Published on December 17, 2013 by Dr. Kristie Chandler  

Students and faculty from Samford University’s Human Development and Family Life Education department won several awards at the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) annual conference in San Antonio, Texas, the week of Nov. 6-9. The theme of the conference was “Well-Being of Children and Youth in Families and Communities,” with over 1,200 attendees.

A group of students in Dr. Celeste Hill’s Family Life Education course submitted winning entries for two of five possible categories, Best Fact Sheet and Best Press Release. Students include: Laura Simms Dennis, Jordan Webb, Rebekah Grubbs, Emily Bruchas, Sallie Forrester, Nicole Smith, Christine Barrett Tanner, Katie Tooker, Alle Singleton and Sophie Fasullo.

Hill said her students were passionate about this project because they believe in the purpose of family life education as well as promoting professionalism within the field. She said, “They submitted quality, creative work that exemplifies the pride they have in educating individuals and families about the purpose of family life education.”

Under the direction of Associate Professor Dr. Jonathan Davis, recent graduate Alyssa Szymanski received the Outstanding Undergraduate Paper Award for her research on dating violence, sexual assault and bystander intervention on university campuses. This is the second year in a row a Samford student has won this prestigious award.

Dr. Clara Gerhardt, in addition to being honored with the Certified Family Life Educator Special Recognition Award , also co-presented,“The Courage to Publish: Inspiration for Budding Authors.” Gerhardt presented with Dr. David Knox from East Carolina University. Both Gerhardt and Knox are textbook authors and have extensive publishing experience.

Dr.Kristie Chandler, chair of the department, said the national and regional recognitions received by faculty and students serve to confirm what is strived for every day — providing opportunities for exceptional educational experiences and training.

The NCFR is a nonprofit professional organization focused solely on family research, policy and practice. NCFR has a membership of more than 3,400 family researchers, practitioners and educators.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.