Exterior of Nancy Nicholas Hall in the evening, with lamps and windows glowing.
News & Events

A year in pictures: Human Ecology in 2023

Story by Maddie Kranz x’24, a UW–Madison student studying Community & Nonprofit Leadership and Art History.

So much to celebrate! Human Ecology kicked off 2023 with two of our majors landing on the list of the hottest majors on campus. Throughout the year, our students participated in national conferences and networking events that connected them with professionals in their fields, while our faculty members shared their expertise and earned awards. We are proud to be a place that attracts people who want to improve the lives of others.

Four students sit at a table in a conference hall, and five students stand behind them. All are smiling into the camera.
Winter 2023

Members of the Student Retail Association attended the National Retail Federation (NRF) Foundation Student Program in New York City and networked with retail executives in marketing, sustainability, merchandising and technology.

“The trip grew my confidence in our major and excitement and careers in the retail industry. It was so helpful to connect with Badger alumni from the program and hear about their successes after graduation. I met so many influential figures in the industry that I will continue to learn from as I eventually start my own career.”

— Kiran Shenoi x’25, majoring in Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies

Eight students stand in two rows in front of a step-and-repeat with Human Ecology's logo on it. The students hold pom-poms and signs saying "I love SoHE".
Spring 2023

More than 160 people — spanning alumni and friends to faculty and current students — participated in Day of the Badger, collectively giving more than $60,000. These donors unlocked a $25,000 challenge gift from alumna Suzy Oldorf DeWolf ’94 to ensure students are paid for their internships. Day of the Badger brought excitement and pride to Nancy Nicholas Hall as students showed their gratitude for everyone who took part in Day of the Badger and the donors who helped support their peers.

Two graduates at the commencement ceremony in graduation caps and gowns, make the letter "W" with their thumbs and pointer fingers.
Spring 2023 | Photo by Taylor Wolfram / UW–Madison

Akshay Kalra (left) and Samantha Angelina (right) were two of five Human Ecology students recognized by UW–Madison as notable grads for their work to reduce food insecurity. They were awarded a Wisconsin Idea Fellowship grant, which funded their creation of always-accessible food lockers for The River Food Pantry patrons to use outside of regular business hours. Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin shared their story at UW–Madison’s commencement ceremony in May.

Chancellor Jennifer Mnooking reads "Flower Garden" by Eve Bunting to the Child Development Lab's preschoolers
Spring 2023 | Photo by Andy Manis

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin visited the Child Development Lab to read to the children and learn first-hand about the positive ripple effects of the teaching and research that happens there. Thanks to our faculty and students, Human Ecology is constantly furthering best practices for child development and well-being.

An Asian American woman in a bright yellow sweater uses a wooden mat to flatten paper pulp.
Summer 2023 | Photo by Sarah Maughan

Veronica Pham, an MFA student, traveled across the world to share her knowledge of paper and its connections to heritage. This traditional Vietnamese paper is intertwined with the cultures of multiple ethnic minority groups in southeastern Asia. Veronica spoke about her work at a conference in Prague, Czech Republic thanks to funding from the School of Human Ecology.

A smiling white woman with blonde hair stands in front of a child's large drawing
Summer 2023

Lindsey Stugard x’24 interned with Little Lambs Academy, a preschool and childcare program in New Berlin, Wisconsin, to gain hands-on experience in children’s development and well-being. Her position also helped her learn that she wants to further her education with a graduate degree in school psychology. Lindsey and 64 other undergraduate students received financial support for their internships thanks to the combined impact from hundreds of generous donors.

“In this work space, I love that my co-workers support me as I learn throughout this internship. They are always there to lend a helping hand and to give me advice on what I can do to be an even better teacher for my kids.”

— Lindsey Stugard x’24, majoring in Human Development & Family Studies

A group of students sit around colorful tables on Memorial Union's Terrace.
Summer 2023

Human Ecology’s new graduate students gathered on the Terrace at Memorial Union, where they connected with each other and shared their interests before the academic year began. This impressive group of 25 students came to Human Ecology from 10 different countries and includes 13 doctoral students and 12 master’s students, one of whom is an MFA student.

From left to right: Quentin Riser David J. Pate Jr., Gisella Kagy, Melissa Bublitz, Matthew Calvert, and Mengni Zhang
Fall 2023 | Photos by Shalicia Johnson

The School of Human Ecology welcomed six new faculty members who are advancing research in fatherhood, children’s development, labor markets, social innovation, community development and adaptive technologies:

  • Quentin Riser, assistant professor of Human Development & Family Studies
  • David J. Pate Jr., visiting associate professor of Consumer Science and Human Development & Family Studies
  • Gisella Kagy, assistant professor of Consumer Science
  • Melissa Bublitz, Liz Kramer Professor of Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship and professor of Civil Society & Community Studies and Consumer Science
  • Matthew Calvert, professor of Civil Society & Community Studies
  • Mengni Zhang, assistant professor of Design Studies

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin speaks with two students
Fall 2023 | Photo by Andy Manis

Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin visited Human Ecology to learn about the school’s research, academic programs and student experiences through focused conversations with faculty, students and staff. She also discussed what it means to foster a culture of innovation and the ways the school is poised to lead in human flourishing.

Alicia Hazen meets with a student in the foyer of Nancy Nicholas Hall. She hands a pamphlet to the student.
Fall 2023 | Photo by Andy Manis

When an undergraduate student enrolls in one of Human Ecology’s majors, they are assigned an academic advisor and a career advisor, who work with them to plan classes, degree paths, future careers and more. Alicia Hazen (right), Assistant Dean & Career Services Director, leads school-wide career and leadership development initiatives and made sure students were supported throughout the year.

Laura Evans speaks with two people near a brick wall and window. She wears a black blazer and patterned blouse.
Fall 2023 | Photo by Meiling Jin

The Center for Community and Nonprofit Studies (CommNS) brought together students, alumni and nonprofit professionals in Chicago to build meaningful networks and relationships. Human Development & Family Studies doctoral student Laura Evans (center) has experience working with nonprofits that serve children across the country, especially in the realm of youth education.

A group of people stand in an art exhibition and study the objects displayed.
Fall 2023

The Center for Design and Material Culture partnered with Berea College Student Craft on Heart, Head, and Hand: Making and Remaking at Berea College Student Craft, which is on view in the Ruth Davis Design Gallery through March 3, 2024. The objects and their stories highlight the importance of arts, creativity and making for students in all areas of study.

Magaret Kerr holds her Excellence in Research Award in front of a poster announcing her win
Fall 2023

Margaret Kerr, assistant professor of Human Development & Family Studies, was presented with the Excellence in Research Award by the UW–Madison Division of Extension. Kerr’s research focuses on parenthood and the emotional experiences that are connected to it with the goal of promoting family resiliency and social justice. Her work with UW–Madison Extension in particular addresses the needs of fathers in Wisconsin.

From left to right: Marianne Fairbanks, Molli Pauliot, Stephen Hilyard. Molli Pauliot speaks into a microphone attached to a podium with the university's 175th anniversary logo. All three stand in front of Bascom Hall.
Fall 2023 | Photo by Bryce Richter

To commemorate UW–Madison’s 175th anniversary, new banners incorporated traditional colors and motifs of the Ho-Chunk Nation to honor their ancestral land, which the university occupies. The process of designing the piece, titled “Seed by Seed,” brought together Marianne Fairbanks (left), an Audrey Rothermel Bascom Professor and associate professor of Design Studies; Molli Pauliot (center), a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation Buffalo Clan and doctoral candidate in Anthropology; and Stephen Hilyard (right), a professor of Digital Arts.

In a screenshot from a live news segment, a woman with shoulder-length blonde hair, left, looks at the camera with a neutral expression while Ben Fisher, associate professor of Civil Society & Community Studies, a white man with short, brown hair, answers a question while also looking at the camera. It is a split screen that conveys that the two people are in different locations. At the bottom of the image, the words "The American classroom: Americans divided over policing in schools" appear just left of the ABC News Live logo, which appears in the lower right corner.
Fall 2023

Ben Fisher, associate professor of Civil Society & Community Studies, was interviewed on ABC News Live about a recent study he authored about school-based law enforcement. The study found that putting law enforcement in schools doesn’t make students safer, and in many cases, may result in more negative outcomes, especially for Black and brown students.

UW–Madison graduates wearing caps and gowns sit in the center of the Kohl Center for the 2023 winter commencement. Family and friends of the graduates fill up the arena's seats.
Winter 2023 | Photo by Jeff Miller

The School of Human Ecology celebrated 109 graduates at UW–Madison’s winter commencement ceremony. Our graduates completed studies in Personal Finance, Human Development & Family Studies, Consumer Behavior & Marketplace Studies, Community & Nonprofit Leadership, Textiles & Fashion Design, Interior Architecture, Human Ecology and Civil Society & Community Research. We are excited to see how our recent graduates will continue to inspire and lead the way as passionate human ecologists!