Get the latest HDFS Buzz!
Get the latest HDFS Buzz!
Happy New Year and welcome to the Winter 2021 edition of HDFS Buzz, the newsletter of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at Texas Tech University. The pandemic has created a challenging environment for both our faculty and students, but everyone has been flexible, accommodating, and adjusting to the “new normal” as teaching, research, service to the department and university, and outreach and engagement activities continued to flourish. We hope that better days and months are ahead in the New Year. This newsletter focuses on our HDFS alumni; they are incredibly important to the lifeforce in the department. Many of our alumni are represented on our three Advisory Boards for the Child Development Research Center (CDRC), the Center for Adolescent Resiliency (CAR), as well as the HDFS Advisory Board. Several of our HDFS Advisory Board members will be participating in our inaugural Alumni Roundtable on March 3rd (please see the feature story and details below).
One of our recent departmental goals has been to develop an HDFS Alumni Council, strengthen our alumni relations, and highlight alumni in our community. Thus, we have a feature story describing some of the wonderful alumni from HDFS. In addition, a story is also included that spotlights the HDFS instructors. They are all alumni from our program and teach a variety of courses with a great level of expertise and enthusiasm.
Wishing you all brighter days ahead in 2021, and we continue to look forward to more opportunities ahead for our students and faculty to engage with our TTU alumni community.
Ann M. Mastergeorge, Ph.D.
Department Chair
Rockwell Endowed Professor
Department of Human Development and Family Sciences
College of Human Sciences
HDFS Alumni Panel: Launching Your Career
One main goal of the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences is to provide support to alumni programs and services, facilitate communication with alumni, and strengthen alumni bonds of friendship, professional association, as well as university, college, and department affiliation. In addition, through our HDFS Advisory Board, we strive to provide opportunities for alumni and friends to advise, guide, advocate for, and support the department, college, and the university in achieving the missions and goals reflected in our strategic plans.
Our HDFS alumni represent a wealth of knowledge and experiences across many different fields and they have inspiring stories and career trajectories to share with prospective and current HDFS students. In celebrating the impact of our HDFS Alumni, we will be hosting an HDFS Alumni Panel on March 3, 2021. Register below.
HDFS Alumni Panelists
  • Carla Higley Holeva, Director of Development for the ACLU of Texas 
  • Sharon Hyde Bass, Executive Director, Volunteer Center of Lubbock
  • Keith Patrick, Director of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at Frenship ISD
  • Ashley Reinhardt, M.Ed., Founder and Director of WonderWell in Austin, Texas
  • Holly Wright, Ph.D., HDFS Instructor, GPIDEA Early Childhood Director
Date: March 3, 2021
Time: 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Register Here
Q&A with HDFS Alumni Advisory Board Members  
Learn more about our HDFS Advisory Board Members as they speak about their time at Texas Tech University, where they are now, and more in this special Q&A session!
HDFS Community Instructors Spotlight
The success of the HDFS Department could not be possible without the dedicated and passionate work of our HDFS Community Instructors. We are fortunate and privileged to have HDFS alumni serving as community instructors as well as in different roles in the department. 
Department Highlights
  • Dr. Joey Merrin was recently awarded an external grant from the National Institute of Justice for his research “Root Causes of Bias-based Harassment in Schools: Risk and Protective Factors across Multiple Levels of the Social Ecology”. Dr. Merrin is the co-PI on this grant with his collaborator and grant PI, Dr. Melissa Holt at Boston University. 
  • Dr. Jacki Fitzpatrick has been selected as a recipient of the TTU Mortar Board Apple Polishing Award for faculty mentors.
  • Dr. Christy Rogers was invited by the Jacob’s Foundation in September, to present a talk titled, “Directed functional connectivity during adolescent social learning: An example using sibling dyads,” as part of the Jacob’s Foundation Science of Learning Symposium in the Flux (Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience Society) Virtual Conference.
  • Dr. Sylvia Niehuis, Director of the SMITTEN Lab on Close Relationships, was part of a multi-university consortium whose study on predicting success in marriage and non-marital relationships was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Joining Dr. Niehuis were HDFS faculty colleague, Dr. Alan Reifman, and Dr. Niehuis's former advisee, Dr. Rebecca Oldham, now a faculty member at Middle Tennessee State University. Dr. Niehuis contributed two studies, one on newlyweds in Lubbock County and the other on college dating couples. 
  • Dr. Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo is serving as Senior Consultant in a federal grant awarded September 2020 to The Lubbock Police Department for the Lubbock Peer Support Project, to focus on improving the delivery of and access to mental health and wellness services for law enforcement funded by the Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services’ (COPS Office) Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act Program. In addition, Dr. Trejos-Castillo was appointed as Texas Tech University representative to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Negotiated Rulemaking Committee on Minority Health Research & Education.
Best 15 Master's in Gerontology Programs in 2021
Our master's degree in Human Development and Family Sciences: Gerontology was rated one of the top 15 Masters in Gerontology programs in the U.S. by Best Value Schools. This online degree program is offered through GPIDEA and requires a total of 36 credit hours and is aimed at working adults who are already employed as professionals in child and family services.
In Memoriam: Nancy J. Bell, Human Development and Family Sciences Colleague
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Nancy J. Bell, a much-loved professor in Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS), who died on Dec. 1, 2020, at the age of 79. Bell obtained her B.A. in 1963, her M.A. in 1971, and her Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 1973 before beginning her role in HDFS at Texas Tech University, a role she held from 1973-2016. Bell also served as department chair for several years during her time at Texas Tech.
New Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Niyantri Ravindran
We are delighted to welcome Dr. Ravindran to our department. Learn more about her background and why she chose Texas Tech in the recent Q&A we conducted with her.
Consider Supporting HDFS With A Gift 
Gifts made to the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) at Texas Tech University will directly support department initiatives and growth. We kindly invite you to partner with HDFS to help take our program to the next level. 
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