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.

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 Burke

Case Manager/Research Assistant

Leah Burke, M.S., CFLE, 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 lives in Auburn with her husband.

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

Partnership Coordinator

Vanessa Finnegan, Ph.D., is the Partnership Coordinator for the Alabama Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education Initiative. 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 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 Opelika, Alabama with her husband Tyler and their daughters Amelia and Tennant Lane.

Daniella Elzie

Graduate Research Assistant

Daniella is a recent Auburn University graduate and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She is currently a First Year Graduate Student at Auburn University getting her Master’s Degree in Social Work. Daniella’s goal is to continue to work for this project and eventually become a Marriage and Family Therapist or a Family Life Educator. She is a strong believer that healthy marriages and family relationships are vital to a successful life and society. She is also the captain of Auburn’s Club volleyball team and has traveled to 49 out of 50 states!

Lindsey Almond

Graduate Research Assistant

Lindsey is a PhD student within the Human Development and Family Studies department at Auburn University. She has been with the project since 2018, serving in various roles such as service learning coordinator, research assistant, and communications administrative assistant. Lindsey enjoys facilitating the youth-based relationship education program, Relationship Smarts Plus, to aid Lee county youth in knowledge and skill gain for happy, healthy relationships.

Taylor Youell

Graduate Research Assistant

Taylor is a first year graduate student at Auburn getting her Master’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She played collegiate volleyball at Maryville College (TN), where she received a Bachelor’s Degree in Child Development/Learning and Finance/Accounting, along with becoming a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP). Taylor’s goal is to work at a family-focused nonprofit once she graduates.