MFRI director recognized as a top contributor to work and family research

Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, professor of Human Development and Family Studies and director of the Center for Families (CFF) and the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University, has been named one of the top extraordinary contributors to the field of work and family research.

The top contributors were identified by E. Jeffrey Hill, PhD, and colleagues at Brigham Young University with their eight modalities of excellence which includes:

• Publishing work and family scholarship (based on academic metrics: citation counts, articles, books, indices, etc.)
• Publishing work and family scholarship (based on reputation among work and family scholars)
• Funding of work and family research
• Disseminating work and family research to policy makers and the public
• Providing service to the field (reviews, professional organizations, etc.)
• Mentoring future work and family scholars (e.g., graduate students, new scholars, etc.)
• Making landmark contributions that have shaped the field (e.g., landmark articles, books, reports, etc.)
• Overall contribution (based on reputation among work and family scholars)

To identify the eight modalities of excellence, Hill conducted extensive research involving analyses of academic metrics, focus groups with top work and family scholars, and a survey of Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN) members.

MacDermid Wadsworth joined other top contributors on a panel at the WFRN conference on June 22 who shared their experience in guiding the work-family research field.

About MacDermid Wadsworth

Shelley M. MacDermid Wadsworth is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University, where she also directs the Center for Families and Military Family Research Institute. She holds an M.B.A. in Management and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Human Development and Family Studies from Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on relationships between job conditions and family life, with a special focus on military families and organizational policies, programs and practices. Over the past 24 years, she has studied differences between small and large workplaces, how adults grow and develop as a result of their work experiences, and how different kinds of organizational policies make it easier or more difficult for workers to be successful at work and at home.

Her research has been widely published in scientific outlets including the Journal of Marriage and Family and the Academy of Management Journal, and has been funded and has been funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Henry A. Murray Center, the Department of Defense, the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, the state of Indiana, Lilly Endowment, and others.

MacDermid Wadsworth is a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations, and a recipient of the Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute and the Violet Haas Award for Leadership on behalf of women at Purdue University. MacDermid Wadsworth has served on federal advisory committees for the Department of Defense and the Institute of Medicine, and has testified in Congress regarding military and veteran families. In 2012, she received the Morrill Award from Purdue University in recognition of outstanding career achievements that have had an impact on society, and in 2016, Purdue University received the Kellogg Award from the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and the Higher Education Civic Engagement Award from the Washington Center in recognition of the work of the Military Family Research Institute.

She serves on the editorial boards of several major family research journals, and is a fellow of the National Council on Family Relations and a recipient of the Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute. She served on the Returning Veterans Committee of the Institute of Medicine and the Psychological Health External Advisory Committee of the Defense Health Board. She is currently serving on a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine committee that focuses on military families’ well-being.

About Center for Families and the Military Family Research Institute

CFF and MFRI are an initiative 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.

Battlemind to Home Summit registration closes Oct. 1

Registration for Battlemind to Home Summit, one of the most engaging military and veteran health summits in the state, closes Oct. 1, 2018.

Battlemind will be held Oct. 9 in Indianapolis at the Marriott East. The event brings together subject matter experts to educate Indiana professionals about the critical issues facing our veteran population. Sessions for 2018 focus on topics related to mental health concerns, community mobilization, legal needs and support and more.

Christy Collette, Military and Family Research Institute Outreach Specialist, said attendees will choose two breakout sessions to participate in at registration.

“There are 12 breakout session for attendees to choose from. Topics such as engaging veterans in your community, VA claims and faith based initiatives are just a few session participants can engage in.”

Breakout sessions include:

  • Suicide gatekeeper training
  • VA claims bring calm to veterans
  • Engaging veterans as assets in your community
  • Discharge upgrades
  • Veterans Treatment Court – a mock court session
  • Increasing community awareness about veteran families and caregivers
  • Maximize the Influences of Veteran Treatment Court mentors
  • Counseling on access to lethal means for individuals in crisis
  • Building blocks for energizing communities
  • Office of the Indiana Attorney General assistance for service members and their families
  • VA Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives
  • The ethics of representing clients with diminished capacity

First time attendees have the opportunity to apply to the Colonel Roger Peterman Scholarship, covering the registration cost of attending Battlemind.

“Roger retired from the Indiana National Guard after 33 years of service and served on the Battlemind planning committee since its beginning. This year we are offering one paid registration in his honor.”

Colonel Roger Peterman scholarship applications are due Aug. 13.

Register Now

Battlemind is hosted by the Military Family Research Institute, in partnership with the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center, Indiana National Guard and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Find information about Battlemind on social media by following MFRI on Twitter using #battlemindIN, and “like” MFRI on Facebook.

For questions or inquires contact Collette at

MFRI book highlights post-9/11 lessons learned from supporting military families, veterans

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University recently released “A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families,” a new experience-based book that highlights lessons learned from supporting veteran and military 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 and veteran 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.”

A road map for supporting veteran and military families

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

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.

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

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 or 765-494-2962 and follow the social media conversation at #FWDFellows.

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,

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 by April 23.


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 Contact Runco at 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.