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.

Leah Burke

Data Manager / Case Manager

Leah Burke, M.S., CFLE, serves in a hybrid role of Data Manager and Case Manager for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Project. She graduated from Auburn University 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 worked with AHMREI as both an undergraduate practicum student and a graduate research assistant.

Vanessa Finnegan, Ph.D.

Project Manager / Instructor

Vanessa Finnegan, Ph.D., is the Project Manager for the Alabama Youth Relationship Education Project and an Instructor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Auburn University. She is a Certified Family Life Educator and has served in the department as full-time staff since 2009. Dr. Finnegan provides the day-to-day direction, management, and implementation of school-based relationship education and program evaluation serving teens in 11 counties, as well as oversees undergraduates’ practicum, service learning, and research lab work. She has extensive experience in coordinating with local and state agencies for funded applied research that involves the implementation of community education and evaluation. She lives in Auburn, Alabama with her husband and their two daughters.

Julianne McGill

Project Manager / Assistant Research Professor

Julianne McGill, Ph.D. is the Project Manager for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Project, as well as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science 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, and now as full-time staff. She provides day-to-day project management and directs the logistics necessary to implement all programmatic components, as well as performance measurement and continuous quality improvement procedures. Dr. McGill utilizes a prevention science approach to study community-based education focused on supporting healthy relationships through mindfulness and skill-based programs. She lives in Opelika, Alabama with her husband Tyler and their daughters Amelia and Tennant Lane.

Rachel Odomes

Partnership Coordinator

Rachel Odomes, B.S. is the Partnership Coordinator for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Project. She has been associated with the AHMRE project for over 10 years. She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Adult Education. She enjoys providing support to the initiative’s partners, making connections within the community, and spending time with her daughter, Cora.

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.