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

SoHE News: Dec 18–Jan 7

In-house highlights

CSCS PhD student featured in DePaul alumni magazine

Pascale Ife Williams, a PhD student in Civil Society and Community Research at SoHE and a member of the P.O.W.E.R. Collective, was profiled in the fall 2020 alumni magazine from DePaul University in Chicago for her work and research at the intersection of arts, activism, spiritual practice, and intersectionality.

Design Studies PhD alumna releases film about Lydia Ruyle

Design Studies PhD alumna Dr. Isadora Leidenfrost has released a documentary film about the life and work of Lydia Ruyle, artist and scholar of the divine feminine. The one-hour film, “Herstory: The Visionary Life of Lydia Ruyle and the Banners of the Divine Feminine,” will air on television and via online streaming Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 7 p.m. MST as part of Rocky Mountain PBS’s celebration of Women’s History month.

Consumer Science alum featured in On Wisconsin for his nut-free energy bar

Blake Sorensen (Consumer Affairs ’11) was profiled in the latest On Wisconsin magazine for his successful venture developing a popular nut-free energy bar.

Human Ecology MS grad publishes toolkit on talking taboo topics for the Hmong community

Sandie Thao graduated from SoHE’s MS in Human Ecology program this winter after completing her capstone project, “Toolbox to Initiate Discussion of Taboo Topics in the Hmong Community.” Congratulations, Sandie!

SoHE experts in the news

Nix research on child nutrition program covered in Reuters

Reuters wrote up newly published research by Dr. Rob Nix, the Audrey Rothermel-Bascom Professor in Human Development and Family Studies and an Integrated Specialist with UW–Extension, on the promising outcomes of the “Recipe 4 Success” program he developed to promote healthy eating and self-regulation in toddlers.

Addo on the economic sense of canceling student debt

Dr. Fenaba Addo, the Lorna Jorgenson Wendt Associate Professor in Money, Relationships, and Equality (MORE), guested on the podcast Pitchfork Economics with Nick Hanauer, of Seattle-based Civic Ventures, to discuss the many benefits of student debt forgiveness—not just for borrowers, but for the American economy as a whole. Their conversation was written up in Yahoo! Finance, The Entrepreneur Fund, Listen Notes, and Daily Magazine.

Collins on stimulus checks’ meager impact for struggling Americans

“If you’re behind, these funds won’t really make a difference,” said Dr. J. Michael Collins, the Fetzer Family Chair in Consumer and Personal Finance and Professor of Consumer Science, in an interview with Yahoo! Finance on the effect of the $600 stimulus checks recently distributed to millions of Americans. The picture is even worse for people of color, women, and millennials, he added.

Kerr on pandemic’s extra toll on women

Dr. Margaret Kerr, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, joined Wisconsin Public Radio’s Central Time show to discuss the heavy toll the pandemic has taken on America’s working women.

CFS research on millennials’ pandemic finances covered in several outlets

Research the UW Center for Financial Security at SoHE, in partnership with Funding Our Future and DailyPay, and originally featured in Yahoo! Finance, was also picked up in Life & Health Advisor magazine and 401K Specialist.

HDFS grad student Ortiz on psychedelics & Indigenous rights

A recent story in The Progressive on the complicated promise of psychedelic therapies for mental health disorders cited research coauthored by Anny Ortiz, a graduate student in SoHE’s Human Development and Family Studies PhD program.

Whelan on starting 2021 with a purpose; winter blues coping; Trump legacy

Dr. Christine Whelan, Director of Money, Relationships and Equality Initiative and Clinical Professor of Consumer Science, spoke with Channel 3000 about the opportunity in writing a personal “purpose statement” to start out the new year, rather than commit to sometimes onerous resolutions.  She also offered tips for coping with winter blues on WTMJ Milwaukee. Finally, she spoke with The Hill about the “insidious” legacy for moral norms of the Trump presidency.

Sarmadi on Pantone colors of 2021

Dr. Majid Sarmadi, the Rothermel Bascom Professor of Design Studies, spoke with Spectrum News 1 of Milwaukee about Pantone’s annual announcement of its colors of the year. For 2021, they are “Ultimate Gray” and “Illuminating” (yellow).

Fairbanks on weaving and Hello! Loom with WPR

Marianne Fairbanks, Associate Professor of Design Studies, spoke with Wisconsin Public Radio about the art of weaving and about her handheld miniature Hello! Loom, meant to increase accessibility to the craft.


Nix et al.: Improving toddlers’ healthy eating habits and self-regulation

Dr. Robert Nix has published a new paper in Pediatrics with colleagues from Penn State University identifying promising outcomes for toddlers’ healthy eating habits and self-regulation resulting from a “Recipe 4 Success” program he helped develop and implement as part of Early Head Start home visits.

Poehlmann-Tynan et al.: Unmet mental health needs of jailed parents with young children

Dr. Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, along with colleagues across UW–Madison, has published a new paper in Family Relations examining mental health symptoms in jailed parents with young children in relation to gender, race, trauma, parenting stress, and supports. They found that jailed parents experienced 3 to 5 times the odds of symptoms compared with norms, and recommend gender‐responsive, trauma‐informed mental health interventions and services that decrease parenting stress and foster positive family connections.

Kerr, Poehlmann-Tynan, et al.: Developing and implementing an intervention for jailed parents and their children

Dr. Margaret Kerr, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies; Dr. Julie Poehlmann-Tynan, the Dorothy A. O’Brien Professor in Human Ecology; and Jennifer Wirth, a 2020 alum of SoHE’s MS in Human Ecology, are coauthors with colleagues from across UW on a new paper in Family Relations, “Lessons From the Field: Developing and Implementing an Intervention for Jailed Parents and Their Children.” First author on the paper is Dr. Pajarita Charles, of the Sarah Rosenbaum School of Social Work at UW.

Horowitz et al.: Indigenous-led grassroots engagements with oil pipelines in the U.S. and Russia: The NoDAPL and Komi movements

Dr. Leah Horowitz, Assistant Professor of Civil Society and Community Studies, has coauthored a new paper in Environmental Politics comparing two modern oil pipeline protests: the NoDAPL movement led by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in the U.S. with grassroots Indigenous-environmentalist networks of water defenders in the Komi Republic, Russia. The researchers extend the concept of Governance Generating Networks (GGN) to incorporate Indigenous grassroots movements, and evaluate multiscale interactions and processes of network-generated governance across scales.

Litzelman, Al Nassar: Caregiving depressive effects strongest with cancer, partners

Dr. Kristin Litzelman, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, has published a new paper with UW colleague Dr. Nadia Al Nassar in Innovations in Aging, “Partner Effects on Depressed Mood in Caregiving Dyads Are Most Pronounced in Cancer Caregiving, Partner Caregiving.”

Litzelman, grad students: Pathways to mental health–related treatment among caregiving spouses

Human Development and Family Studies PhD student Hyojin Choi is first author on a new article in Innovations in Aging with Dr. Kristin Litzelman, fellow HDFS PhD student Autumn Harnish, and Human Ecology MS alum Molly Maher (’20), examining whether and how caregiving spouses access mental health care treatment. They found that a plurality of caregivers accessed mental health-related treatment through an office-based visit (90%) with a primary care provider (47%); a minority accessed this care through a psychologist or psychiatrist (11%) or a physician with another specialty (12%) or other provider types; and nearly a third accessed treatment as part of a regular check-up (32%). The findings confirm the importance of regular primary care as a door way to mental healthcare and highlight the range of potential paths to care.

Kerr, et al.: Higher maternal reflective functioning associated with toddlers’ adaptive emotion regulation

Dr. Margaret Kerr is a coauthor on a new paper in the Infant Mental Health Journal, “Higher maternal reflective functioning associated with toddlers’ adaptive emotion regulation.”

Halpern-Meekin: The role of parental relationship churning in adolescents’ own romantic lives

Dr. Sarah Halpern-Meekin, Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, has published a new paper with UC–Irvine colleague Dr. Kristin Turney in the journal Youth & Society, examining how parental relationship histories are associated with adolescents’ dating and sexual experiences.


“Weaving, Design, and Collaboration,” with Marianne Fairbanks and the Illinois Prairie Weavers

Tuesday, January 12, 10 a.m. CT, Virtual | Hosted by the Illinois Prairie Weavers, Marianne Fairbanks, Assistant Professor of Design Studies, as guest lecturer, will explore the intersections between the physical processes associated with textiles, sustainable design, community, collaboration, and entrepreneurship. More information and registration are available here.

Olive to share financial tips with Farmer Angel Network

Wednesday, January 13, 1 p.m. CT, Virtual | As part of the Farmer Angel Network’s January program “Financials on the Farm,” Peggy Olive, Financial Capability Specialist, will share tips related to financial goal-setting along with some skills to practice for having financial conversations. Titled “Helping Others Reach Their Financial Goals,” Olive will speak on how to achieve future financial goals and dreams. More details and instructions for registration can be found here.

Thomas to talk parenting with Real Dads Network

Thursday, January 14, 6 p.m. CT, Virtual | Dr. Alvin Thomas, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, will join the Real Dads Network as a guest speaker in its weekly discussion series on fatherhood issues. View more details, including how to participate, here.