Phot of the 2010 Research Symposium

Inside MFRI

MFRI works to support service members and their families through research, outreach, grant offerings and more. Our teams frequently collaborate with other organizations seeking to improve the lives of military families. For more information about MFRI’s strategic goals and collaborative efforts, contact Director Shelley M. MacDermid Wadsworth, M.B.A., Ph.D.


At MFRI, we believe learning is a lifelong endeavor. Our Administration team works to enhance the knowledge base of our entire staff, including our many undergraduate and graduate student employees, through weekly learning meetings, professional development, mentoring and interaction. For more information, contact Kathy Broniarczyk, Director of Family Support.


MFRI's Research team conducts and analyzes studies that provide insight into the experiences of military members and their families. Partners include Sesame Street Workshop, ZERO TO THREE, the Indiana National Guard and The National Healthy Marriage Resource Center. Projects include Coming Together Around Military Families, Life After Deployment and Family Journeys. For more information, contact Dave Topp, Ph.D., Director of Research.

Community Outreach

Across the country, communities are looking to create support systems for local service members, veterans and their families. To address this need, MFRI works with local partners to mobilize communities in 10 regions throughout Indiana to support change at the local level. These mobilization groups create change by mentoring and providing information about new and emerging resources. Community meetings held throughout Indiana have helped thousands of military and veteran families, and providers of care. Communities have worked together to increase employment options, decrease homelessness, organize workshops for veteran women and create more support for thousands of military and veteran families. For more information, contact Kathy Broniarczyk, Director of Family Support.

Family Support

The Family Support team helps to design and administer programs that apply research findings to real world situations. Some of our initiatives supplement programs provided by branches of the Armed Forces to help service members through reintegration. Others work independently to help communities better serve and embrace the military families in their midst. Partnerships with researchers and practitioners from the military and civilian communities enable us to design and execute activities to assist military families throughout Indiana and beyond. For more information, contact Kathy Broniarczyk, M.Ed., Director of Family Support.

External Relations

MFRI's external relations team seeks to make sure that our efforts in all these areas generate maximum impact, and to enhance MFRI’s ability to exert influence with key decision makers at every level on behalf of military families. We use evidence-based findings to create and distribute printed and electronic materials; we also plan and host events that help inform key audiences and increase their capabilities to help military families. Similarly, we provide important information to members of the media who are covering military families, and build relationships with those responsible for developing public policy, so the body of research on military families can inform the policies that affect them. For more information, contact Director Linda Hughes-Kirchubel, Director of External Relations.

Education and Employment

MFRI created an education and employment initiative, Operation Diploma, to work specifically with Indiana’s postsecondary institutions and student veterans’ organizations. Operation Diploma has awarded nearly $2.5 million to help create supportive programs and services for student service members and veterans. By helping to strengthen campus support and workforce development initiatives, Operation Diploma assists these students in their pursuit of their academic and employment goals. For more information, contact Lauren Runco, Director of Education & Employment.