New Center for Adolescent Research Launched
Susquehanna University has established the new Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE) in partnership with Stephen Wallace ’81, former board chairman and CEO of Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). The university announced the center’s opening at a gala event Dec. 1 at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston. The Friends for Life Inaugural Gala celebrated the 30th anniversary of Boston-based SADD and marked the achievements of Wallace, who will serve as director of CARE at Susquehanna University.
Susquehanna President L. Jay Lemons served as honorary co-chair of the event, which celebrated Wallace’s 15 years of service to youth and families through SADD (formerly Students Against Driving Drunk), the nation’s leading youth-based, peer-to-peer education, prevention and activism organization.
Addressing the guests, Lemons said, “Susquehanna is pleased to collaborate with Stephen on this new venture, because it is consistent with the university’s commitment to academic inquiry and research. It is our expectation that the work of the center will provide an important resource for families, schools and communities, not just regionally but nationally.
“With the passion, experience and knowledge that Stephen brings to his work, and the academic contributions of Susquehanna University, the center holds great promise.”
A portion of event proceeds will help fund future CARE at Susquehanna University research. Operating under Wallace, the center will study factors in teen attitudes, behaviors and decision-making. In addition to his work with SADD, Wallace brings three decades of work as a school psychologist, adolescent counselor, researcher, author and motivational speaker to his new position.
“At Susquehanna, we will continue to go beyond just ‘what’ teens are doing to analyze the ‘whys’ of teen behavior,” Wallace said. “And we will create communication tools to empower parents and other adults to play a more active role in guiding the choices young people make on their way to maturity.”
Michael D. Smith, associate professor of psychology at Susquehanna, will serve as academic research coordinator and facilitate collaborations that involve faculty and students in the center’s research.
The center will pursue private and public funding to support research on teens and tweens, including personal development, underage drinking and drug use, sexual behavior, driving, bullying, violence and suicide. SADD will collaborate with Susquehanna’s CARE on research projects.
An advisory board will be appointed to help guide the new center. It will include representatives of Susquehanna University’s administration and faculty as well as prominent individuals in the fields of psychology, sociology, medicine, business, and secondary and higher education.
Contributing writers to the People & Places section are Karen M. Jones, assistant director of media relations; and Megan McDermott ’14, a creative writing and religion major from Lewisberry, Pa.