Texas Tech University

Human Development and Family Sciences Ph.D. Student Earns First Place in Poster Competition

Samantha Salazar

April 13, 2022

Derek Morgan

Derek Morgan won first place at the 2022 McKenzie Lectureship Series Conference for research on mental health during COVID-19 pandemic

Human Development and Family Sciences (HDFS) Ph.D. student Derek Morgan won first place for his research poster on parental mental health during COVID-19 at the McKenzie Lectureship Series Conference. Morgan's research findings were published in the article titled, The Transmission of Mental Illness from Parents to Their Adolescents During COVID-19: The Roles of Parenting and Closeness by Derek Morgan, Conna­d Higgins, and Christy Rogers. His poster included information on the transmission of parental mental health to adolescents, sometimes facilitated through harmful parenting practices, along with the effects of parent-child closeness. 

The McKenzie Lectureship Series Conference provides professional development for students and faculty at Texas Tech specializing in research on recovery, current treatment trends, ethical guidance, and working directly with families. Participating in this conference allows graduate students like Derek Morgan the opportunity to interact with specialists in their field of study. 

Students can gain feedback on their research and its relation to what is being observed in practice at the conference. Morgan says he learned that his research presentation correlates to what practitioners in his field have been observing. Morgan was also commended for his research as it helped provide some missing connections for practitioners and will be helpful for providers that work with families.

“It was an honor to be accepted for the McKenzie Lectureship Series Conference, to receive first place, and be able to communicate and relay this research to mental health providers across Texas and in the Lubbock community directly,” Morgan said. 

Morgan plans on continuing his research to assess changes in mental health before and after the pandemic. He is determined to better understand adolescent mental health related to the pandemic and views this research as a jumping point to expand on. Morgan wants to pursue a career in research regarding the role of sibling relations on adolescent and emerging adult mental health. 

“I am passionate about the salient influence that families can have on adolescent mental health—I plan to continue researching the family unit as it relates to mental health development,” Morgan said. “I am also passionate about teaching, and plan to continue instructing new students in Human Development and Family Sciences.” 

Every day, students like Morgan have a goal to find solutions to real-world problems. Providing a space for them to present their research allows for the possibility of these solutions being placed into action. The McKenzie Lectureship Series Conference provides recognition to Texas Tech students conducting research and provides a communication bridge between students and practitioners.