The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences (PBS) is pleased to announce that Professor Maureen Perry-Jenkins has been elected Department Chair, serving a three-year term.
Perry-Jenkins is a nationally renowned scholar whose contributions on the national, state, regional, and university levels have had a profound impact on family research. Her work focuses on the ways in which socio-cultural factors such as race, gender, and social class shape the mental health and family relationships of parents and their children.
Using a longitudinal research methodology, Perry-Jenkins's research examines the work and family experiences of blue-collar families, with particular attention to the experiences of people transitioning to parenthood, their early return to paid employment and the effects on working-class parents' psychological well-being and personal relationships.
When asked what UMass and PBS mean to her, Perry-Jenkins says, “As an undergraduate in PBS at UMass in the 80s, it feels like a full circle moment to now be stepping in as Chair. I am honored and excited about the opportunity to lead PBS. I am inspired by the amazing faculty, students and staff who make our department great, and I hope to support them all in fulfilling their goals, both professionally and personally.”
Looking to the future of PBS, she states, “Psychological and Brain Sciences is one of the most interdisciplinary sciences on this campus. The research conducted by our faculty aims to address significant human challenges and explore key questions regarding how the human brain works, how we behave, and how our bodies and mind interact. PBS also has an outstanding team of educators teaching over 2,000 majors. My hope is to work with everyone in PBS to create a supportive, diverse, and inclusive environment that provides an opportunity for all of us to thrive.”
Within UMass Amherst, Perry-Jenkins has recently served as Director of the Center for Research on Families; Interim Associate Dean for Graduate, Postdoctoral, and Faculty Development in the College of Natural Sciences (CNS); and Clinical Psychology Division Head/Director of Clinical Training for PBS.
Professionally she has served as Co-President of the Council on Contemporary Families, as well as Fellow and Executive Board member of the National Council on Family Relations.
Perry-Jenkins publishes regularly in professional journals including being a member of the editorial boards for Journal of Marriage and Family; Journal of Family Theory and Review; and Community, Work and Family; among others. She has authored the book Work Matters: How Parents’ Jobs Shape Children’s Well-being, along with numerous chapters in books on family relations.
Among many academic honors, she has recently received the UMass Distinguished Community Engagement Award for Teaching, a CNS ADVANCE Mentoring Award, and the Ernest W. Burgess Award for Outstanding Contribution to Family Science from the National Council on Family Relations.