Family life specialist Kirkland joins Extension
The state's families have a new ally in the Mississippi State University Extension Service with the appointment of a family life specialist.
Cassandra Kirkland brings research, practical experience and passion to her new position in the School of Human Sciences.
"I believe in making research accessible so that it can make a difference in the lives of children and families," Kirkland said. "Every family has unique strengths, and I believe in the strengths-based approach -- which entails valuing strengths and empowering families with information and skills to improve their quality of life."
Kirkland's work will focus on middle childhood through the elderly years and she is already planning programs that will serve these diverse audiences.
"I want to work with adolescents on personal development and ways to make wise choices that foster healthy relationships," she said. "I want to create more comprehensive curricula for teen mothers to address health for infants and mothers through parent and nutrition education before and after pregnancy."
Kirkland is establishing a relationship with the Institute of Community Services, which works with Head Start facilities in 13 counties. She plans to focus on parent education and parent-child relationships.
She is also partnering with the Mississippi Alzheimer's Association to offer caregivers training, tools and support.
"We feel so lucky to have found Dr. Kirkland, a Ph.D. from Auburn University," said Michael Newman, director of MSU’s School of Human Sciences. "She comes to us with a passion for helping families identify ways to overcome the problems they face. She is a great addition to our faculty and our Extension network."
Kirkland received her bachelor's degree in child and family development from the University of Georgia and her master's and doctoral degrees in human development and family studies from Auburn University. She holds a Certified Family Life Educator credential from the National Council on Family Relations.
Keri Collins Lewis | MSU Ag Communications