FaWM Students/Alumni

FAWM Current Students/Advisees

Haley Kiser, M.A., MFT, is a third year doctoral student in Human Development and Family Science, specializing in Couple and Family Therapy and Obesity Sciences. Haley is interested in interventions to aid couples/families when an individual (child or adult) is trying to change their lifestyle through weight management or bariatric surgery. Haley is a Behavioral Health Intern at the OSU Center for Comprehensive Weight Management, Metabolic, and Bariatric Surgery where she facilitates the phase 1 behavioral classes for the Living Well Program, and provides behavioral therapy to patients seeking weight loss through lifestyle modification, medication, and bariatric surgery. She is engaged in research about the psychological, social, and family factors that predict short and long-term behavior change and weight loss following bariatric surgery. Email: kiser.105@osu.edu.



Riley Whiting, B.S., is second year doctoral student in Human Development and Family Science, specializing in Couple and Family Therapy. Riley is interested in medical family therapy, families and health, integrated behavioral health care, family therapy interventions for couples and/or families managing chronic illness, interventions for children experiencing ACES and/or trauma, and broadly racial/ethnic disparities of immigrant/migrant and racial/ethnic minority groups. Riley’s email is whiting.95@osu.edu.

FaWM Alumni/Past Advisees


Elizabeth “Liz” Palmer, Ph.D., LMFT, graduated in 2017 with a Couple and Family Therapy specialization.  Liz’s clinical and research interests include adapting play and filial therapy interventions to work with at-risk children and their sibling subsystem to strengthen the sibling relationship and coping skills with adverse circumstances, such as a parent being emotionally or physically unavailable. Liz is currently a Research Specialist with the Ohio State University Surgical Oncology Unit.






photoMegan Ferriby Ferber, Ph.D., LMFT, graduated in 2019 with a Couple and Family Therapy specialization and Obesity Sciences.  Megan’s research focuses on examining the influence of romantic partners and relationships on patient weight loss and behavior change throughout the bariatric surgery process. She has published several articles, including in Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, Obesity Surgery and SOARD, and has presented her work at National and International conferences (American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), Obesity Week, International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity). Her past work has been awarded the AAMFT Graduate Student Research Award. She completed her dissertation entitled: “Preliminary efficacy, feasibility, and acceptability of partner attendance throughout bariatric pre- and post-surgery clinical encounters”, a longitudinal and randomized controlled trial to determine the effect of partner attendance on patient outcomes and the romantic relationship. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Medical Family Therapy in the Department of Family Medicine at St. Louis University.  Email: Megan.Ferber@healthslu.edu.



Jennifer Cotto, Ph.D., graduated in 2019 with her doctorate in Health and Physical Activity Behavior with a specialization in Obesity Sciences and Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement. Her research includes physical activity engagement, family dynamics, obesity treatment and prevention, and psychometrics. Specifically, she is interested in utilizing constructs from Family Systems Theory to investigate how family dynamics and relationships impact physical activity engagement, dietary behaviors, and ultimately the weight status of family members. Jennifer received numerous scholarships including the Faith Lanmen Gorrell, Lucile and Roland Kennedy, Joseph J. and Nina Mae Mattus, and the Fred and Frieda Theirgartner Scholarship. She is currently a Research Specialist with the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians. Email: Cotto.4@osu.edu. LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jennifer-cotto.




Katie Van Fossen, Ph.D., MFT graduated in 2020 with a specialization in Couple and Family Therapy and Obesity Sciences. Katie researchers integrated behavioral health and family therapy services to better meet the mental health needs of minority and low-access populations. She has previously been awarded the AAMFT Minority Fellowship, the Graduate Enrichment Fellowship, and the Lucile and Roland Kennedy Scholarship. Katie is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow with the Center for Family Intervention Science at Drexel University.  Email: cav79@drexel.edu.

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