Alumni Profiles

2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 20142013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2005 | 2004 | 1998



Jakub Mikuška  Jakub Mikuska, Ph.D. 2019
Current location: Czech Repulic
Current position:  Researcher, Masaryk University




Rodion Svynarenko, Ph.D. 2019
Current location: Benham, KY
Current position: Postdoctoral researcher at University of Tennessee




Qun (Kelly) ZhangQun (Kelly) Zhang, Ph.D. 2019
Current location: Hollister, CA
Current position: 





Kristina Hayes, M.S., 2019
Current location: Lexington, KY
Current position: Child Life Specialist at Pediatrics, University of Kentucky




Bailey MortisBailey Mortis, M.S., 2019
Current location: Lexington KY
Current position:



Dallin Parkinson Dallin Parkinson, M.S., 2019
Current location: Utah
Current position:




Yabin TangYabin Tang, M.S., 2019
Current location: Athens, GA
Current position: Doctoral Student, University of Georgia






Iilya OkhotnikovIlya Okhotnikov, Ph.D. 2018
Current Location: Lake Charles, LA
Current position: Assistant Professor of Family anc Child Studies, McNeese State University





Gabriela JiskrovaGabriela Jiskrova, Ph.D. 2018
Current Location: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond VA
Current Position: Postdoctoral in the School of Social Work




Albert KsinanAlbert Ksinan, Ph.D 2018
Current Location: Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
Current Position: Postdoctoral researcher in behavior genetics of alcohol use






Stephanie CombsStephanie Combs, M.S., 2018

Current Location: Louisville, KY
Current Position: Therapist in hospital setting





Kendall KoffmanKendall Coffman, M.S., 2018

Current Location: Central Florida University, Orlando, Florida
Current Position: Ph.D. Student




Caitlin GrassonCaitlin Grasson, M.S., 2018

Current Location: New York City, NY
Current Position: Case manager





Allison Goderwis, M.S., 2018

Current Location: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Current Position: Ph.D. Student


Ellen KaiserEllen Kaiser, M.S., 2018

Current Location: Lexington, KY
Current Position: Therapist in agency





Keiara A. MarshKeiara A. Marsh, M.S., 2018

Current Location: Nashville, TN
Current Position: Therapist in agency




Laura PatrickLaura Patrick, M.S., 2018

Current Location: England
Current Position: Therapist and Ph.D. student




Michael SittonMichael Sitton, M.S., 2018

Current Location: Utah State University in Tooele, Utah
Current Position: Fatherhood Education instructor and Family therapist at Valley Behavioral Health






David WeisenhornDavid Weisenhorn, Ph.D. 2017
Current Location: Lexington, KY
Current Position: Senior Extension Specialist



Amanda WestmorlandAmanda Westmoreland, Ph.D. 2017
Current Location: Murfreesboro, TN
Current Position: Isight Counseling Centers and Saint Thomas Rutherford Hospital



Alyssa Cambell, M.S., 2017

Current Location: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Current Position: Ph.D. Student


Sarah ChristianSarah Christian, M.S., 2017

Current Location: North Carolina
Current Position:Therapy agency




Alex ElswickAlex Elswick, M.S., 2017

Current Location: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Current Position: Ph.D. Student




Joe HannanJoe Hannan, M.S., 2017

Current Location:
Current Position:





Kayla JansenKayla Jansen, M.S., 2017

Current Location: Indiana
Current Position:Agency







Kristyn JacksonKristyn Blackburn Jackson, Ph.D., 2016

Current Location: Louisville, KY
Current Position:LMFT




Mark Mains, Ph.D., 2016

Current Location: Lexington, KY
Current Position: Assistant Director, University of Kentucky, 4-H Youth Development





Cortnie Baity, M.S., 2016

Current Location: Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Current Position: Ph.D. Student, Florida State University




Patrick Bortz, M.S., 2016

Current Location:Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Current Position:Ph.D. Student





Lekie Dwanyen, M.S., 2016

Current Location:St. Paul, MN
Current Position:Ph.D. Student, CFT, University of Minnesota




Zuzana Gassova, M.S., 2016

Current Location:Lexington, KY
Current Position: Kentucky Association for Play Therapy




Teresa Hardin Thomas, M.S., 2016

Current Location:North Carolina
Current Position:Private Practice




Jessica King, M.S., 2016

Current Location: Louisville, KY
Current Position: MFTA, CFLE-P, Haven Family Services




Jillian NorwickJilian Norwick, M.S. 2016

Current Location:New York City, NY
Current Position: Public Health




Lucia Novakova, M.S., 2016

Current Location: Prague, Czech Republic
Current Position: Therapy




Katherine Oliver, M.S., 2016

Current Location:
Current Position:




Dayna Parrett, M.S., 2016

Current Location:Elizabethtown, KY
Current Position:Family & Consumer Sciences Agent, Hardin County Cooperative Extension Service




Ilana Pinsky, M.S., 2016

Current Location:San Francisco, CA
Current Position:Registered Behavior Technician, Gateway Learning Group







Laura FreyLaura Frey, Ph.D., 2015

Current Location: Louisville, KY
Current Position: Assistant Professor, LMFT, University of Louisville,Kent School of Social Work




Charlene Harris  Charlene Harris, Ph.D., 2015

Current Location:Oswego, NY
Current Position:Assistant Professor, State University of New York at Oswego




Deborah KeysDeborah Keys, Ph.D., 2015

Current Location:Lexington, KY
Current Position:Founder, CFLE, Keys Family Classroom




Erin PowellErin Lucretia Yelland, Ph.D., 2015

Current Location:Manhattan, KS
Current Position:Assistant Professor, Extension Specialist, CFLE, Kansas State University, School of Family Studies and Human Services




Erin Aiello, M.S., 2015

Current Location: Lexington, KY
Current Position: Private Practice

Katherine Hahn, M.S., 2015

Current Location:Madisonville, KY
Current Position:County Extension Agent for Family & Consumer Sciences, University of Kentucky, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment  



Toby Jenkins, M.S., 2015

Current Location: Lexington, KY
Current Position: Private Practice


Katarina Krizova, M.S., 2015

Current Location: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY
Current Position: Ph.D. Student doing doctoral residence


Laura (Kusisto) Snyder, M.S., 2015

Current Location: Indiana
Current Position: Therapy agency


Kassidy Pendleton Robinson, M.S., 2015

Current Location: Utah
Current Position: Therapist in residential treatment setting




Joann Lianekhammy, Ph.D., 2014

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Post-doctoral research, Department of Family Sciences, U of Kentucky

I'm currently a post-doctoral scholar working with Drs. Vail and Werner-Wilson within the School of HES here at UK. A majority of my time is dedicated to gaining experience in Cooperative Extension, with projects primarily focused on the evaluation and assessment of community programs and family assets.  I have also continued my doctoral program research investigating the behavioral and physiological outcomes of video game play.


Stephanie Armes, M.S., 2014

Current Location: Athens, Georgia
Current Position: Doctoral student, Department of HUman Development & Family Science, U of Georgia

In the doctoral program at the University of Georgia, my research interests include issues associated with trauma and compassin fatiugue, outcomes for inner-city Hispanic youth and their families, chronic homelessness, and resiliency among American expatriets.




Nichole Huff, Ph.D., 2013

Current Location: Raleigh, NC
Current Position: Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist, Department of Youth, Family, and Community Sciences, North Carolina State U

My areas of expertise focus on parent-child, interpersonal, and online communication, and the biopsychosocial aspects of human development. I also have a blog title Soapbox Mommy.



Matt Carlson, M.S., 2013

Current Location: Athens, Georgia
Current Position: Doctoral student, Department of HUman Development & Family Science, U of Georgia

I've been a practicing marriage and family therapy since 2012, and I'm currently focusing on MFT in the doctoral program at the University of Georgia. My research focuses on the development of the callous/unemotional trait during adolescence and young adulthood as a result of child maltreatment.




Claire Kimberly M.S., 2000; Ph.D., 2012

Current Location: Hattiesburg, Mississippi
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Child & Family Studies U of Southern Mississippi

Teaching is the primary focus of my faculty position at the University of Southern Mississippi, but I also have continued my research on family and marital communication.



Varu Kankipati Ph.D., 2012

Current Location: Hyderabad, India
Current Position: Co-Founder, Life Compass Organization Psychological Counseling & Psychoeducational Workshops

In June 2012, I moved back to India to co-found a counseling organization, Life Compass. One of our missions is to spread awareness about the philosophy and science of counseling psychology and its effectiveness in making us better equipped to face the challenges of life. Our goal is to remove the social stigma attached to counseling in India. Life Compass provides individual and group counseling Life Compass and in addition we provide workshops on life skills for children, adolescents, and adults.


Melissa Dalton M.S., 2012

Current Location: Owasso, Oklahoma
Current Position: Therapist, Grand Lake Mental Health Center

I work in a school setting with underserved individuals and families in need of mental health care and pharmacological management.



Benita Peoples M.S., 2012

Current Location: Cynthiana, Kentucky
Current Position: Extension Agent, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky

As the FCS agent for Harrison County Extension, I serve as the liaison between the University of Kentucky and the county providing educational programming to individuals and families. Programs are focused on making healthy lifestyle choices, nurturing families, embracing life through the aging process, financial security, promoting healthy homes and communities, accessing nutritious foods and empowering community leaders.

Katie Washington (Terrana) M.S., 2012

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Diversion Specialist, KVC Kentucky/Croney & Clark

I am currently working as a therapist at a mental and behavioral health agency in Lexington, KY. I provide services to children and their families that have been identified by social services as needing intensive interventions.





Linda Bradley Ph.D., 2011

Current Location: Chatsworth (LA County), California
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences California State University, Northridge

Since completing my doctoral degree in May, 2011 my career path has centered on transitioning into a tenure-track position at California State University, Northridge which services a diverse population of approximately 35,000 students. My focus is providing family financial education at both the undergraduate and graduate level, collaborating on the implementation of a service learning program for CSUN students and a community-wide Consumer Resource Center, and developing a research program centered on financial socialization and behaviors of disadvantaged populations.


Ahlishia Shipley Ph.D., 2011

Current Location: Washington, District of Columbia
Current Position: Program Specialist, Division of Family & Consumer Sciences, USDA National Institute of Food & Agriculture

My work falls within the scope of two main functions of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which are national program leadership and funding administration. Within DFCS, I provide program leadership and support for several programs including Military Family and Veterans Programs, Regional Rural Development, Sustainable Farm Enterprises, and Public Policy. I also handle communications in DFCS.


Fatimah Shalash M.S., 2011

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky & Nablus, Palestine
Current Position: ESL & Psychodrama Teacher Project Hope

I'm an English as Second Language (ESL) volunteer in Palestine, where I teach English to all ages and teach a pyschodrama class to university students. Once my volunteer program is complete, I plan to return to the Kentucky and work toward earning a full license in marriage and family therapy.


Lauren Smith M.S., 2011

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Positions: Project Coordinator, Military-Extension Adventure Camps, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky

I coordinate high-adventure camps for military families in Kentucky. We travel all throughout Kentucky and occasionally the surrounding states to engage service member parents and their teenage children in high-adventure activities, like whitewater canoeing and zip-lining, while helping the families connect and bond after experiencing deployment. I am also involved in the Association for Experiential Education (AEE) and specifically in the Therapeutic Adventure Professional Group.




Stephanie Blevins Ph.D., 2010

Current Location: Danville, Kentucky
Current Position: Cooperative Extension Specialist, 4-H Youth Development, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky

Since graduating, I have continued my employment as a 4-H Youth Development Specialist.



Martie Gillen Ph.D., 2010

Current Location: Gainesville, Florida
Current Position: Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Department of Family, Youth and Community Services, University of Florida

I began my current position in June of 2011 with a 70% teaching and 30% extension appointment. I teach undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of personal and family finance and research methods.


Jennifer Hunter Ph.D., 2010

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Associate Professor & Extension Specialist, Department of Family Sciences University of Kentucky

I'm employed within the department; see




Sally Dougherty M.S., 2010

Current Location: Eugene, Oregon
Current Position: Family Relations Director, Holt International Children's Services

I have worked at Holt, an international adoption agency and child welfare non-profit organization, since 2006. My responsibilities are to promote awareness of Holt's mission and adoption programs amongst prospective adoptive parents. Then, provide opportunities for parents to engage with Holt's staff to get the information needed to make their adoption decision.


Brooke Strickler M.S., 2010

Current Location: Des Moines, Iowa
Current Position: Mental Health Therapist, Orchard Place Child Guidance Center

I am currently working as an outpatient mental health therapist in a community mental health agency serving children, birth to age 21, and their families. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, Orchard Place provides mental health assessment and treatment to children diagnosed with moderate to severe emotional and/or behavioral disturbances. My focus is on children eight and under, struggling with a variety of symptoms from ADHD, to mood disorders, to complex traumas.





Megan Cox Ph.D., 2009

Current Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Current Position: Research Associate, Center for Early Education & Development University of Minnesota

My research interests include early childhood workforce and leadership issues, evaluation of large scale assessment initiatives, burnout and emotional labor in early care and education providers, and systems development. I'm currently working on two professional development initiatives within the state of Minnesota: (a) working with and training relationship based professional development providers, and (b) aiding the creation and evaluation structures of statewide cross-sector professional development systems. Additionally, I am working with the League of Michigan Infant Mental Health endorsement states to identify essential elements of reflective supervision in an effort to create consensus across state systems.


Cynthia Reeser Ph.D., 2009

Current Location: Columbia, Missouri
Current Position: Assistant Teaching Professor, Department of Human Development & Family Studies, University of Missouri

Since joining the Mizzou faculty in August, 2009, I've been active in incorporating educational technology in the classroom, and I have developed an online graduate certificate program due to offer its first course in Fall, 2012. I'm a member of the Campus Writing Board as well as the board of ET@MO, for which I serve as one of eight e-mentors on the Mizzou campus charged with helping those faculty members contemplating greater use of educational technology in their classrooms.


Judy van de Venne M.S., 2004; Ph.D., 2009

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Project Coordinator, Military-Extension, Adventure Camps, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky

Upon graduation I worked as Cooperative Extension Specialist and Lecturer for the Department of Family Sciences and the School of Human Environmental Sciences at UK. I'm currently developing a consultation business, "Family Matters, LLC.," which focuses on marriage preparation, marriage enrichment, family and divorce mediation (from a family strengths perspective), and research/technical writing with local businesses that work on behalf of neighborhoods and families. I have also taught at Asbury University and Eastern Kentucky University on a part-time basis.


Lesley Graham (Martinez) M.S., 2009

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Program Specialist, Save the Children

Upon completion of the family sciences master's program, I obtained employment as a Family Resource Center Director for Woodford County Schools. Though I thoroughly enjoyed my involvement with families and students in this role, I have recently accepted the position of Program Specialist with Save the Children. My responsibilities with Save the Children include providing training and support to School Based Programs in impoverished areas of Southeastern Kentucky, specifically Literacy & Physical Activity programs. In an effort to address the growing concerns regarding childhood obesity, I am also working as part of the Save the Children Health Team to strengthen our current nutrition and physical activity efforts, as well as to establish new community programming targeting this issue.


N. John-Evan Waite M.S., 2009

Current Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Current Positions: Marriage & Family Therapist, Jordan West Family Counseling, Mediator Hatch Associates

I currently work as a therapist at a private clinic near Salt Lake City. I work primarily with couples and parent/child relationships. I am also certified as a mediator and do mediation occasionally at a law firm.





Xin Gao Ph.D., 2008

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Research Coordinator, Department of Special Education & Rehabilitation Counseling University of Kentucky

I am conducting evaluation research for an early childhood initiative implemented by the state of Kentucky.




Jana Collins M.S., 2008

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Program Coordinator/Financial Manager, Bluegrass Care Clinic, University of Kentucky

In 2002, I joined the Bluegrass Care Clinic as a Data Manager and served in three different capacities before accepting my current position as Program Coordinator. I currently provide grant writing, federal reporting, as well as program and financial management for a Ryan White federally funded HIV clinic at the University of Kentucky. Because of my experience in various capacities of this federal grant program I was invited in 2008 by the Health Resource Services Administration of the United States Department of Health and Human Services to serve as a fiscal and technical assistant consultant. For the past three years I have traveled throughout the country auditing Ryan White programs to ensure legislative and program compliance, and providing program development and improvement strategies.


Amanda Veldorale-Brogan M.S., 2008

Current Location: Tallahassee, Florida
Current Position: Clinical Therapist, Healing Transitions, Inc.

I worked full-time as a family therapist working towards licensure after graduation. Currently I am working part-time as a therapist and attending school full-time at The Florida State University working on my PhD in Family Relations.





Kerri Ashurst M.S., 1999; Ph.D., 2007

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Senior Extension Specialist, Family and Consumer Sciences Extension, University of Kentucky

Since completion of my Ph.D., I have continued coordinating two different federal grants through Cooperative Extension that I worked with before graduation, including CYFAR (Children, Youth and Families at Risk) and CYFERnet (Children, Youth and Families Education and Research Network). I also have applied for and received several grants that I am now directing, including Operation: Military Kids (4 years), Operation: Military Kids Family Camp Grant (3 years), and Military-Extension Adventure Camp grant (1 year). My primary focus areas are in programming and support for military families throughout the deployment cycle; helping families cope with stress, crisis, and grief; youth leadership skills development; bullying prevention; family communication; and fathering.


Teresa Kern Ph.D., 2007

Current Location: Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health Sciences, and Department of Family & Community Medicine, Penn State University

I joined the Penn State College of Medicine as faculty in July 2009, where my work focuses on family functioning when faced by chronic illness(es) impacted by disparities related to poverty; geographic, rural isolation; and the conditions/resources of medically underserved communities. I'm also Director of Evaluation and Research for the Pennsylvania Area Health Education (AHEC) network.


Erik Carlton M.S., 2007

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Positions: Project Director, Department of Behavioral Science, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, Owner and Principle Consultant, Erik Carlton Services

After completing my MS in Family Studies, I went on to complete a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree in Health Services Management, also from the University of Kentucky. During this time, I continued my employment as a project director at the University of Kentucky, first as director for a $250,000 annual contract and then as co-director for a $6 million annual contract with primary responsibilities for data management and research and evaluation. In addition to my work at the university, I own and run a pair of businesses under one corporate umbrella, Erik Carlton Services. These businesses include a small, private marriage and family therapy practice and a management consulting firm working with public sector and non-profit organizations.


Trisha Jarnagin M.S., 2007

Current Location: Lexington, Kentucky
Current Position: Marriage & Family Therapist, Department of Veterans Affairs

Began working at Sunrise Children's Services as a foster care therapist after graduation, after earning my full licensure I began working with the federal government. I currently provide family and marital counseling to combat veterans and their families.



Josh Johnston M.S., 2007

Current Location: Berea, Kentucky
Current Positions: Therapist, Counseling & Disability Services, Berea College, Marriage & Family Therapist, Johnston Counseling, PPLC

After graduating from UK I worked for Comprehensive Care—a community non-profit agency—for 4 years where I earned my licensure in marriage in family therapy working in various therapeutic settings. I have been working at Berea College since August of 2011 as a therapist working exclusively with students of the College. I have also started my own private practice, Johnston Counseling, PLLC, where I provide therapeutic services specializing in marital and family therapy.


Shonda Faulkner Johnston M.S., 2007

Current Location: Berea, Kentucky
Current Position: Social Service Clinician, Cabinet for Health & Family Services, Commonwealth of Kentucky

Since graduation I have been a social worker investigating child abuse and neglect. Unfortunately my job does not afford me the opportunity to work toward MFT licensure, although that is still a goal of mine.



Karen Kiteck (Merkel) M.S., 2007

Current Location: Marion, Indiana
Current Position: Homemaker, mother, community volunteer

Following graduation, I was employed as an in-home family therapist by Highlands Community Services in Bristol, Virginia for 6 months. I am now in a season of caring for my own family fulltime.



Michelle Pinckney M.S., 2007

Current Location: Louisville, Kentucky
Current Position: Counselor Intermediate, Counseling Center, University of Louisville

After obtaining my second graduate degree from the University of Kentucky in 2007, I began working at the Child & Family Wellness Center, which is affiliated with Bluegrass Regional Mental Health-Mental Retardation Board, Inc. I worked as a Mental Health Specialist with children, adolescents and families. After working there for over 2 1/2 years, and living in Lexington for almost 16 years, I moved to Louisville, Kentucky (my current residence) due to obtaining a position at the University of Louisville Counseling Center in April 2010. My current position is as Counselor Intermediate working with both traditional and non-traditional university students.





Erika Grafsky (Eyre), M.S., 2005

Current Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development, Virginia Tech University

Description coming soon.




Melissa Mott, M.S., 2005

Current Location: Sunrise, Florida
Current Position: Clinical Manager, Foster Care at Cenpatico

Description coming soon.





Margaret Machara Ph.D., 2004

Current Location: Nashville, Tennessee
Current Position: Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Consumer Sciences, Tennessee State University

My areas of expertise revolve around families, particularly young children, and interpersonal relationships. My specific focuses are on parenting, the education of young children, interpersonal communication and intergenerational relationships. I also emphasize social, emotional, and cognitive development over the lifespan. I teach undergraduate classes in development, parenting, relationships, classroom management and research methods. I am currently working on a USDA funded project on Sustainable Living Practices.


Baomei Zhao Ph.D., 2004

Current Location: Akron, Ohio
Current Position: Associate Professor, Department of Family & Consumer Sciences, University of Akron

Since graduating from UK in December of 2004, I was Adjunct Professor at UK for a semester then, in fall of 2005, began a tenure-track position at the University of Akron. I earned tenure in May of 2011, and have continued in the same position as an Associate Professor.



Latoya Payne M.S., 2004

Current Location: Danville, Kentucky
Current Position: Quality Assurance Section Supervisor, Office of the Ombudsman, Cabinet for Health & Family Services, Commonwealth of Kentucky

Since graduating in 2004, I have worked as a case manager at a non-profit agency, a social service worker for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, and I'm currently working in the field of administrative social services. The Office of the Ombudsman serves the citizens of Kentucky by responding to requests for appeals of services and substantiated findings of abuse or neglect. We also, by request, review Cabinet cases for policy violations and provide information to the public regarding the Cabinet. My career path has been focused on the enhancement and protection of children and families.




Sievers Jenny M.S., 1998

Current Location: Lincoln, Nebraska
Current Position: Licensed Mental Health Practitioner & Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor Plaza West Psychiatrists

After graduating from the MFT program in December 1998, I moved back to Lincoln and began practicing as a therapist. I had two agency positions before venturing out on my own in 2008. In my private practice, my focus is on treating trauma disorders, mainly those of developmental and attachment traumas.