Published on August 23, 2012 by Mary Wimberley  

Samford University graduate Heather Johnson of McCalla, Ala., received the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) 2012 Outstanding Undergraduate Student Research Paper Award.  Her research topic was "Serious Mental Illness and Family Functioning."

She will be recognized at the NCFR conference in Phoenix, Ariz., in November. As this year's honoree, she will receive a $100 cash prize, a certificate, and the opportunity to present an overview of her paper at the national meeting.

Papers were judged on the uniqueness of the research question, clarity of writing, application of family theory, comprehensive literature review, sound research methodology, application for practitioners and/or promotion of further research, and the degree to which findings contribute to the field.

Johnson, who graduated from Samford in May with a major in family studies, is pursuing a master's degree in social work at the University of Alabama. She is the daughter of Mary and Donald Johnson.

Competition was open to members of NCFR's 22 student chapters nationwide.


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.