New and Noteworthy

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The Department of Human Development and Family Sciences grew this year with the addition of two tenure-track faculty members. Elma Lorenzo-Blanco, previously an assistant professor at the University of South Carolina, investigates the influence of culture, ethnicity, gender, family and media on the health and well-being of Latino youth and families. Hannah Williamson, who completed her doctoral degree at University of California at Los Angeles, tests different theoretical interventions as she researchers underserved families and the relationships of low-income and ethnic-minority couples. 

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“Both Elma and Hannah bring a focus on low-income and Latino families that has been under-represented in the mainstream of our field,” says departmental chair Stephen Russell. 

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Departmental faculty member Ted Dix is retiring with emeritus status after 30 years in the department and honors such as having been elected fellow for the American Psychological Association and Association for Psychological Science.

“Ted’s research approach – integrating a more biological approach with children’s experience – added a new perspective,” says School of Human Ecology director Deborah Jacobvitz. “Ted is also a phenomenal, award-winning teacher who fostered the intellect of promising students and started our honors program.”

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Nutritional epidemiologist Beth Widen, an expert in global health and obesity, has joined the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Her research examines the role of prenatal, infant and toddler nutrition on short- and long-term health. Her doctorate is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and she was a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University.

“Beth is a talented and dynamic researcher, and I am thrilled to have her join our department,” says departmental chair Molly Bray. “Her work on obesity complements and strengthens our department’s research program.”

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Finally, sad news comes with the passing in February of Cynthia Kay Jay, former director of the Historical Textiles and Apparel Collection. Her passion for learning and teaching was known to all who passed through Gearing Hall between 1993 and 2013. She came to campus with a background in the fashion industry and received her Ph.D. in adult education.