Presenter Bios: 2021 FLE Summit
The 2021 Family Life Education Summit was held on Friday, June 25, 2021. This was NCFR’s first virtual event to focus solely on family practitioners at all experience levels working with and for families.
Session recordings are available on demand for registered attendees and can be purchased by anyone who missed the live event.
Taliah Ayers, CFLE, the owner of Better Together 365, provides relationship enrichment to couples in the Metro Atlanta area through premarital education, officiant services, and relationship education. She received the 2021 Best of Weddings Award from The Knot for her work in premarital education and officiant services.
Debra Berke, Ph.D., CFLE — Prior to joining Wilmington University as the Director of Psychology Programs and the Center for Prevention Science, Dr. Berke taught family studies and women’s studies at Messiah College. She also directed the Gender Studies Project at Messiah College. Dr. Berke has been a consultant for the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency and the State of Delaware where she has lead training in trauma-informed approaches for two Delaware Departments. Over the past 5 years she has initiated trauma-informed workforce development initiatives for both the current and future workforce. She is Vice President of the newly created Board of Directors for Trauma Matters Delaware, a grassroots nonprofit initiative, and an inaugural recipient of the Delaware First Lady’s Compassionate Champion Awards honoring her trauma-informed work. Dr. Berke is also a Certified Family Life Educator.
Naomi Brower, MFHD, CFLE, is an Extension professor for Utah State University who specializes in helping others to improve the quality of their lives through creating and strengthening their relationships.
Alex Chan, Ph.D., LMFT, is the mental and behavioral health specialist for University of Maryland Extension. He provides educational programming in the areas of stress management, healthy relationships, and child development. Dr. Chan is also a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT) in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Kelly DaCunha, LCSW-C, CFLE, CCTP-II, has a B.S. in Family Studies and a Master’s in Social Work. She is currently a doctoral student in Wilmington University’s Doctor of Social Science in Prevention Science Program. Kelly has focused her 15-year clinical and forensic social work career on child welfare and interpersonal violence, and she recently shifted her career track from crisis response and intervention to trauma-informed prevention. Kelly is a Certified Complex Trauma Professional (II), and a Certified Compassion Fatigue Educator and Therapist. She is currently the Director of Clinical Services at Center for Hope in Baltimore City.
Elizabeth Davis, M.S., is an Extension assistant professor at USU. She received her B.S. in family, consumer, and human development and M.S. in adolescent development, both from USU. After working several years in nonprofit and state-funded organizations, she returned to USU where she accepted a tenure position in 4-H and family and consumer sciences. She is particularly interested in programming that improves the quality of family life, which includes marriage and parenting education. She currently resides in Kanab, Utah, where she enjoys the amazing outdoors and working in the community to offer research-based programming to all.
Cezanne Elias, Ph.D., is a clinical assistant professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University and a licensed marriage and family therapist. Her research, teaching, and clinical work focuses on how physical and emotional well-being impacts individuals, couples, and families. She also studies best educational practices and pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning.
Victor William Harris, Ph.D., CFLE, is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist at the University of Florida in the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences. His research and teaching foci include: 1) close relationship communication, relationship quality, marriage/parenting education, and balancing work/family; 2) teaching pedagogy/andragogy; 3) cultural diversity & spirituality and religiosity.
Ginny Hinton, M.P.H., is the University of Florida/IFAS Extension’s Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) faculty in Santa Rosa County. Ginny offers programs in food sciences (nutrition, food safety, food preservation), family well-being, relationship education, and injury prevention. She coordinates the Family Nutrition Program (FNP), a SNAP-Ed funded program designed to educate families and improve their nutritional outcomes.
Mackenzie Johnson, M.S., CFLE, is an enthusiastic presenter and Extension educator serving Iowa as a Field Specialist in Family Life. While completing her graduate degree in Adult Learning, she explored the overlap of parenting education and adult learning principles. Mackenzie is also a cohost and content contributor on the award-winning podcast, The Science of Parenting. As a Certified Family Life Educator with two littles of her own, Mackenzie is enthusiastic about helping parents and families find trustworthy information by translating research with a dose of reality.
Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE, CTSS, is a second-generation parent educator and award-winning author of several research-based parenting programs and resources. She founded a non-profit parent networking group still going strong 25 years later. Since 1995, she has certified over 100 Parent’s Toolshop® trainers and coaches worldwide. (www.ParentsToolshop.com).
Nichol Killian, M.S., is a student success coach and an assistant professor of Anthropology and Sociology at Mercer County Community College. She is currently a doctoral candidate in Prevention Science at Wilmington University. Nichol’s doctoral focus is trauma-informed teaching and learning as a measure to promote student success. She has taught social science courses at the college level for over seventeen years and is also is a certified Trauma Support Specialist.
Lori Korthals, M.S., CFLE, is Family Life Specialist with Iowa State University and Extension. She is a cohost of The Science of Parenting podcast and a field specialist in Iowa. Lori has a background in early childhood and parenting education and is currently working on a doctorate in Educational Leadership.
Erin Kostina-Ritchey, Ph.D., CFLE, has had full certification as a Family Life Educator since 2007. Prior to obtaining a Ph.D., she worked in international community development, specializing in social services and education. While living and working abroad, her projects included programming in Central Asia, Eastern Europe and Central America. Keen interests in social justice, strength based modeling and underrepresented groups have guided both her professional and personal views allowing for the facilitation of partnerships with a variety of grassroots, community and government entities.
Jen Krafchick, Ph.D., CFLE, is an associate professor in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. She is also an affiliate faculty in Women's Studies and a University Honors Program faculty member. For over 20 years Dr. Krafchick has taught courses on family, youth, sexuality and gender-related topics. She also co-directs the Campus Connections Youth Mentoring and teaches numerous other courses related to families and relationships. She currently conducts research on mentoring, at-risk youth, and student success strategies including service-learning. Prior to her current positions at CSU, Dr. Krafchick served as the Assistant Director at Women’s Programs & Studies (now the Women and Gender Advocacy Center) providing support and advocacy services to members of the campus community impacted by interpersonal violence and operated a private practice as an individual, couple, and family therapist. Prior to coming to CSU, Dr. Krafchick was a Community Advocate with a domestic violence agency and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Solomon Islands from 1996-1998. Dr. Krafchick has received numerous awards for Campus Connections, the Honors Professor Award in 2010, and the Alumni Associations Best Teacher Award in 2011.
Nasreen Lalani, Ph.D., MSN, RN, is an Assistant Professor at Purdue University and an experienced nurse researcher and educator. Her work includes promoting strategies to foster meaning making, psychosocial care, and resilience among families and communities in the post disaster recovery period. During the pandemic, she has been involved in several community engagement projects.
Cyndi Longley, MBA, is a Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS) Extension Agent for the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences in Palm Beach County. Cyndi addresses current family and consumer needs in Palm Beach County through education and provides residents with research-based solutions. Cyndi obtained a Master's in Business Administration with a concentration on international studies and a bachelor's degree from the University of Florida. Cyndi has been with UF/IFAS Extension for 7 years.
Ebonyse Mead, Ed.D., CFLE, is the Birth to Kindergarten Clinical instructor at Georgia Southern University and president of the Educational Equity Institute. Dr. Mead has provided training on examining structural barriers to educational equity, implicit racial bias, and culturally responsive instruction to the early childhood workforce. Dr. Mead is deeply committed to creating equitable and just programs in early childhood.
Senior Extension Educator, Michigan State University Extension
Master's Degree in Administration and Leadership is a Senior Extension Educator and Certified Family Life Educator with Michigan State University and has provided leadership on a variety of programs that center around families, children, and youth during her 15 year plus career with MSU Extension. Kendra provides programming support in the area of early childhood development by facilitating the Building Early Emotional Skills online workshop series. Her program areas of expertise revolve around early childhood development, supporting military families and youth and educational technology.
Nelly Nelson, M.B.A., is a family and consumer science extension agent for UF/IFAS Extension Manatee County. Ms. Nelson brings over 15 years of experience of coordinating prevention programs in the community to her position. Her umbrella of expertise allows her to develop, promote and implement community outreach programs as well as design educational programs and workshops to promote healthy living and the betterment of individuals. She specializes in an array of consumer needs ranging from relationship building, health and wellness, food safety to financial management. Fluent in three languages, Ms. Nelson’s programs and publications are accessible to a broader audience while focusing on specific needs of individual community groups.
Tyler Nesbit is a PhD student at the University of Florida, studying Youth Development and Family Science in the Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. His primary research interest is mindfulness and its role in preventing adverse outcomes in adolescents and healthcare settings. He also has a strong interest in communication, dialogue, and anti-racism work. He is a former program instructor, staff mentor, and data manager for the UF/IFAS SMART Couples program. He recently collaborated with a doctoral student from the College of Public Health and Health Professions to develop a team proposal to participate as trainees in the Clinical and Translational Science Institutes, National Institute of Health funded TL1 training program. Their project is entitled “Establishing Steps towards Reconciliation and Trust among Black Women toward Reproductive Health Providers” and seeks to develop a mindfulness and compassionate communication training for reproductive healthcare providers to reduce health disparities for Black women. This experience has provided a unique opportunity to collaborate across disciplines, refine and extend his dissertation goals, develop valuable grant-writing skills, and gain access to an expanded network of researchers and advisors in the arena of translation science and public health. His team will begin the TL1 training in August 2021.
M. Hassan Raza, Ph.D., CFLE, is an assistant professor at Missouri State University. The goal of Dr. Raza’s research, which focuses on an overarching theme of Family, Work, and Community, is to strengthen families by fostering work-family relationships and functioning. Dr. Raza recently introduced the New Multilevel Community Engagement Model to improve stakeholder’s engagement including families in community projects to achieve positive outcomes and project sustainability. Dr. Raza has been working on developing Family Diversity Theory, which may help to understand and explain diverse family experiences in society.
Jim R. Rogers, M.Ed., CFLE Emeritus, is a Parenting and Family Life Educator and Vice President of still learning, inc. Jim graduated from UNC, Chapel Hill, studied child psychology and counseling at Antioch University in Marina Del Rey, and earned his master's degree in early childhood from Coastal Carolina University in South Carolina where he was also on the staff of the Center for Education and Community. He conducted hundreds of parenting workshops and classes at the university and for social services in inner city Hollywood, CA. He is a past NPEN Council Member. Jim has been a family life newspaper columnist for 25 years and is the author of two poetry books, a play, and The Incredible Importance of Effective Parenting.
Kylie Rymanowicz, CFLE, is an Extension Educator at Michigan State University Extension. She is knowledgeable in family issues including parenting andearly childhood education with a special passion for diversity, equity and inclusion and early social emotional development. Kylie is experienced in managing all aspects of program development: planning based on needs/assets, implementation, and evaluation.
Austin Toombs, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Computer Graphic Technology
Purdue University is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Graphics Technology at Purdue University, and he leads the Community-Computer Interaction Lab, www.c-cilab.com. He holds a PhD in Informatics with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction. He studies the impact that digital technologies have on how communities develop, are maintained, and foster (or not) strong interpersonal relationships between community participants. This includes how these technologies are implicated in explicit and implicit forms of care. He is also interested in how community-centered technologies encourage the formation and maintenance of some identities, while discouraging others.
Brian Viscounti is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Florida's Department of Family, Youth, and Community Sciences and is the acting data manager for the SMART Couples Florida project. Brian's current research focuses on long-term adult relationships and personality psychology. He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts degrees in 2011 and 2013, respectively, from Western Carolina University's Experimental Psychology program. Mr. Visconti joined the FYCS Department in Fall of 2017 and is expected to graduate the Youth Development and Family Sciences Ph.D. program in Fall of 2021.
Cynthia B. Wilson, Ph.D., CFLE, is the Executive Director of The Florida Center for Prevention Research at Florida State University and teaches courses in the Human Development and Family Science Department. Dr. Wilson has a B.S. in Family & Child Sciences and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Family Relations from Florida State University. She has served in academia since 2010, having formerly taught at Baylor University and the University of Montevallo prior to joining the faculty of FSU in 2017. Dr. Wilson has been a Certified Family Life Educator since 2007. She has a vast amount of experience delivering family life education programs in school, community, and faith-based settings, primarily in the areas of parenting, human sexuality, and relationship education. She currently coordinates FSU’s CFLE program and serves on the CFLE Advisory Board as a practitioner representative. At the Florida Center for Prevention Research, Dr. Wilson serves as Principle Investigator on multiple grants in the areas of sexual violence prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, alcohol and substance abuse prevention, and juvenile delinquency prevention. She is also an experienced program evaluator, and currently leads evaluation teams on a federal Healthy Marriage and Relationship Education grant and on two Sexual Risk Avoidance Education grants.