AU Grad Receives Award from National Council on Family Relations

 In All Church of God, Colleges & Universities


By Emmalee Strait

As a student at Anderson University, Michelle Willhelm was enthusiastic and involved in family science and youth leadership development. The 2012 graduate was passionate about her studies and strove for academic excellence in the classroom, while also taking advantage of many opportunities that would prepare her for a career in a family science and a youth leadership development role. She was recently recognized for her hard work.

“I have had so many great opportunities not only in the classroom, but also outside of it,” said Willhelm. “In my four years at AU, I worked at a Native American Reservation, summer camp, homeless shelter, transitional house, an after-school program, and a youth group. Each of these experiences has been so rewarding and shaped me to become the person I am today. I loved how I was able to apply what I learned in my classes in the work that I did at each one of these locations.”

Willhelm was intentional about engaging in leadership roles, such as president of the Family Science Student Association at AU. She was also a member of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), a professional society for family science majors.

“There are many benefits to being a member of the NCFR,” said Willhelm. “It provided me with scholarly journals and publications, weekly updates on news in the family science world, and resources for networking and professional development.”

Dr. Leroy Quashie, associate professor of family science and Willhelm’s advisor, recognized her passion for the field and her ability to maintain academic excellence while taking full advantages of hands-on experiences that directly relate to family science and youth leadership development.

“Michelle came into this program very enthused and prepared to plug herself into service-related opportunities,” said Quashie. “I always tried to direct her to avenues that would open opportunities that she was searching for. She truly has a servant heart and was very driven to succeed in the classroom by being organized, working well with others, and motivating other students to do the same.”

Quashie recently nominated Willhelm for the National Council on Family Relations Honors Student award. Willhelm won the award and will be nationally recognized in the NCFR’s quarterly report.

Lynda Bessey, manager of member relations with NCFR, is AU’s affiliate council liaison and speaks highly of the students who are recognized with such an award. “Honors student recognition in NCFR is an honor awarded to student members of NCFR, both undergraduate and graduate, who have made outstanding and enduring contributions to the field,” said Bessey.

The applicants must have completed at least 30 credits in family science coursework and must be a member of NCFR at the time of nomination. NCFR Honors students who are recognized for the award receive a graduation stole, certificate of recognition, and recognition in the NCFR report and at the NCFR annual conference.

“I am honored to be one of the recognized individuals by the NCFR. It empowers me to continue to excel in and make contributions to the field of family science,” said Willhelm.

— Emmalee Strait is a junior from Anderson University, majoring in communication arts and minoring in marketing. Emmalee is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications. Photo Credit: Lauren Freitas.

Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America’s top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, music, nursing, and theology.

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