Recent News

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


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

MFRI awarded grant for Measuring Communities

Washington, D.C. – The Elizabeth Dole Foundation today announced the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University as a recipient of a 2017 grant from the Foundation’s Hidden Heroes Fund.

The Fund is dedicated to supporting innovative programs making a direct impact in the lives of America’s military and veteran caregivers. More than half a million dollars will be distributed to fourteen nonprofit organizations to create new initiatives or expand existing programs.

The 2017 grant recipients were competitively selected from among nearly 150 applications from organizations nationally.

“When the Foundation launched Hidden Heroes in September, we renewed our commitment to do all we can to improve the lives of military caregivers, those spouses, mothers, dads, children, siblings, and friends who are caring for America’s wounded warriors,” said Senator Elizabeth Dole. “As part of this multifaceted initiative, we established the Hidden Heroes Fund to award grants to nonprofit organizations that are making a real difference in the lives of America’s military and veteran caregivers.”

The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) conducts research on issues that affect military and veteran families and works to shape policies, programs and practices that improve their well-being. Measuring Communities, the landmark MFRI program created in partnership with the Purdue Center for Regional Development, will use the grant to combine the information captured on HiddenHeroes.org and through the Hidden Heroes Cities program with data provided by other organizations to create a fuller picture of the strengths and gaps in military family support in communities nationwide.

“MFRI is pleased to be awarded this grant by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation to expand work on the Measuring Communities online portal,” said Kathy Broniarczyk, Director of Family Support at MFRI. “The military caregiver population and their needs are not always well understood by the communities in which they live. Using the data collected on military caregivers by the Elizabeth Dole Foundation, MFRI, through the Measuring Communities online portal, can work to help communities understand and address the needs of this population. We are excited about the collaboration and the potential for this work to make a positive impact on these hidden heroes.”

Selection criteria for the grants include: the organization’s effectiveness in addressing military caregivers’ unique needs as determined by the Foundation-commissioned RAND study which established baseline research on the status of military caregivers; alignment with the Foundation’s eight critical impact areas: community support at home, education and training, employment, faith and spirituality, financial and legal support, mental and physical health, military family support and respite care; use of evidence-based resources to inform the creation of effective programming for caregivers; and the replicability of the program.

For interviews with Elizabeth Dole Foundation Executive Director Steve Schwab and grant recipients, please contact Austin Courtney at ACourtney@susandavis.com or 202-414-0791.

  •  Posted on Jan. 13, 2017

MFRI announces top research in military and veteran research

If you would like to revisit the evening's discussion, please view the archived version of this event.

ARLINGTON, Va. — An article examining the long-term implications of policy decisions made during and after World War II is being honored today by the Military Family and Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University as the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families Award. The annual award, now in its second year, recognizes the best scientific article published during the previous year that combines exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families.

The article, “War and Marriage: Assortative Mating and the World War II GI Bill,” appeared in the October 2015 issue of Demography, a scholarly journal published by the Population Association of America. The authors of the article examined the unexpected impact of the GI Bill on spousal selection and family development for service members and veterans eligible for the benefit.

Jeremy G. Moulton of the University of North Carolina will accept the award from MFRI Director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth. The presentation is part of an event hosted by retired Army Lt. Gen. Guy C. Swan III, vice president for education at the Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA), at AUSA’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Moulton’s co-authors are Matthew F. Larsen of Lafayette College, T.J. McCarthy of the University of Southern California, Marianne E. Page of the University of California, Davis, and Ankur J. Patel of the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

“For the past 16 years, MFRI has made it our mission to promote and advocate for research that provides insights into the unique challenges and opportunities facing military and veteran families,” MacDermid Wadsworth said. “We are pleased to be honoring authors who examined a critical implication of post-World War II policies in such a rigorous and innovative way. We believe that the conclusions of all the finalists’ research articles will further affirm the importance of high quality military-focused research.”

The award presentation will follow a panel discussion based on “A Battle Plan to Support Military and Veteran Families,” a collection of chapters to be published by MFRI in the spring of 2017. The book will examine lessons learned about supporting military and veteran families since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. MacDermid Wadsworth will moderate the discussion; panelists are experts on military and veteran families and “Battle Plan” contributors:

• Meredith Kleykamp, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Research on Military Organization
• Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association
• Morgan Sammons, executive officer of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists
• Barbara Thompson, director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Family Readiness Policy

“Battle Plan” will provide insights shared by leaders in government and policymaking, corporations and associations, community service and education, and behavioral health care and research. It aims to be a resource for future leaders who, when faced with the next serious conflict or military engagement, seek to offer the best support for service members, veterans and their families.

For more information about the award, the authors, and MFRI, visit the Military Family Research Institute website.

###

About MFRI
The Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) 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 and collaborates to create meaningful solutions for them. This nationally recognized organization is located within Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

About the Association of the United States Army
AUSA is a private, professional, non-profit educational organization that represents every American soldier by being the voice for all components of America’s Army, fostering public support of the Army’s role in national security and providing professional education and information programs.

 

  •  Posted on Nov. 16, 2016

A Battle Plan to Support Military and Veteran Families

If you would like to revisit the evening's discussion, please view the archived version of this event.

You are invited to live stream a special MFRI panel presentation followed by the awarding of the 2016 Excellence in Research on Military and Veteran Families Award. The annual award, now in its second year, recognizes the best scientific article published during the previous year that combines exceptional rigor with important insights about military and veteran families. Both will take place Wednesday, November 16 at 3 p.m. from the headquarters of the Association of the United States Army, in Arlington, Va.

The award presentation will follow a panel discussion based on A Battle Plan to Support Military and Veteran Families, a collection of chapters to be published by MFRI in the spring of 2017. The book will examine lessons learned about supporting military and veteran families since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. MFRI Director Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth will moderate the discussion; panelists are experts on military and veteran families and “Battle Plan” contributors:

  • Meredith Kleykamp, director of the University of Maryland’s Center for Research on Military Organization
  • Joyce Raezer, executive director of the National Military Family Association
  • Morgan Sammons, executive officer of the National Register of Health Service Psychologists
  • Barbara Thompson, director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Office of Family Readiness Policy

Battle Plan will provide insights shared by leaders in government and policymaking, corporations and associations, community service and education, and behavioral health care and research. It aims to be a resource for future leaders who, when faced with the next serious conflict or military engagement, seek to offer the best support for service members, veterans and their families.

  •  Posted on Nov. 15, 2016

Celebrating veterans, we salute all who served

MFRI is proud to have a number of veterans working on our staff. This month, Outreach Facilitator Phil Turner, a veteran of the Cold War, tells us about his service then and now. 

Q. What made you decide to join the service? Why did you pick the service branch you joined?

In my junior year of high school,  a U.S. Army sergeant and Vietnam Special Forces veteran addressed our student body to share his stories of how he survived the 1968 Tet Offensive. This alumnus of our high school was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart but 95 percent of his unit was killed or wounded. His words stayed with me and in August of 1970, I enlisted -- in part due to him, but also my father, who served in the USMC during the Korean War. Also, many of my cousins were serving at that time. I chose the Army partly due to that Army Ranger who took the time to speak to us.

Q. What are some of your memorable experiences?

I served two years deployment in Europe with 3rd Armored Division, NATO forces during the “Cold War” as a battle tank crewman, seeing countries like France, Holland, and Switzerland. My most memorable experience was on a training range near the Czech border. During a morning tactical maneuver our armored battalion was traversing through a heavy Nazi-fortified area from World War II. As I rode along, outside the hatch of my M60-A1 battle tank, I saw herds of sheep grazing in the meadows around us and on several hill sides in the distance were burned out concrete machine gun bunkers. We also passed many remnants of foundations from several villages destroyed by the war. The beauty of the meadow in the sunrise contrasted with the reminder of the battlefield. I will never forget the scene that morning and thinking about how many were sacrificed for our freedom on that field.

Q. When did you get out of them military? What have you been doing since then?

I was honorably discharged from active duty in 1972. I had agreed to serve at least one year in the Indiana Army National Guard. I stayed with the CAV unit 2.5 years total. I have been active in my local American Legion Post 10, Marion, since the mid-eighties. I have held several offices and am currently the Service Officer serving members and all Vets in a 10 County region.

Q. Why did you decide to continue working on behalf of veterans?

I can answer this question with one word – respect! Respect is the core attribute of anyone who has served this nation. We all share a common respect for our forefathers who many gave all for us. Respect for the flag, for the laws of our land and a respect for our constitution. Respect is a very important part of the principle of discipline. Respect is the discipline or the “cornerstone” of what allows people to live within a family group or in a society successfully. As a veteran, I respect our community, state and nation.

Q. What do you like best about your job?

I do not consider it a “job.” The best thing is MFRI gives me the honor of meeting so many outstanding people. Some are veterans/military members but many are not. They all have a huge heart and volunteer in their individual communities.

Q. What would you say to people about the significance of Veterans Day?

Remember our heroes in past and present wars on Veterans Day, but work in some way all year long to help someone who is serving or has served.
 

  •  Posted on Nov. 9, 2016


<< See previous news