From academia and education to research and policy organizations and entrepreneurial endeavors, we are proud to showcase our accomplished human development and family science graduates nationally and internationally. We invite you to view their impressive profiles to get a better idea of the professional opportunities and career trajectories for our students.

Alumni Highlights

Alumni Graduation Employment Roles Locations
Sarah Feiner 2015 Planned Parenthood National Headquarters New York City
Dara Seeling 2011 Physician Assistant Medical Science Degree through Wake Forest School of Medicine (to graduate in May 2017)
Leslie J. Couse 2001 Associate Professor University of New Hampshire


Alumni Employers

Employer Location
McMahon/Ryan Child Advocacy Center Syracuse, NY
Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital New Brunswick, NJ
Mount Sinai Kravis Children’s Hospital New York, NY
Blythedale Children’s Hospital Valhalla, NY
City Year Boston, MA
UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco, CA
Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, CA
Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital Valhalla, NY
Children’s Hospital├é┬áResearch Center Oakland, CA
City Year Miami, FL
Rochester General Hospital Rochester, NY
The Commonwealth Medical College Scranton, PA
Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, Johns Hopkins University Baltimore, MD
Occupational Science/Occupational Therapy, University at Buffalo Buffalo, NY
Vera House Syracuse, NY
Daycare Administration Syracuse, NY

Alumni Stories

Sarah P. Feiner, 15′

Sarah Feiner portraitFundraising professional, Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Sarah works in fundraising at PPFA in New York City, the national headquarters for Planned Parenthood. Three days before graduation in 2015, she was offered a summer internship at PPFA, and moved to New York City two weeks after graduation. “This was my dream organization to work at, and I wanted nothing more than to be hired as a full-time employee. In August I accepted my full-time offer, and by September I had fully moved to New York City,” she notes. “My studies taught me to be compassionate, interpersonal, and skilled with emotional communication; all of which are useful in my work environment,” says Sarah. For students considering majoring in human development and family science, she adds: “I would encourage students to think about their major from multiple angles- for example, I am very passionate about children, prenatal care and development, and pregnancy, but I knew that I did not want to be in a direct service setting. Working at Planned Parenthood allows me to work on behalf of the population that I am passionate about, but in a behind-the-scenes setting.”

Dara Seeling, 11′

Dara Seeling portraitPhysician assistant student, Wake Forest University

Dara is currently a physician assistant student at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC. Her interests lie in general pediatrics, pediatric surgery, pediatric cardiology, dermatology, and plastic and reconstructive surgery.

Q: What experiences have you had as a human development and family science alumna?

As a CFS major, I planned to apply to medical school throughout college. I realized my senior year I wasn’t quite sure whether medical school and becoming a physician was truly the correct career path. I began to look for another short-term graduate program to continue learning while also providing me the extra time to do further research into other health careers. I completed a one-year master of arts degree in medical humanities, compassionate care and bioethics from Stony Brook University where I graduated top of my class with a 3.97 GPA.

During that time, I worked part-time and shadowed and/or spent significant time speaking with physician assistants in dermatology, pediatrics, orthopedics, and emergency medicine. I decided to explore Physician Assistant (PA) school as I felt it was the best-suited medical occupation that aligned with my goals and values.

Unlike medical school, PA school admission requires significant direct patient care experience as well as certain required classes that not all medical schools do. Thus, upon graduating from Stony Brook I began working as a physical therapy aide, enrolled in the few classes I needed but didn’t have (i.e. microbiology, statistics, medical terminology), and also started working as a nanny full-time to save up as much money as possible for PA school. To say my life was crazy during that time would be an understatement-I was out the door most days by 6:00 a.m. and did not get home until 9:30 p.m., at which point I then had to tackle school work before going to bed! However, my persistence and hard work paid off immensely as I found out I had been accepted to several highly ranked PA schools up and down the east coast for a 2014 start date.

I decided to attend the physician assistant program at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, because I was admitted to its inaugural three-year Emerging Leaders Program. This program would enable me to graduate with a master of arts degree in management from the Wake Forest University School of Business and a master of medical science in physician assistant studies from the Wake Forest University School of Medicine.

At the WFU School of Business, I joined the Business Healthcare Club and was inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma, the highest recognition business scholars can receive internationally at an accredited business program. I was also a member of the winning team (28 teams total) for the Action Learning Project-Exemplary Performance Award for creating a heart-healthy shared value plan for The Fresh Market specialty grocery store. I also worked with a team of fellow graduate school peers for a large hospital in the area where we developed and presented our proposal to top hospital executives for a Center of Advanced Practice, which would standardize the formal structure of reporting relationships, recruitment, onboarding, credentialing/privileging, education, and data and research for Advanced Care Providers including Physician Assistants, Nurse Practitioners, and CRNAs. Recent updates have confirmed that funding for this proposal (in addition to some alterations made to it) have been granted and are moving forward! In May 2015, I graduated with my Master of Arts in Management from the WFU School of Business with a 3.75 GPA.

Several weeks later, I enrolled full-time in the physician assistant program at the WFU School of Medicine, where I currently am a first-year PA student. The speed and intensity of the program, as you might imagine, is no joke-material is presented to us very quickly, and we are expected to absorb it just as fast. Many compare it to “trying to drink water through a fire hose”! That said, I REALLY enjoy everything I am learning-the human body is unbelievably fascinating, and to me it truly is the largest honor to be trained to take care of people. I will finish my didactic year of PA school in May 2016, start my clinical year of rotations in June 2016, and will graduate in May 2017.

Though my time since graduation hasn’t gone exactly as I once planned, I know I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be in life right now and I am thankful for everything and everyone that helped get me to this place.

Q: What are some of the connections you’ve made between your course work in HDFS and the experience that you are having?

One of the biggest things I took away from my coursework was learning how to deal with people, which requires understanding and appreciating what makes them, them. This entails acknowledging the dynamics of nature and nurture, and approaching each person uniquely. Currently, as a first-year PA student, I am faced regularly with fellow peers as well as patients and their families who come from all different walks of life. I have found that having learned this during my time as a CFS major, I have become quite skilled in interacting with all kinds of people, which has played an enormous role in my successes to date.

Q: What might you recommend to prospective students?

I would recommend to prospective students that they try to be as open minded as possible throughout and after college. I have always been a very organized, well-planned person, but if I hadn’t allowed myself to be open minded to other careers, I would have gone down a career and life path that wasn’t what was truly best for me. Allow yourself to consider other options, even if that means it’ll take longer or be more challenging than what you had originally expected. Further, I’d recommend taking advantage of every networking event possible. As a first year PA student, I have already gotten numerous job offers for after I graduate PA school from people I met at networking events over the last couple of years, and that wouldn’t have been possible had I not attended those events. Yes, it’s easier to stay at home or do something more “fun”, but those contacts you meet during networking will prove to be invaluable to your career in the long-run.

Leslie J. Couse, Ph.D., G’01

Leslie Couse portraitAssociate Professor of Early Education, Department Chair, Education, University of New Hampshire

Dr. Leslie J. Couse is associate professor of education at the University of New Hampshire and adjunct assistant professor of pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Her expertise lies in preparing teachers for inclusive early childhood settings through interdisciplinary collaboration with parents, teachers, and service providers. Through community partnerships, she researches inclusive teacher education, leadership development for the field of disability, and technology as a tool for increasing children’s access. She is chair of the Education Department and project director for the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education-funded Early Childhood Special Education Assistive Technology Project. Dr. Couse is co-editor of The Handbook of Early Childhood Teacher Education (Routledge, 2016), has served as guest editor for a special issue and is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, and past Governing Board member of the National Association for Early Childhood Teacher Educators (NAECTE).