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Today’s Military Spouses: Persevering Amidst Challenges and Barriers to Thrive in Various Educational and Career Contexts

May 18, 2020 @ 6:00 am CDT

Podcast guests

About this Episode

In this episode, Drs. Leandra Hernández and Jennifer Belding share what their edited book, “Military Spouses with Graduate Degrees: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Thriving amidst Uncertainty ” is all about. As fellow military spouses themselves and experts who study topics related to service members and their families, they share perspectives on the current challenges, struggles, and positive aspects that military spouses with advanced degrees in both academic and professional worlds are going through. We conclude by discussing strategies for professionals to better assist military spouses as they navigate these worlds

Guest Bios

podcast guestDr. Leandra H. Hernández (Ph.D., Texas A&M University), Assistant Professor of Communication Studies, enjoys teaching health communication, gender studies, and media studies courses. She utilizes Chicana feminist and qualitative approaches to explore Latina/o cultural health experiences, Latina/o journalism and media representations, and Latina/o cultural identities in reproductive justice and gendered violence contexts. She is the co-author of “Challenging Reproductive Control and Gendered Violence in the Americas: Intersectionality, Power, and Struggles for Rights,” and recipient of the 2018 NCA FWSD Studies Division Bonnie Ritter Award. She is also the co-editor of “This Bridge We Call Communication: Anzalduan Approaches to Theory, Method, and Praxis,” “Latina/o/x Communication Studies: Theories, Methods, and Praxis” and “Military Spouses with Graduate Degrees: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Thriving amidst Uncertainty.” She is the co-editor of the Lexington Press book series Lexington Studies in Health Communication and the Peter Lang Cultural Media Studies book series. Furthermore, as the Chair of the NCA La Raza Caucus and Latina/o Communication Studies Division, she works to foster the study of Latina/o Communication Studies for students and scholars alike.

podcast authorDr. Jennifer N. Belding earned her Ph.D. in Social Psychology with a minor in Quantitative Psychology from The Ohio State University. She currently works as a contractor at a military medical research facility and as a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of California, San Diego. Broadly speaking, Dr. Belding’s scientific research examines how people are persuaded to achieve their goals, health promotion interventions, and epidemiological investigations of threats to service member health and wellbeing (e.g., blast exposure). She has authored thirteen scientific papers or book chapters, presented her research in more than 30 conference presentations, and is the co-editor of “Military Spouses with Graduate Degrees: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Thriving amidst Uncertainty,” which won a bronze award from the Military Writer’s Society of America. Dr. Belding has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses on introductory psychology, social psychology, scientific writing, the teaching of psychology, stereotyping and prejudice, social cognition, judgment and decision making, and psychological and sociological foundations of behavior for premedical students.

Additional materials

Online Resources:
1. VirtForce via
2. “Career Military Spouses” on Facebook
3. Department of Defense (DoD) resources at
4. Navy Ombudsmen Program at
5. Support for each military branch via
6. Military OneSource

Recent Journal Articles:

  1. Belding, J.N., Bonkowski, James F., Del Re, A.C., Koenig, H.G., McAnany, J.M., & Thomsen, C.J. (In Press). In the trenches of military epidemiological research: Lessons learned from big data projects. SAGE Research Methods Cases.
  2. Belding, J.N., Olaghere da Silva, U., Fitzmaurice, S., Lee, I., Kowitz, B., Englert, R.M. & Thomsen, C.J. (In Press). Occupational risk moderates the relationship between blast exposure and traumatic brain injury. Military Medicine.
  3. Belding, J.N. (2019). Motivation as a military spouse with an advanced degree. In L. Hernandez & J.N. Belding (Eds.) Navigating Life with a Graduate Degree as a Military Spouse: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Challenges, Lessons Learned, and Thriving against Uncertainty. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
  4. Hernandez, L. H., & De Los Santos Upton, S. (2019). Insider/Outsiders, Reproductive (In)justice, and the U.S.-Mexico Border. Health Communication, 1-5.
  5. Hernandez, L. H. (2019). Feminist Approaches to Border Studies & Gender Violence: Family Separation as Reproductive Injustice. Women’s Studies in Communication, 42, 1-5.
  6. Hernandez, L. H., & De Los Santos Upton, S. (2019). Critical Health Communication Methods at the US-Mexico Border: Violence against Migrant Women and the Role of Health Activism. Frontiers in Communication, 4, 34, 1-12.
  7. Hurtado, S.L., Simon-Arndt, C.M., Schmied, E.A., Belding, J.N., Subala, R., & McBrien, C.R. (In Press). Can an educational video reduce barriers to military mental health care? Psychiatric Services.

Be on the lookout for the new book Drs. Hernández and Belding have written a chapter, “Supporting the Military-Affiliated Learner: Communication Approaches to Military Pedagogy & Education”, co-edited by Dr. Amy May and Victoria McDermott. It will be forthcoming with Lexington Books by late 2020.


This material is based on work supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Office of Military Family Readiness Policy, U.S. Department of Defense Award Number 2015-48770-24368.


May 18, 2020
6:00 am CDT
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