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School of Family Studies and Human Services

Amber Vennum

Amber Vennum

Associate Professor

Contact Information

212 Campus Creek Complex


  • Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy with a certificate in Educational Measurement and Statistics, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, Dissertation: Understanding Young Adult Cyclical Relationships (2011)
  • M.A. in Marriage and Family Therapy, University of Houston-Clear Lake, Clear Lake, Texas (2007)
  • B.A. in Psychology, Rice University, Houston, Texas (2003)

Credentials and/or Certifications

  • AAMFT Approved Supervisor
  • Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
  • Certified Family Life Educator- Provisional
  • Trainer, Within My Reach, PREP, Inc.

Area(s) of Specialization

Amber Vennum is interested in increasing young people's chances for establishing healthy romantic and familial relationships as adults through interventions during adolescence and young adulthood. This currently includes school-based systemic interventions with children and adolescents, basic research on risk and resiliency factors influencing relationship development and relationship stability (specifically relationship cycling, or "on-again, off-again" relationships and active decision making) during emerging adulthood, and innovative formats for relationship education with adolescents and emerging adults.

Research, Scholarship and Creative Endeavors

  • Partnering with USD 383 and USD 475 to support teachers, school personnel, families and students in their efforts to foster a positive school climate, reduce mental health and systemic barriers to students' school success through multidisciplinary teams, and empower families to be engaged in their children's education
  • Assessing the impact of a multi-tiered systemic approach for improving mental health in schools, including school-based family therapy and whole school climate change through the use of systemic strengths-based models
  • Exploring the prevalence, predictors, characteristics and consequences of cyclical relationships (partners who end and renew their relationship) during emerging adulthood in the US. and abroad, specifically in urban China and India
  • Understanding the role of active decision making in emerging adult romantic relationships in decreasing risk factors for later distress and diverse pathways to family formation for this age group in the US and abroad
  • Developing an interactive relationship education application for emerging adults to bolster healthy relationship development and address risk factors for academic, professional and relationship distress
  • Exploring the change mechanisms of relationship education programs targeting individuals and couples prior to marriage

Courses Taught

  • FSHS 864 Clinical Theory and Practice
  • FSHS 872 Family Therapy
  • FSHS 885, 985 and 986: Practicum
  • FSHS 910 Advanced MFT Research: SEM II

Personal Information

Amber Vennum enjoys spending time with her family, exploring the area around Manhattan, Kansas. She also greatly enjoys singing, dancing and swimming. As far as moving to Manhattan and joining K-State, she says, "I honestly never thought I would live in Kansas, given my mental image from "The Wizard of Oz," but I have found a wonderful town and community, a beautiful landscape and a vibrant college campus dedicated to innovative research and service to improve conditions for the people of Kansas and the world."

Vita (pdf)