Office: 145 Gries Hall



Ph.D. Bowling Green State University, 2010

M.A. Bowling Green State University, 2005

B.A. State University of New York at Geneseo, 2003


Deanna Trella joins NMU as a full-time assistant professor of sociology.  She received her doctoral degree from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio in May of 2010 with a major in marriage and family sociology and minors in social psychology and quantitative methods. 


Dr. Trella’s research interests center on adolescence as a unique period in the life course.  Her work examines the emergence of romantic relationships during young adulthood.  She has extensive experience working with community organizations to facilitate the development, implementation, and evaluation of adolescent relationship education programs.  Dr. Trella recently completed an evaluation of the Relationship Smarts Plus curriculum for a large marriage initiative in Grand Rapids, MI.  She was also awarded a grant to analyze the Within My Reach program in California and North Carolina. 



By way of introduction, Dr. Trella writes:

I am interested in the development and consequences of romantic relationships during young adulthood.  My research analyzes the influence of adolescents’ attitudes and beliefs about gender dynamics, dating, cohabitation, parenthood and marriage on the trajectory of romantic relationships.  I focus on how relationship education programs can intervene during this pivotal junction in the life course to shape healthy attitudes about romantic relationships.  Bridging the gap between theoretical research on adolescence and program evaluations, my work highlights the importance of tailoring relationship education programs to meet the unique needs of socioeconomically disadvantaged youth who are at risk for relationships of poor quality and subsequent marital disruption.  Additional research interests include the destructuralization of the courtship process, dating violence and control, non-marital childbearing, and multiple partner fertility.  


Aside from my passion for sociology…I am a pop culture junkie.  I support Cleveland sports teams against my better judgment, and I enjoy golfing, cross-country skiing, and knitting in my nonexistent spare time.  If you have time to kill, stop by my office for a cup of tea and tell me about your own interests.  If you have nothing to talk about I will entertain you with videos of my toddler dancing to Lady Gaga. 


Teaching Interests

Introductory Sociology, Social Problems, Marriage and the Family, Qualitative Methods, Adolescence



Journal Articles


Manning, Wendy D., Deanna Trella, Heidi Lyons, and Nola du Toit. (2010). “Marriageable women:  Challenges in a disadvantaged community.”  Family Relations 59: 87-102.


Program Evaluations and Research Briefs


Trella, Deanna. (2009). “Within My Reach program evaluation.” National Crittenton Foundation.

Trella, Deanna. (2009). “Adolescents and relationship education programs.” Research Brief. National Center for Family and Marriage Research.  Available online:

Trella, Deanna. (2009). “Relationship Smarts: Assessment of an adolescent relationship education program.”  Research Brief. National Center for Family and Marriage Research. Available online: