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Center for Engagement and Community Development

CECD Hosts Brown Bag Engagement Event

A brown bag engagement event was held on October 2, 2015 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. in room 247 of Leadership Studies. Led by Dr. Briana Nelson Goff from Family Studies and Human Services, the presentation focused on characteristics of effective community-engaged scholarship.

Goff is the 2015 recipient of the CECD Excellence in Engagement Award. Her work with the local military community in Fort Riley, in partnership with K-State, has made her a shining example of what true engagement looks like.

Goff began her informal discussion with the question, “How do we work smarter and not harder?” She then proceeded to discuss her methods in research and the challenges that come with engaged work.

Goff got her start with the military as an undergrad. She worked with the VA in Topeka at the in-patient unit. Her time spent there gave her an understanding of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and trauma impact on military families. What was supposed to be work had become her passion.

Although Goff herself does not come from a military background, her interests propelled her in 2009 to serve as the director of the Institute for the Health and Security of Military Families in the School of Family Studies and Human Services. In this role, Goff develops collaborative educational, outreach and clinical services programs for military families in the state.

Her work with the military families included a military couples’ retreat, which launched in 2011 and was funded by CECD in the form of an Excellence in Engagement Award. As part of Goff’s work, she used her knowledge of PTSD and included not only those diagnosed, but those with symptoms.

Goff described the program as very holistic in nature, including a variety of treatments from yoga to equine therapy. By the end of the retreat, couples reported an increase in relationship satisfaction and a decrease in PTSD symptoms.

Goff’s work extends well beyond military families. She has worked to engage an athletic training program at Ft. Riley and increase student internship programs within the military community. Despite being on sabbatical, Goff is as busy as ever.

Engaged work does come with challenges. Goff acknowledges that there are often many opportunities, and it can be difficult to settle on just one. “There are a lot of different paths,” said Goff. “But find the one that fits… have patience.”

The session was immediately followed with a Q & A from attendees. Goff hopes people will take away four main points from the discussion; “To do engaged work, having a team of individuals, following your passion, and staying focused.”