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Explore Health and Human Development

Alumni Spotlight

Catherine Kuhns ’11 HDFS is a in her fourth-year as a doctoral student at the University of Maryland in the Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology. She is also a recipient of the College of Health and Human Development’s Emerging Professional – Undergraduate Degree in 2017.

Currently, Catherine is conducting research (writing, collecting/cleaning/analyzing data, coding) and writing her dissertation! She also manages undergraduate research assistants and mentors junior graduate students.

Her favorite Penn State memory is ringing the bell to celebrate the submission of her thesis to Schreyer Honors College! If she had one piece of advice for current students it would be, “Now’s the time to engage deeply with your coursework and figure out what you love. Ask questions of your professors and peers, spend time reflecting on what you enjoy, and find what makes you tick!”

Previous Alumni Spotlights

Pamela Bocek Murphy

"What I have learned in my 37-year career is that business, and life, is all about 'relationships'; develop them, nurture them, and choose them wisely."

Pamela Bocek Murphy, Business Leader and HDFS Alum

As an undergraduate in the late 1970s, Pamela switched her major from Math to Human Development and Family Studies in order to develop a well-rounded background and to take advantage of the internship opportunities that the major provided. Her first job was as a customer service analyst and now, 37 years later, she is the Director of Strategic Initiatives for Reynolds Consumer Products.

What drives Pamela’s success? Perhaps it’s this wisdom she shared in our interview, “…business, and life, is all about ‘relationships’; develop them, nurture them, and choose them wisely.”

Pamela enjoys her work at Reynolds where, “No two days are the same. I can be helping to introduce a new product, build a new warehouse, integrate a new company into my current company, or implement a system…” Pam spends most of her time at work problem-solving and leading cross-functional or cross-business units to achieve their designated goals.

For the past four years, Pamela Bocek Murphy has served as the communications chair for the HDFS Affiliate Program Group (HDFS APG) which is a professional association open to any HDFS alumni, student, or faculty. Under her careful management, the HDFS APG’s LinkedIn page has grown from a handful of members to more than 500 members.

Alumni Spotlight is a way for us to highlight the amazing things our HDFS alumni are doing! If you have a suggestion of someone we should recognize, please email