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Child and Family Science

Faculty and Staff


Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty 

Rhett Billen head shot

Office: FFS 201

Phone: 559-278-3228


Education: Ph.D. Child and Family Studies, University of Tennessee-Knoxville; M.S. Child and Family Studies, University of Tennessee-Knoxville; B.S. Marriage, Family, and Human Development, Brigham Young University

Experience and Research: Joining the Fresno State faculty full-time in the fall of 2016, Rhett served the previous year as a lecturer for child growth and development, family crisis, adolescent learning and development classes at Fresno State and Clovis Community College. He also taught classes at Tennessee in family stress, human sexuality, parent-child relations, and served as a graduate research assistant. At Fresno State, Rhett enjoys teaching family science courses and the upper-division writing course. His research has focused on families with young children with developmental disabilities and determinants of parental involvement among families of children receiving early intervention services. In August 2017, Rhett became a provisional Certified Family Life Educator (CFLE) through the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). He is working towards collaborating with families of children with disabilities in the central valley to conduct research and develop family life education materials.

Kathleen Dyer head shot

Phone: 559-278-4720


Education: Ph.D. Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia; M.S. Human Development and Family Studies, University of Missouri-Columbia

Experience and Research: Katie's current research explores attachment cognitions of toddlers in relation to sleep and family history. The unifying theme of Katie's research agenda is an interest in parenting practices pertaining to infant sleep and how those strategies (such as cosleeping and sleep training) are related to attachment and emotional development. In addition, she conducts evaluation research to explore the effects of a developmental pediatric intervention called Healthy Steps at a local medical clinic.

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 Amber Hammonds head shot

Office: FFS 214

Phone:  559-278-1158



Education:  Ph.D. Psychology, University of California, Riverside; M.A. Psychology, University of California, Riverside; B.S. Psychology, University of California, San Diego

Research Interests:
     Developmental Psychology
     Family Health
     Behavior Change
     Prevention/Intervention Programming
     Positive Psychology

Selected Publications:
Professor Hammons' publications may be accessed through her website, 

 Falon Kartch head shot

Office: FFS 203

Phone: 559-278-2878


Education: Ph.D., 2013, Communication, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; M.A., 2009, Communication, Northern Illinois University; B.A., Communication and Political Science, 2007, Northern Illinois University

Research Interests: Family Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Dark Side of Close Relationships, Gender Communication, Menstruation Studies, and Qualitive Methods

Experience and Research: Dr. Falon Kartch's research centers on exploring how familial bonds are formed and maintained, as well as how various populations define what it means to be "family," particularly in contexts in which "family" occurs outside of social and cultural conventions. Her recent work has explored nonresidential parenting practices and nonresidential parent/child relationships. She is also interested in the application of nonviolent communication and relational justice frameworks to understand, develop, maintain, and terminate close relationships. More specifically, her recent line of inquiry explores the use of relational justice frameworks for understanding co-parenting relationships. Her most current research project explores parent/child communication regarding menstruation. Her research has been competitively selected for presentation at multiple meetings of the National Communication Association as well as the International Association for Relationship Researchers and has been featured in numerous edited volumes, including Family Communication, Casing the Family: Theoretical and Applied Approaches to Understanding Family Communication, and the SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods. She is currently co-editing an interdisciplinary, edited volume titled Gandhi's Global Legacy: Lessons from Our Modern Times and Moral Challenges, under contract with Lexington Books. 

Dr. Kartch teaches Undergraduate and Graduate courses in social and personal relationships including Family Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Conflict and Communication, and the Dark Side of Close Relationships, as well as Communication Theory and Gender Communication. Dr. Kartch has also presented invited lecturers, at both the Undergraduate and Graduate level, on qualitative inquiry and data analysis.

Dr. Kartch is particularly interested in the use of service-learning as a means of promoting student engagement with the local community and has worked with local community partners, most notably the grassroots initiative Better Period, to address menstrual stigma and period poverty in the Central Valley through her Gender Communication course.  She has completed several trainings in service-learning and was a recipient of the 2019-2020 Service-Learning Development Grant from the Jan & Bud Richter Center for Community Engagement and Service-Learning at Fresno State.

Jessica Mckenzie head shot

Office: FFS 214

Phone: 559.278.1659



 Education: Ph.D., Psychology, Clark University; M.A., Psychology, Clark University; B.A., Psychology (Italian minor), Miami University

Experience and Research: Jessica's research synthesizes developmental and cultural perspectives to examine how culture structures the life course, and how young people and their families psychologically negotiate cultural change brought about by globalization and immigration. Under this umbrella, she currently has three interconnected lines of research:

In one line of work, Jessica studies the perspectives (about self, morality, values, divinity) and practices (religious, linguistic, dietary, media) of Thai youth coming of age in an era of rapid globalization. This long-term fieldwork, which began prior to widespread availability of high-speed internet in rural Thai communities, contributes to the psychological science of globalization and paves the way for understanding both how culture evolves over time and the developmental implications of that evolution.

In another line of work, Jessica studies the psychological experiences of biculturalism among immigrant-origin Southeast Asian and Latino/a youth growing up in central California. This work contributes to acculturation science by speaking to how young people negotiate between and integrate multiple sets of cultural values into their conception of self - as well as barriers to psychological integration. 

Jessica also examines within-culture diversity of moral reasoning on global and local scales. In Thailand, she studies how ecological context and generational cohort shape moral values and moral reasoning. In the U.S., she has studied how age and religious beliefs jointly shape moral reasoning.

In each line of research, Jessica systematically integrates and works alongside undergraduate students. Human Development & Culture Research Lab student scholars have published empirical articles in leading cross-cultural psychology, developmental science, media studies, and religious studies journals, co-authored invited book chapters, and have presented the results of their research internationally, nationally, and locally. More information on lab activities, lab members (past and present), and lab output is available here:

Students interested in getting involved in Jessica's Human Development and Culture Research Lab are invited to get in touch via email.

Megan Pronovost head shot

Office: FFS 301

Phone: 559-278-5323


Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Education: Ph.D. Psychological Sciences, University of California, Merced

Experience and Research: Megan joined the Fresno State faculty in 2019 after receiving a Ph.D. in Psychological Sciences with an emphasis in Developmental Psychology from UC Merced. Her research is primarily related to the development of social cognition from infancy to early childhood.

Broadly, her research investigates the origins and nature of social-group based inferences, and how environmental factors shape these inferences throughout early childhood. Specifically, she investigates the types of characteristics that infants expect members of a social group to share, such as food preferences and social behaviors.

Additionally, her research investigates how environmental influences, such as how parents discuss social groups with their children, as well as the other environmental factors, impact the beliefs and inferences that children form about social groups.

 Andrea Roach head shot

Office: FFS 305

Phone: 559-278-5141


Education: Ph.D. Human Development and Family Science, University of Missouri - Columbia; M.A., Child and Family Studies, Fontbonne University, St. Louis, MO; B.A., Vocational Family and Consumer Sciences, Missouri State University, Springfield, MO

Experience and Research: Joining the Fresno State faculty in the fall of 2016, Andrea received her Ph.D. degree from the University of Missouri with an emphasis on domestic violence and family relations. Her research interests include intimate partner violence, parent-child relationships, adolescence and emerging adulthood, sibling relationships, divorce and remarriage, and sexuality. She has been an active member of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) since 2011, is a member of the Journal of Family Theory and Review Inaugural Digital Scholarship Board, and is the Students and New Professionals Representative-Elect for the NCFR Board.

At the University of Missouri, she was a graduate instructor and teaching assistant. She taught classes in family studies, intimate relationships and marriage, human sexuality, human development, adolescence and young adulthood. She also served as a postdoctoral research assistant for the Family Services Department of the State of Missouri in a comparative analysis for child support collection techniques. She also taught Family and Consumer Sciences at McCluer South-Berkeley High School while she was a graduate student at Fontbonne University. Courses she taught included child care and development, housing, fashion design, nutrition and wellness, food science, and senior survival.



Courtney Angell head shot

Office: FFS 312


Education: MA (2020) Early Childhood Education, Fresno State; BS (2019) Child Development, Fresno State; Hired: 2021

Experience and Research: Area Manager for Head Start (2021)

Marcy Davidson

Office: FFS 312

Phone: 559-259-4254


Education: MA (2007) Human Development with specializations in ECE, Teaching Adults and College Teaching, Leadership in Education and Human Services Admin., Pacific Oaks College; Hired: 2017

Experience and Research: Reedley College faculty/chair, early childhood education

cLinda Dekruif headshot

Office: FFS 206

Phone: 559-696-4425


Education: MS (1994) Psychology, Fresno State; Hired: 1994

Experience and Research: Full-time child development faculty at Fresno City College

Caroline Dower-Serrano head shot

Office: FFS 312

Phone: 559-273-5958


Education: MS (2018) Marriage and Family Therapy, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary; BS (2008) Child Development, Fresno State; Hired: 2018

Experience and Research: Family Healing Center – forensic interviewer

Beth Fransen head shot

Office: FFS 312


Education: MA (2020) Early Childhood Education, Fresno State; Hired: 2022

Experience and Research: Assistant Director at Kids Kare since 1999

Davey Jones head shot

Office: FFS 312


Education: Ph.D., Human Development, Fielding Graduate University; M.A., Human
Development, Fielding Graduate University; M.A., Educational Leadership, California State
University-East Bay; M.A., Counseling & Student Services, California State University-Fresno;
B.S., Developmental Psychology, University of Michigan-Flint, Hired: 2022

Experience and Research: Davey [pronounced “DAY-vee”; he/him/his] began teaching with the
department in 2022. His publications primarily center on issues related to disability and other
subjugated lives. For example, his dissertation explored how creativity research often operates to
exclude disabled creators, people of color, and women. This study involves experimenting with
ways to research collaboratively with people who have been historically misrepresented in
empirical studies. He has also explored the topic of special education—law and policy—within
public and parochial schools across the United States, as well as international schools throughout
the world. He is a parent to two people who daily unteach him everything he thinks he knows.

Caption: Davey stands in front of a tiled wall and stares at the camera. He wears black-framed
glasses and a gray crewneck sweater. He has medium-length, curly, dark hair as well as a coarse
beard and beige-colored skin.

Christina Macias head shot

Office: FFS 206

Phone: 559-349-9159


Education: MA Ed. (2018) Early Childhood Education, Fresno State; BS (2010) Biology, Fresno State; Hired: 2019

Experience and Research: Also teaches at Reedley Community College, Science Education

Kacey Medellin headstot

Office: FFS 312


Education: MS (2020) Marriage and Family Therapy, CSU Fullerton; BS (2017) Child Development, Fresno State; Hired: 2020

Experience and Research: Private clinical practice

Celeste Naik head shot

Office: FFS 312

Phone: 559-903-3732


Education: MS (2013) Marriage and Family Therapy, Fresno State; BA (2010) Psychology, Fresno State; Hired: 2018

Experience and Research: MS, LMFT, LPCC is a licensed clinician currently in private practice providing mental health treatment to individuals, couples, and families. Celeste spent a significant amount of time working in the non-profit sector as both a clinician and FFA Social Worker, where she worked with at-risk youth and foster youth in our community. She has been a lecturer at Fresno State for over a decade and also teaches several classes for the Department of Psychology.  She was named the Graduate Dean’s Medalist for the Kremen School of Education and Human Development in 2013 and was nationally awarded as a Chi Sigma Iota Leadership Fellow that same year.

Valente Orozco head shot

Office: FFS 312


Education: MSW (2008) Social Work, Fresno State; BS (2005) Social Work, Fresno State; Hired: 2023

Experience and Research: Currently works in private practice in Fresno, California, and offers training, supervision, and consultation in Gestalt Therapy with adults, children, and adolescents. He is certified by the Pacific Gestalt Institute (PGI) in Los Angeles, where he is also an adjunct faculty member and is the administrative director of The West Coast Institute for Gestalt Therapy with Children and Adolescents, LLC. He has presented at national conferences and workshops and has been an international trainer in Mexico and S. Korea

Melissa Putman head shot

Office: FFS 312


Education: MA (2018) Marriage and Family Therapy, Fresno Pacific University Biblical Seminary; BA (2011) Family Science, Fresno State; Hired: 2018-2020 Rehired: 2023

Experience and Research: Private clinical practice

Ryan Robart head shot

Office: FFS 312

Phone: 559-259-2596


Education: PhD (2010) Cognitive Psychology, UC Riverside; Hired: 2019

Experience and Research: Cognition, perception, family interactions and child health

Alexandra Smith head shot

Office: FFS 312


Education: MS (2021) Marriage and Family Therapy, Fresno State; BA (2019) Psychology, Fresno State; Hired: 2022

Experience and Research: Currently works in the Child and Family Science Department and Psychology Department at Fresno State. Additionally, Alexandra works in private practice as a Marriage and Family Therapist, offering psychotherapy to families, couples, adults, and children.

Xueyan Yang head shot

Office: FFS 312


Education: PhD (2018) Special Education, University of Washington; Hired: 2023

Experience and Research: Lecturer in Education, Fresno State


Administrative Support Coordinator

Office: FFS 214

Phone: 559-278-1601



Emeriti Faculty

Are you curious about what our emeritus faculty have been up to since you graduated? Click here!

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