After graduating with a bachelor of fine arts from Kansas State University, I combined my passions for making art and making a difference by pursuing a master of science in art therapy from Emporia State University (also located in Kansas). These two degrees led me to work in a variety of human service settings with children and adolescents, parents, residents, patients, students and families as an early childhood educator, parent educator, activities assistant, after-school program coordinator, and art therapist. As a clinician working in a private psychiatric hospital, I realized I wanted to know more about helping families before they were in trouble. I returned to Kansas State to earn a PhD in family life education and consultation, and upon graduation, I joined Kent State's Human Development and Family Studies faculty to teach classes in building family strengths, professional development, child development, and family theories. I also continue to work directly with middle school youth, co-facilitating a nine-month comprehensive sexuality education program every other year. Early in my career at Kent State, my primary research focus was on children's understanding of war and peace and the use of children's drawings in research. My current research bridges my teaching and research interests by focusing on the transition of HDFS students into the professional work world. Studies have focused on the professional identity, career development, and work-family balance of our alumni with findings presented at the National Council on Family Relations and implications for family science faculty explored. As a direct result of collaborating with faculty and graduate students in HDFS, an emerging area of research for me has been focused on the intercultural competence of our students.