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What is Health and Human Development?

Diverse fields of study that share one
common goal: enriching the lives of others.

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July 2016

The car needs washed.

For people who grew up in Central Pennsylvania, the previous sentence likely will not seem out of the ordinary. However, for those who move to the area, the sentence often grabs their attention.

That’s because the proper phrasing should be, “The car needs to be washed.”

That common local phrasing is what undergraduate student Jalyn Taylor is studying through the McNair Scholars Program with Carrie Jackson, associate professor of German and linguistics, in Moore Laboratory. The study looks at language experience and its effects on reading comprehension.

For Taylor, scholarly research is a passion.

“Learning is something that I’ve almost always been passionate about,” she said. “Knowledge is something that I value. I like learning new things about everything. Friends and family call me the fact finder. “

More than 4,500 Penn State students are enrolled in the College of Health and Human Development (HHD) studying a wide array of fields, each committed to the concept of improving the quality of life for others. Taylor, who found a home in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSD), is one of those HHD students, and this is her story.





Taylor, who grew up in Philadelphia, applied to other schools in the city; however, she wanted to move away from home, but still be close enough to visit her family. She felt a connection to Penn State when she visited University Park with her mother.

“Campus was large, which I wasn’t used to, but I felt like there was a community in which you could find your place,” she said. “I felt at home here.”

Taylor has found her place, in part, through the Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI), which provides opportunities for emerging women leaders to develop the core values, attitudes, and competencies that are the foundation of quality leadership.

“One of the core values of WLI is inspiration. I was inspired by the women leaders, my mentor, and other professional individuals who I came across over the course of my junior year,” Taylor said. “I was also inspired by my fellow classmates because they are the women leaders who are next in line to make a difference in health and human development and nursing.”

In addition to CSD, there are a variety of areas for students to study within HHD through the Departments of Biobehavioral Health, Health Policy and Administration, Human Development and Family Studies, Kinesiology, Nutritional Sciences, Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management, and the School of Hospitality Management. Learn more about HHD.