USM professor earns prestigious scholarship to attend conference

USM professor earns prestigious scholarship to attend conference

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) recently honored Claire Kimberly with the Cindy Winter Scholarship Award for her leadership qualities and commitment to service.

Kimberly is an assistant professor in the Department of Child and Family Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi. She serves as the students and new professionals representative and secretary of the Affiliate Councils Board at the national level. The NCFR operates in political forums by providing expert advice on issues like same-sex marriage. The network of professionals presents their research and use findings to better serve families in the U.S. as well as foreign countries.

“(Kimberly) has exceptional professionalism and puts incredible energy into any task she takes on,” said Rose Allen, the current president of the Affiliate Councils Board. “She can be counted on to follow through on any task she accepts—and it will be done to the highest standards. Like Cindy Winter, she has put her heart in NCFR.”

Kimberly has been a part of USM for the past three years, having graduated from the University of Kentucky. As a member of NCFR, she has a vision for influencing students on the national level.

“I have a passion for connecting students with real life,” Kimberly said. “I’d like to use the student papers for things like policy change. Instead of just writing a paper to get a grade (and) move on, the students can have a voice. NCFR does things like this to a point, but I would love to see more student connection. This organization can do that.”

Kimberly said that students can also expand their reach into foreign countries.

“This coming year, NCFR is working on a project involving an orphanage in Africa,” Kimberly said. “We are looking into using more student organizations for help in funding that orphanage. There are 3,000 members of NCFR and so we have resources to reach more people who need help.”

The NCFR is divided among the different regions of the U.S. Kimberly is part of the Southeastern Council on Family Relations, but the Cindy Winter award distinguishes a member across all regional conferences. Kimberly humbly receives the award and is happy to be recognized for something she not only is passionate about, but has a lot of fun being involved in.

“Most people start off having a lot of fun in NCFR but get to a point where they get more involved and it is stressful,” Kimberly said. “I’m still at the fun stage and I haven’t really felt any stress from it yet. I love to lead, but I am happy where I am. If the opportunity presented itself though, I would enjoy having a higher position in the organization.”

Last year, NCFR participated in a project called the Diaper Drive that collected diapers for people in programs like Women, Infants and Children (WIC) who cannot afford diapers. Kimberly, who organized the project, believes that may be what got her recognized for the award.

“I enjoy the group and the people,” Kimberly said. “Everyone is passionate about what they are doing. I enjoy being part of NCFR as long as it is mutually beneficial and I am an asset to the organization.”

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