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LaGraff, Melissa

Melissa Rector LaGraff

PhD Student

Biography

Melissa is from Chattanooga, TN.  She received her B.S. in Human Ecology and M.S. in Child and Family Studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Her major professor is Dr. Heidi Stolz. Melissa’s research examines how to improve family functioning through family policies and parenting education that encourages effective parenting practices.


Education

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Child and Family Studies, Ph.D. 2020

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Child and Family Studies, M.S. 2009

  • Thesis: “A Program Evaluation of Parenting Apart: Effective Co-Parenting”

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Human Ecology, B.S. 2007

  • Major: Child and Family Studies
  • Minor: Psychology
  • Summa Cum Laude Honors

Certifications:

Teachstone Classroom Assessment Scoring System (CLASS) Valid through 01/2020

  • Toddler CLASS Observer

Curriculum Vitae


Professional Service

Professional Experience: 

The University of Tennessee Extension – Jefferson County

  • County Director/Family & Consumer Sciences Extension Agent II 01/2010 – 07/2015
  • Provided educational programs and research-based information related to financial management, nutrition and food safety, human development, and health and safety to youth and adult audiences. County Director duties included securing county funding, facilitating quarterly Agriculture Committee meetings, overseeing office spending, managing office staff, and promoting the county Extension program.

The University of Tennessee – Cox Campus Evaluation Project

  • Project Coordinator/Graduate Research Assistant 01/2019 – Present
  • Coordinating Tennessee’s data collection efforts for this multi-state, large-scale evaluation of a language and literacy intervention and its impact on teacher practice funded by the Rollins Center for Language and Literacy at the Atlanta Speech School and the Hearst Foundation.
  • Duties include collecting and managing teacher data as well as coordinating graduate student research assistants.

The University of Tennessee – Child and Family Studies Department

  • Graduate Research Assistant 08/2019 – Present
  • Assisting with data collection efforts for the East Tennessee Family Strengths Study, a longitudinal study examining the psychosocial environments and neurocognitive development of infants born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome in rural Appalachia.

The University of Tennessee – Child and Family Studies Department

  • Graduate Assistant 08/2017 – 05/2018
  • Provided course support for Development in Adolescence and Adulthood and Family Interaction courses by managing and maintaining the online course platforms as well as assessing student work.

The University of Tennessee – Tennessee Dad: Engaging Fathers in Home Visiting Project

  • Graduate Research Assistant 08/2015 – 07/2017
  • Assisted with the development of Tennessee Dad, an in-home parenting education program for fathers delivered in conjunction with a primary early home visiting curriculum. Aided with development of program implementation and evaluation procedures. Collected and managed parent, home visitor, and agency-level data (11 Tennessee agencies, 274 families). Project contract funded by the Tennessee Department of Health via the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) funding mechanism of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The University of Tennessee – Child and Family Studies Department

  • Graduate Assistant 08/2008 – 12/2009
  • Composed thematic summaries of qualitative interviews, assessed student work, and developed course activities for Diversity among Children and Families course.

The University of Tennessee – Center for Parenting

  • Graduate Assistant 01 – 05/2008
  • Undergraduate Intern 08 – 12/2007
  • Worked to establish the Center for Parenting as a resource for Tennessee parent educators and parents. Maintained all aspects of the website, wrote newsletters and other materials, served as an office manager, planned and organized regional parent education conferences for parent educators, and assisted with research for a national peer-reviewed presentation and manuscript.

University of Tennessee Extension – Knox County

  • Tennessee Nutrition and Consumer Education Program (TNCEP) Intern 06 – 07/2007
  • Planned and taught various nutrition education classes for limited-resource youth and adult audiences, created an exhibit on meal planning displayed at a local emergency food pantry, and coordinated and implemented a new TNCEP program in daycare centers around the county.

Professional Affiliations:

National Council on Family Relations (NCFR)

Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN)

National Parenting Education Network (NPEN)

National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (NEAFCS)

Tennessee Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (TEAFCS)

Professional Service and Leadership:

Southeastern Conference on Family Relations (SECFR)

  • Treasurer 2017 – Present
  • Graduate Student Representative 2016 – 2017

CFS Department Graduate Student Organization

  • Housing and Program Committees Member, Quint State Symposium 2018
  • Vice-President 2016 – 2017

National Council on Family Relations

  • Section Proposal Reviewer 2011 – 16; 2018 – 19
  • Student Volunteer 2016

UT Extension FCS Human Development

  • Leadership Team Member 2015

UT Extension Healthier Tennessee

  • Initiative Work Group Member 03/2014 – 07/2015

Family & Consumer Sciences

  • Search Committee Member for Assistant/Associate Professor, Community Health Specialist, 05/2014 – 02/2015

Agriculture, Natural Resources and Community Economic Development

  • Search Committee Member for Farm Management Area Specialist, 05/2014 – 03/2015

2014 State Extension Professional Development Conference

  • Planning Committee Member, 03 – 11/2014

Eastern Region TEAFCS Director 01/2013 – 12/2014

Department of Children Services’ In Home Tennessee

  • Mentoring Parents Work Group Member, 2013

Carson-Newman University’s Family & Consumer Sciences Department 

  • Advisory Board Member, 09/2013 – 07/2015

Jefferson County High School’s Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

  • Club Advisory Committee Member

Jefferson County Health Council Member, 2010-2015

  • Secretary/Treasurer, 2013

Media Coverage

“Raised on Technology, ‘Parennials’ Must Find Balance with Their Own Kids.” By Alivia McAtee, Reviews.com, August 9, 2019. References expertise in parenting and work-family issues. Available at: https://www.reviews.com/blog/millennial-parents-technology-services/

INDEPENDENT COURSES TAUGHT

Family Resource Management Fall 2018; Spring 2019

Family Life and Parent Education Fall 2017

Special Topics – Family Policy Spring 2017

Marriage and Family: Roles and Relationships Fall 2016


Awards and Recognitions

Feldman Outstanding Research Proposal for Research in Family Policy Award (NCFR) 2019

Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching (UT Graduate Student Senate) 2018

Lovelace/McKinney Professional Development Funding – $1,530 2013

Eastern Region TEAFCS New Professional Award 2012

Emma Ree Crooks Oates FCS Program Innovation Grant – $1,000 2012


Publications

LaGraff, M. R., & Stolz, H. E. (2018). Perceived work-family balance and engagement behaviors of fathers of infants. In S. L. Blair & J. Obradović (Eds.), The work-family interface: Spillover, complications, and challenges (pp. 61-78). Bingley, UK: Emerald Publishing Limited.

Stolz, H. E., Sizemore, K. M., Shideler, M. J., LaGraff, M. R., & Moran, H. B. (2017). Parenting Together: Evaluation of a parenting program for never married parents. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 58 (5), 358-370. doi: 10.1080/10502556.2017.1322855

LaGraff, M. R., Stolz, H. E., & Brandon, D. B. (2015). Longitudinal program evaluation of Parenting Apart: Effective Co-Parenting. Journal of Divorce & Remarriage, 56 (2), 117-136. doi: 10.1080/10502556.2014.996044

Manuscripts under Review:

Stolz, H. E., LaGraff, M. R., Mullican, K. N., Connor, L. A., Green, M. J., & Clouthier, S. T. (2019). Improving fathers’ engagement with home visiting: An evaluation of “Tennessee Dad.” Families in Society.

Stolz, H. E., LaGraff, M. R., Green, M. J., & Moran, H. B. (2019). Engaging fathers: Home visitor attitudes and strategies. Family & Consumer Sciences Research Journal.

Manuscripts in Preparation:

LaGraff, M. R., & Stolz, H. E. (in prep). Work-family balance, stress, and parenting attitudes of fathers of infants.

National Peer-Reviewed Presentations:

LaGraff, M. R., & Stolz, H. E. (2019, November). Work-to-family conflict, stress, and parenting attitudes of fathers of infants. Paper accepted for presentation at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, Fort Worth, TX.

LaGraff, M. R., & Stolz, H. E. (2018, November). Work-family balance, stress, and parenting attitudes of fathers of infants. Paper presented at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.

Stolz, H. E., LaGraff, M. R., Mullican, N., Green, M., Connor, L., & Clouthier, S. T. (2018, November). Improving fathers’ engagement with home visiting: An evaluation of “Tennessee Dad.” Paper presented at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, San Diego, CA.

LaGraff, M. R., & Stolz, H. E. (2018, June). Perceived work-family balance and engagement behaviors of fathers of infants. Paper presented at the Work and Family Researchers Network Bienniel Conference, Washington, D.C.

Stolz, H. E., Shideler, M. J., LaGraff, M. R., & Moran, H. B. (2016, November). Engaging fathersHome visitor attitudes and strategies. Poster presented at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Rector, M. I., Stolz, H. E., & Brandon, D. J. (2010, November). A program evaluation of Parenting Apart: Effective Co-Parenting. Paper presented at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, Minneapolis, MN.

Wallace, H. S., Brandon, D. J., Stolz, H. E., & Rector, M. I. (2008, November). Research to application: Developing a university-based center for parenting. Poster presented at the National Council on Family Relations Annual Conference, Little Rock, AR.

Regional, State, and Local Presentations:

LaGraff, M. R., & Stolz, H. E. (2018, March). Perceived work-family balance and engagement behaviors of fathers of infants. Poster presented at the 14th Annual College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences (CEHHS) Graduate Student Research Colloquium, Knoxville, TN.

LaGraff, M. R., & Stolz, H. E. (2018, February). Perceived work-family balance and engagement behaviors of fathers of infants. Poster presented at the 42nd Annual Southeastern Symposium on Child and Family Development, Knoxville, TN.

LaGraff, M. R. (2014, July). Powerful tools for caregivers. Programs That Work presentation at the Family & Consumer Sciences Professional Development Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

LaGraff, M. R. (2013, July). Parenting Piece by Piece: Parenting education for court involved parents. Programs That Work presentation at the Family & Consumer Sciences Professional Development Conference, Franklin, TN.

LaGraff, M. R. (2012, April). TNCEP coalition in Jefferson County. Invited presentation at the SNAP-Ed Program Development Team Meeting, Knoxville, TN.

Rector, M. I., Stolz, H. E., & Brandon, D. J. (2010, November). A program evaluation of Parenting Apart: Effective Co-Parenting. Poster presented at the UT Extension Staff Development Conference, Nashville, TN.

Stolz, H. E., Rector, M. I., Deyss, C., Slabaugh, J., Tellet-Royce, N., & Sefick, A. (2009, March). “Looking here and there…”: Where do you find high quality parenting education materials and resources? Invited presentation at the Prevent Child Abuse Louisiana Annual Conference, Baton Rouge, LA.

Brandon, D. J., Rector, M. I., & Stolz, H. E. (2009, March). Professional development for parenting educators: Identifying and accessing national resources. Paper presented at the South Central Regional Parenting Education Conference, Murfreesboro, TN.

Brandon, D. J., Rector, M. I., & Stolz, H. E. (2009, March). Professional development for parenting educators: Identifying and accessing national resources. Paper presented at the Southwest Regional Parenting Education Conference, Jackson, TN.

Rector, M. I., Stolz, H. E., & Brandon, D. B. (2007, October). Professional development for parent educators: National resources and perspectives. Invited presentation at the Southeast Regional Parent Education Conference, Chattanooga, TN.

LaGraff, Melissa

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