Pioneering work and pioneers: two excellent reasons to spend some time in SLC

June 6, 2012 by JoLynne Lyon

Two CPD researchers will discuss their work in Salt Lake City this month. It’s a perfect excuse to take a closer look at what they do. Both lectures are free and open to the public.

Dr. Vonda Jump

Dr. Vonda Jump

Research Scientist Vonda Jump is featured as one of Utah State University’s Sunrise Session speakers. On June 8 she will outline her work in orphanages around the world at the Little America Hotel. “Optimal Child Development” begins at 7:30 a.m.


Here’s what she says about her research:

There are many babies who are languishing in orphanages around the world: children are developing now and can’t wait for adoption to have a better life.  There is no reason, in my opinion, for babies and young children to be developmentally behind their home-reared peers.  There are no cost interventions and new strategies that can be implemented with orphanage caregivers to greatly improve children’s immediate and long-term outcomes. 

In my experience, caregivers are eager to get this information so they can improve on the heroic work they are already doing with children who are often forgotten.  As caregivers have learned and brainstormed new strategies, the children have responded by literally having their brains come to life.


CPD Director Bryce Fifield

CPD Director Bryce Fifield

CPD Director Bryce Fifield will present “The Untold Story of Mormon Pioneers with Disabilities” during the LDS Church History Library’s Men and Women of Faith lecture.  He speaks Thursday, June 14 at 7:00 p.m. in the Church Office Building main auditorium.

Here’s some background from Bryce:

I got interested in the experiences of pioneers with disabilities while on a youth trek with kids from our Stake several years ago.  We had people with us who happened to have some health issues and it was amazing to see how they responded to the challenges of the three day hike.  It started me wondering how many of the 70,000 Mormon Pioneer Emigrants had disabilities, and what their experiences on the trail were like.

Several colleagues and I have been working on this line of research now for about three years.  It is a complex story.  Many with disabilities did not make the trip. Only a small fraction of the pioneer emigrants had disabilities.  Of those that came, most made it all the way across the plains, some died along the way.  A few were abandoned.

There are some heroes and some who should be ashamed of themselves.  There are stories that are tragic and some that are inspiring. Some of them continue to play out today with a different cast.

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