorable moments in my teaching career were having the best of both worlds as the director of B.M.W. and teaching Early Childhood Education. I had the pleasure of seeing my S.U. students put theory directly into practice in their practicum at B.M.W. The discussions during lecture in the C.F.S. 432 class were rich and interesting, and when students made the connections it was very satisfying for us both. Equally as exciting was observing the young students at the preschool as they played and engaged in activities that allowed them to learn through experience and construct knowledge. Both showed the importance of hands-on learning. Every day was a new learning experience for me as well.”

Congratulations, retirees!

Current Research Activities of H.D.F.S. Faculty and Students.

A graphic in this section highlights the worldwide reach of on-going research within Human Development and Family Science. Projects in the U.S. and Canada include topics such as intimate partner violence, family dynamics, child and youth development, aging, mindfulness and self-regulation, and immigrants and cross-cultural issues. In the Caribbean faculty are researching child development, early childhood education and mental health. Research in Ukraine includes dating violence, economic hardship, physical and mental health, child development, and intimate partner violence. In South Korea research encompasses child development, and early childhood education. Research in other countries include socialization behaviors and adolescent adjustment in Ghana, work and family and child play and development in India, aging and the family in Thailand, and father involvement in Saudi Arabia.

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