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Alumni - Department of Human Development and Family Science

Meet our graduates

HDFS alumni

Welcome to the career profiles page! Learn about the many opportunities and career paths available to our majors through the stories of some of our alumni.

  • Human Development & Family Science
    Amanda (Seal) Gibbons-
    Amanda (Seal) Gibbons ’13 Connecting Youth Engagement Manager – Carroll County Youth Service Bureau

    “HDFS is rooted in the Family Systems Theory and the Family Strengths Perspective. In my position in Family Preservation I often looked towards these models as the lens to view these families in."

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Amanda Fisher-
    Amanda Fisher ’13 High School Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

    Central Dauphin School District

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Amanda Lawrence-
    Amanda Lawrence ’12 Program Developer & Volunteer Coordinator, The Modern Maturity Center, Dover, Delaware

    As the Program Director, Amanda is in charge of planning and implementing the activities at The Modern Maturity Center. She seeks out different activities for the members of the senior center to enjoy, such as classes, clubs, seminars, and other fun activities. In addition, Amanda supervises the instructors who lead these activities.

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  • Business, Consumer & Family Resource Services
    Andrea Parker-
    Andrea Parker ’07 Human Resources Business Partner at NASA

    "Additionally, the versatility of the major has afforded me the space to pursue many different career paths from my first job as a community liaison to working in Human Resources at NASA.”

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Annette Kolb-
    Annette Kolb ’17 Family & Consumer Sciences Teacher, Pennsbury High School

    “This program prepared me for most aspects of the jobs I’ve held. The content knowledge gave me understanding of the students with whom I work and the family dynamics that affect their daily lives. Other content knowledge I learned to be able to teach others."

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  • Business, Consumer & Family Resource Services
    Ashley Ingraham-
    Ashley Ingraham ’14 Sales Representative, Method3 (Business consulting firm)

    As working in the business field is not typical for most HDFS majors, landing a job with a business consulting firm was very surprising for Ashley. She decided to apply for a recruiting position with this company she found online, simply on a whim, not thinking she would even hear back. A few days later they contacted her with interest in her resume and she scheduled an interview.

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  • Education
    Ashtin Stoner-
    Ashtin Stoner ’15 Toddler Teacher and Curriculum Coordinator

    I strive to show God's grace and love through the way I interact with my children and their parents.

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Barbara Bingham-
    Barbara Bingham ’03 Programming Coordinator

    "My faith holds me accountable to the belief that all people are deserving of respect and help."

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Becky (Kuplin) Stuckey-
    Becky (Kuplin) Stuckey ’07 Middle School Family and Consumer Science Teacher

    Cumberland Valley School District

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  • Faith-Based Organization
    Ben Beachy-
    Ben Beachy ’10 Special Events Coordinator, HOPE International

    First and foremost, Ben is passionate about promoting and fulfilling the mission and vision of HOPE International through creating event environments that lead to a deeper engagement with the work of HOPE International.

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Brian Fagan-
    Brian Fagan ’13 High School Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

    Souderton Area School District

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  • Business, Consumer & Family Resource Services
    Brittany (Kappauf) Claridge-
    Brittany (Kappauf) Claridge ’09 Assistant Director of Alumni and Parent Relations, Messiah College

    Brittany oversees all events within the Office of Alumni and Parent Relations including the December Graduate Reception, Gym & Pool Night, regional events and Homecoming. She is also responsible for student engagement including Eyas, the Student Alumni Council.

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Casey Hotlzapple ’09 Community Residential Rehabilitation Program Intake Coordinator, Pressley Ridge

    The information I received regarding therapies being used to provide treatment to individuals with varies diagnosis was helpful.

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  • Faith-Based Organization
    Elisabeth Martin-
    Elisabeth Martin ’14 Milieu Manager

    "I work at a non-profit Christian organization and we believe that it is our duty to promote hope, healing, and wholeness to the clients that we interact with. We are able to show Christ's love through our work."

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Elizabeth Kemrer-
    Elizabeth Kemrer ’18 Permanency Specialist, The Bair Foundation

    A degree in HDFS can take you to wonderful places and careers

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  • Government & Public Policy
    Emily R. Hess-
    Emily R. Hess ’01 Intelligence Analyst

    "My faith allows me to have compassion and love for others. It keeps me grounded when I spend most of my work time dealing with hatred and evil."

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Erika (Cowger) Sheaffer-
    Erika (Cowger) Sheaffer ’96 Senior Child Life Specialist, St. Christopher's Hospital for Children and Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

    Erika's interests have always been focused on children. Since graduation, she has been a preschool teacher, a Child Life Assistant, and has worked as a Child Life Specialist in a med surg unit, outpatient surgery, radiology, NICU, and oncology.

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Erin L. (Devine) Shaffer-
    Erin L. (Devine) Shaffer ’99 Child Life Specialist, Penn State Health Children's Hospital

    For the past 18 years Erin L. Shaffer has made an impact on the lives of hospitalized children and families in the Child Life profession. Through the years, Erin has worked as a Child Life Specialist, providing emotional and psychosocial support to hospitalized children with both acute and chronic illnesses.

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  • Education
    Fabienne (Doucet) Gibson-
    Fabienne (Doucet) Gibson ’95 Associate Professor of Early Childhood education; Program Leader for the program in Early Childhood Education and for the program in Childhood Education in the Department of Teaching & Learning, NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

    As a Professor of Early Childhood Education at a research university, Fabienne has three primary responsibilities: teaching, researching, and service. Fabienne teaches two courses each semester, engages in research projects and writing research manuscripts, and serves on committees in her department, school, university, as well as nationally, and internationally.

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Heather Barnhart-
    Heather Barnhart ’13 Enrichment Coordinator/ Activities Director

    "My faith helps me to connect with the residents a great deal. I find that discussing their faith is one thing they enjoy the most. We hold a weekly Bible History class and every other week we have a Bible study. They also have services in our Chapel on site."

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  • Human Development & Family Science
    Heather Yunkin-
    Heather Yunkin Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

    I aim to show students every day that they are cared for and valuable. Doing the best I can to allow them a safe space to grow and develop both within my content area and just as human beings is my largest goal.

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Jacque Reahm-
    Jacque Reahm ’15 Therapeutic Staff Support

    "A large part of my faith comes into my work through prayer. There are many situations in which I cannot speak my mind openly about my faith, but because I am working so closely with some of my clients the families feel comfortable sharing more intimate parts of their life with me. Because of this, I have found myself able to pray for families, without their knowledge, which has been somewhat of a blessing for me since I don't always take the time I should to talk with God."

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  • Faith-Based Organization
    Jason Lehman-
    Jason Lehman ’04 Family Development Specialist, Bethanna Christian Services

    As a non-traditional student, Jason came to Messiah with a wide range of experiences including a previous undergraduate degree in Hotel/Restaurant Management from Jefferson Community College. Jason worked in restaurants, live theater, mission organizations as well as various other businesses.

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  • Human Development & Family Science
    Jen Grove-
    Jen Grove ’97 Alum named NSVRC prevention director

    With a passion for prevention, Jen Grove '97 has worked in the anti-violence field her entire career. Recently promoted to the position of prevention director at the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) in Enola, PA., she first learned about victim advocacy and prevention as at Messiah.

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Jennifer Hernandez-
    Jennifer Hernandez ’97 Associate Clinical Director - Keystone Autism Services

    "I cannot say that a specific course was most helpful but rather the culmination of all the courses established the fundamentals of families and how best to support them."

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Jessica Schoenhals-
    Jessica Schoenhals ’13 Life Enrichment Director

    National Church Residences was founded with Christian principles in mind. While those who are employed with the company are expected to be respectful of other religions and belief systems, employees are permitted to talk about their faith. In fact, I am even allowed to lead Bible studies and sing Christian Hymns with my residents. I have found that my position lends itself very well to form close relationships with not only the residents but also their family members. Because crises and even death are encountered regularly in my position, relying on my faith has proved helpful for me as I processed experiences, and it has been a welcomed tool when comforting those who are hurting or in distress.

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Judith McCrea-
    Judith McCrea ’01 Director of Social Services for Hamilton Heath Center

    "I believe our actions are key to showing our faith. I do my best to show my faith through how I respond to crises and daily interactions. It is my hope that both my staff and the participants that we serve can see Christ's love through the passion and intent that I put into my work. I show respect to learn other's cultures, and in turn, am given opportunities to share about my own."

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  • Faith-Based Organization
    Kari Williams-
    Kari Williams ’14 Family Development Specialist

    I am the most thankful for the ways the HDFS department and Messiah prepared me in my faith. I have confidence that God placed me where I am to help those in need and I find that humbling. He puts each child on this earth for a reason and I love being a part of children reaching their full potential. I love the opportunities I have had to share my faith in specific scenarios as well.

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Kaylene Mason-
    Kaylene Mason ’14 Developmental Aide

    "The children I work with may be too young to comprehend faith and Christianity but I can still show them Jesus' qualities of love, kindness, and patience while dealing with their sometimes frustrating behaviors."

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  • Human Development & Family Science
    Kelsea Jones-
    Kelsea Jones ’15 High School Family and Consumer Science Teacher

    "Every single one of my classes and professors nurtured, challenged, and educated me on topics that I teach about every single day."

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Kimberly Lindquist (Scheffey) -
    Kimberly Lindquist (Scheffey) ’15 Adoption Worker - Matching Specialist and Child Specific Recruitment Worker

    Bethanna is a Christian organization, and we are able to talk to families about their faith and how that would impact the way a child would fit in their home. We work with families and children of all different backgrounds, so I think it is an amazing opportunity to extend love and have open conversations with everyone I work with. In addition to that, I am able to get to know many kids and families and pray for them and for opportunities to move towards their goal whether that is reunification with biological family or adoption. It's so important to stay grounded in your faith, especially when working with people in situations that stem from extreme brokenness and pain.

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  • Education
    Kristen Reitz-
    Kristen Reitz ’00 Adjunct Professor

    My faith has had a tremendous impact upon my work. Jesus placed a great emphasis on compassion, healing, and on helping people become whole. I try to follow this example in my work. I have had the unique opportunity to help others begin the healing process, and provide them with some of the tools they need to feel whole. Now I can help equip students to do the same.

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  • Faith-Based Organization
    Laura (Clark) Helman-
    Laura (Clark) Helman Surgical Sponsorship Coordinator, CURE International

    Laura is working for CURE International, she still appreciates the opportunity to work in the adoption field on a contract basis. Once per month, she leads a support group for adopted children with Bethany Christian Services, which provides the wonderful opportunity to connect with and support children and their families post-adoption.

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  • Human Development & Family Science
    Leah Wagner-
    Leah Wagner ’17 Records Specialist, School of Graduate Studies at Messiah College

    “I feel like the Human Development and Family Science program really prepared me for my job. I regularly have the opportunity to help people and practice methods of effective communication."

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Lela Fredricks-
    Lela Fredricks ’19 Psychiatric Rehabilitation Associate, Community Services Group

    The Human Development and Family Science program has equipped me so well in my field by helping me to be systems focused in my approach to problems rather than solely focusing on the individual and their present state.

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Lenelle (Nesta) Roberts-
    Lenelle (Nesta) Roberts ’82 Regional Nutrition Links Coordinator for Penn State Extension

    It's not possible to call yourself a Christian and not call upon Christian principles to guide you through your day. We need to respond to a plethora of situations in a Godly fashion - dealing with a difficult coworker, extending grace to employees who stretch the rules, being patient with a demanding public audience, etc.

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Lindsay Peake-
    Lindsay Peake ’18 Community Liaison for Home Health Care, Frederick Memorial Hospital

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Lindsey Fye-
    Lindsey Fye ’14 Behavioral Support Specialist

    Lindsey's faith interfaces with her work in every way as she spreads Christ's love to a vulnerable population.

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  • Education
    Lois Mitten Rosenberry-
    Lois Mitten Rosenberry ’70 President and CEO of Children's Discovery Center

    Mrs. Rosenberry holds a BA degree in Behavioral Science from Messiah College, Grantham, PA

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Luke Miller-
    Luke Miller ’12 Youth Development Specialist, YouthHOPE

    "A typical year will involve traveling throughout the world and leading these trainings with pastors, youth workers, teachers, and community workers that serve youth.”

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  • Family Intervention
    Marilyn Bellesfield-
    Marilyn Bellesfield ’89 Family Advocate

    After graduation, Marilyn served as a full time case worker for Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Inc. She developed a Sisters Plus program for teen mothers, matching each with a mentor/Big Sister to help them and to be a support. She also designed a brochure and worked with the Harrisburg School District to get referrals.

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Matt Brown -
    Matt Brown ’18 Prevention Coordinator in Greenville County (SC)

    "HDFS gave me the skills to analyze and gain perspectives of clients/students and taught me that helping others means that you have to understand yourself first and foremost."

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Matthew Sider-
    Matthew Sider ’15 Community Manager at WeWork

    “I think have a deep understanding of how people function and operate has helped me on multiple levels. I now understand my members at a higher level and it helps me communicate to them and help them solve problems."

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Megan Dubbs-
    Megan Dubbs ’14 Middle School Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher

    Classes in nutrition and child development prepared Dubbs well for her career as an FCS teacher. She uses projects and activities developed from those classes to engage the students in her own classroom. She says, “My 7th graders are learning about child development and getting ready to design their own playground…an assignment that I had at Messiah in Child Development.”

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  • Human Development & Family Science
    Megan Leiby-
    Megan Leiby ’18 Educational Para-Professional, Capital Area Intermediate Unit

    “I am constantly thinking about how I am serving God in the best way I can. I use my faith to better not only myself but those around me.”

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Meghan (VanHine) Sensenig-
    Meghan (VanHine) Sensenig ’08 Medical Social Worker, Ephrata Community Hospital

    Part of the excitement and fun that comes Meghan's position is that she is able to work with families who have newborns in the NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) to older adults looking for nursing home placement. Most days are spent working with doctors, nursing staff, case managers, therapists, patients and families to coordinate a patient's discharge plan from the hospital.

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  • Education
    Molly Janczyk-
    Molly Janczyk ’15 Admissions Counselor

    "It is such a privilege to work for a Christian organization such as Messiah because I get to talk about my faith every day! Promoting a Christian university means my table sticks out at a college fair and my conversations with perspective families almost always involves a conversation about Christ. My supervisor prays before staff meetings and worship music plays in the office! Faith is part of all we do!"

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  • Healthcare & Family Wellness
    Nicole Hahnlen-
    Nicole Hahnlen ’97 Nurse Care Coordinator, Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital

    The majority of Nicole's day is spent interacting with patients and families in the inpatient or outpatient care settings. Much of the support she provides to her patients and families is done via telephone.

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  • Government & Public Policy
    Nora (Gerhard) Neidlinger-
    Nora (Gerhard) Neidlinger Human Relations Representative, Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (Commonwealth of PA)

    As a Human Relations Representative for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Nora conducts intake assessments in English and Spanish with individuals who want to file a discrimination complaint in housing, employment, education, and public accommodations related to the individual's age, sex, race, national origin, ancestry, disability, religion and/or retaliation.

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  • Family Intervention
    Paul Boyed-
    Paul Boyed ’13 Children's Mental Health Targeted Case Manager, Case Management Unit of Dauphin County

    During his last year as an undergraduate student at Messiah, Paul worked at Shining Light Thrift Shop in Harrisburg, which functions as a clothing assistance program for individuals on fixed or low incomes. After Paul graduated, he continued his work at the thrift shop, until he started as a Therapeutic Support Staff member for PA Counseling Services, approximately three months after graduation.

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  • Business, Consumer & Family Resource Services
    Rachel (Schmuck) Eshbach-
    Rachel (Schmuck) Eshbach Resource Home Coordinator, COBYS Family Services

    Rachel's first job after graduation was an HR position with an in-home nursing care agency. She was responsible for reviewing applications, interviewing, and checking references of all potential employees (personal care aids, CNAs, LPNs, RNs), along with holding orientations once a week for new employees that she hired.

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  • Education
    Rachel Shenk-
    Rachel Shenk ’13 Admissions Counselor, Messiah College

    A large part of Rache''s job is recruiting students to Messiah and building relationships with them and their families. Rachel interacts with families every single day, so being able to understand family dynamics at work helps her to communicate more effectively with them.

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  • Family Intervention
    Sarah Daniels-
    Sarah Daniels ’06 Housing Manager, Domestic Violence Center of Chester County

    Daniels was selected for her bold advocacy for vulnerable individuals and families in the West Chester area. Following her graduation in 2006, Daniels was hired as a housing manager for the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County where she helped 14 women and their 36 children navigate paths toward self-sufficiency.

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  • Faith-Based Organization
    Stephanie Vacek-
    Stephanie Vacek ’11 Parent Educator and Home Visitor, Early Head Start

    As the Early Head Start parent educator and home visitor, Stephanie lends support to low income and high-risk pregnant women, and children under the age of 3 in the community. As a grant funded program, Early Head Start accepts 12 families at a time, all of which receive one home visit from Stephanie each week.

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  • Education
    Susan (Risden) Wesner-
    Susan (Risden) Wesner ’92 Assistant Professor, Human Sciences Department Chair, and Director of Adjunct Faculty Services, Judson University

    Susan has three distinct roles at Judson University. As an Assistant Professor, she teaches a variety of courses, oversees internships, and advises students. She also serve on several University committees to ensure compliance with assessment and curriculum standards.

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  • International Education & Development
    Tabita Vacareanu-Quashigah-
    Tabita Vacareanu-Quashigah ’09 Dauphin County Social Services for Children and Youth Family Engagement Meetings Coordinator and Facilitator and Dauphin County Cultural Celebration Task Force Member

    Tabita has two roles: one as a Family Engagement Meetings Coordinator and Facilitator and the other as a Cultural Celebration Task Force Member. The first role involves Tabita coordinating and facilitating family group conferences, safety plan meetings, pre-court meetings, blended perspective meetings as well as family engagement meetings to assist families in developing solution focused plans.

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  • International Education & Development
    Talia Miller-
    Talia Miller ’16 Resettlement Caseworker and Housing Coordinator

    "I meet so many people from different cultures and have learned so much about said cultures, probably more than I realize. Through all of my daily interactions with diversity I realize how big God is. He understands them, He cares about them, He made them, and He is using me to help them. Even though I don't speak their language or understand their culture."

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  • Faith-Based Organization
    Tawny (Smay) Bernhart-
    Tawny (Smay) Bernhart ’08 Pastor of Congregational Care, Christ United Methodist Church, Lansdale

    With combined passions to serve families and work in ministry, Tawny found herself well prepared for the ministries that she would be involved in after graduation. She pursued further education at Duke Divinity and received her Master's in Divinity in 2011.

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Teagan Travis (Bohn)-
    Teagan Travis (Bohn) ’13 Family and Consumer Science Teacher, Hempfield High School

    The HDFS/FCSE program gave me the well rounded education I needed to be prepared to teach under any circumstance.

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Theresa Strange-
    Theresa Strange ’16 Recreation Coordinator

    I work at a faith-based organization. I lead prayer, bible study, and can speak openly with residents about faith. Our organization also offers counseling services for employees.

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  • Community-Based Social Services
    Veronica Kelly-
    Veronica Kelly ’18 Family Educator, Tri County Community Action

    "We believe that parents are their children’s first and most influential teachers and we walk alongside of them through the journey of parenting.”

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  • Family Consumer Sciences
    Wesley Popp-
    Wesley Popp ’06 Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher at Susquenita School District

    Susquenita School District

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Alumni Booklet

This booklet presents information about the career journeys of 20 Messiah University alumni who graduated with a degree from the Department of Human Development and Family Science [HDFS]. Their experiences of choosing a major, finding a job after graduation, and continuing their careers can provide valuable insight as you discern God's call for your life. These alumni also offer advice on how to make decisions concerning your career and ways to get the most out of your college experience.

Alumni Career Panels

Each semester our Department presents themed panel presentations and career discussions for alternate chapel credit. Department graduates share about their jobs, how the HDFS Department programs prepared them for this career, and how their faith interfaces with their work. For the specific dates, times, and places, check the department events calendar.

Messiah University Career Center

The career center has compiled several alumni career profiles and vocation snapshots, some of which feature our department alumni. Be sure to check these out at the Career Center's website.

Information on Our alumni