Below are brief biographies from our students and colleagues who have worked closely with us on various projects. We deeply appreciate their friendship and contributions!
Zahra AlghafliZahra Alghafli is an Assistant Professor in the College of Education, Aljubail University (Saudi Arabia). She earned her Bachelor’s degree from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia, and a Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Creighton University. She received her Ph.D. in Child and Family Studies from LSU in 2015 and has contributed to the American Families of Faith project by researching, interviewing, and publishing. Zahra’s focus has been Shia and Sunni Muslim families.
Cassandra Chaney is an Associate Professor in Child and Family Studies at Louisiana State University. She examines the structure and functional dynamics of Black family life, which includes emotional closeness and commitment among dating, cohabiting, and married Black couples; the influence of religiosity and/or spirituality among Blacks; and several other topics that affect Black families. She has co-authored several of the American Families of Faith manuscripts that address religious Black families.
Joe Chelladurai is a doctoral student in the Marriage, Family and Human Development program in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. He recieved his Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Madras Christian College in India and a Master's degree in Development Management from Madras School of Social Work. His research focusses on exploring the systemic interaction of family traditions and rituals on familiy functioning in religious families using data from the American Families of Faith project.
Tanya Davis Coleman
Tanya Davis Coleman graduated from LSU in 2003 in Family, Child, and Consumer Sciences, and earned her MSW from Southern University at New Orleans in 2005. For the past 5 years she has been employed as a supervisor for the Georgia Dept. of Human Services/Office of Inspector General. She has conducted interviews, coded data, and co-authored articles relating to strong, religious African American families with the American Families of Faith project.
Hilary Dalton received her bachelor degree from Brigham Young University in Family Life and will graduate with a master’s degree in Marriage Family and Human Development from Brigham Young University in the summer of 2017. She has coded, taught students how to code, collaborated in publishable papers, and is collaborating on book manuscripts detailing findings related to the nexus of faith and family life. She will begin a doctorate in family studies at Kansas State University in the fall of 2017.
Michael Goodman received his PhD in Marriage, Family and Human Development at Brigham Young University in 2004. He is an Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine. His research interests revolve around the intersection of religion and family life – particularly the marriage relationship. He has been a lead or supporting author on several journal articles and book chapters in conjunction with the American Families of Faith project.One of those articles was awarded the professional paper of the year award from the National Council on Family Relations Religion and Family section.
Trevan Hatch received his PhD in Social Work: Family Studiesfrom Louisiana State University in 2015. He also has a Master’s degree in Jewish Studies from Baltimore Hebrew University/Towson University. His research specialty is Jewish and Muslim families in the United States. He has conducted interviews, coded data, and published several articles relating to strong, religious Jewish and Muslim families with several other manuscripts currently in progress.
Heather Kelley completed her bachelor's degree in Family Studies at Brigham Young University (BYU) and is currently a master's student in the Marriage, Family, and Human Development Program at BYU. She has interviewed, coded, and trained students on qualitative research techniques. She has collaborated on publishable papers related to families in various faith communities and the unifying and dividing influence of religion on relationships.
Nathaniel Lambert is a senior lecturer for the School of Social Sciences at the University of the South Pacific in Fiji. He has published nearly 70 articles and book chapters and solo authored 5 books on the topic of thriving in life. He also served as an editor of The Journal of Positive Psychology. He has presented his research across the United States and on four continents and has received numerous awards for his research. His research has been featured in numerous national magazines, newspapers, and television programs.
Emily Layton received her Master’s degree in Marriage, Family, and Human Development from Brigham Young University in 2010. Her research focuses on the religious and spiritual identity development of Jewish, Christian, and Muslim adolescents. She has co-authored and published articles on religious commitment, exploration, and sacrifice. She has also done work on religion and transformative processes in marriage. Her interest is coding and analyzing qualitative data.
Yaxin Lu earned her Ph.D. in Human Ecology from Louisiana State University in 2012 in Child and Family Studies. Her research focuses on faith and Chinese immigrant families and garnered an NCFR Student/New Professional Paper of the Year Award from the National Council on Family Relations’ Religion and Family Life Section in 2012.She was recently visiting professor at Georgia Southern University. She has conducted interviews, coded data, and served as lead author on multiple several articles related to the American Families of Faith project.
Olena Nesterukis an Associate Professor in the Department of Family and Child Studies at Montclair State University. She earned her Ph.D. in Human Ecology from Louisiana State University in 2007 in Child and Family Studies.Olena’s main research interest is in studying immigrant families across generations and over the life course, with a focus on acculturation, parenting, intergenerational relationships, heritage language, and ethnic identity development.She has conducted interviews, coded data, and co-authored work for the American Families of Faith project.
Toshi Shichida is a doctoral student in the Marriage, Family and Human Development Program in the School of Family Life at Brigham Young University. His research focuses on the interface of religion/spirituality and marriage, parent-child relationship, or the child’s moral development. Especially underlying values of families, intrinsic religiosity/spirituality, and types of relationship have been his central topics.
Antonius (“Skip”) Skipper
Antonius Skipper is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at Louisiana State University. He is a recipient of the Huel D. Perkins Diversity Fellowship, and he has a passion for examining the role of spirituality in the strengthening of African American households and communities and is coding and collecting data on highly religious African American families for the American Families of Faith project.
Katrina Hopkins Tanner
Katrina Hopkins Tanner earned her Ph.D. in Human Ecology from LSU. Katrina has extensive professional experience working in human resources, specializing in diversity recruitment, outreach, and retention, and she serves as a cultural diversity facilitator and certified trainer within the Portland, Oregon, community. She has conducted interviews, coded data, and published several pioneering articles relating to strong, religious African American families. Katrina was co-recipient of an NCFR Paper of the Year Award from the National Council on Family Relations’ Religion and Family Life Section in
Kaity Pearl Young
Kaity Pearl Young graduated from Brigham Young University in Family Studies, and is currently working toward her Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Utah State University. She has coded data, and collaborated on publishable papers about the struggles of highly religious families for the American Families of Faith Project.