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Dr. Jennifer Jones brings national research project to Human Development and Family Science PDF Print E-mail
Newly hired HDFS faculty member making a difference

As a new faculty member in the College of Human Sciences, Dr. Jennifer Jones, Human Development and Family Science assistant professor, is already making a big impact.

Jones received a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services to conduct research on adults with developmental disabilities. The project gathers data to assist the National Core Indicators Program establish national benchmarks to improve the support for persons with developmental disabilities and their families.

She is working with HDFS Associate Professor Dr. Kami Schwerdtfeger and a team of graduate and undergraduate assistants conducting 1200 interviews with individuals throughout Oklahoma who receive support from the Developmental Disabilities Services.

As a faculty member in HDFS, Jones’ instruction and community engagement align with her research focus. She developed a service learning opportunity for students in her undergraduate class, Developmental Disabilities: Issues across the Lifespan, through which students conduct home visits to monitor the quality of life of Oklahoma’s adults with developmental disabilities.

Jones’ students have demonstrated a profound awareness and appreciation for adults with developmental disabilities through their research.

“Unlike any previous assignment, this service-learning project helped students ‘get it’ regarding advocacy, policy, funding, community living, quality of life, and self-determination for persons with developmental disabilities,” Jones said.

This project is in collaboration with TARC, a nonprofit agency that promotes advocacy for individuals with developmental disabilities. The agency honored Jones in 2013 with the TARC Educator of the Year award for her exemplary efforts in education and advocacy for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.

Jones also conducts applied research and her current projects include work with adolescents with intellectual disabilities, as well as, adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Both projects explore the self-development of adolescents and how individual and family factors contribute to self-worth and self-determination.

In addition to her creativity and commitment to empower individuals with IDD and their families, Jones trains HDFS students to become future leaders in the field. Through learning experiences her students are inspired to face the population’s problems with a very specific set of skills and be advocates for change in the world.

“I enjoy mentoring both undergraduate and graduate students as they engage in learning – especially learning about individuals with developmental disabilities and their families,” Jones said.

With her focus on improving the lives of others through research, service learning and instruction, Dr. Jennifer Jones provides a valuable service to the state of Oklahoma and to her students at OSU.
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