Fall at BSB

Human Development and Family Studies Newsletter | Fall 2021 Recap

The Human Development and Family Studies newsletter publishes twice per year, in January and June.

From the Department Head

Julie Braungart-RiekerFrom Department Head Julie Braungart-Rieker

Happy New Year to all of our Human Development and Family Studies alumni and friends!

There is so much to celebrate in the new year. For the first time since the pandemic started, we were able to find some normalcy with returning to in-person learning and events in Fall 2021. The buzz on campus has been inspiring, and thanks to the pandemic, we are now able to offer hybrid solutions for those who are unable to be in person – an option that is almost always available now.

The new year brings us a new business coordinator, Sara Geyer, and a new Early Childhood Center director, Sonia Semana.

Sara comes to us from the ECC and has already dived into her position here in HDFS, helping our department in so many ways. Sonia is taking charge and leading the ECC to new successes. We are so lucky to have them both in their new positions.

The year also starts the official retirement of two very important and well-loved faculty in our department, Karen Rattenborg (ECC executive director and HDFS assistant professor) and Karen Barrett (HDFS professor). Along with congratulations on their retirement, we also congratulate both of these impressive individuals for being awarded with emerita status. They will be missed!

We celebrate the good we have experienced in the last semester, and we also recognize the hardships our HDFS family has faced in 2021. Our students and our department as a whole have faced challenges around mental health, losing loved ones from COVID-19, and so many other pandemic-related hardships. HDFS had a great loss with the passing of Mary Daughtrey, our administrative assistant for 15 years who had retired last December. We feel this loss and send out our deepest condolences to anyone who is grieving.

Facing many challenges, our department has made it evident that we are in this together, and we are here for each other in the good times and those that are challenging. I am proud of everyone’s resilience, patience, and kindness as we navigate this next semester together.

Here is to another year dedicated to each and every one of you who continue to make a difference in the lives around you!

Department Highlights

Manfred Diehl Headshot

University Distinguished Professor Manfred Diehl receives Gerontological Society of America award

Manfred Diehl received a Gerontological Society of America award for co-authoring a book that dives into decades of his research on middle- to late-aged adults.

Gerontology Student Playing The Piano

CSU music therapy and gerontology student is improving the lives of older adults

Through the CSU Department of Human Development and Family Studies Gerontology Interdisciplinary Minor program, Yuka Nagata finds the intersection of her two passions, music and serving our aging community.

Jen Aberle Headshot

Associate Professor Jen Aberle named new associate dean in Health and Human Sciences

Jen Aberle has a passion for student success. Aberle, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, will be applying that passion as a new leader in CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.


DadSpace Group Of Men Talking

Doctoral student’s research and work leads to new program dedicated to dads

CSU is partnering with Women’s Clinic of Northern Colorado to create DadSpace, a program dedicated to new and expecting fathers.

Aga Burzynska In Front Of Computer With Brain On It

Study by Aga Burzynska finds aerobic exercise boosts healthy brain aging

HDFS Professor is featured in The New York Times for research on older populations who showed improvements in white matter and memory after walking regularly for six months.

DD Lab image of child playing with blocks

Developmental Disabilities Lab awarded support for Down syndrome pilot study

A new study for young children with Down syndrome focuses on a parent-mediated intervention to promote the development of executive function.

PRC Image Of Routt County Sign

PRC receives award to help combat opioid epidemic in rural areas

CSU’s Prevention Research Center will provide opioid misuse training, prevention, and intervention programs in northwest Colorado.

Student Success

Atalie Manning Headshot With Regalia

Outstanding grad excels teaching overseas, advocating for climate action, and more

Outstanding graduate Atalie Manning made the most of her CSU experience through teaching overseas, advocating for climate action in Washington D.C., and researching young children with developmental disabilities.

An Le Holding Baby And Standing Next To Mother And Husband In Military Uniform

Outstanding grad returns after six years and earns her degree while juggling full-time work and a family

After six years, An Le returned to CSU’s Department of Human Development and Family Studies through CSU Online and earned her bachelor’s degree, a double concentration, and a minor.

Reagan Miller Headshot

Ph.D. candidate Reagan Miller receives award for adolescent mindfulness research

Reagan Miller, Ph.D. student in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, was awarded the Ruth L. Kirschstein NRSA Individual Predoctoral Fellowship.

Our Community

Donor Steph Hardon In Front Of CSU 150 Sign

Stephani Hardon finds passion in HDFS youth-mentoring program

Stephani Hardon gives to Campus Connections to help youth exposed to adversities to envision a better life.

Danielle Soliz And Son

How Danielle Soliz’s memory lives on through her HDFS scholarship

Danielle’s family and friends carry on her legacy and celebrate the amazing person she was by creating a memorial scholarship in her name.

Nate Riggs Headshot

Prevention Extension Cast

Recent Prevention Research Center interviews feature nationally recognized experts, hosted by professor and PRC executive director, Nate Riggs: The PROSPER Delivery System and A Discussion on Youth Cannabis Use.


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