FCS Connections, May 2020
Director’s Message — Welcome!
Greetings from beautiful Moscow where the cherry and crabapple trees are blushing all over campus and around town, and the Dr. Seuss-like Camperdown elms are showing off their newly emerging spring-green leaves. I miss being on campus. I miss hearing the Administration Building chimes. But most of all I miss our students!
No one could have predicted what we are all experiencing right now. No one could have guessed that we would all need to rapidly morph from in-person to online teaching and learning. These are unprecedented times in which we are living, and there remains substantial uncertainty regarding when (and if) we will ever go back to what we used to call “normal.”
But in this time of COVID-19, I have witnessed the strength, creativity and resilience that have forever defined the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences. Indeed, what we do has always been and will forever be powerful in the lives of individuals, families, communities and the world. Since the University of Idaho shuttered its doors right after spring break, I have observed our faculty, staff and students not just adjust and make do — but also shine. Here are but a few examples of the many silver linings I’ve seen come out of this incredibly challenging time.
- Our teachers and interns in the Child Development Laboratory delivered creative and extremely well received daily distance programming to our preschoolers.
- Apparel, textiles and design faculty (led by Chelsey Lewallen) designed a better face mask that actually fits. More on that story below.
- Members of our Omicron Zeta chapter of Phi Upsilon Omicron produced an amazing website to provide families, children and others a timely collection of resources: https://uiphiupsilonomicron.weebly.com/.
- Luke Erickson teamed up with UI Extension educators across the state to launch “Don’t Corona My Cash" online classes focused on finances during this pandemic.
Even my own research group asked what we could do during this pandemic, and we have teamed up with literally dozens of researchers around the globe to determine whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus can be passed from mother to infant via breastfeeding. We are currently recruiting, so if you know of infected breastfeeding women please send them our way (www.uidaho.edu/breastmilk).
I remain extremely grateful to lead this school, which has for over a century provided solid training that not only prepares our students to “live their best lives” but also to help others to do the same. What we do in family and consumer sciences is important. It is, indeed, timeless.
I hope you enjoy this edition of FCS Connections.
Director and Professor of Nutrition
Congratulations and best wishes to the 34 FCS undergraduates and four graduates who will be wrapping up their studies at U of I in May:
- Kawthar Alibrahim — apparel, textiles and design
- Amanda Aske — child development and family relations
- Chloe Bledsoe — early childhood development and education
- Nicole Burch — food and nutrition, dietetics option
- JoAnne Burke — early childhood development and education
- Lillie Coleman — family development and aging
- Kathleen Cox — apparel, textiles and design
- Alisha Currier — food and nutrition
- Mackenzie Danly — food and nutrition, nutrition option
- Taylor Dunne — food and nutrition, dietetics option
- Hannah Ferreyra — food and nutrition, dietetics option
- Jordan Goins — child and youth development
- Lindsay Gruwell — child and youth development
- Lisa Hazeltine — early childhood development and education
- Tasha Hetrick — food and nutrition
- Myryda Johnson — child and youth development
- Hailie Kuttler — food and nutrition
- Kayla Lutz — food and nutrition
- Andrew Martinez — family development and aging
- Brianna McGrew — apparel, textiles and design
- Myah Merino — food and nutrition, nutrition option
- Toni Moore — child and youth development
- Karina Moreland — family development and aging
- Kayla Patarini — food and nutrition
- Jordan Pratt — food and nutrition, nutrition option
- Danielle Payne — food and nutrition, dietetics option
- Alexandria Peterson — food and nutrition, dietetics option
- Kiah Pulley — child and youth development
- Darcy Rhodes — food and nutrition
- BreAnne Servoss — apparel, textiles and design
- Haley Smith — food and nutrition, dietetics option
- Soledad Villalpando — apparel, textiles and design
- Isabella Weight — child and youth development
- Meghan White — food and nutrition, nutrition option; apparel, textiles and design
- Meredith LaFrance — M.S. family and consumer sciences
- Cassandra Partridge — M.S. family and consumer sciences
- Elizabeth Ropski — M.S. family and consumer sciences
- Nallely Vega — M.S. family and consumer sciences
FCS Director Shelley McGuire and research partner Mark McGuire (Associate Dean of Research in the U of I College of Agricultural and Life Sciences) are leading a national effort to test whether the milk of women who test positive for COVID-19 might contain the virus.
The McGuire’s will work with colleagues at the University of Rochester in New York to test human milk samples through a project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The $315,000 project will provide the most comprehensive testing of human milk for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. It will help health officials better advise breastfeeding mothers who test positive for COVID-19. Women who want to volunteer can find more information at www.uidaho.edu/breastmilk.
A negative experience with a teacher in high school propelled Brittney Anderson to become a teacher herself.
“I had one teacher growing up and she told me ‘you might as well give up, you’re not going to be able to do it, you can’t keep working on something if you’re not going to understand it,’ and that kind of pushed me to stick with it and keep going,” Anderson said. “When I was told that, I wanted to make sure that I could tell students at a young age that they can do anything, and they’ll never forget it no matter what someone tells them in the future.”
Anderson will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development and education from the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in December 2020 and hopes to positively influence students as a second-grade teacher. Read more.
To wear a mask or not became the question that occupied medical professionals for days as people nationwide sought ways to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.
For University of Idaho College of Agricultural and Life Sciences apparel, textiles and design instructors Chelsey Lewallen and Lori Wahl, the question was more focused: If you want to make a mask, which mask style offers the best fit and what fabrics offer the best protection?
Their work targets home sewists who want to protect themselves, friends and families during errands and other non-medical duties. Read more.
Resources for Parents
Faculty and students in the early childhood development and education program have developed a list of resources for parents who are juggling work and home learning during the COVID-19 crisis. View the list.
Assistant Professor Shiyi Chen is currently working with two teams of researchers on several projects. Her long-term research team includes three other professors in Florida, Indiana and New Jersey. They utilize large-scale international databases to investigate school and home factors that predict elementary students’ science and math achievement. In response to the current situation, this team of researchers is launching a new project to explore parents’ coping and homeschooling strategies during the quarantine.
Chen is also working with a group of multidisciplinary researchers at U of I and Washington State University to examine a novel intervention mechanism’s effect on young children’s self-regulation and cognitive performance. This intervention device harnesses the power of machine learning algorithms and human color perception to improve children’s self-regulation and working memory capacity via environment manipulations.
The Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences welcomed several new faculty members this past year.
Best wishes to FCS Professor Sandra Evenson!
Evenson retired from U of I at the end of December after 25 years of service. She joined the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences family in 1994 as an assistant professor of clothing, textiles and design and served five years as the interim director of FCS.