MFRI helps organizations advance change for military and veteran families

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (MFRI), in partnership with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), will host “Building Your Battle Plan to Support Military and Veteran Families” on Nov. 13 in Arlington, Va.

Led by experts and authors of MFRI’s initiative, “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” guests from nonprofit and veteran service organizations will come together to create specific, targeted plans to support and advance transformational change in family support for military and veteran families.

The text (Hughes-Kirchubel, MacDermid Wadsworth & Riggs, 2018), offers key insights that focus on how organizations can produce powerful supports for military families before, during and after major conflicts. Contributors’ integrated knowledge gained during their work with families and distilled recommendations into practical, experience-based chapters.

A panel discussion will kick off the event. Each panelist will provide the audience with insight on how to build plans of support that offer applicable solutions for military and veteran families. The panelists will offer recommendation based on sector-wide experiences in the years following 9/11.

“These important groups are coming together to actively engage and collaborate to find solutions for military and veteran families,” said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, MFRI director. “History has shown us that major conflicts can arise without warning. These changes affect military and veteran families in a variety of ways. With this in mind, the attendees will collectively build viable solutions that can be strategically implemented during a future major conflict.”

The 2017 and 2018 MFRI Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families awards will also be presented at the event. Eight prominent scholars reviewed over 700 scientific articles from each year. Multiple rounds of review yielded the winning articles.

MFRI established the award in 2015 to recognize the best research on military-connected families. It is awarded to authors of research that combines exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families. Nominations for this award are neither solicited nor accepted. Instead, a panel of top scholars reviews all the published research during the year and then determines the recipient.

About MFRI

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University conducts research on issues that affect military and veteran families and works to shape policies, programs and practices that improve their well-being. Founded in 2000, MFRI envisions a diverse support community that understands the most pressing needs of military and veteran families. To achieve this, MFRI collaborates to create meaningful solutions for them. This internationally-recognized organization is located at Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

About AUSA

The Association of the United States Army (AUSA) is the only private, nonprofit professional organization serving all components of America’s Total Army and its supporters. Since 1950, AUSA has provided a voice for the Army and vital services for Soldiers, Army civilians, and their families to advance the security of our nation. If you have a connection with the Army—professionally or personally—AUSA is your resource for exclusive access to scholarships and grants, business opportunities, educational resources, philanthropy initiatives, family programs, influential representation, and genuine relationships with a supportive Army community.

Operation Hire A Hoosier Veteran job fair June 27

The Military Family Research Institute is one of several organizations sponsoring Operation Hire A Hoosier Veteran. The 12th annual employment and resources fair is organized to provide employment assistance to service members, veterans and their families. This year the fair will be June 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in the Agriculture/Horticulture building.

New this year is the resources area, where experts will provide guidance to job seekers in resume building, interviewing techniques, social media best practices and fair strategies.

The fair will be open from 9 a.m. to Noon for service members, veterans and their families with the remaining part of the day also open to the general public and military community members.

Employers seeking to hire service members, veterans and their families are encouraged to attend. Employer sponsorship options include:

  • Basic Registration ($190)
  • One Star Employer ($275)
  • Two Star Sponsor ($500)
  • Three Star Sponsor ($750)

Job seekers and employers can register and find additional information at www.ohhv.org.

Military-connected women gather to begin Focus Forward Fellowship

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (MFRI) is proud to announce the arrival of the 2018 Focus Forward Fellowship cohort to West Lafayette. The Fellowship is an MFRI program designed to build skills, leadership and a sense of community among women student veterans.

Fellows are competitively selected from across the country and attend this program on scholarship. This year, MFRI received a record number of 250 eligibility forms. After a very competitive selection process, 20 women were selected from 18 different colleges and universities, representing all five branches of service, and diverse areas of academic study.

MFRI Director and Purdue Professor Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth is eager to welcome the 2018 cohort to Purdue’s campus.

“It is with much joy and excitement that we assist these women as they grow in their personal and professional development,” she said. “Women student veterans hold many roles throughout their lives, as they juggle family, school and career responsibilities. The Fellowship will help prepare them for their future roles.”

At Purdue, women will build a community of support as they go through the residential portion of the Fellowship. They will meet with mentors from major corporations, learn about their own strengths and how to maximize them, and identify strategies and resources to increase connections and successes on their own home campuses. In addition, they will gain confidence in their ability to problem solve and develop skills to help foster academic and career success. After returning home, they will participate in an online community throughout the upcoming academic year.

“This Fellowship is a great opportunity to lean-in and share information about transitioning from service member to veteran,” said mentor Betty Moseley Brown, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and the 19th president of the Women Marines Association. “It is great to meet women veterans and collaborate on life’s journey with my sisters.”

To learn more or find out ways you can support the Focus Forward Fellowship, contact Linda Hughes-Kirchubel, MFRI director of external relations, at lhughesk@purdue.edu or 765-494-2962 and follow the social media conversation at #FWDFellows.

MFRI director appointed to serve on National Academies committee

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, professor of Human Development and Family Studies and director of the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University, has been appointed to serve on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee that focuses on military families’ well-being.

MacDermid Wadsworth’s work is published in numerous scholarly journals. She has received numerous awards, including Purdue’s Morrill Award, which recognizes outstanding career achievements with impact on society.

As a member of the Committee on the Well-Being of Military Families, MacDermid Wadsworth will work with colleagues across the nation to address:

  • What can be learned from the positive experiences military families have and the protection conferred on them through supports provided by the Department of Defense and service branches.
  • How the challenges presented by military life, such as frequent moves, exposure to trauma, economic status, parents and other stressors can influence children’s social-emotional, physical, biochemical and psychological development, and how those effects may vary across racial, ethnic and other characteristics.
  • The mechanisms by which resilience can be fostered in military children and families, with attention to the broader literatures on human development, stress exposure and resilience, as well as available research from other countries.
  • What is needed to strengthen the support system for military families, with attention to consistency of the current system of services and resources across population subgroups, service branches and military status.

“My primary research interest is in the relationships between work conditions and family life, especially among military and veteran families,” she said. “I am honored to have been invited to serve on this committee.”

She has provided invited testimony to inform Congress about military and veteran issues and contributed to Joining Forces, a national initiative to increase support of service members, veterans and their families. She is editor of a series of scholarly texts that examine risk and resilience in U.S. military families. The latest, “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” was released this year.

MFRI is a unit of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health and Human Sciences at Purdue University. One of the world’s premiere research institutions, Purdue is Indiana’s land-grant university, and supports missions of learning, discovery, and engagement.

Student engagement at MFRI

MFRI’s internship opportunities offer Purdue University students the chance to earn course credits, build their resumes and enhance their knowledge. Interns and student workers participate on all MFRI teams as they learn about military members, veterans and their families. MFRI is proud to work in collaboration with Purdue departments to educate future leaders.

MFRI’s Focus Forward Fellowship serves women student veterans

MFRI’s 2018 Focus Forward Fellowship designed to build skills, leadership and a sense of community among women student veterans, will take place at Purdue University. The Fellowship takes place July 25–28, with Fellows traveling home on July 29th.

In 2017 two cohorts totaling 28 participants completed the Fellowship. One national cohort was open to women student veterans across the country, while a Colorado University-specific cohort took place in Fort Collins, Colorado. The 2017 program focused on refining the learning objectives from the 2016 pilot year. These objectives include building a community support network with peers in the Fellowship program, increased network-building, recognition and application of personal strengths and the integration of their veteran identity with other identities in their personal life.

Collectively among all the cohorts, the program has influences 41 women representing all five branches of service, 35 higher education institutions and 21 states. The fellows have an average GPA of 3.39 with the 2017 cohort being 19% STEM focused.

A 2017 Fellow said, “When this opportunity was presented, I felt like it was fate. Who better to progress women veterans than fellow women veterans?”

The 2018 Fellowship applications open in February.

Student opportunities grow experience, knowledge

Are you thinking about a unique, challenging internship experience that offers an array of hands-on opportunities, college credit and a rewarding experience? MFRI is accepting interns for the upcoming spring semester within the External Relations, Family Support and Research teams. Internships are open to qualified Purdue students, especially those who are interested in serving military-connected families.

Students majoring in communication, human development and family studies and hospitality and tourism management majors are strongly encouraged to apply. An internship in External Relations internship provides a part-time, for-credit opportunity for undergraduate or graduate students in the Brian Lamb School of Communication, offering tailored communication experiences. Students will gain experience on social media and video production, web and print content creation, event management and copyediting. It is an excellent stepping stone for those seeking a career in public relations, event management, marketing or communications. For more information, contact Linda Hughes-Kirchubel.

If you’re seeking research-focused experience, consider applying for an internship assisting with the Family Journeys Study through HDFS 390/590. This course provides an opportunity for students to code tasks performed by the family members during interviews. Email Keisha Bailey or Christine McCall for more information.

The Family Support Team will be offering one full-time, 12-credit undergraduate internship through the Human Development and Family Studies program. The intern in this position will work with the Measuring Communities project and help collect important data to distribute to communities. While this internship is already filled for the spring semester, contact Kathy Broniarczyk for more information if interested in this opportunity for future semesters.

Deadline extended for Focus Forward Fellowship

Military-connected women will travel to Indianapolis from throughout the nation to take part in the Focus Forward Fellowship program, a new initiative designed by the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University to serve rising military-connected sophomores and juniors who are enrolled in four-year colleges and universities.

The deadline to apply for this program has been extended until Friday, June 24 at noon.

The program will be held Aug. 11-14 with an in-person workshop, followed by additional web-based activities scheduled throughout the 2016-2017 academic year.

During the free, weekend-long program, fellows will work together to increase personal effectiveness, building a potentially transformative community experience. The goal is for lessons learned with hands on training to translate to fellows’ home campuses and continue to impact them throughout their academic and professional careers.

“Eighty-two percent of post-9/11 female veterans joined the military to receive education benefits,” said Lauren Runco, MFRI’s director of education and employment. “We are committed to helping them build existing skills and transition to the next phase of their lives. I am so excited to see what our Fellows accomplish!”

Sponsorship opportunities for this fellowship are also available. To learn more, contact Jennifer Shirley at JTShirley@prf.org. For more information about the program, contact Runco at lrunco@purdue.edu or call 765-496-3403. Connect with MFRI on Twitter at @MFRIPurdue and use #FWDFellows to join the conversation.