News about Human Development & Family Science at Syracuse University.

Contributors: Michele J. Barrett, Colleen Cameron, Valerie Pietra, Sarah H. Griffin, Chandice Haste-Jackson, Emma Henzes, Eunjoo Jung, Matthew Mulvaney, Kathleen Nasto, Kathleen Rainone, Rachel Razza, Jaipaul Roopnarine, Valerie Walsh. Design by: Robert Wonders, Executive Art

In This Edition:

Alumni news

Program news

From the Dean

From the Chair

Student news


Faculty & staff

Careers of impact: Human development & family science alumni thrive in wide-ranging careers.

In the 1920s, the study of human development and family science at Syracuse University emerged from the intersection of home economics, early childhood education and care, and child psychology. Today, it is a dynamic, interdisciplinary field that studies the processes of human social, physical, and emotional growth and development throughout the lifespan and across cross-cultural contexts, utilizing research methods and techniques typical of other social sciences.

Individuals and families are at the very foundation of society. From medicine to education, from policy to business, there is a great need for professionals who know and understand the science of human development.

At Syracuse University, in-class exploration of theory is paired with research and experiential learning in the community and around the world. Using an interdisciplinary approach, students gain well-rounded exposure, exploring topics such as immigrants and cross-cultural issues, mindfulness and self-regulation in children, and gerontology, the study of aging.

With a strong foundation in human development, alumni enter the professional world as informed global citizens, well-equipped to promote human health and social justice, and are competitive candidates for advanced degrees in fields such as medicine, education, research, and others.

Alumni records show that graduates of the Department of Human Development and Family Science are having a positive impact in many different fields. Here are just some of the recent job titles and academic pursuits held by human development alumni:


Alumni are well-prepared to pursue professional roles or advance degrees for careers as child life specialists, or in pediatrics, family practice, medical social work, and speech/occupational/physical/recreational therapy in hospitals, community care clinics, mental health services, intervention and prevention services, home health services, and hospices.


  • Pediatrician, The Commonwealth Medical College
  • Registered Nurse, Columbian Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Pediatric Nurse, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Hospital
  • Research Assistant, Yale Child Study Center, Yale School of Medicine
  • Planned Parenthood Specialist, Planned Parenthood National Headquarters
  • Child Life Specialist
    • Newark Beth Israel Medical Center
    • Rochester General Hospital
    • Children’s Hospital of New Jersey
    • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
    • Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital
    • NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Children’s Hospital


  • Nursing: Johns Hopkins University
  • Occupational Therapy: Columbia University
  • Speech Language Pathology: Columbia University, New York University
  • Physician Assistant: Wake Forest University
  • Mental Health Counseling: Rutgers University
  • Prevention Science and Practice: Harvard Graduate School
  • Child Psychology: Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology

Law, government, advocacy, social services.

Alumni protect and promote the wellbeing of individuals and communities through law and public policy, as well as providing vital social services and advocacy. These alumni work in federal, state, and local government agencies, mental health agencies, the criminal justice system, and agencies that serve the needs of specific populations, such as women, children, older adults, and military families.


  • Practicing Attorney and Partner, Primo & Hills Law Firm
  • Child Advocate, McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center
  • Crisis Interventionist, Vera House
  • Caseworker, Otsego County Department of Social Services
  • Family Services Specialist, Clark County Department of Family Services


  • Social Work: Columbia University, Ohio State University, New York University (NYU), Simmons College, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Tulane University, University of Maryland, Boston University
  • Law School: Suffolk University, Syracuse University

Community Services.

Alumni serve in a wide variety of roles for community programs and centers, rehabilitation organizations, human resources, retirement homes, adoption agencies, and programs that serve children and adults with special needs.


  • Intake Worker, Head Start/Early Head Start Program, PEACE, Inc.
  • Playworks Team Leader, AmeriCorps
  • Therapeutic Foster Care Program, Hillside Children’s Center
  • Skill Builder, Hillside Children’s Center
  • Youth Development Professional, Elmcrest Children’s Center
  • Managerial Recruiting Family and Children, Peace, Inc. Summer School
  • Social Services, Catholic Charities
  • Planned Parenthood Specialist, Planned Parenthood National Headquarters
  • Child Advocate, McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center
  • Senior Program Assistant, Dunbar Association
  • Youth Specialist, YWCA 


  • Early Child Development: Korea University Graduate School
  • Marriage and Family Therapy: Syracuse University
  • Child Studies: Vanderbilt University
  • Divinity: Southern Lutheran Seminary

Education, counseling, human services.

Human development and family science alumni have an excellent foundation for roles in education, such as teaching, counseling, administration, inclusive special education, coaching, youth development, and curriculum development. Employers include public and private schools, preschools, childcare centers, youth programs, and adult education programs, as well as colleges and universities.


  • Education Specialist, Seneca Nation
  • Associate Teacher, Success Academy
  • Pre-K Teaching Assistant, Syracuse Early Education Child Care Center
  • Teacher, Reading/English Language Arts (ELA), City Year
  • Summer Lead Teacher, Lenox Hill Neighborhood House
  • Teacher, Liverpool City School District
  • Head Start Teacher, PEACE, Inc.
  • Middle School Special Education, Teach for America
  • Associate Teacher, Success Academy
  • Lacrosse Coach, Division One
  • Assistant Teacher, Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School


  • Counseling and Guidance K-12: New York University
  • Elementary and Special Education: New York University
  • Early Childhood/Elementary Education: Rutgers University
  • Instructional Design, Development and Evaluation: Syracuse University
  • Early Childhood Special Education: Syracuse University
  • Counseling Psychology: University of Denver


Alumni are prepared to work in human resources and corporate wellness initiatives, as well as business development and marketing for children and family-based products and services.


  • Business Analyst, Dell E.M.C.
  • Human Resources, Dunbar Association
  • Corporate Management Associate, Project Sunshine
  • Advertising Professional, A.I.M. Group
  • Digital Marketing/Art Therapy, Salt Digital Recruitment
  • Realtor, Gold Coast Realty, South Florida
  • Cooperate Management Associate, Project Sunshine


  • Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.): Saint Joseph’s University
  • Applied Behavior Analysis: George Washington University, Columbia University

Human development & family science knowledge and skill sets.

  • Data Collection and Research
  • Evidence-Based Practices and Program Development
  • Observation, Needs Assessment, and Evaluation
  • Survey Development
  • Application of Theory to Practice
  • Quantitative and Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Statistical Software S.P.S.S.
  • Grant Writing
  • Program and Agency Marketing
  • Culturally-Developmentally Appropriate Practice
  • Developmentally Appropriate Knowledge Application
  • Reflective Practice Application
  • Human Services Skills Trained Across Lifespan Development and Family Science
  • Parent/Family Engagement
  • Interdisciplinary Application Skills Across Diverse Life Settings
  • Problem Solving Skills for Families and ChildrenTrained in Cultural/Ecological Framework
  • Communication and Self-Management
  • Teamwork and Leadership
  • Decision-Making
  • Professionalism and Technology

Alumni News.

Working for empowerment and equity at home and abroad.

Alumna Shaylah Nichols’ experiences in community service at Syracuse University and her semester studying in Africa have inspired a meaningful career path.

When Shaylah Nichols ’18 reflects on formative experiences that set her on her path, she recalls a childhood friend who was curious and bright but ended up dropping out of high school. Nichols attributes their divergent trajectories to the different degrees of support they received from the community and their families. “It’s easy to think that people who succeed do so because they are smart or work harder than those who don’t, but there are so many people out there with equal aptitude who just aren’t afforded the same opportunities to fulfill their potential,” she says. “My friend and I are so similar intellectually, but he never had anyone in his life expecting him to succeed.”

This experience inspired Nichols’ dedication to social justice and equity, and at Syracuse University she put this commitment into practice. While studying human development and family science in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Nichols volunteered often with children and youth in the Syracuse community. One of the experiences that had an enduring impact in her life was her involvement with Juvenile Urban Multicultural Program (J.U.M.P Nation), a student-run organization that aims to raise college attendance in underserved communities. It achieves this goal by connecting eighth graders and high school students to university students who provide encouragement, advice, and insight to support their mentees’ paths toward higher education.

Beyond giving her a platform to engage with the community and put her values into action, J.U.M.P Nation was deeply meaningful to Nichols because of the bond she formed with other student mentors. “This is where I found my friends and my community,” she says. Nichols found the friendships she made with other women to be particularly important in her journey of self-discovery and growth. “I learned how valuable the unconditional support of a community of women can be,” she says. “It was very empowering.”

Resolve and purpose discovered through study in Africa.

In her sophomore year, Nichols studied in Uganda through a Syracuse Abroad world partner program called the School for International Training (SIT). Nichols, whose parents are from the Netherlands and South Korea, grew up traveling widely and was initially drawn to the opportunity in Uganda because she anticipated it would provide both the challenge and the reward of real immersion in an unfamiliar culture. What she discovered instead was a sense of comfort and belonging. “People were so kind—it really felt like home right from the beginning,” she says.

Nichols lived in the capital, Kampala, and worked for Raising Up Hope Uganda (RUHU), an organization that serves homeless youth in an impoverished area of the city. While there, she saw a segment of the population who needed social services and resources but had very few options: women in their teens who lived and worked on the street. These young women—some of whom had children—rarely had familial support, and many were victims of abuse and violence. Seeing the acute needs of this population galvanized Nichols, and she vowed she’d find a way to work with and support these young women.

Making it happen.

After graduating in 2018, Nichols moved to New York City to work with Project Sunshine, an international nonprofit that supports hospital-bound children and their families. She also started raising money to develop programming and services for the population of homeless women she’d encountered in Kampala.

In Fall 2020, Nichols was able to launch the nongovernmental organization Muwala Mulungi, and, working with her Ugandan colleagues from RUHU, secured a location for shelter and basic support services for young women in need.

Nichols’ vision for Muwala Mulungi is inspired by her Syracuse University experiences. “At its heart, Muwala Mulungi is about empowerment. That means helping the young women we serve achieve their individual goals. For some that might be job training, for others childcare, or maybe health services—but our goal will be to support each woman in what she chooses as her path forward,” she says. And she hopes to foster the kind of caring community that was so instrumental to her thriving at Syracuse. “When women support one another unconditionally—that is the most powerful kind of resource.”

Nichols was recently selected for the Alice Rowan Swanson Fellowship, a grant awarded by SIT Study Abroad allowing alumni of the program to return to the region where they’d studied and work on development projects there. She had intended to use the grant to return to Kampala this spring. Although her travels have been postponed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Nichols is moving Muwala Mulungi’s mission forward in other ways. She continues to work with her Ugandan partners remotely and is applying for grants, taking courses in psychology, and researching options for further education in social work. She is grateful, too, for the professional experience she continues to gain in her role as coordinator of corporate programs at Project Sunshine—particularly for the insight into nonprofit management and team leadership, she says.

A guiding principle in Nichols’ work is the value of empathetic understanding, and she believes the pandemic will ultimately serve to forge cross-cultural connections. “Many injustices and many of the pressures marginalized communities deal with are essentially the same, regardless of country or culture,” she says. “Sometimes it takes an external environmental condition to reveal our common ground and bring us together.” Nichols will start her graduate study in the social work program at Columbia University this fall.

— Sarah H. Griffin

Alumni close-up.

Meet Noelle Kendra-Leah Rowe ’19.

Noelle graduated with a degree in human development and family science. She was one of 12 Syracuse University Scholars who represented the Class of 2019 at the May 12 Commencement ceremony. Syracuse University scholars are selected by a University-wide faculty committee from among the candidates nominated by each of the undergraduate schools and colleges. Based on certain criteria, including their coursework and academic achievement, independent research and creative work, and evidence of intellectual growth and/or innovation in their disciplinary field, Syracuse University Scholars exhibit outstanding achievement within their chosen field of study. “A McNair Scholar and Honors Program student, Noelle is a model global citizen, setting an excellent example through community engagement activities that include service as a peer partner with the Taishoff Center and volunteer with the Lutheran Campus Ministry and Success Saturdays programs, among other activities,” says Diane Lyden Murphy, Dean of Falk College.

Meet Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri ’17.

Sangita Pudasainee-Kapri ’12 M.S., ’14 C.A.S., ’17 Ph.D. came to Syracuse from Nepal, to join the Department of Human Development and Family Science in Syracuse University’s Falk College and pursue her interest of working with children and families. “A Ph.D. from Syracuse University means a lot for me—for my personal life as well as for my professional career,” she says. Pudasainee- Kapri is grateful for the acquired theoretical knowledge, research skills, teaching skills, while pursuing her degree in human development and family science. Sangita was awarded the Human Development and Family Science Doctorate Award for Research Excellence for her dissertation, which was published in the Journal of Early Child Development and Care. Sangita is currently pursuing a second degree in nursing at Rutgers University. “Syracuse University has a great structured program, honored faculty members and a very student-friendly, supportive environment,” she says.

Meet Francheska Layne Bravo ’15.

Francheska Layne Bravo is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner working at Hudson River Pediatrics. After graduating from Syracuse University, she worked for a year in a preschool as a teacher’s aide. Shortly after, she enrolled in Columbia University’s School of Nursing where she received a M.S. in nursing, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. Although she did not study nursing at Syracuse, her experience in human development and family science fostered her passion for working with children. Through human development and family science, she was able to gain many skills that have helped her communicate effectively with children of various ages. “I got the opportunity to really understand the development of a child, which acted as a foundation for my current studies. I am grateful for all that I learned at Syracuse,” says Bravo.

Alumni Testimonials

Emma Simches ’14, Certified Child Life Specialist/Case Manager:

“I am now working at Team IMPACT, a nonprofit that matches kids with medical illnesses with college athletic teams, as a child life specialist/case manager, and am super excited to tell you that I just passed my child life certification exam today! Forever grateful for everything you taught me while I was at ’Cuse!

Francheska Bravo ’15, Registered Nurse working in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit:

“I got the opportunity to really understand the development of a child, which acted as a foundation for my current studies. I am grateful for all that I learned at Syracuse.”

Erin Brill ’17, CCLS, Drexel University School of Law pursuing child advocacy and the rights of children in the court system:

“I have been accepted and will attend Drexel University School of Law in Fall 2020 to pursue child advocacy and the rights of children in the court system. Thank you for all of your continued support, advice and inspiration along the way, I really could not have done it without you.”

Alumni connect.

We are eager to find ways to involve alumni in our classrooms and department. We invite you to share your stories and insight with current students. If you are interested in joining us virtually for guest lectures, interviews, or meetings with our undergraduate or graduate students, please complete this short form:

Be in touch! To contact the Department of Human Development and Family Science directly, please email Kathy Rainone at

Connect with Falk College:

Facebook @SUFalkCollege

Twitter @SUFalkCollege

Instagram @sufalkcollege


Falk College Alumni Group

Photos with captions in this section include:  On January 9, 2020, human development and family science alumna The Honorable Courtney M. Hills ’01 was sworn in as the new Associate Justice for the Village of East Syracuse. Falk College alumni gather in the Department of Human Development and Family Science suite at 2019 Orange Central. Pictured here are nutrition student Sarah Koutana ’20, Elena Jordan ’70, Susan Klenk ’62, Linda Kime Jackson ’69, G’70, Jane Bloom ’69 M.S.W., and Eunjoo Jung.

Program News.

Human development & family science pride points.

Over 60 academic journals where faculty members are involved either as a reviewer, editorial board member, associate editor, or editor.

115 internships in four states 2018-19. On average, 112 internships for past three academic years.

57 research competitions/conferences attended in nine states/seven countries 2019-20. On average, 50 for past three academic years.

10,580 service-learning hours completed 2018-19. On average, 10,500 service-learning hours for past three academic years.

Human development and family science program ranked fourth in the nation (2020) by

Mindfulness and contemplative studies minor offers multidisciplinary experiences for all students.

Falk College is a natural fit to house the mindfulness and contemplative studies minor, as the program’s courses complement the work of Falk students, many of whom plan to enter professions where they will be working directly with children and families. “Mindfulness-based practices are being increasingly incorporated into therapy, education, health promotion, medical settings, nutrition, and sports, which means that students can infuse them into their careers,” says Rachel Razza, Ph.D., Associate Professor and graduate director in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. In addition, Razza suggests students directly benefit from learning mindfulness and coping skills as a form of selfcare and to help overcome challenges in their careers, such as stress or secondary trauma.

Tyler Smith ’20, a senior human development and family science major, decided to minor in mindfulness and contemplative studies because of her future career working with children. Smith accepted a full-time teaching position at a public charter school in Colorado after graduation. “I am going to have to connect with children,” Smith says. “This minor shifted me towards the vision that it would be awesome if kids learned these coping skills early-on so they could be their own source of groundedness.” Students can find mindfulness in other courses, such as creative writing, holistic healing, Buddhism courses, and music.

“She would ask us what we are interested in, she would take us to different departments. She made it seem very real and reasonable to have a mindfulness minor,” Smith says. Many of the courses in the mindfulness minor include a contemplative practice component, which can be particularly helpful for managing stress associated with being a student. Razza explained, “students may gain skills that will promote their wellbeing, such as increased self-regulation and self-compassion, and combat against anxiety and depression.” The mindfulness minor continues to draw students from Falk College and across the University, as the multidisciplinary experiences in these courses are critical to the education and wellbeing of Syracuse University students. This minor serves as a mechanism to promote student research in the area of mindfulness and their use of campus resources, such as the Barnes Wellness initiatives and the MindSpa.

Photos with captions in this section include:  Students in Mindfulness in Children and Youth class engaged in a mindful drawing exercise.

From the Dean.

It was more than 90 years ago when Syracuse University first added the study of human development to its academic programs. As one of Falk College’s oldest programs, the Department of Human Development and Family Science has contributed lasting, meaningful values that guide the College today: Promoting life-long wellbeing and social justice for children, individuals, families, and communities. These values are echoed throughout our College, and human development and family science students and alumni are leading examples of this work.

In Falk College, the Department of Human Development and Family Science prepares students with a scientific study of human development, from infancy to end of life, through cultures and contexts. Sociology, psychology, and anthropology form the basis of theory, and required practice hours teach students to apply it. On average, 112 internships are completed each academic year in human development and family science. These experiences expose students to learning about others and themselves. The result is something truly transformational for our students, both professionally and personally. As they put their knowledge into practice, they’re also strengthening their empathy, cultural-competency, and citizenship.

Our human development and family science alumni bring their knowledge and skills to heath care, social services, education, law, and medicine. It makes all the difference for the future of these professional fields, as well as the people whom these programs are designed to benefit. For more than 90 years, the work of human development and family science faculty, staff, students, and alumni has transformed communities locally, nationally, and globally. I am confident in our students to carry this legacy forward.

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

Martin Sliwinski featured speaker at Human Development & Family Science Colloquium Series.

The Department of Human Development and Family Science, The David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, and the Aging Studies Institute welcomed Martin Sliwinski as the featured speaker for the Human Development and Family Science Colloquium Series on October 18, 2019. He presented, “Cognition on the Go: The Opportunities and Challenges for Mobile Cognitive Health Research.” Martin Sliwinski is the Gregory H. Wolf Professor in Healthy Aging and Human Development and director of the Center of Healthy Aging at Penn State. He is a renowned expert in cognitive changes that accompany aging, and his work has significant implications for helping support adaptive aging. His talk discussed how the use of mobile technology affords novel opportunities to assess cognitive change in older adults. While there are potential substantial unique benefits to mobile assessments, he shared that there are also technical and logistic barriers that impede their widespread utilization. In his talk, he described efforts to overcome these barriers. By overcoming these barriers, mobile assessments may provide unique tools to help understand the dynamics of cognitive function in older adults and in implementing interventions to improve their well-being. Now in its second full year, the Human Development and Family Science Colloquium Series has been successful in bringing in several nationally-known researchers to present their work to the department. These engaging talks have served to bring the department together to learn more about cutting-edge research areas and to engage in thoughtful discussion around important topics in the field.

Child life at Syracuse: A strong history of impact for children and families in hospitals.

In 1978, Syracuse University at Utica College launched a child life academic program where pioneers in the field developed a rigorous academic program that focused on field-based applications for future Certified Child Life Specialists (CCLS). Later, Syracuse’s program would become the first academic program in the world to be endorsed by the Association of Child Life Professionals. With a focus on competencies and asset-based pedagogy, the curriculum features evidence-based practices that support children and families faced with the uncertainty of illness, injury, loss, and trauma. Today, graduates of the program are located in renowned programs and centers of excellence across the nation that promote the healthy development of children and families across healthcare settings.

Photo with caption in this section includes: Certified Child Life Specialist Sophia Hornick ’12 completed her Child Life Practicum in the Pediatric Emergency Department at SUNY Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital. She completed her Child Life Clinical Internship at NewYork-Presbyterian Children’s Hospital, and went on to receive a graduate degree in child and adolescent counseling psychology at Northeastern University.

Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School transitions.

The Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School (BMW), 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. BMW, housed under the Department of Human Development and Family Science in Falk College, will now transition to report to Syracuse University’s Department of Human Resources. The Department of Human Development and Family Science will continue placing its undergraduate students at BMW for observations, field placement, internship experiences, and student and faculty research. BMW will offer the same services as the childcare center that is next door. The Department of Human Development and Family Science thanks the director of BMW, Valerie Walsh and former director Daria Webber for their service to the department, and looks forward to the continued collaboration on research, observations, and internships.

Photo with caption in this section includes:  When a student teacher at BMW sat in front of the bookshelf to read to one of the children, an impromptu story time broke out and children moved closer to join.

From the Chair.

As we start the new academic year, we welcome our very talented Class of 2024 and new graduate students. And, welcome back to our wonderful current students! We know that all of you have been affected greatly by the unprecedented crisis in Spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we have also been impressed with your resilience and your continued engagement in our classes and program. We know that this year must be particularly hard for our graduates to be cut off so suddenly from the Syracuse community and to now be facing such an uncertain world post-graduation. We are proud of your work while here and have truly enjoyed working with all of you over the past four years as you developed as scholars and socially engaged citizens. We wish you the best in your post-graduation plans, whether that is graduate school or pursuing a career. Despite the challenging circumstances, our distinguished and supportive faculty and staff are committed to educating the next generation of human service leaders serving children, youth, adults, and families as well as scholars producing forefront research to translate theories into policy implications and practices to improve families. Our program continues to flourish and has been consistently recognized as one of the very best programs in the country. Our faculty and staff truly care about students’ learning and development, and they support students in developing the knowledge and professional skills necessary to succeed in their academics and careers.

In addition to the comprehensive undergraduate and graduate classroom curriculum taught by esteemed faculty, human development and family science offers students invaluable and unlimited opportunities for service learning, hands-on experiences, real-world projects, and research. Our faculty members are deeply committed scholars from a variety of disciplines with a diverse set of research interests and expertise. They are actively involved in collaborative research with graduate students, undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and researchers across the world. Their research includes numerous areas of study, including family development in cross-cultural contexts, child and youth development, parenting, aging and intergenerational relations, work and family, and mindfulness-based practices. Students, families, alumni, campus and community partners, and our collaborators, I invite you to peruse this newsletter to see what exciting things our department has been engaged in during the past year. Together with you, we look forward to another fruitful year!

~ Eunjoo Jung , Ed.D., Chair, Department of Human Development and Family Science

Student News.

Human development & family science students become Playmakers to combat the adverse effects of childhood trauma.

Human development and family science students, Anuoluwapo Omole, Samira Suljic, and Danielle Beck, participated in a two-day training in Boston, Massachusetts through the Life is Good (LIG) Playmaker Intensive Retreat for professionals who work with children who have experienced trauma. These human development and family science students were supported by scholarship funding from the Sport and Human Development Institute in Falk College and were accompanied by Associate Professor Rachal Razza. The discovery workshop included a variety of engaging hands-on activities that introduced the LIG philosophy founded in optimism and dedicated to inclusion. The Playmakers experienced the four key ingredients of play—internal control, social connection, joyfulness, and active engagement—and learned how to integrate them into their work with children and families. The unique training equipped Playmakers with critical strategies that they can use in their future careers to create play opportunities that are safe and empowering for youth. This opportunity for professional development was an excellent example of Falk College’s theory-to-practice academic model that promotes active learning among students whose career paths focus on enhancing the well-being of individuals and communities.

Photo with caption in this section includes:  Rachel Razza, Danielle Beck, Samira Suljic and Anuoluwapo Omole at the Life is Good Playmaker training in Boston, Massachusetts.

Exploring the many aspects of child policy.

Human development and family science doctoral student, Xiaoyan Zhang, authored the policy brief “Child Poverty Has Been Declining in Single-Mother Families, But the Gap Remains Large” for the Lerner Center for Public Health Promotion, Maxwell School, Syracuse University. Xiaoyan is originally from Guangdong, China. Xiaoyan’s research interests are early childhood education, parenting, and the effects of maternal negative emotion on children’s longterm development.

Human development & family science junior’s field experience opens doors to new opportunities after graduation.

As a junior in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, Tyler Ashley Smith traveled to Hong Kong for a semester and interned at Mother’s Choice, a nonprofit that works with pregnant teens and children without families. In Summer 2019, Smith took an opportunity closer to home: a three-month teaching fellowship with Generation Teach in Denver, Colorado, her hometown. Smith’s time with Generation Teach opened doors to new opportunities after graduation, she says, including a K-5 full-time teaching position at a public charter school in Denver. “I am ecstatic to lean in and grow even more in the field of education,” she says. Smith adds that she is thankful to the Department of Human Development and Family Science and its program opportunities that allowed her to experience internships, fellowships, and more.

Photos with captions in this section include:  Tyler Smith at Mother’s Choice, a nonprofit in Hong Kong that works with pregnant teens and children without families.

Students develop personal, academic, and social response and advocacy.

Human development and family science students Anuluowapo Omole and Grace Leslie attended the National Student Leadership Diversity Conference (N.S.L.D.C.) in Jersey City, New Jersey. They were accompanied by Associate Teaching Professor Chandice Haste-Jackson. The N.S.L.D.C. is the largest national gathering of student diversity leaders and advisors to address the most critical topics of diversity and social justice challenging college campuses. The conference offered four days of comprehensive training and development, experiential workshops, round table discussions, and keynote sessions to increase self-awareness and develop advocacy skills for the student and advisor. Students from across the country and Canada had the opportunity to share across differences and provide insight on the critical diversity and social justice issues on their campuses. Omole and Leslie were able to understand and promote concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion and learn how to develop personal, academic, and social response and advocacy.

Photos with captions in this section include:  A student teacher led the class in Circle Time, a time to build the classroom community, while additional students support her and the children.

Translating theories into practices: Human development & family science interns making a difference.

Summer 2019:

Evan Adams, S.U. Athletics, Internship project: Educating Young Athletes: REAL Nutrition, Sport Nutrition Intern.

Colin Byrne, Boys and Girls Club, Internship project: Structure for Success: Boys and Girls Club Syracuse, Youth Services Intern.

Kendall Coleman, S.U. Athletics, Internship project: Creating Our Own Future Youth Program, Sport Nutrition Intern.

Sarah Frankel, Pediatric Dentistry of Mount Kisco, Mt. Kisco, NY, Internship project: Pediatric Dentistry as a Window into the Health Industry, Medical Services Intern.

Kyle Kleinberg, Andrus on Hudson, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, Internship project: The Benefit of Intergenerational Programs in a Nursing Home Setting, Senior Services Intern.

Lexi Lynch, Vera House, Internship project: Development of a Support Group for Male Domestic Violence Survivors, Victim Advocate Intern.

Alec Orazietti, B.G.C. Partners, Inc. New York City, Internship project: Wall Street for Kids, Financial Services Intern.

Joanna Park, Korean Church of Syracuse, Internship project: The BOAZ Project, Communications Intern.

Tyler Smith, Generation Teach, Denver, Colorado, Internship project: Creating Empathy with Middle School Behaviors, Teacher Education/ Prep Experience Intern.

Joshua Wright, Trinity Alliance of Capital Region SNUG program, Troy, New York, Internship project: Knowledge of Self for At-Risk Youth: Journey of Discovery of Black Leadership and Musical Artistry, Violence Intervention Intern.

Guzal Yusupova, RISE/Camp Pontiac, Copake, New York, Internship project: Tennis Benefits for Youth Development, Youth Sports Intern.

Fall 2020:

Rachel Brennan, Boys and Girls Club, Internship project: Mindfulness Practices for Children in Difficult Circumstances, Youth Services Intern.

Tairrah Contee, Y.W.C.A., Internship project: Life Skills for Pre-Adolescent Girls: The Personal Hygiene Project, Youth Services Intern.

Demilett Fernandez, Y.W.C.A., Internship project: Vision Boards for High School Girls, Youth Services Intern.

Maya Hartwell, Upstate Day Care Center, Internship project: Quality Early Childhood Education Matters, Infant Room, Early Childhood Intern.

Jordyn Hill, Upstate Day Care Center, Internship project: My Mind Matters: Mindfulness-Based Programming for School-Age Youth, Youth Services Intern.

Casey Miller, Interfaith Works, Internship project: The Road to Safe Driving: Educating Immigrants and Refugees About Safe and Legal Driving, Refugee Services Intern.

Tara Newman, Boys and Girls Club, East Fayette Street, Internship project: Parent Participation in After- School Programming, Youth Services Intern.

Kimberly Pichardo, Y.W.C.A., Internship project: Facebook Analytics Used for Targeted Marketing: Marketing Strategy for Nonprofits, Social Media Intern.

Kelly Saxton, Boys and Girls Club, Central Village, Internship project: Using Mindfulness as a Catalyst for Improving Listening and Behavior in Youth, Youth Services Intern.

Lizbeth Tavarez, Upstate Day Care Center, Internship project: The Importance of Childcare Specialists, Early Child Care Intern.

Julia Tucker, McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center, Internship project: Helpers Need Help Too, Victim Advocate Intern.

Spring 2020:

Danielle Beck, Elmcrest Children’s Center, Internship project: S.U. Basketball: Male Role Models for Children in Residential Care, Residential Support Intern.

Alyssa Bethea, Salvation Army- Syracuse, Internship project: The Importance of Nap Time: Meditation and Self-Regulation, Early Child Care Intern.

Nicolette Biancanello, Elmcrest Children’s Center, Internship project: Mindfulness and Behavioral Techniques to Promote Self- Regulation, Residential Support Intern.

Stephanie Cetel, Elmcrest Children’s Center, Internship project: A Guide to Healthy Eating: Developing a Life Skill, Residential Support Intern.

Michaela Dick, Family Counseling Services of Cortland, Internship project: Creating a Community Resource Guide, Community Support and Engagement Intern.

Elias Eckert, L.G.B.T.Q. Resource Center, Internship project: L.G.B.T.Q.+ Homeless Youth and Their Struggles, Program Development Intern.

Libby Elman, Boys and Girls Club, Internship project: Onboarding: The Importance of Hiring, Human Resources Intern.

Callie Ganca, Boys and Girls Club, Shonnard Street, Internship project: Making Syracuse a Warmer Place: Teen Clothing Drive, Teen Services Intern.

Nicole Gross, Boys and Girls Club, Shonnard Street, Internship project: Help Syracuse Bundle Up: Youth Clothing Drive, Teen Services Intern.

Mackayla Harrington, Boys and Girls Club, East Fayette Street, Internship project: Teaching Mindfulness and Self-Regulation Strategies to Inner City School-Age Children, Youth Services Intern.

Taylor Hason, Y.W.C.A./Girls Inc., Internship project: This Girl Can: Student Choice STEAM Program, Youth Services Intern.

Paige Healy, Center for Court Innovation, Internship project: Measuring the Quality of Life in the Westside Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY: A Comprehensive Review, Community Peacemaking Intern.

Hamwattie Heeraman, S.U. Literacy Corps, Internship project: Careers and Self-Efficacy for School-Age Children, Literacy Education Intern.

Marisa Higby, B.M.W., Internship project: Early Childhood Classroom Activity and Curriculum Development, Early Child Care Intern.

Julia Ann Jackson, B.M.W., Internship project: Communication Between Parents and Teachers, Early Child Care Intern.

Athan Katsantonis, It’s About Childhood and Family, Inc. (I.A.C.A.F.), Internship project: Growth Through Basketball, Youth Engagement Intern.

Samantha Metellus, Boys and Girls Club, Internship project: Program Development: Literacy Learners!, Youth Services Intern.

Jessica Milo, Elmcrest Children’s Center, Internship project: Creating Behavioral and Emotional Therapeutic Activities for Children in Residential Care, Residential Care Specialist Intern.

Clara Sung-Eun Myung, Korean Church of Syracuse, Internship project: Classroom Engagement for Refugee Students, Education Intern.

Anuoluwapo Mary Omole, Onondaga County District Attorney, Special Victims Unit, Internship project: Abuse in Syracuse: Resource Material Development, Legal Services Intern.

Olivia Pianese, Clear Path for Veterans, Internship project: Mindful Military Families, Social Media Intern.

Rachel Sassower, Congregation B’Nai Israel, Internship project: The Importance of Play in Early Childhood Education, Early Child Care Intern.

Veronica Schwartz, Dunbar Association, Internship project: Program Development: Project Esteem, Youth Development Intern.

Julia Anne Sheinbaum, Boys and Girls Club, Shonnard Street, Internship project: Bridging the Hill to the City: Community Needs Drive, Teen Services Intern.

Sarah Silbowitz, Boys and Girls Club, Internship project: Friendship, Self-Esteem, and Emotional Intelligence: Activities for Pre- Adolescent Girls, Youth Services Intern.

Cameron Stark, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Internship project: Using Creativity to Reduce Stress in a Surgical Waiting Room, Medical/ Surgical Volunteer.

Mackenzie Vlachos, B.M.W., Internship project: Early Childhood Classroom Activity and Curriculum Development, Child Care Intern.

Fengzhang Wang, Boys and Girls Club, Shonnard Street, Internship project: Healthy Eating: Adolescent Autonomy, Teen Services Intern.

Jala Wilson, Boys and Girls Club, Internship project: Keeping Calm Amidst Crisis: A Guide to Navigating Pandemic-Related Stress, Youth Services Intern.

Victoria Wiltshire, Dunbar Association, Internship project: Assessing Emotional Intelligence in an After-School Program, Youth Development Intern.

Siyu Yang, B.M.W., Physical Motor Development from Toddlers to Preschoolers: Toy Project, Early Child Care Intern.


Human development & family science graduate student scholars engage in research, presentation, and grant activities.

“The human development and family science program means so much to me. I learned so much in a short period of time and I truly loved my time spent at Syracuse University. I was a commuter student, but I commuted an hour and a half each way, and it was worth it. I don’t think I’ll ever have another education experience like the one I had at Syracuse University.”

~ Taylor Ellis ’20, Parent Educator at the Economic Opportunity Program (E.O.P.) in Elmira, New York.

Aida Abolhassani’s paper (with Yildirim, Roopnarine, & Abolhassani), “Maternal use of physical and non-physical forms of discipline and preschoolers’ social and literacy skills in 25 African countries,” was accepted in the journal, Child Abuse & Neglect.

Odetta Odartey Addo’s conference paper (with Krishnakumar) “Parenting, work, and family obligations within the Ghanaian context,” was accepted for Work and Family Researchers Network in New York for Summer 2020 presentation. Odetta also presented her work on “Economic strain and adolescents’ outcomes in Ghana: Mediating role of depression and parental physical punishment,” in her Falk poster presentation in Spring 2020.

Xiaoyu Fu’s conference paper (with Jung & Hwang), “Parenting stress and children’s behavior problems: The moderating role of parent-child relationship” was accepted for the American Educational Research Association Conference, San Francisco, California. Due to the pandemic, the paper was presented virtually. She also presented her paper (with Hwang & Jung) on “Parental autonomy support and college students’ wellbeing: The mediating role of self-efficacy and perceived academic control” in her Falk poster presentation in Spring 2020.

Corinne Blake is serving as the editorial assistant for The Caribbean Journal of Psychology, supporting the editor of the journal, Pearl S. Falk Endowed Professor of Human Development and Family Science Jaipaul Roopnarine. Corinne assists with manuscript submission and processing, editing, and dissemination of information about the journal.

Lei Jin (with Li) presented “Friendship beliefs and practices of Chinese emerging adults: Familial influences and personal experiences” at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Cross-Cultural Research in Jacksonville, Florida. Lei also worked on social relationships of Chinese emerging adults working with Dr. Xuan Li at the NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development in Shanghai.

Rachel Linsner (with Angel, Woldetsadik, McDaniel, Armstrong, Young, & Pinter) published “Confirmatory factor analysis of the enriched life scale among U.S. military veterans” in the journal, Frontiers in Psychology.

Staceyann Reid serves as the project manager working with Associate Professor Rachel Razza on projects including Inner Strength Foundation Teen Program Evaluation and Mindfulness through Movement Program Evaluation.

Rachel Linsner and Staceyann Reid (with Razza, Bergen-Cico, & Carlson) also published “The feasibility and effectiveness of mindful yoga for preschoolers exposed to high levels of trauma” in the Journal of Child and Family Studies.

Dickson Mukara Matsantsa Ong’ayi (with Yildirim & Roopnarine) published “Fathers’, mothers’, and other household members’ involvement in reading, storytelling, and play and preschoolers’ literacy skills in Kenya” in the journal, Early Education and Development. Dickson also co-authored a book chapter (with Roopnarine & Yildirim), “Father involvement in different family systems across cultural communities: Links to childhood development,” which will appear in the Oxford Handbook on Fathering. Additionally, he presented a paper, “Paternal risk factors and preschoolers academic and social skills in Kenya: The mediating role of protective factors,” at the Society for Cross-cultural Research in Seattle, Washington.

Caitlin Smith has been working with Associate Professor Rachel Razza on the assessment project “Assessment of school-based youth mindfulness program,” and with Assistant Professor Sara Vasilenko on a project called “Adolescent and young adult sexual risk behavior.”

Xiaoyan (Amanda) Zhang (with Krishnakumar & Narine) has a paper “Family economic hardships and child outcomes: Test of family stress model in the Chinese context” accepted for publication in the Journal of Family Psychology. Xiaoyan also presented a paper with her co-presenters on “Sociodemographic factors and social exclusion as correlates of multi-morbid health typologies among Chinese older adults” at the Biennial Meeting of the American Public Health Association, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and “Effects of a contemplative intervention on stress” at the Department of Psychology 26th annual poster session at Syracuse University.

Doctoral student Ying Zhang received a Summer Dissertation Fellowship from the Syracuse University Graduate School. This competitive grant recognizes the potential of student scholars across the university and provides financial support over the summer to allow them to focus on their dissertations. Ying successfully defended her dissertation proposal in February 2020. Her thesis examines the complex longitudinal associations among exposure to family violence, children’s self-regulation, and adolescent wellbeing. Ying also published a paper with her co-authors (Wang, Moss, Bonem, & Levesque-Bristol) on “Multilevel factors affecting college students’ perceived knowledge transferability: From the perspective of self-determination theory” in the journal, Research in Higher Education. Her conference paper (with Razza) “Father involvement, couple relationship quality, and maternal postpartum depression: Ethnic differences in at-risk families” was accepted for presentation at the 32nd Association of Psychological Science Annual Convention.

“The human development and family science program helped me gain a solid foundation in developmental and family sciences, which afforded me the ability to craft my Ph.D. and to pursue a career as a family researcher.”

~ Kai Sun ’20, Postdoctoral fellow in psychology at New York University Shanghai

Photos with captions in this section include:  Graduate student Ying Zhang presenting at Association of Psychological Science conference.  Graduate student Rodlyn Hines presents her research work at the Falk research conference.

Best of luck to our newest graduate alumni!

Rodlyn Remina Hines defended her dissertation entitled “Role of Transnational Living on Relationship Quality Among Ghanaian Couples” on May 10, 2020 under the mentorship of her advisor, Associate Professor Bruce Carter. She recently accepted a faculty position as an Assistant Professor of Human Services at Cazenovia College.

Kai Sun defended her dissertation entitled “Parenting in Acculturating Chinese Mothers: The influences of Chinese Identity, Cultural and Parenting Cognitions, Grandparent Support and Child Temperament” on August 23, 2019 under the mentorship of her advisor Matthew Mulvaney. “The human development and family science program helped me gain a solid foundation in developmental and family sciences, which afforded me the ability to craft my Ph.D. and to pursue a career as a family researcher,” says Dr. Sun. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in psychology at the College of Arts & Science, New York University, Shanghai.

Taylor Ellis defended her master’s thesis project entitled “Diversity in the Classroom at the Economic Opportunity Program” on May 10, 2020 under the mentorship of her advisor, Associate Professor Bruce Carter. Taylor shares, “the human development and family science program means so much to me. I learned so much in a short period of time and I truly loved my time spent at Syracuse University. I was a commuter student, but I commuted an hour and a half each way, and it was worth it. I don’t think I’ll ever have another education experience like the one I had at Syracuse University.” She is a Parent Educator at the Economic Opportunity Program (E.O.P.) in Elmira, New York where she supports families with children ages birth to five.

Congratulations human development & family science student award winners!

The Department of Human Development and Family Science congratulates its graduating students, those students who made the academic honor roll, all the award recipients, and the new inductees into Kappa Omicron Nu. The department wishes our graduating seniors well and looks forward to reconnecting to our returning students in the fall.

Graduate student awards and honors:

All-University Doctoral Prize: Rodlyn Remina Hines.

Outstanding Graduate School Teaching Assistant: Odetta Odartey Addo.

Human Development and Family Science Graduate Department Marshal: Rodlyn Remina Hines.

Alice Sterling Honig Award: Dickson Ong’ayi.

Dean Edith Smith Endowed Dissertation Grant: DeAnna Bay, Lei Jin, Staceyann Reid, and Ying Zhang.

Human Development and Family Science Doctorate Award for Research Excellence: Xiaoyan Zhang.

Human Development and Family Science Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award: Rui Tian.

Undergraduate student awards and honors:

Human Development and Family Science Undergraduate Department Marshal: Christine M. Kudrewicz.

Bernice M. Wright Memorial Award: Christine M. Kudrewicz.

Elizabeth Manwell Memorial Award: Christine M. Kudrewicz.

Elizabeth L. Reid Memorial Award: Ashley N. Homer.

Ruth Tolley Award: Halimeh Abdel-Aziz.

Selleck Award: Rachel Geller Brennan.

Shannon Davis Memorial Award: Kelly Saxton.

Human Development and Family Science Outstanding Freshman Award: Elizabeth Helana Flaherty.

Human Development and Family Science Outstanding Sophomore Award: Catalina Maria Mac Laughlin.

Human Development and Family Science Outstanding Junior Award: Halimeh Abdel-Aziz.

Human Development and Family Science Outstanding Senior Award: Claire Cooke.

Kappa Omicron Nu (KON), The Human Sciences Honor Society 2020 Inductees:  Nylla Davis, Amanda Fe Garrison, Ashley N. Homer, Alexa H. Jentis, Catalina Maria Mac Laughlin, Jessica Milo.

Julia N. Rizzo, Kelly Saxton, Kirsten E. Waldron, Rachael A. Zubal-Ruggieri.

Kappa Omicron Nu (KON), The Human Sciences Honor Society Current Members:  Alyssa Noell Bethea (President), Nicole Blitzer (Special event/social media coordinator), Rachel Geller Brennan, Claire Cooke, Ashlyn Baley Friedberg (Secretary), Christine Kudrewicz, Olivia Pianese, Rachel Pourmoradi (Treasurer), Emily Grace Rispoli (Vice president), Tyler Ashley Smith.

Human development & family science Honor Roll.

Cumulative GPA of 3.4 or above at the end of Fall 2019 semester.


Madison R. Barton, Kyra Schlanger Birenbaum, Linjun Chen, Elizabeth Helana Flaherty, Luisa Gathmann, Kara J. Mueller, Madison M. Roberts, Madeleine L. Rubler, Kayla Rose Sansone.


Jennifer Ball, Olivia Katherine Dilascia, Amanda Fe Garrison, Dreisly Grullon, Rachel Sydney Katz, Eden Rose Laur, Grace Katherine Leslie, Catalina Maria Mac Laughlin, Tamia Denise Parsons, Julia N. Rizzo, Destiny Josefina Rodriguez, Danielle Rebecca Rubenstein, Maya Swamp, Dorbor Tarley, Camille Jeanne Vincent, Kirsten E. Waldron, Fengzhang Wang, Jala Wilson, Siyu Yang, Rachael A. Zubal-Ruggieri.


Halimeh Abdel-Aziz, Nicole Blitzer, Nylla Davis, Ashlyn Baley Friedberg, Lilly Harblin, Rachel T. Pourmoradi, Emily Grace Rispoli, Katelyn Song.


Alyssa Noell Bethea, Rachel Geller Brennan, Stephanie Rene Cetel, Claire Cooke, Marisa A. Higby, Julia Ann Jackson, Alexa H. Jentis, Christine M. Kudrewicz, Samantha Metellus, Jessica Milo, Anuoluwapo Mary Omole, Olivia Pianese, Kimberly Pichardo, Kelly Saxton, Sarah Silbowitz, Tyler Ashley Smith, Madalyn R. Tallo.

Human development & family science virtual department awards ceremony and honor society induction.

On Wednesday, April 29, 2020, the Department of Human Development and Family Science gathered virtually to present awards to its undergraduate and graduate students, to induct new members into its academic honor society, and to celebrate all of the accomplishments of its students over the past academic year. This celebration was a modification to the usual in-person end of the year ceremony that was held as a virtual ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 50 members of human development and family science and Syracuse community, along with their families, came together from across the country to attend the ceremony. The human development and family science awardees and all the human development and family science students were celebrated for their wide range of impressive academic and community engagement accomplishments. A virtual ceremony was also performed to induct students into Kappa Omicron Nu, the departmental honor society. The event served to highlight the strong community spirit of the Department of Human Development and Family Science and was a lively celebration of our students’ countless successes. Watch the ceremony online.

Photo with caption in this section includes: Human development and family science virtual awards celebration, April 2020.

Faculty & Staff.

The role of the father in childhood development across cultural communities.

Over the last decade, Pearl S. Falk Endowed Professor of Human Development and Family Science, Jaipaul L. Roopnarine, has expanded his focus on father-child relationships across cultural communities to include intrapersonal and interpersonal factors (depressive symptoms, destructive and constructive conflict behaviors, interpartner violence) on childhood development. With funding from the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services, he and Dr. Elif Dede Yildirim (former doctoral student in human development and family science and now Assistant Professor of Human Development at Auburn University), assessed the impact of relationships skills education in decreasing depressive symptoms among African American, European American, and Hispanic American low-income men in diverse family constellations across eight cities in the United States. They also determined the mediating role of constructive conflict behavior and social support on the links between parenting practices, interpartner violence, and depressive symptoms and children internalizing and externalizing behaviors over the first three years of life. These studies identified the significance of early intervention in partner relationships in decreasing depressive symptoms in fathers and behavioral difficulties in children over the vulnerable preschool years. Findings of these studies are available in Psychology of Men and Masculinity and American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.

Professor Roopnarine has also been examining father-child cognitive and social engagement and preschoolers’ literacy and social skills across low- and middle-income countries. One such study drew on the UNICEF Micro Indicator Surveys to determine associations between paternal engagement in book reading, naming objects, and storytelling and children’s early literacy skills (e.g., recognize alphabet, symbols) in 92,000 families in 25 low- and middle -income African countries. Across the 25 diverse African countries, Roopnarine and his colleagues note that amidst severe health, social, and economic challenges and in the face of low paternal engagement, the impact of these early cognitive activities for children’s literacy skills was strong across countries and have implications for designing home-based interventions that involve fathers in early childhood education. These data were recently published in an article that appeared in the Journal of Black Psychology.

Human development & family science faculty awarded research grants and honors.

Marjorie Cantor Professor of Aging Studies Merril Silverstein is the principal investigator on a grant entitled “Intergenerational antecedents of care to older adults approaching the end of life with and without dementia” from the National Institute on Aging, and on another grant entitled “Spirituality and prosocial values in the absence of religion among millennials and their families” from the John Templeton Foundation. He is also an international collaborator for a project funded by the Swedish Research Council. Assistant Professor Sara Vasilenko is principal investigator in a grant entitled “Multilevel risk profiles and reproductive health across adolescence and young adulthood” from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and a subcontract principal investigator on a grant entitled “Do children displaying different profiles of cognitive and behavioral self-regulation respond differently to early education programs?” from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. She is also a coinvestigator on a grant from the John Templeton Foundation awarded to Merril Silverstein.

Working with her colleagues, Rachel Razza, Bei Yu, Lutchmie Narine, and Jaipaul Roopnarine, Professor Ambika Krishnakumar has been engaged in research grant activities funded by Syracuse University on “Developing machine learning classifiers on uncovering patterns of intimate partner violence” and “Risk and protective factors as determinants of sexual health behaviors of Caribbean youth.” Working with her colleagues Mark Costa and Dessa Bergen-Cico, Associate Professor Rachel Razza has been engaged in research grant activities funded by Syracuse University on virtual reality supported mindfulnessbased intervention for novice teachers.” She has also been engaged in “Trauma resiliency in urban environments (TRUE),” funded by the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York.

Associate Professor Matthew Mulvaney received the Falk Faculty of the Year 2020 in Teaching, Assistant Professor Sara Vasilenko received the Falk Faculty of the Year 2020 in Research, and Associate Professor Rachal Razza received the Excellence in Graduate Education for Teaching 2020. Congratulations!

Human development & family science faculty research and scholarship.

Colleen Cameron, Professor of Practice, Incoming Undergraduate Program Director:

Colleen Cameron is the coordinator for the child life specialist concentration and the faculty advisor for the Kappa Omicron Nu National Honor Society. Her diverse collaborations included partnering with SUNY Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital to examine asset-based pedagogical approaches for pre-health professionals. Cameron developed a curriculum for Syracuse University’s pre-health/pre-med program, focusing on psychosocial components of pediatric healthcare. Cameron participated in an interdisciplinary pediatric case review sponsored by the Falk College Department of Nutrition and Food Studies.

Bruce Carter, Associate Professor:

Bruce Carter was on research leave for the Spring 2020 semester, returning in Fall 2020. He served as the international co-chair of the International Conference on Children and Youth, which was scheduled to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in July 2020 but was cancelled as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, he taught online for collaborating as a visiting professor at the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.

Chandice Haste-Jackson, Associate Teaching Professor:

Chandice Haste-Jackson is co-chair of the Falk College Diversity and Inclusion Committee and serves on the SEM 100 Senate ad hoc committee to help design a developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant first year student curriculum. She was appointed to serve on the First Year Seminar Faculty Advisory Committee and developed a training guide for first year seminar facilitators. Dr. Haste-Jackson joined the board of directors of It’s About Childhood and Family, Inc. (IACAF).

Eunjoo Jung, Associate Professor, Department Chair:

Eunjoo Jung published articles in the Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal of Family Issues, Child & Youth Care Forum, Journal of Family & Economic Issues, Journal of Adult Development, and Journal of Comparative Family Studies on topics of helicopter parenting, parenting practices, academic outcomes, and parent-child relationships. She presented her research at international conferences and serves as Chair of the Department of Human Development and Family Science.

Ambika Krishnakumar, Professor:

Ambika Krishnakumar has published articles in the Psychology of Violence, Journal of Aging and Health, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, International Journal of Psychology and presented at several national and international conferences. Her research includes collaborations with faculty at universities in Thailand, Suriname, Guyana, and Trinidad.

Matthew Mulvaney, Associate Professor, Outgoing Undergraduate Program Director:

Matthew Mulvaney served as the undergraduate director of human development and family science during the 2019-20 academic year. On the national level, he continued to serve as the chair of the Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Teaching Committee. Along with undergraduate and graduate students, he presented several research and teaching presentations at national and international conferences. Dr. Mulvaney was also awarded the Falk College Faculty of the Year Award in Teaching in the spring of 2020.

Kamala Ramadoss, Associate Professor:

Kamala Ramadoss was a member of the Organizing Committee for the International Conference of the Work and Family Researchers Network. She also visited various universities and nongovernmental organizations in India to plan for the upcoming study abroad trip to India in 2020-21. Dr. Ramadoss obtained her certification for healing through meditation. She also attended a training workshop on art of dying.

Rachel Razza, Associate Professor, Graduate Program Director:

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. Dr. Razza was honored this year with the Excellence in Graduate Education Faculty Recognition Award.

Jaipaul Roopnarine, Pearl S. Falk Professor of Human Development and Family Science:

Jaipaul Roopnarine served as a member of the organizing committee for the Caribbean Alliance of National Psychological Associations meeting held in the Virgin Islands. He presented a keynote address on fathering in Caribbean and African cultural communities at the Conference on Fathers and Childhood Development at the Institute for Graduate Studies and Research, Anton de Kom University of Suriname, in Paramaribo, Suriname.

Merril Silverstein, Marjorie Cantor Professor of Aging Studies:

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, Research Associate Professor:

Margaret Usdansky taught an Honors Seminar – Improving Your College Experience Through Mindfulness. She collaborated with Dr. Rachel Razza and Maxwell Professor Leonard Lopoo on a research project to measure the impact of an eight-hour peer-based academic coaching program on students’ study habits and grades. Over 400 Syracuse University first- and second-year students participated in the study during the 2019-20 academic year. Preliminary results indicate that students who attended all eight coaching sessions earned higher fall semester GPAs than students who did not participate. Dr. Usdansky presented these results at a meeting of the College Reading and Learning Association.

Sara Vasilenko, Assistant Professor:

Sara Vasilenko received the Falk College Faculty of the Year for Research award for 2020. She presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) and published papers in the Journal of Adolescent Health, Journal of Sex Research, and Journal of Research on Adolescence. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Research on Adolescence and Applied Developmental Science.

Emeritus Faculty:

Alice Honig, Joseph P. Fanelli, Irene Kehres, Teresa MacDonald

Human Development & Family Science Staff:

Valerie Walsh, Director of BMW:

“I am so thankful for the wonderful support the faculty, staff, and students of human development and family science have provided to the Bernice M. Wright Child Development Laboratory School over the years. You all have been instrumental in our growth and helping us to become the high-quality, accredited program we are today. I look forward to continuing our partnership for years to come and look forward to welcoming new and returning students and researchers into our classrooms each semester.”

Kitty Nasto, Office Coordinator:

“I am blessed to be able to work with and for amazing faculty and staff in the Department of Human Development and Family Science. I thoroughly enjoy the interaction with all of the students, who are always so appreciative of the help and guidance we provide.”

Kathy Rainone, Administrative Assistant:

“Working for the Department of Human Development and Family Science is a wonderful experience because you get to work with bright minds and friendly faces. Our office works with both undergraduate and graduate students to ensure that they receive all the resources and support they need to successfully complete their academic endeavors. I really enjoy being part of the human development and family science community interacting with our students and their families from diverse cultures and backgrounds.”

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