SDSU Faculty Invited to Present Research on Transnational Families, Nov. 9 in San Diego

Contact: Trip Sullivan, Communications Manager
[email protected]



For Immediate Release:

Oct. 31, 2018

As societies become more globally connected, many families — immigrant and refugee families, for instance — are finding that they must confront the challenges of existing across international borders, as transnational families.

Family Science faculty from San Diego State University’s Department of Child & Family Development are slated to present their latest research on transnational families living across borders at the annual academic conference of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), in San Diego this November. The invited symposium session on transnational families will take place Nov. 9.

Karen Myers-Bowman, Ph.D., department chair and professor, will present research on high school exchange student families. Vanja Lazarevic, Ph.D., assistant professor, will discuss research on refugee families. Colleagues from other California universities will add their research expertise on transborder immigrant families, language brokering (when children in immigrant families translate for their parents), and “wild goose” families that migrate for English-language schooling.

Transnational families can face questions similar to those faced by family members who live together in the same culture, Myers-Bowman said: “In which culture or cultures do I feel I belong? What is my role in the family? Who is a member of my family? What does it mean to be a family?” But these questions take on new meaning for members of families that exist across international borders, Myers-Bowman said. “Confronting these issues can provide transnational families with opportunities for growth and change and for challenges and conflict as they navigate generational differences and the blending of home and host cultures.”

Ultimately, the symposium will identify what scholarly research shows about the strengths of different types of transnational families; the motivations, challenges, and needs of transnational families; and how to apply Family Science research to support transnational families through Family Life Education practice.



The 2018 NCFR Annual Conference is planned for Nov. 7–10, 2018, at the Town and Country Resort and Convention Center in San Diego. Each year, hundreds of faculty, researchers, and students attend the conference. Presenters and attendees come from the disciplines of Family Science, psychology, sociology, human development, family therapy, demography, social work, and more.

The invited symposium “Transnational Families Living Across Borders: Research to Practice” is scheduled for 8:30–9:45 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. A number of other San Diego-area faculty and researchers will present their work as part of the conference program.


The nonprofit, nonpartisan National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) is the premier professional association for understanding and strengthening families through interdisciplinary research, theory, and practice. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners, and educators. In addition to hosting an annual conference, NCFR publishes three academic journals, offers a certification for Family Life Education professionals, and provides numerous professional resources to its members. For more information about NCFR, visit the NCFR website at