Recent News

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

April: A month to celebrate military children

April is the Month of the Military Child, a time to celebrate the important role military children play in supporting our country.

Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the commemoration was developed to honor and recognize the nation’s estimated 1.8 million military children, the sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome.

Military children routinely endure a parent’s separation due to deployment, travel due to temporary duty or advanced academic and career training. They also move more often than their peers. About 1.3 million of them are school-aged.

You can support military children by actively participating in the Month of the Military Child. Wear purple on April 21, the day designated just for them. View our series of How to Help Military and Veteran Families issues and take steps to thank the military children you know. Help others learn more about their challenges and their resilience. They deserve recognition this month, and every day!

  •  Posted on March 30, 2017

Save the date for Purdue Day of Giving

Mark your calendar for Wednesday, April 26, when MFRI will join with the entire Purdue University family and participate in the fourth annual Purdue Day of Giving.

For 24 hours, students, alumni, faculty, staff, parents and friends will come together to grant opportunities and transform lives. Last year, thanks to the incredible generosity of the Purdue family, Purdue Day of Giving raised a record-breaking $18.2 million in just one day. Since the 2014 inaugural Day of Giving, nearly 150 gifts from generous donors have helped support MFRI’s strategic goals.

Your gift to MFRI can help sustain the work we do on behalf of military and veteran families, and currently your gift can go even further thanks to a generous contribution from the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, the College of Health and Human Sciences and the Office of the Provost.

In the coming weeks, you can help spread the news about Purdue Day of Giving by joining the social media conversation and telling others about this event. When you do, tag @MFRIPurdue (Twitter) or @MFRIatPurdue (Facebook) and use #PurdueDayofGiving to engage with us. Thank you for all you do for military and veteran families!

  •  Posted on March 7, 2017

Focus Forward Fellowship builds skills, leadership

We have made it easier to apply for the Focus Forward Fellowship, a program designed by the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University to build skills, leadership and a sense of community among female student veterans and military-connected women.

This is the second year of the Fellowship, which is open to rising sophomore and juniors, and two Fellowship programs will take place. Both begin with a four-day residency program followed by engagement online during the 2017–2018 academic year. Colorado State University, located in Fort Collins, Colo., is sponsoring a June 7 cohort, which is open to military-connected women at Colorado schools. Got Your 6 is a sponsor of a July 26 cohort held in Indianapolis, which is open to military-connected women from schools across the nation.

“We are extremely grateful for Colorado State and Got Your 6 for partnering with us in our efforts to help women student veterans achieve their full potential as they pursue academic and career success,” said Lauren Runco, MFRI’s director of education and employment. “We encourage all eligible women to apply for what has been called a life-changing experience.”

Cost of travel, food, lodging, activities and materials is covered by MFRI and other sponsoring institutions. Applications will close soon. For more information, contact Director of Education and Employment Lauren Runco at

  •  Posted on Feb. 20, 2017

Research investigates help-seeking messages

Researchers at Purdue University are working to deepen understanding of what kinds of messages from family members are most helpful and effective at encouraging veterans to seek behavioral healthcare, when needed.

Led by Professor Steve Wilson of Purdue’s Brian Lamb School of Communication, the team aims to gain a deeper understanding of these interactions from both the family member and veteran perspectives. Ultimately, the research results may inform programs whose mission it is to assist military and veteran families. The study includes an online survey that takes about 30 minutes to complete and asks the veteran to evaluate a message crafted by family members who took part in phase one of the study.

“We know these conversations can be difficult,” said Wilson, who is also a faculty associate at the Military Family Research Institute. “Thanks to the help of people who work with veterans, we were able to spread the word about phase one of our research, where we surveyed and interviewed family members of veterans. They described what they might say to a loved one to encourage them to seek help for symptoms of depression, PTSD or other, similar issues. We are now seeking to gain important information from the veteran's perspective.”

Eligible veterans interested in taking part in this survey can do so here. Participation is voluntary and open to veterans who are no longer connected to the military and who completed one or more deployments in OIF, OEF or OND. Participation is confidential and those who take part will receive a $10 Amazon gift card upon completion of the survey. If you have questions, contact:

  • Steve Wilson, Ph.D.
  • Professor, Brian Lamb School of Communication
  • Faculty Associate, Military Family Research Institute
  • Purdue University
  • 765-414-0094
  •  Posted on Jan. 20, 2017

Be a mentor, find a mentor

January is National Mentoring Month. Because one of MFRI’s strategic goals is to engage in and promote learning, including the kind of learning that mentors and mentees can afford to one another, it is natural for us to take this opportunity to highlight the benefits of engaging in meaningful mentoring opportunities whenever they are available.

For example, students are a big part of what makes MFRI a thriving learning organization. MFRI is committed to furthering Purdue students’ education by involving them in meaningful opportunities during their time working for the organization. But we also believe that we can learn from these bright young minds. In fact, we believe all of us have things to learn, just as all of us have things to teach, and we try to practice this belief every day. We developed one of our newest initiatives, the Focus Forward Fellowship, to help connect women student veterans from across the country with the kinds of mentors who can make a difference in their lives.

Are you a mentor? Do you have one or more? Because January is National Mentoring Month, MFRI Director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth shares below some important concepts about mentoring. Make 2017 the year you engage in a process that research shows has benefits to all!

What should you know about mentoring?

  1. Almost everyone can benefit from it. 
  2. No one mentor will meet all needs; it is perfectly acceptable to have multiple mentors at once (Baugh & Scandura, 1999; Terry & Ghosh, 2015).
  3. No one is just a mentor or a mentee - we all have things we can learn from each other and teach to each other (Ghosh & Thomas, 2013). Networking mentoring can be very effective, rather than just top-down mentoring (Tsen, Borus, Nadelson, Seely, Haas & Fuhlbrigge, 2012).
  4. Mentoring relationships can be narrow or broad.  Some mentoring relationships focus on very specific purposes or tasks; others provide more general support and guidance. In addition, "episodic mentoring" may occur spontaneously, occurring in everyday, short-term interactions (Buzzanell, 2009; Fletcher & Ragins, 2007).
  5. Mentors are advisors, coaches, or consultants, and there should be mutual agreement about what is "on" and "off" the table for discussion (Harrison, 2014).
  6. Don't sit back and wait for an invitation or an offer - reach out to seek mentoring or become a mentor.  The worst that can happen is someone will say "no," but the best that can happen is a fulfilling and productive relationship (Harrison, 2014).
  •  Posted on Jan. 17, 2017

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