NCFR Recognizes Yan Ruth Xia and Randal D. Day for Outstanding Mentorship

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) is proud to recognize Yan Ruth Xia and, posthumously, Randal D. Day as the 2017 co-recipients of the Felix Berardo Scholarship Award, which is given to NCFR members for excellence in mentoring junior colleagues or students.

Yan Ruth Xia

Dr. Xia is a professor in the Department of Child, Youth, and Family Studies, College of Education and Human Sciences, at University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Dr. Xia a Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE), earned her Ph.D. in Family Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She teaches courses in Family Intervention and Fieldwork, Human Development and the Family, Child and Family Policy, Immigrant Families and Program Design and Evaluation in Human Services. Her research interests are immigrant youth behavioral and mental health, parent-adolescent communication and relationship, strengths and stress among Asian immigrant families, adolescent substance abuse, program evaluation and Chinese adolescent social competence. Dr. Xia is the author of her own book, Chinese Adolescents in Social Transition, and is the author or co-author of many book chapters and journal articles of her own research. Dr. Xia currently supervises student research in the program areas of  Global Family Health and Wellbeing, International Family Studies, and Youth Development.

In his nomination letter, Dr. Richard Bischoff writes that Dr. Xia "has an uncanny ability to bring out the best in students. Students want to do the best they can when they work with her, and they do. She sees the potential in students and helps them to see the potential in themselves. She meets them where they are at and then helps them know what they can achieve and creates an environment that enables them do so."

Randal D. Day

Dr. Day was an emeritus professor in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, having retired in 2015. Before coming to BYU, he taught at Washington State University and South Dakota State University. Soon after retiring from BYU, he and his wife moved to Romania where they performed humanitarian service. He unexpectedly died in Romania in early 2017. Dr. Day was an outstanding teacher and an influential researcher. He published dozens of articles in the field’s top journals, where he established himself as one of the early scholars on fatherhood. He was also author of six books.

Dr. Day’s greatest talent, though, was his unique ability to mentor students. While at Washington State University, he annually took Family Science students on a study abroad program to England, where he immersed the students in British culture. Dr. Day had a gift of meaningfully involving undergraduate students in his research projects. While directing the Flourishing Families Project, he closely mentored over 150 undergraduate students in five years, inviting students to his apartment regularly for pizza and movies, and taking them on regular excursions to experience the rich culture of the city they were studying. Many of these students went on to graduate school in Family Science programs throughout the country. After his sudden death, tributes from grateful former students filled his Facebook page, and former students traveled hundreds of miles to attend his funeral and honor him.

Drs. Xia and Day will be recognized for their achievements at the 2017 NCFR Annual Conference, Nov. 15-18 in Orlando, Florida.

Felix Berardo, the namesake of this award, was a beloved professor at the University of Florida who went beyond expectations in his mentoring of many students who became leaders in the family field.

The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, visit the NCFR website at