The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University Undergraduate Symposium
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Vol. 10 No. 34 | April 22, 2014

Parent to Parent

by Shannon Clark, Parent and Family Services Coordinator

Some of you responded to my completely unscientific Parent and Family Services Facebook Flash Poll asking, "How do you communicate with your student?" Other than the hilarious response of "What? We're supposed to communicate with them?", most parents replied that they texted or e-mailed their student several times a week with a live call, Skype, or FaceTime once every one or two weeks. I wonder how your student would respond if you asked if this was too much, not enough, or just right?

Several weeks ago I read an interesting study out of UCLA in which the researchers examined college students' perceptions about communication with their parents and how that related to student emotional health. The findings showed that female students tended to communicate more with both their mothers and fathers than male students. Contrary to the stereotype that parents are over-involved, students reported the amount of communication with their mothers was "just about right." Students, both women and men, indicated that they'd like increased communication with their fathers.

Feeling at home on campus and developing meaningful relationships continues to be a significant factor related to student emotional well being. Parental communication that is supportive and uncritical can also have a positive impact on student well being. Mother/daughter communication and father/son communication seems to be particularly impactful.

Perhaps this is a challenge to fathers out there. Is there a way you can improve your communication with you college student? Supportive communication including texts or e-mails may contribute to your college student's well being, which may in turn improve their success at the university.

Send me your thoughts or comments.


So Your Student Is Coming Home...

by Laura Lyn Ph.D., Psychologist at NAU Counseling Services

Whether between college years or after graduation, folding your student back into the family household can be a challenge! Your student may enjoy the return to familiar family routines, but many also struggle with the return to standard household rules, loss of independence, and missing the friends who became their "family" over the year(s) away from home.

How did these struggles emerge? Consider what your student has been doing while not living at home:

  • Schedule - keeping different hours than a typical family (i.e., sleeping in frequently and staying up late to study, work, or socialize)
  • Identity - developing a personal value system and making independent decisions without your input
  • Peers - building a support system with their college "family of friends" who understand the social and academic world of college better than you do

What can you do to smooth the transition from college to home?

  • Discuss household ground rules before your student gets home and agree on expectations for household participation
  • Respect the input of your student and be open to compromise
  • Accept that your student's relationships with friends or partners will often take precedence over spending time with you

Overall, recognize that you are now sharing a home with another independent adult. Be patient and allow time for you and your student to negotiate the transition to the family home. Your college student has matured and developed during her/his time away from home. Take the opportunity to get to know this person and allow yourself to feel the pride!


Undergraduate Symposium

by Wolf Gumerman, Director, University Honors Program

On April 25, 2014, hundreds of students from across every college and department at Northern Arizona University will present the results of their research at the 7th annual Undergraduate Symposium.

Held primarily in the Walkup Skydome, the Symposium features posters and exhibits that span the length of the field, with five different stages dedicated to further presentations and performances.

The diversity of these projects ranges from research outcomes found in the College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences, to elaborate works of art from students in the College of Arts and Letters.

Wolf Gumerman, Director of the University Honors Program and coordinator of the committee that oversees the Undergraduate Symposium, is excited for this year's exhibits and presentations, and explains the value of the Symposium--both for the audience, and the presenters.

"I love the Symposium because it's a showcase for the community to see the various students' activities and research happening throughout the year," says Gumerman. "The Symposium features more than 700 students, and the beauty of holding it in the Skydome is the diversity of presentations and posters we can include. It's just a great celebration of all the amazing work our students have accomplished."

The Undergraduate Symposium is a free, public event, and all members of Northern Arizona University and the community are encouraged to attend. Parking is free during the Symposium.


Careers with Impact

by Katie Egea, Graduate Assistant, Gateway Career Services

Does your student want to make an impact in their future career? In honor of Earth Week, NAU Career Services is hosting a Careers with Impact Panel Discussion and Networking Event on Thursday, April 24, 2014 from 6 to 7:30 PM in the Native American Cultural Center.

During the panel discussion, young professionals involved in sustainable environmental and social careers will share their experiences, passions, and the impact they have had through their career. Following the panel, your student will enjoy light refreshments, guided activities, and a networking event. This event is a great opportunity for your student to gain perspectives on the various impacts that they can have on an organization and how this impact could lead to increased job satisfaction.


Hip Hop Week - April 21-25

This world premier event is a student-led project from the Ethnic Studies special topics courses "The Roots of Hip Hop" and "The Genius of Hip Hop." Throughout the week there will be five multicultural and colorful events celebrating Awareness/Action/Appreciation of Hip Hop!

  • DJ/Dance Competition - Tuesday, April 22, 7 PM, Prochnow Auditorium
  • Brown Bag: Social Justice and Hip Hop - Wednesday, April 23, 11 AM to 1 PM
  • MC Showcase: free concert - Thursday, April 24, 7 PM, Fieldhouse
  • Poster Presentation - Friday, April 25, 2 to 4 PM, Skydome

Event Highlights

See a complete listing of university events on the official university calendar website. More Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at Flagstaff 365.