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Leslie A. Anderson

Leslie A. Anderson

Human Development and Family Science

Highly-decorated student committed to pursuing community-level interventions. She has accepted a faculty position at the University of Southern Mississippi.


Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science, Emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy, Certificate in Interdisciplinary Qualitative Studies


Canton, Miss.


Graduate Research Assistant in the Social Determinants of Child Development Lab, Clinical therapist and Supervisor-in-Training at the UGA ASPIRE Clinic, Clinical Fellow of the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, 2018 Family Process New Writers Fellow, 2018 Student Idea Showcase Speaker for TEDxUGA, 2016-19 Fellow of the Minority Fellowship Program co-sponsored by the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2019-20 NYU Steinhardt School Faculty First-Look Scholar, 2019 Student Representative for the HDFS Department Head Search Committee, Interview Coordinator for the HDFS Graduate Student Organization, executive board member for UGA’s Graduate and Professional Scholars, UGARF International Travel Awards recipient, member of UGA’s Whatever It Takes mentoring program for Clarke County School District, volunteer for the Foodbank of Northeast Georgia, former member of the Athens, Ga., local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

Why I chose my major

Before pursuing my doctorate in Human Development and Family Science, I had been practicing as a marriage and family therapist for four years in my local community. Although I was engaged in incredibly rewarding work, I yearned for opportunities to make a larger impact in the lives of the underserved and underrepresented. I began to think about ways that I could broaden my reach for the good of my community. After extensive research of the HDFS department here at UGA, I knew that earning my doctorate would equip me with the necessary skills to engage in translational research with the potential to influence community-level interventions and ultimately policies impacting society’s most vulnerable families.  

What I like most about FACS

What I am most appreciative of about FACS and my HDFS family are the multitude of opportunities I have been afforded to foster my professional growth. From the very beginning, I knew that people were invested in my success and that made a profound difference in my experience. Faculty were always eager to make me aware of ways to step outside of my comfort zone both academically and personally. As early as my second semester in the program, I was able to travel to Málaga, Spain and present at the International Family Therapy Association’s annual conference with funding from the university. These types of amazing opportunities persisted throughout my four years. I am so grateful for my many mentors who have made long-lasting impacts on my development as a scholar-practitioner.

Post-graduation plans

I have accepted an assistant professorship at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Miss., in the School of Child and Family Sciences. I’ll be teaching across three academic programs, which include: a marriage and family therapy program; a school guidance counselor program; and a child and family sciences program. I am excited to embark on this next chapter of my life and career with a commitment to engaging in scholarship and practice that centers around the lived experiences of those families and communities often at the margins.

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