Meet Your Contributors

Over time, we have had a number of guest experts write for Parenthetical. As educators, practitioners, authors, researchers and parents, these contributors offer a fresh voice for parents of teens and tweens. Take a look at who has contributed to our posts so far!

Nancy Vance

Nancy Vance is the Family Living Educator for Clark County, WI. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois with both a Master’s of Science degree and a Bachelor of Science degree in the area of Family and Consumer Science. Nancy has had many diverse careers in the field of Family Science but most recently, she was the program director for a domestic violence agency in Illinois where she worked with families impacted by violence and abuse. Read her article on Talking with Your Teen about Abusive Dating Relationships here.

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J. Michael Collins

J. Michael Collins is an Associate Professor at the School of Human Ecology the La Follette School of Public Affairs at University of Wisconsin-Madison as well as faculty director of the Center for Financial Security. He studies consumer decision-making in the financial marketplace, including the role of public policy in influencing credit, savings and investment choices. Read his article on Teens and Financial Responsibility here.

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Danielle Hegedus

Danielle Hegedus currently resides in Atlanta, GA where she nurtures her HGTV obsession by writing about all things home decor for Modernize.com. She tackled an entirely new topic on Parenthetical: Teen Room Decor. Check out her two articles on Teen Room Decor to Help Your Teenager be More Organized and Smart Decorating: Exploring Teen Room Decorating Options. 

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Amy Williams

 Amy Williams is a journalist and former social worker, specializing in teen behavioral health. She believes that, in our digital age, it’s time for parents and educators to make sure parents and students alike are educated about technology and social media use, hoping to inform others through her writing. She is the mother of two teenaged boys. Read her article Judgment Call: Maturity, Emotions and the Teenage Brain here. 

Rachael Loucks

Rachael Loucks is a Family Living Agent with the University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension. Her philosophy is that parents are their child’s first, and most important, teachers. She enjoys spending time with her family riding horses, reading, watching movies, and attending tractor pulls.   She belongs to a  blended family and enjoys the challenges and joys step-parenting can bring.   There are three children in Rachael’s family, ages 8, 11, and 1 ½. Read her article on tween tips for blended families here. She has also written about what teens want from parents, read here!

Abra Bankendorf Vigna

Abra Bankendorf Vigna is a PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Abra spent 10 years running a social ed and educational support group for LGBT youth and their allies.  She has mentored over a dozen youth in becoming peer educators and has only recently stepped away from Youth Development to become a first time mom with her partner of 8 years. Read her article on supporting your LGBT youth here.

Emily Parrott

Emily Parrott is a graduate student in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Prior to graduate school, she worked as program coordinator for a leadership program, which employed teenagers to develop their own vision for social change and host events to promote that vision. In 2012, her teens helped her perform her first spoken word piece proving that employers can also learn from the teens they employ. Read her article on Teens’ first jobs here.

Kristin Ryder

Kristin Ryder is a Master’s student in the Gender and Women’s Studies Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who has been a teaching assistant for two undergraduate courses, “Human Sexuality” and “Women’s Bodies in Health and Disease.” Her research interests include reproductive health and justice, sexuality education, body positivity, and disordered eating. In her spare time, she enjoys watching a number of popular TV shows, hiking, and traveling with her partner. Read her article on Parents’ role in teen body image here. 

Shari Blumenstock

Shari Blumenstock is a Master’s student in the Human Development and Family Studies department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She studies sex and sexuality within romantic relationships.  Shari has been involved with University Extension programs, and has worked with older teens as a camp counselor for four years. Read her article on talking about sex with your teen here.

Lori Zierl

Lori Zierl is from the University of Wisconsin-Extension Family Living Education Program. Lori and her team of UW-Extension educators (Kristen Bruder, Mary Huser and our own Steve Small and Anne Clarkson) have developed a new program for parents called eParenting®: High Tech Kids.  One of the aims of the program is to help parents develop strategies for using digital media that can enhance their parenting skills and build family strengths. Read her articles on using technology for parenting here.

Rachel Anne Ridge

Rachel Anne Ridge is the author of the blog Home Sanctuary where Dear Lonely Mom of Older Kids was first published on February 12, 2014.  Read her post about the experience of parenting older children here.

Bridget Mouchon

Bridget Mouchon is a Family Living Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Green County.  Her programs focus on helping families build strength and resilience through parenting and relationship skills, including building support for the Latino community in her county. Read her interview with Laura Kastner, co-author of Getting to Calm: Cool-headed Strategies for Parenting Tweens and Teens, here.

Heidi

Heidi is a senior Human Development and Family Studies major at the University of Wisconsin Madison and has been our Parenthetical intern.  She is the middle child of the three in her family, with an older brother and a younger sister and often felt lost in the mix of things as the middle child.  When she is not studying, she likes traveling home to Chicago on weekends, watching movies, and spending time with friends. Watch the video she developed about teens and technology here.

Elizabeth Lexau

Elizabeth Lexau is a Family Living Educator for the University of Wisconsin-Extension.  Her programs focus on helping families build strength and resilience through parenting and relationship skills.  She lives near Lake Superior with her husband and two teenage daughters.Read her article about keeping the conversation going with your teens here.

Drew Betz

Drew Betz, M.S. CFLE, is a Regional Extension Specialist and County Director for Washington State University Extension.  She is an affiliate faculty in the WSU Human Development Department.  She is based at the WSU Whatcom County Extension office in Bellingham, Washington.  You can read about her programs at Http://whatcom.wsu.edu/fch.   Some of Drew’s warmest memories of family life are Sunday lunches with her grandparents eating homemade clam chowder and huckleberry muffins. Read her article about family meal time here.

Beth Olson

Beth Olson in an Associate Professor in Nutritional Sciences, and a Nutrition Extension Specialist in Cooperative Extension at UW-Madison.  She has a BS in Biochemistry from UW-Madison, and her MS and PhD in Nutrition are from UC-Davis.  She worked at the Kellogg Company and with Cooperative Extension in another state prior to coming to Madison.  She enjoys sports, is married, and is the mother of a college senior daughter as well as two teenage boys. Read her article on how teens who chose to eat vegetarian can stay healthy.

Danielle Kenitz

Danielle Kenitz has been teaching for 6 years and currently teaches middle school Social Studies for an online charter school.  She has coached 8th grade volleyball and also serves as a homeroom or advisory teacher for students.

Jessica Bergeron

Jessica Bergeron teaches 7th grade Latin and has been teaching for 9 years.  She has previously taught English, Creative Writing and Composition.  She also is a member of her school’s Leadership Advisory Team and serves as secretary for her district’s Continuing Education Unit committee.

Read Parenthetical’s Interview with Danielle and Jessica about the unique challenges teens face today here.

We also talked with them about how to support your child’s learning. Read the interview here.

Connie Flanagan

Connie Flanagan is a professor in the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of the book, Teenage Citizens: The Political Theories of the Young published in 2013 by Harvard University Press. Read her post on teen citizenship here.

Sue Allen

Sue Allen is a Family Living Educator with Marquette County UW-Extension.  Sue is also a Wisconsin Certified Prevention Professional.  In her work with Extension and elsewhere, Sue has specialized in youth development and the prevention of teen substance abuse. Read her article about how parents can limit their teen’s risky behaviors here.