NCFR Recognizes Lauren Smithee for Outstanding Research Proposal


Lauren Smithee

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) is proud to recognize Lauren Smithee as the 2020 recipient of the Jessie Bernard Outstanding Research Proposal from a Feminist Perspective Award, which is given to a graduate student or new professional who has demonstrated excellence in research and potential contribution to feminist scholarship. Her project is titled “Emotional Intimacy and Transition: Transgender-Cisgender Romantic Relationships.”

Ms. Smithee is a doctoral candidate in the marriage and family therapy program in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Virginia Tech. She is studying the experiences of transgender youth and their families and transgender adults in romantic partnerships.  She seeks to better tailor mental health interventions for gender minority populations.  She will use her experiences in the MFP to inform better systemic mental health treatment for gender minority populations and their family members.

This award is presented in memory of Jessie Bernard, former NCFR Board Member and pioneer in the field of feminist family studies. Jessie Bernard declared herself a feminist in 1970 and is known for her celebrated description of "his" and "her" marriages. She was a board member of the American Sociological Association, the Groves Conference on Marriage and Family, and NCFR.

Ms. Smithee was recognized for her achievement at a special Awards Ceremony during the 2020 NCFR Annual Conference on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020 at 5:15 – 6:15 p.m. CT.


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