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Human Ecology introduces new degree concentration

The School of Human Ecology introduced the child life concentration as a new option under the child development and family relations program this semester.

All of the required classes for these two majors go hand-in-hand with the child life concentration due to the importance of understanding families and child development.

“The child life program is a profession for people with child development backgrounds who work with children to help them cope with the stress of illness, diagnosis, and injury,” Cara Sisk, the director of the child life program, said.

Such coping techniques include play, self-expression activities, and preparation for procedures in a way that the children can understand.

Research shows that children who are prepared for medical procedures tend to show less fear and anxiety, exhibit less emotional distress, and increased cooperation with professionals.

These specialists act as a support system for the children and help them express how they feel about their illnesses. and try to understand their perspective about what’s going on.

A child life specialist can work in a children’s hospital, specifically in the emergency room, surgical and intensive care units, and outpatient units.

“The field is broadening. Specialists can work in home health care, dental offices, non-profit organizations, and even abuse shelters,” Sisk said.

Sisk said she already has six official advisees and others have expressed interest.

Anyone interested in this concentration may see Cara Sisk in South Hall Room 125 or email her at