Meet the Staff

Dr. Francesca Adler-Baeder
Dr. Francesca Adler-Baeder
Principal Investigator

Francesca Adler-Baeder, Ph.D. is Professor and Extension Specialist in Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University. Her research interests focus on relational health among youth, couples, stepfamilies, and families under stress. She is also the executive director of the National Stepfamily Resource Center. Dr. Adler-Baeder has been involved for over 2 decades in bridging research and practice through applied research projects and resource and program development. She began work on the Alabama Community Healthy Marriage Initiative in 2002 with a large consortium of state and local partners. She has authored more than 60 academic publications and presented more than 200 professional workshops and research presentations. She has been awarded the 2007 Strengthening Alabama Families Award, the 2009 AU Distinguished Diversity Researcher Award, the 2013 AU Excellence in Faculty Outreach Award, and in 2015 was named a Fellow by the National Council on Family Relations for her exceptional record of grant procurement; her development, delivery and evaluation of programs to enhance family relationships, especially her efforts targeting young parents, people of color and low resource families; and her mentoring of future leaders in the field of family science. Dr. Adler-Baeder lives with her husband Patrick, and their 4 children in Auburn, Alabama.

 

 

 
Marian Loftin
Marian Loftin
Former Co-Project Director

Marian Loftin is the former Director of the State of Alabama Department of Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, which oversees the Children’s Trust Fund of Alabama (CTF) funding 200 community-based prevention programs. After 17 years as an elementary classroom teacher, Mrs. Loftin worked in government relations for the University of Alabama for 13 years. Prior to her appointment to the current position with CTF, she was Executive Director for the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

 
Dr. Scott Ketring
Dr. Scott Ketring
Co-Principal Invesigator

Scott A. Ketring, Ph. D. is an associate professor of marriage and family therapy at Auburn University. He is a licensed MFT, a Clinical Member and Approved Supervisor of the AAMFT. He has presented at the state, national, and international levels. He maintains a private practice working with couples and families.

 
Dr. Tom Smith
Dr. Tom Smith
Co-Principal Investigator

Tom Smith, Ph. D. is the Director of the Marriage and Family Therapy Program and an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Auburn University. Dr. Smith joined the Auburn faculty in 1985. He is currently serving as the President of the Alabama Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. He is a Co-Principal Investigator and the Assistant Director for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative. He has extensive experience with several research initiatives, has published a variety of book chapters and peer-reviewed articles and presented numerous peer-reviewed and invited workshops and papers at international, national, state, and local conferences.

 
 
Roberta Jackel
Roberta Jackel
Project Manager

Roberta Jackel is the Project Manager for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative. She has a background in social services and grants management and has a J.D. from the University of Georgia. She has been an active advocate for people with disabilities and a leader in her community for numerous environmental and civic issues.

 

Leah Albers
Case Manager/Research Assistant

Leah Albers, M.S., serves in a hybrid role of Case Manager and Research Assistant for the Alabama Health Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative. She graduated from Auburn in 2013 with a Bachelor's in Human Development and Family Studies and in 2015 with a Master's in Marriage and Family Therapy. She enjoys working with couples and families to build both personal and relationship skills. Previously she has worked with AHMREI as both an undergraduate practicum student and a graduate research assistant. She is currently engaged and lives in Auburn.

 

Teresa Wagoner
Project Financial Manager

Teresa Wagoner is the Financial Manager for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative. She obtained a Bachelor Degree from Auburn University in 2003. She has worked with the project since 2007. She currently lives in Auburn, Alabama with her daughter and their dog Bobo.

 
Vanessa Finnegan
Vanessa Finnegan
Partnership Coordinator

Vanessa Finnegan, M.S. is the Partnership Coordinator for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative, and a doctoral student in Educational Psychology at Auburn University. She has been with the AHMREI since 2011, and enjoys serving as liaison to the initiative's partners, and providing support for the implementation of healthy marriage and relationship education across multiple sites. She lives in Auburn, Alabama with her husband Chad and their two daughters.

 
Julianne McLane
Julianne McGill
Research Professor

Julianne McGill, Ph.D. is a Research Assistant Professor for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative at Auburn University. She is a Certified Family Life Educator and is the co-author of the Couples Connecting Mindfully relationship education curriculum. She has been with the project since 2009, first as an undergraduate research assistant, then as a graduate research assistant. Most recently, she oversees the daily tasks related to the new randomized control study assessing the impact of specific relationship education curricula on couples in Alabama communities. She lives in Auburn, Alabama with her husband Tyler and their daughter Amelia. 

 


Carlie Cave
Graduate Research Assistant