Authors and Contributors


Aaron Larson, founded the National Healthy Marriage Institute in 2004. Over his 20 years in this field he helped run the Smart Marriage conference for 14 years. Served two years in the federal government as a Healthy Marriage Specialist where he developed the strategic plan for launching the federal healthy marriage initiative. He has worked as a healthy marriage consultant with numerous organizations that strengthen marriages in their communities. He has taught hundreds of marriage education workshops to thousands of couples. And he has written healthy marriage and family life education materials that have been used by over a million people around the world. Currently, he is working on several new projects to help strengthen marriages.

Michele Tripple currently resides in a town just outside of Dallas, Texas with her family. Michele and her husband currently have 4 children with another one on the way. Michele graduated in 2016 with her degree in Marriage and Family Studies. She is passionate about strengthening the family and knows it starts with strengthening the marriage. She hopes that she can be an example to her children and those around her. When Michele is not working, she loves to go running, cook, and bake, but she can usually be found at one of her children’s sporting events cheering them on. As a family they love to go boating, go hiking, go on vacation, and explore new places.


Tara Clarke Christiansen lives with her husband and four of her five children in the Austin, Texas area. Her oldest son has just left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for the next two years. Tara and Her husband, Mark,have been married for 19 years and enjoy snuggling while watching a good movie, going out to dinner, game nights and laughing at each other’s jokes. Mark is her best friend and there is nothing she enjoys more than spending time with him and their children.

Katrina Johnson is currently a senior studying Marriage and family studies at Brigham Young University in Idaho. She has been married for almost 3 years and they have 2 handsome sons. She is from a small town in Upstate New York and is currently living with her family in South Jordan, Utah. She would love to pursue a career in marriage and family therapy.

Kami Loyd  has seen the effects of marriage on families and desires to help couples make their marriages happy and beneficial. This has lead her to her desire to help others as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She is currently in her final semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho and has plans to continue her education to one day accomplish this goal. Kami is happiest when she is spending time with her family, which includes her husband and two children. Her zeal for a happy marriage and family stems from her childhood where she saw her parents working together for a common goal, and she has continued that pattern in her own marriage. Kami has already experienced the joy that comes from helping others find solutions for their problems through her work with young adults, adolescents and children in her religious service. She continues to find this joy as she works with her husband to overcome their problems and help their children do the same.

Spencer Loyd has always had a passion for helping people. Since his early twenties his dream has been to help people with their problems as a counselor or therapist. He is making strides to accomplish this dream and is currently in his final semester at Brigham Young University-Idaho. His work experience has added to his passion for helping, with spending seven years in the medical field and one working with the community at large. Spencer’s passion has helped mold him into a compassionate, caring individual who strives to help everyone solve their problems and overcome their challenges. His religious upbringing has helped him to always focus on what he deems the most important, his family. With three years of marriage under his belt, Spencer understands that when you make your marriage important, your life is more successful.

Tammy McClellan is a Senior at Brigham Young University Idaho studying Marriage and Family.  She has always felt passionate for promoting strong, healthy marriages and the positive role they play within families and communities. She has been married to her loving husband for 27 years and is a mother of two boys, three girls, and three grandchildren. She currently resides in Utah. When she isn’t spending her time with her studies she loves to spend time with her family, being outdoors, doing family history, and scrap-booking.

Patty Martin was born in Evanston, Wyoming. She was raised with her six siblings in a home with lots of love, but only one bathroom. Patty married her high school sweetheart and the two of them have been blessed with three adorable girls. Patty currently lives in Salem, Utah where she is studying Marriage and Family Studies at BYU-Idaho. She is putting her knowledge to good use in her own family relationships. Patty loves to laugh and help others. On the rough days a bag of chips and a jar of salsa will bring a smile to her face.

Karyn Nonu is finishing up her degree in Marriage and Family Studies at Brigham Young University-Idaho.  After she graduates in July she will pursue her education to get her Masters degree in Social Work.  She has been married to her husband for 28 years and they have 3 grown children and 1 granddaughter.  They are expecting their second granddaughter in February and are so excited to add this precious girl to their family.  Karyn loves to travel, bake and spend time with her children and grandchildren.  She is passionate about protecting children and advocating for the protection of marriage.

Deanna Smith is currently finishing up her degree in Marriage and Family Studies through Brigham Young University – Idaho. She is a wife of 15 years and a mother of 5. And if her life isn’t busy enough, she works part-time as an Office Manager, serve as the President of the PTC (parent-teacher club) at the local elementary school, and shuttles kids to soccer and basketball practices. At the end of the day, her family is her number one priority. They love to spend time together camping, hiking, watching movies, and baking (well, she bakes it and they eat it).

Haley Wall is a small town girl from Warden, WA. She has been married to her best friend for 5 years, and has a 2 year old BUSY boy! She has developed a great passion for strengthening families, and believe it starts with advocating for marriages. She is looking forward to becoming a BYU-Idaho Alumni this Spring!