Department of Family Studies and Community Development
Dr. Bethany Willis-Hepp is an expert on international adoption.
Family Studies assistant professor Dr. Bethany Willis-Hepp first became interested in the study of adoption as an undergraduate student at the University of Delaware. Since then, she has studied many facets of adoption, especially topics related to international adoption. Her current research interests include studying openness in international adoptions. Celebrate Adoption Awareness Month by reading more about Dr. Willis-Hepp's journey to becoming a nationally recognized adoption expert.
Family and Human Services Internship Students Create E-Portfolios
The fall 2014 semester was an especially exciting time to be enrolled in a Family Studies FMST 397 Internship in Family and Human Services class because it was the first time that all of the student interns developed e-portfolios.
“We want to give students the tools they need to be able to market themselves effectively,” said Professor Lisa Martinelli. “We are encouraging students to use e-portfolios as a way to provide potential employers with a little more information about themselves. They can attach their e-portfolios to their LinkedIn accounts or to cover letters they email to potential employers.”
All of the students used Wix to create their e-portfolios. It is free software and has several nice features. It allows students to use different templates to personalize their e-portfolios. Also, Wix has a share function so students can share links to their e-portfolios with their professor. Through this function, Martinelli was able to review the e-portfolios and make revision suggestions.
“I saw some really wonderful student e-portfolios,” said Martinelli. “For example, some Child Life students included photos of different art or craft items they created with the populations they were serving. Other students included photos of themselves in the different environments where they provided service. A few students included videos of themselves giving presentations. All of the students paired the photos and videos with brief blurbs about the skill sets they honed through the activities. When showing a product (also called an artifact in the language of e-portfolios) it is important to discuss the skills learned or honed.”
Martinelli plans to continue developing the e-portfolio process for Family and Human Services majors. Her grand plan is that students will begin learning about the topic in FMST 297 Pre-Internship and continuously work on their e-portfolios through FMST 397 Internship and, for those students who enroll in the course, FMST 497 Advanced Internship. Martinelli started down this path during the fall 2014 semester by using two FMST 297 class periods to introduce professional social networking and e-portfolios to students. A Towson University Career Center representative came to one class and talked to the students about digital footprints and what employers are looking for in entry-level employees. During a second class period, students worked on laptops or tablets and learned how to access Wix and create e-portfolios. In the spring 2015 semester, Martinelli will be taking her FMST 397 Internship class to student computing services where students will make videos of themselves discussing their academic and community service experiences. Students will be able to include their videos in their e-portfolios if they choose to do so.
“I am really excited about working with students on e-portfolios,” said Martinelli. “To get a job or an internship, students have to make themselves stand out. Cover letters and resumes are important, but e-portfolios allow students to tell their stories in pictorial ways. By viewing an e-portfolio, employers can see examples of a student’s work. If a video is included, employers will be able to see a student’s passion for the field. That will make a student stand out from the crowd of applicants.”
View some examples of Family Studies student e-portfolios: