The Falk College Department of Human Development and Family Science (HDFS) would like to congratulate its Class of 2023 award winners! Here’s a list of the winners, a description of the award, and comments about the awardees from HDFS faculty:
Undergraduate Student Awards
Falk College Scholar – Madison Roberts
“Madison is completing two minors in Nutrition and Public Health and is part of the Renée Crown Honors Program. On top of her impressive academic performance in the classroom and participation in student activities (such as serving as a peer educator and being the president of the HDFS Honor Society), Madison has demonstrated a unique degree of accomplishment in the field of scholarship. She has participated in several research projects through SOURCE and Honors. In February, she presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, a national poster presentation event that examined developmental and personality predictors of engagement with diverse viewpoints. She is currently completing an honors thesis on parental communication styles regarding marijuana usage across rural and urban contexts. She will start a speech pathology master’s program at the University of Buffalo in the fall.”
Falk College Marshal – Kyra Schlanger Birenbaum
Department Marshal – Catalina Maria Mac Laughlin
Senior class marshals have excelled during their time on campus and exemplify the spirit of the senior class. The selection committee assesses the nominees on scholarship, academic honors, student organization involvement, and campus/community service.
“Kyra is completing a minor in Disability Studies and is part of the Renée Crown Honors Program. On top of her excellence in the classroom, Kyra has been deeply involved in the Falk College and University communities. At the University level, she has served on the Chancellor’s Task Force on Sexual and Relationship Violence and served as a peer educator at the Barnes Center. At the college level, she has served as a Falk Ambassador and Honors Ambassador and mentor. She has participated in several research projects through Honors and SOURCE. In February, she presented at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology conference, a national poster presentation event that examined developmental and personality predictors of engagement with diverse viewpoints. She is currently completing an honors thesis examining perceptions of parenting in the disability community.”
“Catalina has excelled in the classroom and has made numerous contributions to the department and University. She has served as a team leader for peer education in the Barnes Center and on the COVID-19 task force. She has served in leadership positions with Camp Kesem and Ottothon, and she is a member of La L.U.C.H.A. (Latinx Undergraduates Creating History in America).”
Bernice M. Wright Memorial Award – Madison Roberts
Awarded to an outstanding undergraduate student in HDFS in memory of Bernice M. Wright, former Dean of the College for Human Development (1964-1973). The award criteria include GPA, co-curricular experiences related to the HDFS field, campus involvement, awards/recognitions received while at Syracuse University, research/scholarship activity, and leadership experience. (Madison Roberts’ bio information listed under the Falk College Scholar section).
Elizabeth Manwell Memorial Award – Catalina Maria Mac Laughlin, Kyra Schlanger Birenbaum
Awarded to the outstanding senior student(s) in HDFS with the highest academic average in the major. (Catalina Maria Mac Laughlin and Kyra Schlanger Birenbaum bio information listed under Falk College/Department marshals’ section).
Florence B. Potter Memorial Award – Samantha Anne Stahlbrodt
This award was established by the New York State Federation of Home Bureaus and presented to a student in HDFS who resides in New York State within a county of home bureaus. The award criteria include GPA, leadership experience, co-curricular experiences related to the HDFS field, campus involvement, awards/recognitions received while at Syracuse University, and articulated potential in the field of HDFS.
“Samantha has a perfect 4.0 GPA and is excelling in her work to become a child life specialist. She is currently working at a competitive practicum at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital in Syracuse and will soon be doing a practicum at Golisano in Rochester. She does all of this while also managing the demands of being a student-athlete on the cheerleading team.”
Ruth Tolley Award – Jacqueline Grace Autorino
This award honors Ruth Tolley from the Women of the University Community and is presented to a woman who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement. The award criteria include GPA, clearly stated career goals consistent with the HDFS field, and co-curricular experiences related to the HDFS field.
“Jacqueline is doing excellent in the classroom. On top of her HDFS major, she is minoring in psychology. She is actively involved in several important co-curricular activities, including The Women’s Network, HDFS Honor Society, and Active Minds, where she works to promote mental health across campus. She is also working at the Wish Charity, where she helps women with mental health needs establish lifestyle changes.”
Selleck Award – Anna Katherine Kim Waters
Awarded to the senior student in HDFS with the highest cumulative GPA.
“On top of her excellent work in the classroom, Anna Kate has been involved with several important initiatives at the University, including serving as vice president of Alpha Phi Omega, the co-education national service fraternity. She has worked closely on research that develops curriculum to help promote mindful eating in preschoolers and has been a co-author on research presentations that came from that work. She has also served as a parent educator in the Children’s Consortium, where she visited homes of Head Start families to provide resources for parents.”
Shannon Davis Memorial Award – Halimeh Abdel-Aziz
Awarded to an undergraduate senior student in HDFS with a demonstrated interest in child development whose academic, aesthetic, and professional interests most closely embodies that of Shannon Davis, a student who died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. The award criteria include GPA, co-curricular experiences related to child and family development, articulated career goals in the field of early childhood education or related setting, and career interest in providing services for young children.
“Halimeh has excelled in the classroom. Her interests directly align with early childhood education as she runs the Discovery Learning childcare center in Clay, New York. She has also served as a volunteer at Elmcrest Children’s Center in Syracuse.”
Graduate Student Awards
All-University Doctoral Prize – Dickson Mukara Matsantsa Ong’ayi, Ph.D.
Awarded to doctoral students in each of Syracuse University’s 11 schools and colleges who have demonstrated originality, contribution to the field, creativity, methodology, soundness, and quality of writing in their dissertation.
“Dickson was honored for his dissertation focusing on whether paternal depressive symptoms were associated with children’s internalizing and externalizing symptoms through intimate partner violence and paternal rejection. This study, which focused on families in Kenya, is important in providing information that can be useful in developing parenting interventions in this context. The research was funded by a prestigious Patricia L. Engle Dissertation Award from the Society for Research in Child Development.”
Graduate Department Marshal – Dickson Mukara Matsantsa Ong’ayi, Ph.D.
Selection of the Graduate School marshal is based on a review of nominees’ research and other academic accomplishments, as well consideration of the student’s past service to the department and University.
“Dickson has a distinguished record of research accomplishment focusing on family processes, particularly among families in Africa. In addition to his dissertation work, Dickson has authored or co-authored several papers and book chapters. He has also taught The Developing Infant course and served as a teaching assistant for several classes.”
All Graduate School Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award – Sanum Shafi
This award recognizes teaching assistants who have made distinguished contributions to Syracuse University by demonstrating excellence in significant instructional capacities.
“Sanum received this award due to her extensive experience as a teaching assistant (TA) and course instructor. In addition to serving as a TA for numerous courses, she has taught courses on human sexuality, children, and media. In these courses, she received positive feedback for encouraging participation, facilitating discussion, and providing helpful feedback to students. She also infused diversity, equity, and inclusion topics into the readings, and challenged students in their thinking about difficult topics.”
Dean Edith Smith Endowed Dissertation Grant – Sanum Shafi
The Dean Edith Smith Endowed Dissertation Grant was established to provide financial support to facilitate the scholarship of doctoral students in HDFS. The grant is designed to increase the flow of talented graduate students into academic careers and support HDFS students who show potential for excellence.
“Sanum received this award to fund her dissertation focusing on parental determinants of Islamophobic attitudes in offspring, which fits into her broader research interests on the development of prejudice.”
HDFS Doctorate Award for Research Excellence – Qingyang Liu
The HDFS Doctorate Award for Research Excellence is presented to a doctoral student who has excelled in academic achievement, research practice, and leadership activities.
“Qingyang Liu has an impressive research record for a third-year doctoral student. She is co-author on eight publications, and has several more under review, including three as first author. She has also presented her work at several professional conferences. Her research broadly focuses on how early life experiences impact children’s self-regulation and adolescent health outcomes, and she demonstrates a high degree of methodological skill.”
Alice Sterling Honig Award – Kristen Davis
The Alice Sterling Honig Award is presented to a graduate student who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship in child development and family studies. The award recognizes the legacy of the late Alice Sterling Honig, Professor Emerita in HDFS.
“Kristen Davis has excelled in her first year as a doctoral student. She has been involved in two interdisciplinary research projects, one with Associate Professor Kamala Ramadoss (HDFS) and Assistant Professor Bhavneet Walia (Public Health), and another with Department Chair and Associate Professor Rachel Razza (HDFS) and Department Chair and Associate Professor Lynn Brann (Nutrition and Food Studies). She also serves as an editorial assistant to Pearl S. Falk Endowed Professor Jaipaul Roopnarine for the ‘Caribbean Journal of Psychology.’ Her research interests include the development of health-related behaviors in children from a socioecological perspective.”
HDFS Master’s Award for Research Excellence – Chloe Ludden
Awarded to a master’s student who has excelled in academic achievement, research practice, and leadership qualities.
“Chloe Ludden recently defended her dissertation, which focuses on the impact of parental separation during adolescence on young adult relationship satisfaction. This work is novel, as there are relatively few studies that use longitudinal data to examine childhood or adolescent predictors of adult relationship satisfaction.”
HDFS Outstanding Graduate Teaching Award – Xiaoyu Fu
Awarded to a graduate student who demonstrates a strong commitment to teaching and learning.
“Xiaoyu Fu has served as a teaching assistant for many courses and taught a class on midlife and gerontology. In this class, she created an innovative assignment that required students to think about how to apply theoretical principles to real-world situations. She also used multiple methods to promote class discussion.”
Interested in a career in human development? Learn more about its academic programs, research, experiential learning, and career opportunities.