Impacts of the Department’s Family Life and Youth Development graduate programs are being experienced globally. In the Master’s course, FYD 500, students complete a 120-hour internship with a community organization. In July 2014, FYD student Tiffany Bradberry completed her capstone experience with a senior care facility in Antiqua, Guatemala. Tiffany graduated in December 2014 with a Master’s Degree in Family Life and Youth Development, concentrating in Gerontology.
“Tiffany wanted to maximize her practicum experience by seizing the opportunity to study abroad,” reports her NCSU advisor Dr. Nichole Huff. “She thoroughly researched volunteer tourism opportunities that would meet the practicum requirements as set forth by the Department. Through her internship, the hosting organization allowed Tiffany to create and deliver a family life education program designed to meet specific cognitive and social needs of its aging adults.”
This example only highlights a growing international presence for the course. Last year YFCS graduate Alex Johnson also completed an international practicum, logging in from Romania to present his capstone project live to YFCS faculty and students gathered in Raleigh. As a student, Alex was a point guard for the NCSU basketball team that competed in the 2012 NCAA Sweet Sixteen. He then fulfilled his Master’s degree requirements while playing professional basketball overseas.
Graduate programs in the Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences are offered via distance education (DE). Capstone projects are presented live in Raleigh for DE students who elect to come to campus; others present online using Blackboard Collaborate web conferencing. The two-way broadcasts allow faculty, community stakeholders, students and their families to engage with one another in a real-time from any locale. In July 2014, M.S. student Iliana Santillan’s husband logged in to the FYD 500 presentations from Mexico, while on a work assignment, in order to view her presentation and offer encouragement.
“We’d like to expand opportunities for our current students to be involved in other international learning experiences, and we think we’ve been effective at leveraging existing technology to allow students to have a robust learning experience, no matter where they are located,” says the YFCS Director of Graduate Programs, Dr. Kimberly Allen.