Two Oklahoma State University professors received national awards from the Association of Public Land-Grant Universities’ Board on Human Sciences (BoHS), recognizing accomplishments in promoting human sciences.
Dr. Ronald Cox Jr., George Kaiser Family Foundation Endowed Chair in Child and Family Resilience and Cooperative Extension State Specialist, received the BoHS Outstanding Engagement Award, recognizing exceptional creativity and scholarship in outreach, extension and public service programs. Dr. Shiretta Ownbey, professor and faculty fellow in the College of Education and Human Sciences, received the BoHS Ellen Swallow Richards Public Service Award, recognizing individuals advancing human sciences.
Cox is also associate director of community engagement at the Center of Family Resilience at OSU. Dr. Sissy Osteen, head of the OSU Department of Human Development and Family Science, said Cox’s work at OSU with the United We Can (Unidos Se Puede) and Co-Parenting for Resilience programs have demonstrated deliberate focus on the resiliency needs of two populations vulnerable to risk. United We Can has impacted more than 600 Latino immigrant youth and their parents, and Co-Parenting for Resilience has been delivered to over 15,000 divorcing parents in 60 Oklahoma counties.
“The true impact of Cox’s work is evidenced through the audiences he serves and the outcomes he seeks as he moves individuals and families toward resilience,” Osteen said. “He is truly an engaged scholar who takes delight in the success of every trainer and participant.”
Through these programs, Cox studies the influence of family dynamics, emotion regulation and peer affiliations on negative behaviors such as school dropout among Latino youth; he also researches the impacts of divorce and parental separation on child adjustment.
Ownbey’s accomplishments at OSU include helping to launch a new bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences education, forming a relationship with the Oklahoma 4-H Organization and orchestrating the former OSU College of Human Sciences to be a charter member of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA). Dr. Stephan Wilson, interim dean of the College of Education and Human Sciences, has seen Ownbey’s tireless efforts firsthand.
“Dr. Ownbey’s work has affected the lives of many people today and will far into the future,” Wilson said. “Like ripples in water, she has vast influence. She is extremely deserving of the award.”
Ownbey’s professional experience ranges from teaching middle school family and consumer sciences, working as a county Extension educator, leading a graduate program in design, housing and merchandising and serving as an associate dean. She is passionate about building student engagement, success and retention and studies integration of experiential learning into higher education curriculum.
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