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Human Development and Family Science

Our Faculty



Interested in learning how these faculty found their niche in Family Science? Click here.

Erin Boyd-Soisson, Ph.D., CFLE


Associate Professor of Human Development & Family Science
University of Texas at Austin

Teaching Interests:

Child Development (HDFS 310); Adult Development (HDFS 312); Topics: Play & Development (HDFS 382); Foundations of Marriage and Family (HDFS 101)

Research Interests:

Understanding parenting issues from a cultural and family systems perspective

Service Interests: Mentoring students in research and advising
Select Recent Publications:

McFarland-Piazza, L., Hazen, N., Jacobvitz, D., & Boyd-Soisson, E.  (in press) The development of father-child Attachment:  Associations between adult attachment representations, recollections of childhood experiences and caregiving.  Early Child Development and Care.


Berke, D. L., Boyd-Soisson, E. F., Voorhees, A. N., & Reininga, E. (2010).  Advocacy as Service Learning.  Family Science Review 15 (1), 13-30


Hazen, N., McFarland, L., Jacobvitz, D., Boyd-Soisson, E.,  (2010).  Fathers’ frightening and sensitive infant cargiving: Relations with fathers’ attachment representations, father-infant attachment, and children’s later development of emotion regulation and attention problems.  In Early Child Development and Care Special Issue on Fathering and        Attachment in Context: Patterns Across the Lifespan 180 (1 & 2), 51-69. 


Boyd-Soisson, E. F., & Hamon, R. R.  (2009).  The Family Folklore Album: Using the Power of Stories to Engage Students in Family Science.  Family Science Review 14 (2), 61-73. 


Boyd-Soisson, E. & Hamon, R. R. (September, 2007).  Helping Family Science Students Make Themselves More Marketable:  Identifying and Developing the Skills Employers Want.          National Council on Family Relations Report, 52 (3), 15-16.

Current Project(s): Using family folklore as a teaching tool; Understanding breastfeeding from family systems and ecological perspectives; Amish Parenting
How I Found my Niche: I started my undergraduate work studying aerospace engineering for 3 semesters, until I had taken some psychology and sociology courses. I became interested in studying children after hearing, what seemed to be, news story after news story of children committing horrible crimes. I changed my major to psychology in order to learn more about human behavior. After graduation, I worked as a counselor in a group home for delinquent and dependent female adolescents. At the facility, an emphasis was placed on not only helping the individual child, but the family of the child as well. It became apparent to me while working there, that children do not develop in isolation, rather all aspects of their environment, particularly their family, are important for their healthy development. Wanting to learn more about the family's role in children's development, I decided to return to school and learn more about human development and family science. I love learning about children and their families and engaging in discussions with students, in classes and out of classes, about their career interests in working with children and their families.
Hobbies: Playing with my family; Being outside; Scrapbooking with my sisters; Cooking/grilling; hiking
Family: My husband Tim and I have been married for almost 11 years. We have two wonderful children, Shepard (8) and Faith (6).
Contact Information: Boyer 353;; (717) 796-1800, ext. 2254; Personal Webpage


Raeann R. Hamon, Ph.D., CFLE

Department Chair


Distinguished Professor of Family Science & Gerontology Chair, Department of Human Development & Family Science Virginia Tech - Blacksburg, VA

Teaching Interests:

Dynamics of Family Interaction (HDFS 339); Sociology of Aging (GERO 232); Strategies of Family Life Education (HDFS 442); Opportunities in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS 099); Introduction to Interpersonal Relationships (HDFS 142)

Research Interests:

Families in later life; Intergenerational relationships; Mate selection; Family science pedagogy; Professional issues in family science; Bahamian family life
Service Interests: Family life education programming (e.g., marriage preparation and enrichment) for churches and communities
Select Recent Publications:

Karasik, R.J., Hamon, R.R, Writz, J., & Reddy, A.M. (2014). Two thumbs up: Using popular films in introductory aging courses. Gerontology & Geriatrics Education, 35, 86-113.

Click HERE to read the article


Boyd-Soisson, E.F., & Hamon, R.R. (2007). Helping family science students make themselves more marketable: Identifying and developing the skills employers want. National Council on Family Relations’ FAMILY FOCUS, 55 (3), 15-16.


Sherif Trask, B., & Hamon, R.R. (Eds.). (2007). Cultural diversity and families: Expanding perspectives. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Hamon, R. R. (Ed.). (2006). International family studies: Developing curricula and teaching tools. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press.


Hamon, R. R., & Ingoldsby, B. B. (Eds.). (2003). Mate selection across cultures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Current Project(s):

Smith, S. R., Hamon, R. R., & Ingoldsby, B. B. (In press). Exploring family theories (2 nd ed.). New York: Oxford University.


Hamon, R.R., & Hollinger, M. (In press). Cross-cultural differences in courtship and dating. In H.T. Reis, and S.K. Sprecher (Eds.). Encyclopedia of human relationships. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Hagenbuch, D.J., & Hamon R. R. (In process). Understanding Students' Attitudes Toward Majoring in Human Development and Family Science.

How I Found my Niche: As an undergrad Behavioral Science major, I took a smattering of sociology and psychology classes, but when I enrolled in my first family science course, I knew that I had found my disciplinary niche. I absolutely love the content of the family science field, as well as the unique perspectives and skills that it offers to professionals whose aim is to enhance the well-being of individuals and their families. I actually relish the opportunity to read about topics like marriages, family relationships, interpersonal dynamics, and cross-cultural family experiences. It is also exciting to see the breadth of career opportunities available to students with an academic preparation in Human Development and Family Science. What greater calling can there be than to help people live committed and fulfilling lives within their families?
Hobbies: Antiquing, Walking/exercising; Writing; Spending time with my family
Family: Married to Jeff Hamon since 1982; Have a daughter, Eliana (born in 2002)
Contact Information: Boyer 355;; (717) 796-1800, ext. 2850;

Paul Johns, LMFT, CFLE


Instructor of Human Development & Family Science

Bethel Theological Seminary - St. Paul, MN

Courses Taught: Marital Relationships (HDFS 355); Introduction to Interpersonal Relationships (HDFS 142); HDFS Seminar (HDFS 494); Strategies of Family Life Education (HDFS 442)
Professional Interests: Marriage and family therapy / counseling; Integration of HDFS and theology/faith
Service Interests: Marriage and family education / enrichment in church congregations (retreats, conferences, etc); Speaking/preaching
Current Project(s): Practicing Christ-centered marriage and family therapy, leading engaged couples in premarital counseling, organizing and facilitating marital enrichment retreats, and preaching/speaking periodically at local churches (Sunday morning and/or special events)
How I Found my Niche: My decison to get involved in family science is a complex mixture of life events, personal convictions, and divine providence. Life events and circumstances that motivated me to pursue working with families included the following: growing up as a mediator in a troubled family, experiencing a fire that destroyed our house at age 19 and taught me about the incredible value of family, church, and community, and growing up in a church body that crumbled from the inside out seemingly due to a lack of knowledge about how to deal with family problems.  My passion to learn to help people grew as I experienced and witnessed the crippling pain of relationship problems. Even when I began pursuing another career path, God kept stirring my heart to use the circumstances that entered my life and my gifts to serve people. In a nutshell, my entrance into the field of family science is much more than a career aspiration. It is the pursuit of a mission to smoothly integrate my faith with established theraputic methods driven by the goal of enlivening people in their love and service for God and others.
Hobbies: Collecting rocks and minerals; watching sports; reading email :-)
Family: I have been married to Melanie for almost 15 years and I have three children: Brendan, age 11, Lindsey age 9, and Aubrey, age 6.
Contact Information: Boyer 387;; (717) 796-1800, ext. 2603; Personal Webpage (Coming Soon)

Michael Njoroge Mbito, Ph.D., CFLE

Robert Reyes , Ph.D., CFLE


Professor of Human Development & Family Science

Fuller Seminary, Pasadena, CA

Courses Taught : Intro to Social Research (HDFS 171); Parenting (HDFS 242);
Research Interests: Acculturative Stress and Coping among Latino Families,     Intersection of Families, Communities and Schools and      Transnational Migration and Family Adaptation.
Service Interests: Latino families and the stress of immigration.
Current Project(s): The study of acculturative stress and coping among Latino families, and the study of moral/social capital among immigrant parents and its impact on parental involvement.
How I Found my Niche:

As I reflect about my journey in the field of family studies, I must confess that my attraction and motivation to study and support the well-being of families has always been social and communal in nature. As important as it is to address the specific developmental or relational challenges that individuals or families may face, for me the critical questions have always been about the larger social, economic, political factors that influence the stability of families at a more personal level. Therefore, my interests have always been in considering the well being of communities and exploring the availability and access to social resources needed so that its members can thrive and succeed. These factors include access to education, affordable housing and healthcare, meaningful employement and social support services.

That is why, for instance, in studying issues of acculturative stress and coping among Latino immigrant families, my examination of these issues has often gone beyond the personal level and examined the broader historical, economic and anti-immigrant policies that exacerbate this problem.

To respond to the needs of families requires that we take a look at larger systemic realities that keep children and families in conditions of poverty and marginalization in our country. We must identify and advocate for those that we have been given the opportunity to serve.  Their fight must be our fight and their dreams must be our dreams.

Therefore, I hope that, through my work in the HDFS department, I can instill in the life of students the desire and passion to tackle oppressive social systems, to imagine new possibilities, and to work tirelessly with God’s grace to bring hope and opportunities to places where there is none.

Hobbies: As a family we enjoy outside activities such as biking and swimming as well as watching movies and spending time with friends.
Family: I am married to Audrey, who is a Registered Dietitian and we have three wonderful children: Kelsey (14 yrs. old), Lyndsey (12 yrs. old) and Daniel (10 yrs. old).
Contact Information: Boyer 385;; (717) 796-1800, ext. 7205


Linda Adams, M.S.
Serves as our FCS Student Teacher Supervisor
Kristen Reitz
Family Resource Management (HDFS 245)
Dawn Gearhart, M.Ed. Teaches Family and Consumer Sciences Curriculum I and II
Jennifer Ransil, MFT Human Sexuality (HDFS 244) and HDFS Seminar (HDFS 494)


Department of Nutrition & Dietetics Kathryn Witt, Ph.D., Amy E. Binkoski, Ph.D.
Department of Visual Arts Christine Forsythe, M.F.A.
Department of Education Joseph Barnes, Ph.D., Jennifer Fisler, D.Ed., Donald Murk, Ph.D., Nancy Patrick, PH.D.
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PDF of Career Booklet

Career Booklet