NCFR Recognizes Rachel R. Tambling and Amber Vennum for Outstanding Mentorship

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) is pleased to recognize Rachel R. Tambling, Ph.D., LMFT, and Amber Vennum, Ph.D., LMFT, CFLE, as the 2023 recipients of the Kathleen Briggs Outstanding Mentor Award. This award acknowledges an outstanding mentor of graduate students and new professionals in the field of marriage and family therapy (MFT). 

Rachel Tambling

Dr. Tambling (she/her) is a professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Connecticut, and an AAMFT clinical fellow. Dr. Tambling is a behavioral health researcher, trainer, and speaker. She is the editor-in-chief of Contemporary Family Therapy and IRB chair at the University of Connecticut. Dr. Tambling is regarded for her devotion to advancing research through training and mentoring the next generation of MFTs; she prioritizes her students and their development, co-presents and co-authors research with her students, offering them first authorship. Dr. Tambling is also credited for advancing students in their career trajectory. Dr. Tambling’s contributions to NCFR include serving as the secretary/treasurer, and chair of the Family Therapy Section. 


Amber Vennum

Dr. Vennum (she/they) is an associate professor of couple and family therapy in the Department of Applied Human Sciences at Kansas State University. Dr. Vennum views teaching and mentoring as essential for developing an inclusive professional community that conducts impactful research and effectively serves diverse populations to promote socially just communities. In the same vein, Dr. Vennum connects and engages with students, providing them with high levels of responsibility, confidence, as well as a positive, welcoming, collaborative learning environment. Additionally, she is recognized for the extraordinary amount of time, energy, and insight they offer to students, seeing to their professional development. Dr. Vennum’s work at NCFR includes serving as the secretary/treasurer of the Family Therapy Section. 

NCFR is pleased to present this award to Dr. Tambling and Dr. Vennum for their contributions to the future of MFT through their notable mentorship.

This award is given in honor of Kathleen Briggs, a long-time Family Therapy Section member and leader. She was committed to mentoring MFT graduate students and new professionals. Dr. Briggs was well-known and respected for her leadership, insight, optimism, enthusiasm, and mentoring. 

Dr. Tambling and Dr. Vennum will be recognized for their achievements during a plenary at the 2023 NCFR Annual Conference. 


The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, visit the NCFR website at