News

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 Family Research Institute releases new findings on supporting families post-9/11

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University recently released “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” a new research book that highlights lessons in supporting service members, veterans, and their families during and after operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. Findings in the book reveal that when planning for a military conflict, leaders in Congress, the executive branch, and service organizations should prioritize military families as a part of defense strategy during conflicts.

The book draws on lessons learned from U.S. policymakers, Congress members, Department of Defense officials, and leaders in sectors such as higher education, behavioral health, corporate America, and more. Key insights focus on how to produce effective and agile support systems for military and veteran families before, during, and after times of war. More than 100 leaders contributed to this valuable resource, providing knowledge they gained working firsthand with military families after 9/11 and distilling lessons learned and recommendations into practical, experience-based chapters.

“During each new conflict, we learn more about how best to support service members,” says Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, Ph.D., director of MFRI. “Our findings indicate that the military is strongest when service members know their families are taken care of and when families have the tools and resources they need to support their service member.”

In addition to sharing lessons learned, “A Battle Plan” acts as a road map for supporting military and veteran families, addressing how to:

  • Integrate family support systems into defense strategy.
  • Anticipate issues and challenges that are likely to affect military families.
  • Adopt policies that help, not hinder, military families during times of conflict.
  • Ensure that military families have a voice in the conversation.
  • Identify urgent gaps in support systems.
  • Navigate the rapidly changing world of service organizations.
  • Plan more effectively for medical and caregiving needs.
  • Provide the resources military and veteran families need after military conflicts wind down.

The book was edited by Linda Hughes-Kirchubel, MFRI’s director of external relations, Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, MFRI’s director, and David Riggs, executive director of the Center for Deployment Psychology. To learn more about “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” visit www.mfri.purdue.edu/battleplan.

About Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University conducts research on issues that impact military and veteran families and works to shape policies, programs, and practices that promote 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. The nationally recognized organization is located at Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences, in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

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.

MFRI summer internship opportunity

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University is seeking an undergraduate communication intern to join their external relations team during the summer of 2018. The purpose of this two- or three-credit hour internship is to assist students in gaining career-building experiences while becoming more informed about military and veteran families.

Internship overview

MFRI student communication interns will:

  • Perform communication-related job assignments focused on producing content for MFRI’s lay publications, website and social media platforms.
  • Learn about military culture and the unique characteristics of military families through assigned reading materials.
  • Assist in planning and executing MFRI events.

Upon completion of the internship, students will have been exposed to applicable real-world situations, be able to incorporate knowledge gained from coursework in an employment setting and apply knowledge of military culture in their chosen career path.

Interested? Please send your resume to Sayde Uerkwitz at suerkwit@purdue.edu by April 23.

 

MFRI report reveals details about lives of service members, veterans and their families

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University and the Purdue Center for Regional Development unveiled a ground-breaking report, “Measuring Our Communities: The State of Veteran and Military Families in the United States” on May 14.

The report unveils rich and specific data on the state of military-connected individuals across the country, focusing on topics such as employment, education, mental health and legal needs.

The event also highlighted an exceptional online data tool created by MFRI and the Purdue Center for Regional Development (PCRD) called Measuring Communities. The tool allows service providers and professionals nationwide to make data-driven decisions when it comes to serving the unique needs of service members, veterans and their families by providing localized data.

The Measuring Communities tool, already used by more than 60 organizations, enables real-time data analysis across a range of issues offering rich and nuanced data points about military-connected individuals in the communities in which they live.

Those who wish to utilize the tool can register for access by visiting, measuringcommunities.org.

MFRI’s Focus Forward Fellowship 2018 cohort selected

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University is proud to announce the selection of the 2018 Focus Forward Fellowship program to be held July 25-28 at the West Lafayette campus.

MFRI received 250 overwhelmingly qualified applicants for this year’s Fellowship. After a very competitive selection process, 20 women in total were accepted to participate from 18 different colleges and universities, representing all five branches of service, and countless areas of academic study.

To be selected, Fellows must hold an honorable discharge from the U.S. military; are sophomores, juniors, seniors, or pursing a master’s degree; and maintain a 2.75 GPA or better. The Fellowship covers the cost of travel, food, lodging, activities and materials. After completing the residency, Fellows will engage with their cohort in an online community during the 2018–2019 academic year.

The Focus Forward Fellowship has been a highlight for women student veterans across the nation. The 2018 cohort will build leadership skills, connect with corporate mentors, develop skills that foster their academic and career goals, understand and maximize their individual strengths, and build a supportive community of peers.

Betty Moseley Brown, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, will serve as the Fellowship’s opening keynote speaker on Wednesday evening and Tracy Crow, author of “It’s My Country Too: Women’s Military Stories from the American Revolution to Afghanistan” will lead sessions on the Saturday of the program.

For more information about the program visit bit.ly/fwdfellows. 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.

2018 Focus Forward Fellowship Cohort

  • Gabrielle Bernard, Columbia University, Computer Science, Army
  • Jennifer Brett, University of Texas-San Antonio, Multidisciplinary Studies, Navy
  • Chelsea Clarkson, Washington State University, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, Army
  • Katharine Cobean, Adler University, Counseling, Air Force
  • Chesney Fix, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Applied Health Science, Navy
  • Megan Gordon, Arizona State University, Mathematics, Navy
  • Myra Hallman, Humboldt State University, Business Marketing, Air Force
  • Anjuli Holmes, University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Psychology, Goast Guard
  • Sharice Lewis, Arizona State University, Engineering Management, Air Force
  • Sandra Manning, Regent University, Leadership Studies, Navy
  • Christina Ramirez, University of Arizona, Public Health, Army
  • Tracy Ruegsegger, Ferris State University, Allied Health and Dental Hygiene, Army
  • Marie Russell, Colorado State University, Psychology, Army
  • Frances Salazar, Anne Arundel Community College, International Affairs, Navy
  • Elizabeth Sampson, Clemson University, Psychology, Air Force
  • Janiah Sandles, Eastfield Community College, Music, Army
  • Keishla Santiago Ortiz, Florida International University, Psychology & Women and Gender Studies, Marine Corps
  • Jordan Smith, University of Washington, Social Work, Marine Corps
  • Juana Thomas, El Paso Community College, Engineering, Navy
  • Skylar Winter, Purdue University, Mass Communication, Marine Corps

Military Spouse Appreciation Day

The Military Family Research Institute recognizes military spouses every day, but especially on May 11, 2018, National Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

On this day the contributions and sacrifices made by military spouses are honored. Military spouses are the solid piece that holds military families together while supporting their spouse through deployment to reintegration.

Female military service is on the rise. In parallel more military spouses are men.

Dr. Kenona Southwell, an MFRI postdoctoral researcher, has studied the demographics of military spouses. She found that civilian husbands perceived themselves as having different and broader perspectives, and having more travel experience than civilian families because of their military experiences. Husbands reported that being a military spouse helped them be more tolerant of individual differences such as race and culture, and having better problem solving and coping skills than normal civilians.

Based on the most recent 2016 Demographics Profile of the Military Community there are more than 50,800 male spouses of female service members. Males make up 8.1% of the military spouse population.

No matter the gender, military spouses play an important role in our nation’s security. At MFRI, we thank and appreciate all military spouses for their service in the U.S. and around the world.

April is the Month of the Military Child

Celebrate Military Kids! April is the Month of the Military Child!

Every April we celebrate the Month of the Military Child, showing appreciation for approximately 2 million military children who serve alongside their parents.

Military children play an important role in the armed forces community. That’s because their parent’s service requires of them daily sacrifices and can create unique challenges when compared to their civilian peers.

Ways to honor military children

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, the Month of the Military Child is a time for communities to honor these children. It’s a time to say “Thank you for your service.”

There are many things you can do to say thank you. You can celebrate Purple Up Day by wearing purple on April 13th. You can buy military-friendly books for your local library. Your business can offer discounts to military families. You can also raise awareness by distributing information that lets everyone else know that this is the Month of the Military Child. Consider downloading and sharing MFRI’s How to Help series. Each issue provides evidence-based guidance on how a particular community or profession can help military families, including children.

The DoD encourages communities to plan special events in April to honor military children. “These efforts and special events will stress the importance of providing children with quality services and support to help them succeed in the mobile military lifestyle,” the DoDEA writes.

 

JCFI: Collaborating to serve military, veteran families

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) and is committed to working with other organizations to better serve military members, veterans and their families. One of these partnerships is Joining Community Forces Indiana (JCFI).

JCFI is a collaboration among MFRI, the Indiana National Guard, and the national and state Departments of Veterans Affairs. JCFI educates nongovernmental organizations, departments of state government, corporations, policy makers, and local leaders, and works to build and maintain robust working relationships among Indiana communities.

For example, JCFI works with the Indiana judiciary, prosecutors, public defenders and communities to support veterans treatment courts (VTCs). VTCs are problem-solving courts that aim to help veterans with mental health or substance abuse issues and who face nonviolent criminal charges. There are more than 300 VTCs nationwide. The goal is to keep veterans with mental health or substance abuse issues out of the traditional justice system. The courts give these veterans treatment and tools for coping with their problems, and delay sentencing based on their success in treatment. Those who choose to participate receive mentoring and access to a wide variety of resources, including health and legal services.

Each VTC is part of its community’s justice system and often partners with local VAs and veterans’ organizations. That’s why JCFI is involved. JCFI helps support VTCs by educating community organizations and statewide leaders about the importance of the program.

Visualizing data and Measuring Communities

Measuring Communities is a social indicators initiative designed to help shape community efforts to support military and veteran families. This web-based tool assembles, makes available and visually represents data about the state of these families, which communities can use to identify and address gaps in services to better serve them. MFRI created this landmark initiative in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development.