December 2012 Commencement Speaker
Heather Helms is an Associate Professor in The Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Dr. Helms completed her bachelor’s degree in Family Studies at Messiah College, her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at The University of Maryland, and her PhD in Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State University. Dr. Helms came to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2000 as an Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2006.
Dr. Helms’ research interests focus on the marital, family, and work experiences of parents raising children. Dr. Helms’ scholarly work emphasizes the study of marital relationships in context (i.e., cultural, workplace, social) including the mechanisms that potentially link contextual stressors to parents’ individual and marital well-being. Currently, Dr. Helms is studying the link between economic and cultural stressors and spouses’ health and marital quality among immigrant Mexican couples residing in North Carolina.
Dr. Helms has authored over 25 scholarly articles and invited book chapters published in outlets such as the Journal of Marriage and Family, the Journal of Family Psychology, and Cambridge University Press. Most recently, Dr. Helms authored an invited chapter entitled, “Marital Relationships in the 21st Century” for the 2012 Third edition of the Handbook of Marriage and Family—the comprehensive primary resource for family scientists, sociologists, psychologists, and social workers who work with families. She regularly presents her work in national and international scholarly forums and was named the Outstanding New Professional of the Year by the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) in 2000. Her published research has been funded by Harvard’s prestigious Henry A. Murray Award, NCFR’s Jesse Bernard Award for Outstanding Research, NIH, and the USDA. Dr. Helms has received numerous research and teaching awards from UNCG and was most recently named the 2011–12 Senior Faculty Teaching Excellence Professor.
Dr. Helms’ teaching interests include families and intimate relationships, work and family linkages, contemporary research in family studies, and close relationships in adulthood. She also enjoys mentoring junior teaching faculty, graduate students in training to become college professors, and undergraduate students pursuing advanced research experiences.