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Research building relationships between schools, Latino families

April Stortvedt, a Lincoln, Nebraska elementary school teacher, gives her fifth grade class directions for their upcoming book presentations. Stortvedt participated in the TAPP Latino study along with one of her students.
April Stortvedt teaches her fifth-grade class in Lincoln, Nebraska. Stortvedt participated in TAPP for Latino Families along with one of her students.

April Stortvedt addresses her fifth-grade students as they prepare for upcoming book presentations. Behind her, a laminated poster outlines her four classroom rules: Be respectful, be honest, be responsible and follow directions the first time.

According to Stortvedt, a CYFS research study has helped one of her students better abide by these classroom rules. Through the study, Teachers and Parents as Partners (TAPP) for Latino Families, Stortvedt collaborated with her student’s parent to improve behavior at home and school. Full Article

Tippens explores well-being among older refugees

Julie Tippens
Julie Tippens

Like many large cities, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, is a patchwork of coexisting prosperity and poverty. Nebraska researcher Julie Tippens is navigating this city’s urban divide in search of refugee families from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tippens is investigating how Congolese refugees, particularly older refugees, are faring in Tanzania’s urban environments. Six of 10 refugees now live in cities — many lacking legal documentation — and the majority still live in countries of first asylum where they initially arrived after fleeing violence and unrest in their home countries. Full Article

CYFS researchers evaluate rural Nebraska after-school programs

CYFS evaluators (from right) Michelle Howell Smith, Susan Pense and Leslie Hawley provide feedback to teachers and school personnel participating in the ELO Design Challenge. The project is supporting five rural Nebraska school districts as they develop after-school and summer programs.
CYFS evaluators (from right) Michelle Howell Smith, Susan Pense and Leslie Hawley provide feedback to teachers and school personnel participating in the ELO Design Challenge. The project is supporting five rural Nebraska school districts as they develop after-school and summer programs.

Brainstorm, develop, implement, modify — and repeat. As rural Nebraska school districts use this adaptable approach to create after-school programs, a CYFS research team is taking similar steps to evaluate their progress.

The team is joining a 30-month project, Expanded Learning Opportunity Design Challenge, which involves Auburn, Beatrice, Boone Central, Centura and Grand Island school districts. Teachers and administrators from each district are developing after-school and summer programs for K-12 students, with a focus on integrating science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Full Article

Hong hosts Brazilian researchers for early childhood science collaboration

Visiting scholar Gisela Wajskop discusses literacy-based play with undergraduates in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies. Wajskop is researching early childhood science teaching with UNL's Soo-Young Hong.
Visiting scholar Gisela Wajskop discusses literacy-based play with undergraduates in the Department of Child, Youth and Family Studies. Wajskop visited Lincoln, Nebraska, as part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln/Brazil Early Childhood Initiative. View photo gallery.

CYFS faculty affiliate Soo-Young Hong, associate professor of child, youth and family studies, recently hosted Brazilian researchers Gisela Wajskop and Patricia Pastorello for a weeklong visit in Lincoln, Nebraska, as part of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln/Brazil Early Childhood Initiative. Full Article

Faculty provide training, outreach to support international Zika study

Natalie Williams (right), assistant professor of child, youth and family studies, visits with mother in Recife, Brazil. Williams recently traveled to Recife as part of an international collaboration studying how families are affected by Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome.
Natalie Williams (right), assistant professor of child, youth and family studies, visits with a mother in Recife, Brazil. Williams is part of an international research collaboration studying how to help families affected by Congenital Zika Virus Syndrome. View photo gallery.

Recife is the capital city of Pernambuco, a northeastern state in Brazil — and one of the regions most affected by the Zika virus outbreak.

Natalie Williams, assistant professor of child, youth and family studies, and Christine Marvin, professor of special education and communication disorders, recently traveled to Recife, Brazil, as part of a joint study with Brazilian researchers at the Federal Rural University of Pernambuco. Full Article

Team develops virtual reality game to teach children healthy habits

A Nebraska team led by Changmin Yan, associate professor of advertising and public relations, has created a virtual reality game that teaches kindergarten children about nutrition and physical activity.
A Nebraska team led by Changmin Yan, associate professor of advertising and public relations, has created a virtual reality game that teaches kindergarten children about nutrition and physical activity.

Trees line the horizon under a bright, cloudless sky. It’s a typical outdoor scene — except for the giant pineapple soaring overhead.

Kindergarteners playing the virtual reality game must make a decision: What is the name of the fruit they see?

Changmin Yan with Google Cardboard glasses
Changmin Yan holds Google Cardboard glasses.

With $15 Google Cardboard glasses and an interdisciplinary research team, Changmin Yan, associate professor of advertising and public relations, has created an immersive experience to encourage healthy habits for young children in rural communities — particularly those from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Full Article

CYFS releases 2016-17 Annual Report

View annual report: Interactive | PDF
View annual report: Interactive | PDF

CYFS has released its annual report for the 2016 fiscal year, which ran from July 2016 to June 2017.

This report features research using technology — including tablets, fMRI scanners and virtual reality — to explore questions related to children’s learning and development. It highlights international research in Brazil and Tanzania. And it includes projects taking place in Nebraska communities, from classrooms in Lincoln to after-school programs in rural school districts. Full Article