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Monday, March 5, 2018

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Karen Myers-Bowman

7 Things You Didn’t Know About  Karen Myers-Bowman
With international ties and adoration for musical theater, Karen Myers-Bowman, offers us intriguing details about her life. Her love for musical theater has filtered through to her family, and she was even a “drama mama” at one point. She has hosted many international exchange students, but her global linkage doesn’t stop there. Read more on this edition of 7 Things You Didn’t Know About Faculty and Staff to find out how she is connected to others internationally!

1. She has family around the globe

She has over a dozen kids who call her mom. Her husband Clay and she have two adult biological sons (Daniel and Cameron) and a daughter-in-law, Sarah. They expanded their family by hosting 10 high school international exchange students from around the world starting in 2000 – Germany, Taiwan, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, France, Norway, Denmark, & Turkey. They stay in close contact with these “kids” (who are now between the ages of 17 and 34) and have visited most of them in their home countries.

2. A drama queen and a drama mama!

She loves musical theater. Growing up in Elgin, IL, outside of Chicago, her parents would take her into the city to see a Broadway musical once a year, including amazing performances of Carol Channing in “Hello, Dolly” and Yul Brynner in “The King and I.” Beginning in high school, she has been in musicals and both of her sons and most of her exchange kids also participated in musical theater in high school. She spent MANY hours in the high school as a “drama mama” assisting the directors and supporting the kids.

3. Undeniable passion for working with graduate students in a variety of ways 

She loves working with graduate students! She has served on 155 graduate students’ supervisory committees at two previous institutions. Over the last 20 years at Kansas State University, she served on 80 MS and 50 Ph.D. committees, chairing half of them. Her former students work in human service agencies and universities all over the world.

4. Too many books or not enough shelves? A bookworm at heart!

She LOVES books and reading! She enjoys YA novels, historical fiction, stories about families, and fantasy. Once she begins a book, she often reads it from cover to cover in a day or two. She also loves children’s literature, especially picture books, those that encourage children’s imagination and creativity, and books that help kids learn about and process real-life topics (like sexuality, gender, cultural and family diversity, and conflict/war and peace).

5. She is a dedicated researcher, gathering data far and wide from international interviews

She is a qualitative researcher. She values listening to the stories of participants and giving voice to those whose stories need to be told. She has conducted research examining parent-child communication and children’s understanding of the concepts of war and peace in several countries. She has also investigated the use of innovative strategies (e.g., young adult novels) to encourage and provide guidance for increasing parent-child communication about difficult topics, including sexuality, parent-child relationships, and conflict. She is currently working on a large qualitative project investigating the experiences and outcomes of participating in an international study abroad program for high school students aged 15 to 19.

6. From the frigid and snowy northern border to sunny California!

Her first faculty position was at North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND where they lived from 1994 to 1998. In the winter of 1997-98, they had multiple blizzards and ice storms that resulted in an accumulation of 10 feet of snow. So they’ve now lived very close to both the northern and southern borders of the U.S.

7. A family affair

She is a family scholar in both focus and practice. Not only does she investigate family issues, but she also conducts research with family members – both her sister, Judith Myers-Walls, and her daughter-in-law, Sarah Kuborn. They all have Ph.D.s in Human Development and Family Science. (Well, almost – Sarah is still finishing her Ph.D.; she will complete by Summer 2018.)

How Karen is making a difference in the College of Education:

“I came to SDSU in August 2017 to serve as the Department Chair for Child and Family Development in the College of Education, and I am delighted to have joined this growing and vibrant academic community. My goal is to provide support and advocacy for faculty, staff, and students so that we can enhance the lives of children and families in San Diego, across California, and beyond. In all of my work, I seek to build relationships and facilitate a strengths-based environment that encourages collaboration, learning, serving, growing, advocating, listening, including, and always striving to improve. (I also highly value healthy humor and a sense of fun!)”