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Mark Regnerus, Ph.D.

Mark Regnerus is a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and a faculty associate at the university’s Population Research Center. Author of over 30 published articles and book chapters, his research is in the areas of sexual behavior, family, and religion. He's the author of four books: Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate, and Think about Marrying (Oxford, 2011), which describes the norms, behaviors, and mating market realities facing young adults, and Forbidden Fruit: Sex and Religion in the Lives of American Teenagers (Oxford, 2007), which tells the story of how religion does—and does not—shape teenagers' sexual decision-making. His third book, Cheap Sex: The Transformation of Men, Monogamy, and Marriage (Oxford, 2017), chronicles the digital revolution as it affects sexual behavior. His fourth book The Future of Christian Marriage (Oxford) draws on in-depth interviews with nearly two hundred young-adult Christians from the United States, Mexico, Spain, Poland, Russia, Lebanon, and Nigeria, in order to understand the state of matrimony in global Christian circles today. His work has been widely reviewed, including in Slate, the Dallas Morning News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and The New Yorker, and his research and opinion pieces have been featured in numerous media outlets. His short article on the low price of sex among young adults was the ninth-most read article on Slate in 2011. More recently, he was the author of a 2012 study (and follow-up) appearing in Social Science Research on the comparative outcomes of young adults who grew up in different types of households and with different parental and household experiences.

Marianna Orlandi, Ph.D., Avv.
Executive Director

Marianna Orlandi received her Ph.D. in Law from the University of Padua, Italy, and from the University of Innsbruck, Austria. Prior to moving to Texas, she was a 2019-2020 James Madison Associate Research Scholar and Lecturer in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. She was admitted to the Italian bar in 2015 after graduating magna cum laude from the University of Padua. She practiced as a criminal lawyer in Milan and worked in the United States as a policy research analyst. Her interests and research focus on issues of life, and on its legal and international protection, in particular through the lens of criminal law.

Since 2020, and prior to becoming our Executive Director, Dr. Orlandi directs the academic programming of the Austin Institute, where she contributes both as a speaker and teacher as well as a mentor for the students. While continuing to publish on topics like abortion and marriage, both in Italy and in the United States, she is the host of the Austin Institute podcast, What we can't not talk about, a show that covers all the topics that truly matter for our full human flourishing. 


Dr. Orlandi is deeply passionate about our work and mission. She believes in the redemptive role of education and community, capable of transforming all our inevitable sufferings into gifts to others. 

María José Ruiz González
Associate Director of Curriculum and Education

María José Ruiz González is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in Curriculum and Instruction. She is passionate about teacher education and has valuable experience and curriculum design knowledge from working in various educational programs and settings in Costa Rica and the US.

Her research interests revolve around the understanding of the human person in all its complexity and the risks that reductionist views of the person entail in educational processes. Driven by a deep curiosity and a conviction in the transformative power of education, she seeks to uncover valuable insights that can inform and transform educational practices. During the last few years, she has been studying Transcendental Anthropology and the principle of Co-Being (proposed by Leonardo Polo) to explain that educating a person involves helping them to grow, which implies perfecting the habits of intelligence and the virtues of the will.

María José holds a Bachelor's in Early Childhood Education from Costa Rica University and a Master's in Bilingual-Bicultural Education from UT Austin and has completed coursework in Family and Marriage from the University of Navarra. 


If you have any questions or requests for Dr. Marianna Orlandi, you can email her at:

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