UConn Child Labs hosted their first Lunar New Year Celebration

Heather Leeman
Deb Muro

The UConn Child Labs hosted their first Lunar New Year Celebration, organized by Child Labs families and classroom teacher Heather Leeman. The event was attended by children and families enrolled in the Child Labs, Professional Teaching Staff and HDFS ECE students. Families led art and music activities and classroom teacher, Debbie Muro, led families through a child friendly yoga practice themed around the Lunar New Year. It was a great success and we hope to have many more opportunities for families to share their cultural practices with others in our community.

Early Childhood Specializations, Virtual Open House

Are you interested in a career working with young children and their families?

Many career paths intersect with young children/their development and having a foundation of knowledge of young children’s development can help you be more successful in your career.  If you have questions about career options or want to learn more about this specialized coursework within HDFS, come to a virtual information session!  You can pop into the meeting at any time during the 30 minutes!

  • Wednesday 2/8, 5:00-5:30
  • Wednesday 2/15, 5:00-5:30
  • Wednesday 2/22, 10:00-10:30
  • Monday 2/27, 4:00-4:30
  • Tuesday 3/7, 5:30-6:00
  • Tuesday 3/21, 10:00-10:30
  • Wednesday 3/29 5:00-5:30

Sign-up here using this Google Form or email,

HDFS Welcomes Kelsey Hammermann, Educational Program Assistant

Kelsey HammermanKelsey Hammerman grew up in Windsor, Connecticut, and completed her bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History, with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies here at UConn in 2017. During her time here as an undergrad, she worked in Dining Services, in ResLife as a Resident Assistant, Game Room Monitor, and Student Supervising Assistant, and as a Public Programs Facilitator at the New England Air Museum. It was this latter experience, combined with classroom volunteering and mentoring, that inspired her to pursue education as a career.

In 2018, Kelsey joined Teach for America, an AmeriCorps program that places prospective educators in hard to staff positions. After a brief summer of training in Houston, Kelsey was placed in Payette, Idaho. For two years, she had the privilege of teaching first grade in a small, rural community. And while she knows Idaho is home to the famous potatoes (it is, after all, on the state license plate) the most surprising thing about Idaho was that the region she was in instead had a plethora of onions and beets, many of which ended up on the roadside when trucks would turn.

After the completion of her commitment with Teach for America, and in the middle of the global pandemic, Kelsey made the decision to move back to Connecticut in 2020 to be closer to family. She started work as a first grade math and science teacher and greatly enjoyed her time with her students. At the same time, many of the people she went to college with started working in Higher Education and Student Affairs, a field that Kelsey had never considered as a career possibility but aligned with her interests and strengths. So, seeking a different work environment, Kelsey made the leap from teaching to college admissions at Goodwin University in East Hartford. She most enjoyed getting to know many of the students she enrolled.

While she enjoyed and excelled in admissions, she continued looking for a long term career that better aligned with her interests. So, when the position to work for HDFS at UConn opened up, she jumped at the opportunity to apply. When Kelsey isn’t at work, she is completing course work toward her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Boise State University–and is expected to graduate May 2023 after many long years– meeting up with friends over reality television, or pampering her two cats, Lewis and Clark.

NFDC conduct Instructor Institute Training in Storrs

Members of the National Family Development Credential (NFDC) team (Sue Pappas, Caroline Mavridis, & Amy Knight) conducted a four-day NFDC Instructor Institute in Storrs, certifying 25 new FDC instructors from across the country – from California to New York, and in between (Oklahoma). HDFS Professor Charles Super delivered the closing ceremony remarks. NFDC, founded and directed by Claire Forest, and co-directed by Charles Super, is a 90-hour classroom- and field-based training on concepts and skills of family empowerment for all front-line service providers. It has operated since 1994 and has been headquartered at the UConn Center for the Study of Culture, Health, & Human Development since 2010. About 17,000 workers have been credentialed and NFDC now operates in 46 states.

Family Sciences Undergraduate Council yearly participation

The Family Sciences Undergraduate Council (FSUC) participated in the Student Organization Involvement Fair for the 7th consecutive year! FSUC is a student organization serving all students majoring, minoring or interested in the HDFS field of study at the Storrs or any regional campus. FSUC provides students with opportunities to attend events related to their major/minor, network with fellow students, and learn more about their major/minor.

HDFS welcomes Cindy Stewart, Educational Program Administrator

Cindy StewartCindy Stewart grew up in South Windsor, Connecticut, but she ventured up to University of Maine for her bachelors and master’s degrees. She earned a B.A. in Zoology while enjoying a variety of extracurricular activities such as flamenco dancing and axe throwing. In her last semester, she conducted marine biology research on an NSF grant. Somewhere in an obscure journal issue from long ago is an article about Batesian mimicry in nudibranchs on which she was probably the seventh author. She learned a great deal about sea slugs and also that she didn’t want to do marine biology research as a career.


After a year working at Eastern Mountain Sports and getting great deals on camping and hiking gear, Cindy returned to the University of Maine to earn her Master of Education in college student development. She funded this endeavor by graduate assistant positions as a residence hall director and community organizer. Thus began her career in student affairs and several more positions in residence life at SUNY Cortland and UMaine plus serving as director of new student programs and orientation. In her time in student affairs work she experienced a major fire on the top floor of her residence hall, an epic oatmeal fight in the basement, and all kinds of antics in between.


A move to the Boston area resulted in finding a job that straddled student and academic affairs, working as assistant director at the Experimental College at Tufts University. There Cindy recruited professionals from the greater Boston area to teach courses in their realm of expertise for Tufts undergraduate students. She did everything from print and digital marketing to office management to instructor orientation, plus taught a film studies course for a group of junior and senior undergraduates who in turn taught courses on film-related topics for first-year student advising groups. One of her proudest achievements was a multi-year series of monthly events for faculty to share their current research with a lay audience of students, staff, and faculty from across the university as well as members of the local community.


Another move, this time back to Connecticut, brought Cindy to UConn in 2013. A UConn women’s basketball fan since her teens, she was excited to be a part of Husky Nation as a program assistant and then program coordinator in the Department of Communication. She is very excited to be joining HDFS as program administrator and looks forward to meeting everyone!

Carla Gomez retires after more than 20 years with UConn HDFS

CONGRATULATIONS to CARLA GOMEZ who retired in December 2021, after more than 20 years at UConn HDFS!

Carla joined the School of Family Studies in 2000 for a 10 day temporary position that turned into more than two decades of work. Carla earned her bachelors degree in Physical Education from Central Connecticut State University. Prior to working at UConn, she held positions at Coventry High School as a physical education teacher, Charter Hospital of Tampa Bay in Florida as the Director of Activity Therapy, and worked in the Willington Public Schools.

In the School of Family Studies, which subsequently became the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, and later, the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, Carla held a range of different positions. Most recently, she served as the HDFS Educational Program Administrator for a number of years. Carla served as the face of the department, often the first person that future faculty and students met when visiting the department. In this role, she supported students, staff, faculty, and alumni in every imaginable task. Her responsibilities were wide ranging, including budgets, staffing, HR and payroll, hiring, merit and PTR, building and space management, departmental lectures and events, and countless other things (including loaning out staplers, directing lost students in hallways, and helping faculty from other departments set up equipment in classrooms down the hall). To quote Professor Emeritus Steve Wisensale, Carla is “the best of the best.”

Carla’s plans for retirement include traveling – including a long awaited trip to Vancouver to see her son – as well as volunteering, biking in the summer and snowshoeing in the winter! She will be greatly missed within the HDFS department, but the HDFS students, staff, and faculty know how much she has earned this next stage, and wishes for her an empty inbox and no more frazzled last minute requests from colleagues.