American Association of Family & Consumer Sciences (AAFCS)

AAFCS turns the spotlight on individuals, their experiences, and how they have benefited from AAFCS membership. It offers an opportunity for you to share your story with your colleagues and the greater FCS community.

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Kathy Kemp
Naperville, Illinois

Kathryn “Kathy” Kemp has been a member of AAFCS since her student days at Bradley University in Peoria. Today, Kathy is an active volunteer (read on to be inspired by the volunteer project she's pictured with, at right!), and the state coordinator of Illinois AFCS, where she helps this affiliate run smoothly—from tracking membership to conference planning.

Why did you join AAFCS?
As a student in Home Economics at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, I joined AHEA (now AAFCS).  It seemed to be expected by the professors and instructors that all Home Economics students would join the national professional association.  As a student member, I attended two national conferences.  I was also active in Kappa Omicron Nu, the Honor Society, and was selected as a national student representative.  After graduating from Bradley University, I kept up my membership as a way to stay involved with the profession, to stay up to date on what was happening, and to stay current on new ideas, research, and information.

How has membership in AAFCS been of value to you and your practice?
My career path was not one that kept me in day-to-day contact with other FCS professionals.  Upon graduating from college in 1979, I started working full-time for a non-profit organization that sponsored the USDA Child & Adult Care Food Program for licensed Day Care Homes in Illinois.  I was the only Home Economist (FCS Professional) on staff. Part of my job was to create nutrition education materials for the Day Care Homes to use with the children.  By attending conferences and meetings, I was able to gather information to use for materials and for conducting nutrition education workshops. . . Shortly after leaving full-time employment, I was offered the position of state coordinator for the Illinois Association of Family & Consumer Sciences.  This part-time position allows me to work with FCS professionals in Illinois and nationally, while still being able to enjoy the privilege of working from home!  Being an active member of AAFCS and attending national conferences and staying informed on current issues helps me keep information flowing to Illinois members and to our board members.

Please complete the following sentence: "AAFCS is …"
AAFCS is an organization that helps all FCS professionals, from all different career paths, communicate, network, share and develop new information.

Please explain your answer.
To me, one of the biggest benefits of AAFCS is the ability to interact with FCS professionals from all different fields – whether it is nutrition & foods, or apparel & textiles, or child life, or design, or consumerism, from educators to business to social agencies. I feel that we can often get isolated into our own little worlds of work in one specific field – and forget how in FCS, all the areas cross over and affect each other. 

Why did you choose the field of family and consumer sciences?
When deciding what I wanted to do, I thought I would want to go into consumer affairs in the food area, or perhaps go into child care/child development.  By choosing a university that had both of these areas in one department, I was able to seek out classwork in several areas of interest. 

Please share a few of your most recent accomplishments.
I was inspired by the AAFCS 100th Anniversary Celebration – 2nd Century of Helping Project.  For several years, I have enjoyed working with a local chapter of “Newborns In Need”.  For the AAFCS 2nd Century of Helping, I set a goal for myself to make 100 blankets for the Suburban Chicago Chapter of Newborns in Need.  The original goal was to crochet 100 baby blankets between July 2008 and June 2009.  As the time went on, I realized I would not be able to finish 100 crocheted blankets, so I also added in some flannel receiving blankets.  By May 2008, I finished 101 blankets (okay – I couldn’t quite count correctly!).  For the meeting held Mothers’ Day weekend, I presented the Suburban Chicago Chapter of Newborns in Need with the 100 blankets.  As part of my goal, I also wanted Newborns in Need to get some publicity, and in the process, also AAFCS.  News articles were were published in "The Chicago Tribune" – West Chicagoland Extra Section,
"The Chicago Tribune" – Tribune Local Section, and in the "Naperville Sun."

Contact Kathy by email at

To obtain more information about the spotlight feature, click here.

Read past spotlights:
Gus Vouchilas, Ed.D.
Sue L.T. McGregor, Ph.D., CFCS
Grady Sue Saxon, Ph.D., CFCS, Retired