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Graduate Student Spotlight

Photo of Patty Chao

Meet one of our graduate students in HDFS at MIZZOU!

Pei-Shu Chao is a doctoral student. We interviewed Pei-Shu about her graduate student’s experiences at Mizzou, as well as her backgrounds. Let’s take a closer look what her life looks like.

Curious, adventurous, and organized

I have always been intrigued by the factors shaping individuals’ development, and family dynamics play a crucial role in this process. That was why I pursued a master’s degree in HDFS in Taiwan—to understand how we can improve family relationships to enhance people’s overall well-being. After graduating, I implemented interventions aimed at improving family interactions. However, I soon realized that addressing family challenges requires a broader approach, as many issues stem from systemic problems like inadequate policies that fail to meet the diverse needs of populations. This realization fueled my desire to pursue a PhD, where I aim to gain the expertise needed to tackle family issues within a larger societal context.

Faculty members prioritize our personal career goals and ensure we receive adequate training to achieve them. For example, we are not restricted to HDFS courses; instead, we are encouraged to explore courses from other departments. Thus, students are getting the training they need. Also, in an era that values interdisciplinary collaboration, diversifying our coursework equips us with the skills to communicate with individuals from various fields effectively.

In addition to taking diverse courses that align with our interests, faculty members are willing to facilitate connections with individuals who can offer support. For instance, some students have been linked with professors from external institutions to collaborate on studies aligned with their interests. Moreover, students not planning to pursue careers in academia have been introduced to alumni working in non-academic fields, providing valuable insights on how to prepare for diverse career paths.

The faculty and graduate students are very supportive and inclusive, so do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns, even during the preparation stages of your graduate school applications. I am sure that you will get the support you need.

As an international student, I have faced challenges that local students may not have encounter. However, my peers are happy to answer my questions and offer additional support, and faculty members ensure that our voices are heard when making decisions. Remember, there’s no need to tackle problems alone—it truly takes a community to nurture a PhD.