HDFS Highlights

Fuller Recognized as Gerontological Fellow

Heather Fuller, professor, was recently named a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. 

Fellow status is peer recognition for outstanding contributions to the field of gerontology and represents the highest class of GSA membership. The distinction is given for diverse activities that include research, teaching, administration, public service and notable participation in the society.

Read more


LGBTQ Civil Rights and History trip to Berlin

Dr. Christi McGeorge will guide a group of HDFS students on a 7-day study aboard trip to Berlin focused on LGBTQ Civil Rights and History.

Deadline to sign up for the trip is December 1, 2022.

Some of the highlights of the trip include:

  • Attend the largest LGBTQ+ festival in Europe
  • Experience established LGBTQ+ neighborhoods within the diverse city of Berlin
  • Visit the Schwules Museum (one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ museums in the world)
  • Learn about the persecution of LGBTQ+ people faced during the Holocaust visiting the Holocaust Memorial and Topography of Terror Museum
  • Experience the Brandenburg Gate, and the remains of the Berlin Wall

Students who sign up for the trip will earn three credits at the 300 level  – through a 2-credit course in the spring semester and 1-credit in the summer. These credits can be used to meet the HDFS 300-400 level elective requirements AND Cultural Diversity or Global Perspectives Gen. Ed. Requirement


Developmental Science Graduate Students From Around the Globe!

The 2022 - 2023 Developmental Science graduate students arrived from many places! They traveled from Taiwan, Zimbabwe, Jamaica and India. Read about their research interests!

Kerrie Leonard, Developmental Science PhD Candidate, Receives Doctoral Dissertation Award

Kerrie Leonard, a doctoral candidate in our program, received the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship for the period of September 1 – December 15, 2022! This competitive award will allow Kerrie to focus exclusively on completing her dissertation. Congratulations Kerrie!

This award is provided by the NDSU College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies. The fellowship provides a monthly stipend plus funds for travel and supplies. The money is a direct appropriation from the legislature to support the Doctoral Dissertation Awards program.

Kerrie was chosen based on quality and clarity of her research summary, her academic and professional credentials and the impact that the award will have on her ability to graduate this spring or summer.

Carlson, Kinkade and Van Vleet receive the 2022 Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Assistance to Faculty.

Shawn Carlson, Emily Kinkade and Bryce Van Vleet received the 2022 Graduate Student Award for Outstanding Assistance to Faculty. 

This award recognizes the most outstanding contribution made by a student to a faculty member or team of faculty members. Criteria includes: Enthusiasm Toward Work, Adaptability/ Flexibility, Initiative/ Job Maturity, Cooperation, Quality of Work, Organization and Utilization of Time, Punctuality, Preparation for Position, and Communication.

College of HSE Celebration of Excellence - HDFS Award Recipients

The College of Human Sciences and Education recently held their annual Celebration of Excllence. Several HDFS faculty members received awards.

Christi McGeorge - Exceptional Contributions to Research:  Awarded to a faculty member who has established a research program and demonstrated excellence through publications and/or presentations beyond those expected; selected to serve as Editor or on Editorial Board of professional publication; or receipt of significant grant funding from sources outside the University. Her nominator mentioned that "Dr. McGeorge has a clear research program focused on social justice issues in therapy and training with a particular emphasis on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) affirmative therapy that has generated national and international respect and recognition. Dr. McGeorge is generous in offering valuable research skills directly at NDSU and to the field in multiple ways."

Dena Wyum - Exceptional Contributions to Faculty and Student Mentoring: Awarded to a faculty member who has provided guidance and support for other faculty and students to succeed in their development as instructors, researchers, and/or leaders. Over the past academic year, Dena has engaged in a number of activities that have involved mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students. For example, Dena guest lectured in HDFS 802, a class focused on helping doctoral students develop strong pedology skills. The instructor for HDFS 802, Dr. Heather Fuller, shared the following “Dena is always willing to share her teaching expertise and innovative strategies with both colleagues and new instructors."

Meagan Hoffman - Exceptional Contributions for Collaborative Efforts: Awarded to members of a committee, task force, special group or department working to advance the mission of the University. The group may include faculty, staff, students and community members. Criteria include but are not limited to willingness and ability to work across campus reporting lines, ability to engage in creative initiatives. Dr. Hoffman’s professional collaborations have resulted in over four million dollars in grant funding to conduct programming that significantly impacts the citizens of North Dakota and South Dakota. Three years ago, Meagan began working with colleagues at South Dakota State University (SDSU) to create the Strengthening the Heartland (STH) project, a multi-state collaborative addressing health and wellness in rural communities. The funding to support this project comes from prestigious entities such as USDA/NIFA/Rural Health and Safety Education (RHSE), the Department of Health and Human Services/Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and USDA/NIFA/Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR). These grants have helped the team to empower people within rural communities, taking information into the communities and reaching youth and adults where they are.

Melissa O’Connor - Exceptional Contributions to Learning: Awarded to a faculty member who demonstrates excellence in teaching; receipt of teaching awards; engaged learning; curriculum design; supervision; and other activities that contribute to learning. Dr. O’Connor serves as the Undergraduate Coordinator for the HDFS Department and has led varied efforts to support students and faculty engaged in learning. In her role as Undergraduate Coordinator, she has supported student recruitment and learning by sending recruiting invitations and revising recruitment videos that promote academic options in the HDFS program. Dr. O’Connor has also led efforts to expand academic offerings available to students at the undergraduate level, including development of an Aging Studies certificate and a Family Financial Planning certificate. Dr. O'Connor was also involved in curriculum design and revision, continuing her support and development of a curriculum mapping process. 

Honorable mentions:

Sean Brotherson - Exceptional Contributions to Searcinve/Outreach

Andrea Abrahamson - Staff Distinguished Achievement

Fuller Receives GPIDEA Faculty Excellence Award

Heather Fuller was announced as the winner of the Great Plains IDEA Faculty Excellence award at the Great Plains IDEA annual meeting. According to GPIDEA, “the Faculty Excellence Award recognizes a significant contribution of faculty in a Great Plains IDEA academic program. Award winners devote time, energy, and resources to enhancing the alliance academic community. Faculty Excellence Award recipients develop creative courses and mentoring programs or make a significant impact on teaching in a Great Plains IDEA program.”

Heather says she is "truly honored to receive this award from GPIDEA! I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to collaborate with my Gerontology colleagues to work together to train students from all across the globe to be the next generation of professionals and scholars who will continue advancing the field of Aging Studies. To be selected for this honor is a great privilege, and I am deeply appreciative and humbled to have my teaching and leadership efforts acknowledged with this award."

Learn more about the GPIDEA master's degrees here

DS Grad Students receive Graduate School Research Award and Graduate School Teaching Award

Jonix Owina (Ph.D. class of 2021) was selected as the recipient of the Graduate School Research Award for 2020-2021 in the College of Human Sciences and Education. Emma Johnson was selected as the recipient of the Graduate School Teaching Award for 2020-2021 in the College of Human Sciences and Education. It does not happen often that both recipients of these awards come from the same program! We are very proud of both Jonix and Emma! 

Deal Receives Great Plains IDEA Faculty Excellence Award

"Jim has been a faculty member who promotes meaningful learning and adherence to identified competencies, a faculty leader who contributes to course planning, assessment, and reporting, and a faculty colleague who approaches all of these duties with calmness, thoughtfulness, and respect.” according to Sissy Osteen, associate professor and department head at Oklahoma State University.

Read more about the GPIDEA program!

Fuller named RCA Researcher of the Month

In a surprise presentation to Dr. Fuller, the office of Research and Creative Activity presented her with the RCA Researcher of the Month award in January, 2021. 

Heather Fuller's passion for working with older adults began when she was young. Through both volunteer time and jobs, she found herself drawn to them and curious about what helps them age well. As an associate professor in the department of human development and family science at NDSU, Heather has continued along this path by conducting research about the importance of social relationships throughout our lifespans including the impact of interruptions in these relationships caused by distance or, most recently, the COVID-19.

"Human development is a process of growth and change across the entire lifespan, from infancy to old age," says Heather. "My research focuses on the role of social support in that developmental process throughout adulthood – but especially in the later years of life. Social support from family, friends, neighbors, and communities is an integral factor influencing well-being and development. Individuals do not develop alone; our lives are linked, and through those links we influence each other’s developmental paths and outcomes."

Read the full article here.

Related article here about the research: NDSU study: Older adults coping well during pandemic

Dena Wyum Recipient Odney Excellence in Teaching Award

Dena Wyum was named the 2019 recipient of the Odney Excellence in Teaching Award. This is a university-level award stemming from student nominations; no one from HDFS has received this award since 1990.  

Congratulations, Dena! We are proud to have you in our department. Thank you for your dedication and commitment to excellence in teaching.  

The Odney Award was established with the NDSU Development Foundation by the family of the late Robert Odney to recognize outstanding faculty teaching. The ideal candidate for the award would be one who stimulates continuing interest in the subject matter; presents course material in a clear and suitable manner; demands rigorous thought and generates enthusiastic responses from students; demonstrates distinctive competence in his or her field; and has made positive contributions to the educational experience of students at North Dakota State University. 


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