Recent News

Stay updated on the latest MFRI news as well as news pertaining to military families and those who work to assist them.

Focus Forward Fellowship launches successfully in Indianapolis

The Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University (MFRI) successfully launched a 10-months-long program this month that aims to engage and educate top-notch women veterans enrolled in higher education institutions.

The Focus Forward Fellowship is a new MFRI initiative designed to serve rising military-connected sophomores and juniors who are enrolled in four-year colleges and universities. From Aug. 11-14, the inaugural class of 14 fellows attended the weekend portion of the program, gathering in Indianapolis to take part in a four-day conference that presented educational opportunities, career preparation and a chance to engage with nationally-known mentor and leaders.

"I'm so happy that I was accepted into the Focus Forward Fellowship,” said fellow Hope Hallett, an Air Force veteran from Portland State University. “The mentors I have gained in just three days have already changed my life. I’m beyond enthralled to work with them and continue learning from truly incredible women.”

“How many times have you signed up for something, expecting nothing and have had your life shaken awake?” asked Sarah Dobos, another fellow and Air Force veteran who is pursuing her degree at University of North Carolina Wilmington. “The MFRI residency program this weekend has been my life line. Once a fellow, always a fellow. I’m beyond grateful to be a part of this program with all these strong and empowered women!"

The weekend portion of the program is being followed by additional web-based activities scheduled throughout the 2016-2017 academic year. Fellows were competitively selected for the fellowship, and attended at no cost to them.

MFRI’s outstanding inaugural cohort represented colleges and universities in 10 states. They are pursuing degrees ranging from nursing and psychology to marine biology and veterinary technology, and represent all branches of the service except the Coast Guard. Many are using the Post 9/11 bill for their higher education, and many have deployed in support of OIF/OEF/OND.

“I truly believe the program was life-changing for these women,” said Lauren Runco, director of education and employment at MFRI. “I can’t wait to see how they continue to grow and change over the coming year.”

To learn more or find out ways you can support the Focus Forward Fellowship, contact Runco at or 765-496-6045 and follow the social media conversation at #FWDFellows.

  •  Posted on Aug. 15, 2016

Newly released

Want to learn more about what MFRI does to advance research with impact? Check out the Executive Summary of our 2015 Year in Review. In it, you will find information about our work on behalf of military families and veterans, and the people who serve them. Learn about our work at the national, regional and local levels, including:

  • Reaching Rural Veterans and Measuring Communities, two of our newest initiatives;
  • our latest research on behalf of military families, including new papers published in scientific journals;
  • our 15th anniversary celebration;
  • our 2015 research symposium, designed to create a battle plan to support military families;
  • the winner of the inaugural Award for Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families, created to honor the best evidence-based a single scientific article published combining exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families;
  • and much more.

Download the summary today!


  •  Posted on July 6, 2016

Summer eBriefing released today

The latest issue includes news about the upcoming Battlemind to Home Mental Health Summit, the latest MFRI research results, and Star Behavioral Health Providers, which was selected as one of four recipients of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation Community Engagement Scholarship Award.


  •  Posted on June 30, 2016

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 For more information about the program, contact Runco at or call 765-496-3403. Connect with MFRI on Twitter at @MFRIPurdue and use #FWDFellows to join the conversation.

  •  Posted on June 21, 2016

MFRI study examines risk, resilience in military children

More than two million young children are family members of the new cohort of war veterans now entering the U.S. civilian population. Studies of military children tend to focus on stresses or deficits they experience, failing to give sufficient attention to their strengths, their families’ strengths, or the supports around them.

MFRI researchers studied the risk and promotive factors in the lives of children aged 0–10 in military families, with promotive factors being those that decrease the likelihood that young children will engage in negative behaviors or have negative outcomes.

We found that risk factors (e.g. parental depression and community poverty) were more strongly associated with children's outcomes than promotive factors. For military children who experience multiple risks, however, the promotive factors (e.g. parental education, positive family functioning, etc.) help protect them from those risks. The study was published in the American Journal of Community Psychology.

  •  Posted on June 20, 2016

<< See previous news