Happenings: Brown Bag Research Seminar

Noon event to explore the impact
of pregnancy and parenthood

By Mary Kincy

A photo of an expectant mother's abdomen.

Teen pregnancy and its impact on relationships as observed by a Texas State researcher is the topic of an upcoming Brown Bag Research Seminar.

Chelsea Houska dropped out of her South Dakota high school during her senior year to give birth to a daughter. Thanks to popular MTV reality show “16 and Pregnant” and its spinoff “Teen Mom 2,” she has done so before an audience of millions.

Not every teen who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a child does so in the spotlight,  however — and it is with these young women, who begin their journey as mothers in relative anonymity, that Dr. Michelle Toews, an associate professor in the Texas State University’s School of Family and Consumer Sciences, works.

Toews will share observations and information gleaned from five years of working with local teen parents during a Center for Multicultural and Gender Studies Brown Bag Research Seminar that will take place from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the Family and Consumer Sciences building, room 177. The event is open to the public.

Toews says the majority of Tuesday’s seminar will focus on her major findings with respect to how becoming a parent and parenting impacts teens’ relationships. Toews’ work with teen parents, through a program called Strengthening Relationships, focuses on students in Central Texas, including high schools in Austin, Hays CISD, San Marcos CISD, Comal ISD and Seguin.

In addition to helping pregnant and parenting adolescents manage critical relationship skills, Toews says Strengthening Relationships is a program that offers internship opportunities for Texas State students — and may offer information and advice applicable to a wide spectrum of interpersonal relationships.

The program was at one time staffed entirely by interns. “Lots ended their relationships because they were learning some of the healthy characteristics of relationships and realizing that their relationships might not be the best,” Toews says.

For more information about the seminar, contact Dr. Sandra Mayo by calling 512.245.2361 or by e-mailing sm37@txstate.edu.

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