Letter from the Director 2017

Dear Friends,


I remember, once as a teenager, seeing a fellow student singled out by a bully because of her appearance. She was shy, hanging her head low, overweight, and clearly shaken by the cruel words. The experience haunted me, and I can only imagine the effect it had on the victim – or for that matter, the bully who found it so easy to dehumanize a classmate. 

Today, it’s a great privilege for me to get to work with brilliant leaders who are reshaping our understanding of how to address and prevent bullying in adolescence, the topic we cover here in our second edition of our School of Human Ecology newsletter. 

Gearing Up is named for historic Gearing Hall on the Forty Acres, where our school is based and where many of the outstanding educational and research programs highlighted in these pages take root. Here we celebrate the science of many things that are core to our human experience. A counterweight to the divisions between people, these experiences bring us all together. From family relationships to developmental changes over the life span, from food and its effects on the body to health and its relationship to our communities, and from textiles that protect us to apparel that helps reflect our individual identities, our focus is on the essence of everyday lives. Inside you’ll find the stories of many of our students, faculty and alumni, the people whose world-changing efforts at The University of Texas at Austin are making a difference right now. 

I appreciate your partnership and your support, which is critical to all that we do.


Deborah Jacobvitz

School of Human Ecology