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Children, Youth & Family Consortium’s Advisory Board informs and supports the ongoing work of the Consortium. Advisory Board members are from universities, agencies, professional practices, and community groups and share their unique perspectives and insights on CYFC’s programmatic work.
Meet the Members
Jill Eck is the regional director for the Extension Regional Office in Andover. Jill has over 15 years of experience in post-secondary educational administration and supervision. Most recently, she served as director of student support with the University of Minnesota Medical School.
Jane R. Ellison, LMFT, IMH-E® is a community leader in early childhood mental health. She has more than thirty years experience working with young children and their families, including clinical work in private practice, parent education in Early Childhood Family Education, home visiting, family literacy, child abuse and neglect prevention programs, and a domestic violence shelter. She presently holds several positions, including clinical work with children birth through age five and their families in her private practice "Nurturing Possibilities," where she also provides reflective consultation and training. Ms. Ellison is the official Minnesota trainer for Trauma Informed Child Parent Psychotherapy. She has spent eight years as project manager for Greater St. Cloud Area Thrive and has been an early childhood mental health specialist for the Sauk Rapids/Rice ECFE program. Ms. Ellison is a field faculty member in the University of Minnesota Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Certificate Program and provides consultation on assessment and diagnosis using the DC 0-3R through the Minnesota Department of Human Services Great Start Program.
Catherine Fischer earned a degree in violin and voice performance at The College of Wooster, OH. However, since moving to Minnesota in 1985, she has found her musical heart in the role of collaborative pianist. An active accompanist in the Twin Cities, she has worked with musicians from area high schools and colleges as well as singers of opera and art song. She served for two decades as the accompanist for the Minnetonka Choral Society, has performed for Thursday Musicale in the Twin Cities, and is currently a member of Friday Club, a group of area musicians performing for each other monthly. Catherine also co-founded the Minnetonka High School Arts Council, the Northern Pines Music Festival, and served as Music Director for the University of Michigan All-State High School Musical Theater Workshop, Interlochen Arts Camp in Interlochen, MI. Catherine is a member of the Minnesota Commissioning Club, a small group of friends dedicated to the commissioning of new music. Recently, Catherine has been involved in Nicollet Square in Minneapolis, a collaborative project sponsored by the Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative providing housing for Twin Cities homeless youth. In addition, she has served on numerous advisory boards, including the Dale Warland Singers, the School of Music at the University of Minnesota, and currently the Center for Youth and Families at the University of Minnesota Extension.
Ed Frickson is the president of Family Innovations, Inc., a mental health clinic system that provides outpatient and community-based mental health services to children, adolescents, couples, families, and adults across the Twin Cities area; Alexandria, MN; western Wisconsin; and Saline, MI. Over his career in mental health, Ed has worked in small non-profit settings, HMOs, psychiatric hospital settings, and with an urban county/social services department. Ed received his master's degree in Community Counseling from St. Cloud State University in 1990, and his bachelor's degree in Psychology from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1987. He has experience with family therapy, couples counseling, child and adolescent therapy, solution focused therapy, and child trauma. He has significant experience with program development and supporting the professional growth of staff.
Kelly Jedd is a Ph.D. candidate in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the neural correlates of early adversity, including child maltreatment. In particular, Kelly is interested in understanding how early life stress influences brain systems involved in emotion processing and cognitive regulation. Through her research, Kelly seeks to inform policy and practice to help foster resilience in children who have experienced early adversity. Kelly is also a fellow with the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being, through Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
For over 25 years, Anita has worked in a variety of education and social service contexts including direct service in county government, as well as in planning, evaluation, and research in state agencies. She currently works in Early Learning Services at the Minnesota Department of Education building longitudinal data systems to inform policy and practice. She also teaches in the Public Administration program at Hamline University in St. Paul where she earned her doctorate. Over the next three years, she will be working with early childhood programs to build internal evaluation capacity and promote data use and program improvement with funding from an Institute of Education Sciences grant.
Linda Lindeke, PhD, RN, CNP is an associate professor emerita in the School of Nursing, University of Minnesota — Minneapolis. Linda has extensive experience as a pediatric nurse practitioner, nurse educator, and scholar. She has provided graduate education, continuing education, and consultation in a variety of settings such as child care centers, professional organizations, health policy arenas, higher education programs, and community agencies. She is a founding faculty member in the School of Nursing's Center for Children with Special Health Care Needs as well as in the interprofessional University of Minnesota Center for Neurobehavioral Development. Her research areas include health and developmental outcomes following high risk birth, barriers to advanced practice nursing, and children's perceptions of their healthcare experiences. Linda is a past national president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) and is active on foundations, policy committees, and task forces regionally and nationally.
Mary Marczak is the director of the Children, Youth & Family Consortium, and the Director for Urban Family Development and Evaluation. In her role as an evaluator, Mary has evaluated more than 70 family and youth programs, including national and statewide initiatives, as well as local programs run by small, non-profit organizations. Her current evaluation studies focus on effective youth and family program practices and effective practices for working in traditionally underserved communities. Mary holds a B.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in families studies and human development, with a minor in cultural anthropology from the University of Arizona, Tucson.
Donna McAlpine, PhD is a medical sociologist whose research focuses on alcohol, drug, and mental health care, and racial and ethnic disparities in health outcomes and treatment. Her recent research explores barriers to health care, social determinants of health, and the role of community engagement. Her expertise is in Equity, mental health, methods, mental health services, race & ethnic inequities, survey methods, and community engagement.
Karen Shirer, Ph.D., has 41 years of experience as an educator, manager, researcher, and administrator for family and consumer sciences programs in both formal and non-formal settings. She is currently the associate dean for Extension's Center for Family Development. Her research interests focus on at-risk and low-income families and family life education. She has a strong interest and expertise in participatory processes for planning, implementing and developing community-based educational programs and services. Dr. Shirer's other interest areas include adult learning and development, family demographics, health education and promotion, welfare to work, and balancing work and family.
Rebecca Shlafer, PhD, MPH, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of General Pediatrics and Adolescent Health. Dr. Shlafer joined the faculty in September 2012 after completing a two-year, post-doctoral fellowship in the Division (2010-2012). Dr. Shlafer completed her BS (2004) and MS (2007) in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and her PhD (2010) in Child Psychology at the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota.
Dr. Shlafer's research focuses on understanding the developmental outcomes of children and families with multiple risk factors. She is particularly interested in children with parents in prison, as well as the programs and policies that impact families affected by incarceration.
Dr. Shlafer teaches the writing seminar for our interdisciplinary training program in Adolescent Health and routinely teaches undergraduate courses in Child Psychology, as an affiliate faculty member at the Institute of Child Development.
In addition to her research and teaching activities, Dr. Shlafer is a volunteer guardian ad litem in Hennepin County where she serves as an advocate for abused and neglected children involved in juvenile court.
Nimi Singh, M.D., M.P.H. is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Adolescent Medicine Fellowship in the Division of Adolescent Health and Medicine at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Singh is also the Director for the Youth and Aids Projects. She received her undergraduate degree at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and her medical degree at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. In conjunction with her residency in Pediatrics and International Child Health at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland Ohio, she pursued a Masters in Medical Anthropology at Case Western Reserve University. Following this, she did a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Fellowship at the University of Washington in Seattle, where she also received a Masters in Public Health. She then completed her training with a fellowship in Adolescent Medicine at the University of Washington. Dr. Singh is currently pursuing the Clinical Scholars academic track. Her clinical and research interests have focused on disenfranchised youth including homeless and incarcerated youth, and on the mental health needs of youth in varying socioeconomic and cultural contexts. Currently she is focused on exploring, teaching and evaluating means by which to promote mental health and resilience in youth, as well as in medical students, residents and medical faculty. In June 2003, she was the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Educator Award by the Dept. of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine.
Larry G. Tucker is the CEO of Kente Circle, LLC, the company he co-founded in 2004. He is a 2016 Bush Fellow, businessman, and community activist. He has a bachelor's degree in social work from St. John's University, in Collegeville, MN and a master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from University of Wisconsin-Stout. Larry also identifies himself as a relational therapist; he enjoys helping individuals, couples, and families navigate life's challenges. Larry is an adjunct professor at St. Mary's University, Twin Cities Campus, in their master's program for Marriage and Family Therapy. He is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, Minnesota MFT and LPC Board Approved Supervisor. Larry is also a trainer and consultant to agencies who are interested in enhancing their cultural knowledge and experiences with their staff and clients. As a trainer and consultant, his goal is to inspire people to resist giving into the fear that comes with the unknown. Larry hopes to encourage clients to lean into their fears and difficult conversations by being curious about what they don't understand.
Areas of Interest
Equity, social justice, and urban teacher education in STEM Education Race issues in STEM Education STEM Education and Food Security in the Global South Sociology and Anthropology of STEM Education
As a former science teacher, I am interested in research and teaching that addresses issues of science teaching and learning in the high-poverty urban schools. At the K-12 level I not only want to examine how science teaching and learning can be improved in the classrooms but also look at issues of access, ethnicity, and race that surround science education in our urban schools.
In addition, my research focuses on how social justice and equity be achieved through science education. In this regard, I examine the nature and purposes of science education for students from high-poverty, immigrant, and minority families. I use the theories of critical pedagogy, culturally responsive and culturally relevant pedagogy, social justice, constructivist learning, and context based instruction to understand and critically examine these issues in the context of science teaching and learning.
I am using Linking Food and Environment (LiFE) curriculum to understand teachers' thinking about students' lived experiences in teaching science. LiFE is an elementary level curriculum designed by Teachers College to teach life and the environment science to urban school children.
Through various research grants and projects I am examining:
- community and science
- science as an agent for change, empowerment, and social justice for urban minority youths
- the intersection of science and socio-cultural habits in urban school settings
- issues of science learning for the students from immigrant families and roles of immigrant parents in their children's science learning
- social justice and equity
Antonia Wilcoxon has served as the Minnesota Department of Human Services' Director of Community Relations since June 2012. In this role, she manages, develops, and facilitates relationships between DHS and the community the department serves. Wilcoxon also staffs the Cultural and Ethnic Communities Leadership Council, which advises the commissioner on reducing disparities that affect racial and ethnic groups within DHS programs. Wilcoxon has served the department for 11 years in different capacities and she is a member of the department's Senior Management Team. She has been honored for her contributions to the education, training, and guidance to the next generation of public health leaders at the University of Minnesota. She earned a bachelor's degree in economics from the Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo in Vitória, Brazil. She is a Humphrey Policy Fellow, an Emerging Leaders Institute alumna, and a recipient of the "My Brother's Keepers Award" from the Q-Health Connection, in 2013. Ms. Wilcoxon is also an Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Interface Coach/Trainer in the state of Minnesota.