A Closer Look at the Focus Forward Fellowship: Meeting Women Student Service Members and Veterans Where They Are (Part 1)



Focus Forward Podcast Transcript Nov 21 2021

About this Episode:

In this Let’s Talk Transitions episode, I have the privilege of chatting with Dr. Kenona Southwell and Keara Ludiker. Our conversation centers around the current challenges of women student service members and veterans (SSMs/Vs) as they transition into civilian life and begin college in hopes to accomplish their academic and career goals. We then dive a bit further into the Focus Forward Fellowship: A program offered through the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University. Focus Forward was designed to help women SSMs/Vs build skills, leadership, and a sense of community with their peers. We conclude the episode with Kenona and Keara sharing several unique and beneficial strategies that military family service providers may be able to use in their work as they support military service members and their families.

Guest Bios:

image for podcastKenona Southwell is a Senior Researcher/Analyst at Eagle Technologies, Inc. in Arlington, Virginia. Dr. Southwell’s research focuses on the bi-directional relationship between work and family life with a special interest in military services and its implications for family life and health. Her research with women service members focuses on male civilian spouses of women service members and evaluating the effects of a program designed to foster career and self-development among women student service members/veterans. Dr. Southwell’s research at Eagle Technologies focuses on surveillance of substance use and mental health treatment service availability and utilization throughout the U.S.

Contact info:  Kenona.Southwell@eagletechva.com

Keara Ludiker is the Graduate Program Specialist, for the Ecological Sciencesimage for podcast and Engineering (ESE) Program, within the Office of Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs (OIGP) at Purdue University since April of 2021. Prior to her current role, she spent the last four years with the Military Family Research Institute (MFRI) at Purdue University leading the Focus Forward Fellowship and managing the education and employment team. Keara is a Veteran of the United States Army and served in a variety of components and roles during her eight-year military service. As a woman veteran, working with the Focus Forward Fellowship is one of her most treasured professional experiences and working with the team who wrote the manuscript one of her proudest accomplishments. Keara has her master’s degree in counseling from Central Connecticut State University.

Contact info:  kludiker@purdue.edu




This material is based upon work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, U.S. Department of Defense under Award Number 2019-48770-30366.