Dr. Toni Hill Ph.D. in Family Studies, UNL
Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska Kearney
Dr. Hill is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Studies at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She came to UNK four years ago after receiving her Ph.D. in Family Science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her expertise in child welfare and family issues includes 24 years of professional work experience in areas of social services and foster care case management and licensure, child protective services, kinship care and child welfare worker training. Noting her years of work outside of academia in the private sector, Hill agrees that her career path is somewhat unique compared to most working in a university setting.
“I did extensive, hands-on work in the field, and I think that enriches the experiences for my students. I can share a real case study or, if we look at an example in the book, I can tell you how this might work out for a family. I’m not telling you something I’ve read in a book. I’m talking about things I experienced in the system. I’ve lived it and worked it.”
Hill’s research covers various populations and a range of topics that include issues such as domestic violence, intergenerational relationships and her specialty, multigenerational and child kinship caregiving. The goal of her research is to increase awareness, acknowledge and support family members providing vital care to their relatives.
Hill’s advice to first-time or young researchers is simple.
“Find your passion. I was fortunate to have mentors and an adviser that let me find my research topic. That’s not always the case. Some students walk in the door and they are handed their research stream. I was respected in that process and allowed to establish and find something I was passionate about.”
Dr. Hill developed the Intimate Relationship course at UNK, is involved with Kearney Dawn Rotary Club and serves on the Walk to End Alzheimer’s committee, Prairie View Gardens Advisory Board and Community Coalition to Improve Alzheimer's/Dementia Health.