Remarkable Women Scholars in BYU’s College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Lambert Kristin 2015
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Professor Kristin Lambert from the School of Social Work is among a cadre of female faculty members in the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences whose work and teaching has scattered them across continents. As part of the month that celebrates the contributions of women trailblazers, one needs to look no further than a group of PhD-toting and Master-holding scholars.

As a social worker, Lambert once worked with a client from Somalia who was a survivor of torture. “She had been beaten so badly that it had broken most of her teeth and when she had arrived here her teeth were rotting and causing a lot of pain,” Lambert recalls. She helped organize her dental care and, because she was a refugee, she had Medicaid, which would pay to pull out her teeth, but not for dentures. “She was going to be 45 and without teeth and I was overwhelmed and looked at her and said: What are you going to do without your teeth? She looked at me and said ‘Oh Kris, I’ll just drink a lot of milkshakes.'”

Lambert says the exchange is “something I will always carry with me as a reminder of the woman’s ability to use humor in that very difficult circumstance.”

Getting the Degree

To be sure, most scholars are not born overnight. Just ask professor of history Leslie Hadfield. After completing a bachelor’s degree in history and a study-abroad program in South Africa, she sought an opportunity that would provide her with both additional  education and the opportunity to remain engaged with African issues. Initially, she planned on attending a master’s program while getting linguistic training in Swahili so she could land a job with the government.  But, after spending two years to finish her master’s degree, Hadfield was at a crossroads.

“At the end of my Masters’ I had also applied for PhD programs, [but then] I actually hadfielddecided I didn’t want to do a Phd. I was tired of school. And then I got into these two programs,” Hadfield says. One of them was at Michigan State, where she ultimately chose to go because of its superior program. After her first year she was confident that this was right for her.

“The first year went pretty quickly. Dean Ben Ogles…had said to me once: “If it’s what you need to do, to do what you want to do, then put in the time. What is a few years to get where you want to be?” I think somebody said that to him when he was working on his PhD. “Why let those few years, put you away from something you want to do?”

Climbing the Ranks

Hadfield is a part of a steady but growing number of women scholars at BYU. “I feel very grateful for the women who came before me here and at other places of academia. Since I came, we definitely hired more women in our history department, but there had already been a cohort here before,” Hadfield explains. “There were two women who retired recently and they had been here for a while. I think they fought some battles that made it a lot easier for me as a professor to be here…as a woman.”

Carter, Karen
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Her fellow colleague and historian, Karen Carter, says that when she was a Master’s student at BYU, there were probably two or three female faculty members. Now, they have eight members. She says she would not have gone on to acquire a PhD without some encouragement. “It was really the encouragement of my male professors who wanted more diversity on the faculty,” Carter says. “They wanted more female colleagues because that’s the way the field is going. There are many more women involved in academia and there just wasn’t any here at BYU.”

Lambert says that Dr. Jini Roby from the School of Social Work inspired her to become a social worker during her undergraduate experience at BYU. Social work is a field started by women. Historically, it yields a high percentage of women. The first social workers were women.

“Social work in general has a history of strong capable women who use their skills and talents to help.  A social worker could be a therapist, community organizer, or policy worker. Social work differs from a college such as marriage and family therapy because we help on all levels not only just with the individual and the family but the communities and neighborhoods, legal policy and how that all influences an individual’s ability to achieve their potential.”- Kristin Lambert

Role Models

Professor of Sociology Renata Forste says she also benefited from good mentors and that she finds the greatest joyimg through mentoring students. She is part of the Women’s Studies program at BYU which offers students a minor.  Someone she admires and teaches about in an introductory course is a woman named Leymah Gbowee from Liberia who won the 2011 Nobel Peace prize.  She organized a peace movement and organized women to end the Liberian Civil War. They did so in a nonviolent way. “I am so impressed with women when they organize and pool together–they can literally end a war. They can change society for the better,” Forste says.



Two Students Nominated for Truman Scholarship

Congratulations to Soren Schmidt and Rachel Stone, who have been selected as 2016 Truman Scholarship Finalists! BYU’s FHSS College and Department of Political Science could not be more proud of these two dedicated, ambitious students.

Truman Scholars are selected from among candidates who show:

  1. an extensive record of campus and community service;
  2. a commitment to a career in government or the nonprofit and advocacy sectors;
  3. good communication skills and a high probability of becoming a “change agent”; and
  4. a strong academic record with likely acceptance to the graduate school of the candidate’s choice.

Candidates strive to have a positive impact on the world in which they live.They are supported by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, which was established in 1975 as a living memorial to our thirty-third president, Harry S. Truman.

Since its inception, the Foundation has funded almost 3,000 Truman Scholars who are making a difference around the country and the world. It supports the graduate education and professional development of outstanding young people committed to public service leadership. Approximately 600 applications are received every year, and from those, 200 students are chosen as finalists. In late March and early April, Soren and Rachel will be interviewed by the Foundation’s Regional Review Panels to determine whether or not they will be included in the final list of 55-65 scholars that are chosen.

We wish Soren and Rachel the best of luck!

The 2016 Class of Truman Scholars will be announced by 9:00 pm EST on April 22.

Late-Life Health & Brain Training:New Information

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

-Abraham Lincoln

BYU’s Gerontology Program is holding its annual Russell B. Clark Gerontology Conference on March 16 and March 17.  The program offers presentations from leaders in the field and additional speakers from across the United States.

Michael Marsiske, PhD, an Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Research in the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida will talk about how computers, treadmills, and video games are the new “arsenal” for late-life brain training. His presentation will be very worthwhile for all disciplines!

The event will also include:

  • Jonathan Wisco, PhD, an Associate Professor and Director of the Laboratory for Translational Anatomy of Degenerative Disease and Developmental Disorders, College of Life Sciences, Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology, and Neuroscience Center at Brigham Young University, and
  • Laura Bridgewater, PhD, an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology at Brigham Young University.

Dr. Marsiske will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday evening and Doctors Wisco’s and Bridgewater’s presentations will be deliver Thursday March 17th at 11 a.m.. Event sponsors says the event is for those with any interest in gerontology, or who take care of a senior citizen. All are welcome to attend the event.

The Gerontology program offers both a minor and a certificate qualifying graduates to work with the elderly in many different domains. Explore the Gerontology Program website or visit the gerontology secretary (located with the School of Family Life in 2086 JFSB) for more information.


Feature image courtesy of Flickr.



How to get on the SWKT Rooftop

Ever been on the rooftop of the SWKT? Now’s your chance! Make a contribution to needs-based scholarships for other students, and, as thanks, we’ll send you up to the rooftop for free cookies, pictures, and fun! We’ll be hosting events in our various FHSS departments at the beginning of the week, and on

Tuesday, March 21st

from 12 to 2 p.m.


Thursday, March 23rd

from 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

stop by one of our tables in the SWKT lobby. Find out about the rewards of giving, to yourself and others. Get free candy! And as thanks for your contribution (no matter how small), you’ll be admitted to the rooftop. Contributions can be made with cash, check, or credit card on-site or on-line. You can also make them in your department offices throughout this week.

BYU’s Choose to Give is a student-funded scholarship program to help students receive a BYU education. The university has dedicated the entire school week of March 7-11 to C2G. And this year, each college within the university is contributing to the cause.



For more information, please visit the C2G website.

C2G is also on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram


BYU Neuroscience Video Competition

BYU’s Neuroscience video competition

Opens: Friday Feb 26, 2016

Closes: Friday April 1, 2016 @ 11:59pm

All current BYU students are invited to participate

Rules will be identical to the SfN Video Competition rules


  1. Email byuneuroclub@gmail.comwith the subject Video Competition Submission with an unlisted link to your video on Youtube
  2. Must include “BYU Neuroscience Video Competition” in the subject line
  3. Video must abide by the Honor Code to enter

Prizes will  be awarded for first, second and third place videos 

Prizes will be Visa prepaid gift cards

1st place: $150

2nd place: $100

3rd place: $50

Submissions will be judged by BYU Neuroscience faculty.

The winners will be announced at the BYU Neuroscience Club closing activity on April 7, 2016.

*All submissions shall become the property of the college of Family, Home, and Social Sciences, and may be used in club, department, or college communication channels.

Here are a few video examples to get your brain going:

Neuroscience & Emotions

The Neuroscience of Love

What is a Synapse?

Best of luck!



“Failure of Leadership or Intelligence?” Geography Professor to Discuss War Tactics at Annual Hickman Lecture

In 1973, Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a surprise attack on Israel. The attack took place on the holiest day in the Jewish calendar, Yom Kippur. They successfully caught Israel off guard and inflicted heavy casualties. Israel, with assistance, was eventually able to fight off the advances and secure a cease-fire, but only after great loss and destruction.

The Wilson Quarterly commented on this historical event.

Since its victory in the Six-Day War in 1967, Israel had been waiting for such an attack, and military and political leaders, including Prime Minister Golda Meir, were sure they could anticipate such a strike at least 48 hours ahead of time. After the war, citizens and politicians alike were left wondering, what happened?

BYU Geography Professor Perry Hardin may have an idea. He will deliver this year’s Martin B. Hickman Outstanding Scholar lecture on March 10th. The title of his address is “Failure of Leadership or Intelligence?  The Yom Kippur Surprise Attack of 1973.”

Hardin, PerryHardin was hired by the BYU Department of Geography in 1989 to begin a geographic information systems curriculum. He has taught at BYU for twenty-seven years minus a small detour in the private sector. During his time at BYU he has published articles in several peer-reviewed journals, authored several book chapters, and given many conference presentations. Hardin attended BYU as an undergraduate, stayed for a M.S. degree, and graduated from the University of Utah with a PhD in 1989. Currently he is finishing a Master’s degree in Intelligence Analysis from American Military University.

The Martin B. Hickman Outstanding Scholar lecture is held annually in honor of Martin B. Hickman, a former dean of the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences. During his time as dean he played an instrumental role in the creation of significant research opportunities by establishing the Women’s Research Institute, the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies and the Family Studies Center. The Martin B. Hickman Scholar Award was established to recognize a distinguished member of the college faculty who emulates Hickman’s example.

Event Details:

March 10th

7 pm

250 SWKT