Therapy Abroad consists of a small staff of dedicated professionals who love what they do and want to share their experiences by creating a unique learning environment that combines international travel, study abroad, hands-on experiences, professional development, and cultural exchange in a fun and safe environment.
Jessica Brown, MS, CCC-SLP
Jessica is a co-founder and clinical director of Therapy Abroad. Jessica completed her undergraduate degree in Music Therapy with classical guitar as her primary instrument and began her career spending five years as a music therapist working for hospice. After taking a career break to travel in Southeast Asia and South America, she decided to return to school and pursue a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders. Jessica worked as speech-language pathologist and director of clinical rehab for several years before moving to Thailand where she lived and worked for nearly six years. Jessica continues to travel and now lives and works in southern California.
Chad serves as the managing director and is also a co-founder of Therapy Abroad. He has more than 15 years of experience working domestically and internationally in community-based program design and implementation, program management and volunteer management. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Philippines where he developed his love for working with people, organizations and communities and a passion for international travel. Since then, he has lived and worked in Thailand, South Africa, and Australia as a project leader and country director for a student volunteer and travel organization. He continues to travel and explore the world whenever he can. Chad attended Florida State University where he received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in geography.
Ellen McKamey, M.A.
Program Coordinator - Belize
Ellen serves as program coordinator for Therapy Abroad’s Belize program. She has over 14 years of experience working in domestic and international special education, including applied behavior analysis, public awareness and child advocacy. Ellen served in the United States Peace Corps as a special education teacher trainer in Belize for 27 months. She knows the ins and outs of the country and has a strong language and cultural understanding of Belize. Ellen’s love for adventure and helping those in need has taken her all over the world from studying chimpanzee behavior in South Africa to backpacking through southeast Asia and working with local schools in India to increase their knowledge in working with children with autism. She most recently graduated with her master’s degree in sustainable living and is thrilled to be returning to Belize on a regular basis to work with Therapy Abroad and their mission to give students from the United States a unique opportunity to gain hands on experience and cultural awareness.
Richard Alexander Usher
Tour Guide & Driver -Belize
Alex is a licensed tour guide and driver in Belize. Alex grew up in the beautiful village of Gracie Rock on the banks of the Sibun River. He has over 5 years of experience driving tour buses and over 11 years of experience leading tours, such as cave tubing, jungle hiking, and canoeing, just to mention a few. Alex joined the Therapy Abroad Team in 2016 and is a valuable part of the Therapy Abroad experience. Alex loves to play soccer, meeting new people and sharing his culture and the history of his country with students and staff.
Jessica Carter M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Graduate Program Supervisor
Jessica is a bilingual speech-language pathologist on faculty at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). She earned her bachelor’s degree in music from Hardin-Simmons University and her master’s degree in communication disorders from UTD. Her primary areas of interest include preschool language and phonology, bilingualism, and autism. At UTD, Jessica directs the Urban Speech and Language Initiative — a joint contract between UT Dallas and the Dallas Independent School District – in addition to other responsibilities. Prior to joining UTD full-time, Jessica worked in a number of settings, including public schools, private practice, and home health. While working primarily as a clinician, she developed a desire to both mentor graduate students and interact with different cultures.
Dr. Alayna Townsend, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
SLP Graduate Program Supervisor
Alayna is a speech language pathologist at UT Physicians Pediatric Center for Autism and Related Conditions. She is also an Adjunct Faculty member and Clinical Educator at the University of Houston in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She earned her master’s degree at the University of Cincinnati and her doctoral degree at Howard University in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She completed her postdoctoral research fellowship as a LoneStar LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) fellow at the Center for Autism and Related Conditions. Her research interests include early social communication behaviors and cultural perspectives regarding Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, mentoring students, being a foodie, and operating her online bow tie and pet accessory businesses.
Dr. Kai Greene, Ph.D. CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Kai Greene is a speech-language pathologist with decades of educational experience working with diverse populations. At present, he is an adjunct professor at the California State University, Los Angeles and teaches courses on language development and diversity issues in communication disorders. He also works as a clinician for the Los Angeles Unified School District where he conducts bilingual assessments and supervises speech-language pathology assistants. His research efforts focus on language contact phenomena, dynamic assessment, and oral narrative skills. Kai was a Peace Corps Volunteer (1989-1992) stationed in the Bay Islands of Honduras where he worked with local teachers and international agencies to develop and publish an environmental education manual for island schools. He thoroughly enjoys local and international adventures on both land and sea.
Sylvia Soule, M.S., CCC-SLP
Team Leader & SLP Program Supervisor
Sylvia Soule began her studies as a Linguistics major at University of California, Santa Cruz, before turning to speech-language pathology, completing coursework at Sacramento State University, and earning a Masters’ of Science degree in Communicative Disorders at San Francisco State University. She completed a Masters’ thesis entitled “Autism, Play, and Language Output,” exploring the importance of early naturalistic play experiences on communication development, specifically as it relates to autism spectrum disorders. She currently works as a speech-language pathologist in the Early Intervention program in the West Contra Costa Unified School District (San Francisco Bay Area), serving preschool-age children and their families, with a wide variety of needs and from diverse backgrounds. She has recently discovered a love of international travel, and volunteered during the summer of 2017 implementing augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices for students with autism spectrum disorders in Laos (Southeast Asia). When she isn’t doing speech therapy or traveling (or finding ways to combine both), she enjoys hiking, and hanging out with her cat and dog.
Emily Wilde, M.A., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Emily is a speech-language pathologist who lives and works in Denver, Colorado. As a native of Iowa, she obtained her B.A. in Communicative Disorders and M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Northern Iowa. Emily ventured west after graduate school to Orange County, California, where she worked for eight and a half years before moving to Denver. She has worked in a variety of different settings including hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, multi-disciplinary clinics, preschools, as well as in the home. She has provided intervention and assessments with a variety of different disorders, diagnoses, and a range of severity of impairments. Emily values providing other clinicians and student interns hands on training to provide them with tools to help them be successful in their career. Since moving to Denver, Emily has primarily been working in early intervention providing speech-language therapy in the home. She has also gained experience in assessing infants who just came home from the NICU. In addition, Emily is on a team that evaluates children for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Emily believes in strong collaboration with other disciplines as well as the parents in order to maximize the child’s progress in therapy.
Kori Ramirez, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Kori earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Communication and Science Disorders from California State University of Sacramento. Kori has worked in various settings as a SLP including; hospitals, schools, private clinics and special day classrooms. Currently, Kori owns and manages a private practice in Northern California where she and her team provide in-home early intervention services to many underserved, rural farming communities. Kori is also a women’s health coach and yoga instructor. In her free time, she loves to water ski, snow ski, travel and cook.
Camille Bulot, M.A. SLP
Camille is a team leader for Therapy Abroad’s Belize program. She obtained her B.A. from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona in Liberal Studies with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Language. Recently, she earned her M.A. from California State University, Fullerton in Communication Disorders. After her experience teaching English in China, Camille’s passion for travel has continued to grow, leading her to travel as often as possible. She currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs for a non-profit organization that brings the art and therapy of baking to bakers of all abilities, ages, and backgrounds.
Marcella McCollum, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Marcella earned her B.A. in Psychological Services from University of San Francisco, While saving up to earn her graduate degree in Psychology, she was recruited into the field of Speech-Language Pathology and has never looked back. She earned her M.A. from San Jose State University(SJSU) and after several years of working in Minnesota and California, she returned to SJSU in 2011 to serve as the clinic director for 3 years before stepping down to spend more time with her two young daughters. Marcella has worked with a variety of diverse populations, including Mexican, Native American, Hmong and Somali families in Minnesota and California. She has worked on teams with doctors, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, psychologists, social workers, and music therapists. She is passionate about teaching, supervision, bilingual language development, and believes that all people should have the right to communicate and be heard. She is a director on the California Speech-Language Hearing Association (CSHA) board, and participates in other local non-profit organizations. When she isn’t working or volunteering, Marcella loves to spend time with her family, travel, host themed parties, and read.
Christine Fiestas, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Christine is an assistant professor at Texas A&M University-Kingsville (TAMUK) in the Department of Clinical Health Sciences and also serves as adjunct professor at The University of Hawai’i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine. She completed her master’s and doctoral studies in Communication Sciences and Disorders at The University of Texas at Austin, and her bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and French at The University of Vermont. Christine’s clinical and research expertise is in the area of developmental language disorders (DLD) and literacy. Her focus is on the assessment and treatment of children who are culturally and linguistically diverse including bilingual and multilingual learners. Her research addresses developing appropriate assessment tools for CLD learners and examination of cross language differences and transfer of learning across languages. She has extensive experience using Dynamic Assessment and Language Sampling methods to identify children with DLD. Her clinical experience includes early intervention and work in the public schools as well as serving as a clinical supervisor for graduate students at The University of Hawai’i and at TAMUK. She finds the energy and enthusiasm of students who are eager to learn to be a great source of joy. Christine is more comfortable in the water than on land. She enjoys sailing, outrigger paddling and surfing. On land she enjoys hiking and riding horses.
Cynthia Strauss, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Cynthia lives and works in Santa Cruz, CA. She received her B.S. at San Francisco State and her M.S. at University of Washington. Upon graduation she took an SLP position at a hospital in Santa Cruz, CA from 1992-1999, specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury rehabilitation. Her love of travel then brought her to England 2000-2001 to work at a locked head injury unit in Unsted Park, Surrey. After returning to California, she began working for the Live Oak School District in Santa Cruz county and has happily stayed working there since 2002. During the last 15 years, she has worked with a variety of ages and communication challenges. Currently, Cynthia works with students 12-18 years of age and most enjoys implementing the latest research in Social Thinking to delve into the areas of social communication. Last summer, she spent 5 weeks in Cusco, Peru with her 15 year old daughter going to Spanish School and volunteering at a Teen shelter. When not working or volunteering, Cynthia enjoys traveling the world, listening to LPs with her family and eating her husband's cooking.
Kristin AmRhein M.S., CCC, SLP
Kristin is the Therapy Abroad team Leader for Belize and an Early Intervention speech and feeding therapist in New York City. She obtained her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Florida and prior to attending graduate school, she spent 2 years travelling and working throughout Europe and Asia. It is during this time that she became passionate to expand speech, language and feeding services in countries continuing to develop in the field. After obtaining her MSc in Speech and Language Therapy from City, University of London, Kristin participated in her university’s Cambodia Project where she provided speech and language services to children with cleft lip and palate in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for three months. She is ready to embrace a new and exciting overseas experience with fellow clinicians and students eager to contribute to international speech-language pathology with Therapy Abroad this summer.
Marcela Lutthans M.S., CCC-SLP
Program Advisor - Belize
Marcela Lutthans is a bilingual licensed speech-language pathologist, certified by ASHA (American Speech, Language and Hearing Association). She has 20 years of experience in diagnosis and remediation in speech and language disorders of children. Marcela is trained in utilizing the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) and is a Certified Vitalstim therapist. After earning her Master's degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale Florida, she worked in Florida's public school system with children with Autism. From there, Marcela worked in hospitals, private practice and for 10 years she had her own private practice. Her therapy repertoire includes, but is not limited to: articulation, expressive/receptive language disorders, Autism, feeding/swallowing disorders, apraxia, and oral motor disorders. Marcela's therapy approaches are fun and functional for all ages. She combines the latest technology with the best practices to ensure optimal outcomes. Home programming and patient/caregiver education expedites her therapy programs.
Mollie Mindel, M.S., CCC-SLP
Clinical Advisor & AAC Specialist
Mollie Mindel received her M.S. in Communicative Disorders from SFSU, with a prior B.A in Cultural Anthropology. In addition to being a speech-language pathologist, Mollie is an AAC Specialist and focuses on working with culturally & linguistically diverse (CLD) populations. She has presented on issues of disproportionality of African American students in special education at ASHA 2013, CSHA 2014, and ASHA 2017, and presents in-services on various topics involving CLD issues and AAC topics to various districts across the extended San Francisco Bay Area. Previously, Mollie had been working in Berkeley Unified School District (both elementary school and high school), focusing on incorporating a collaborative team approach within the district's full-inclusion model. Additionally, Mollie was an adjunct professor at SFSU teaching in their undergraduate Communicative Disorders department. Currently, she is working in West Contra Costa Unified School District, utilizing a transdisciplinary approach as the district’s sole preschool/EI AAC specialist. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her family, cooking with friends, and traveling the world.
Amanda Puentes, M.S., CCC-SLP
Clinical Team Leader
Amanda is a pediatric speech language pathologist based out of Florida. She attended the University of South Florida in which she received her B.A. in Communication Sciences and Disorders and her M.S. in Speech Language Pathology. Over the years, Amanda has worked in a variety of settings including schools, clinics, home health, and a children's hospital. She has worked in both the US and Mexico providing speech, language, and feeding therapy to children with a variety of diagnoses, as well as providing training to professionals in order to promote self-sufficiency. Amanda has also guest lectured in schools and universities, educating others about the importance of the field and understanding cultural differences. Amanda is passionate about helping others in her local community and abroad.
Program Director -India
Angshu works with Therapy Abroad through our partner organization in India, which focuses on empowering parents to teach their pre-lingual deaf children to talk. Angshu himself was born deaf, but says “I am lucky to be born of two very special parents who had a dream that their child would be able to talk and play as any other child despite having a hearing problem.” Through their guidance, encouragement and knowledge and his tenacity, Angshu can converse fluently in English and two local languages. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Visva-Bharati University and is now pursuing his Ph.D at Visva- Bharati University in the field of social sciences. Learn more about Angshu and his story here.
Dr. Tonya Dantuma, CCC-SLP
Academic Team Leader & Program Advisor
After earning a B.A. from Biola and an M.A. from California State University, Fullerton in Communication Disorders, Tonya started her career working as a speech-language pathologist in a public school early intervention program. Her work included assessment and treatment of young children from a variety of ethnic and socio backgrounds with various communication disorders including phonological delays, apraxia of speech, autism, and language delays. After working for twelve years as a speech-language pathologist, Tonya began teaching in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Program at Biola University. She holds a PhD in Exceptional Student Education from Northcentral University. Her research interests include the provision of speech and language services via telepractice, treatment and assessment of pediatric phonological disorders, clinical education, and international speech-language pathology.
Dr. Kris Brock, CCC-SLP
Academic Team Leader & Program Advisor
Kris is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) who specializes in neurogenic communication disorders and augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). His primary research interests concern the development of AAC interface designs that are more compatible with the cognitive-linguistic capabilities of persons with aphasia and children with autism. Additionally, he is interested in translational research that investigates the communicative competence (e.g., turn-taking and longer communicative interactions) of individuals using currently available AAC technologies. Kris is also the Co-advisor of the CSUF National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association chapter. While traditional didactic lectures are an important component of learning, Kris understands that repeated practice, structured mentorship, and active learning in the field are better teaching techniques that develop clinical scientists capable of engaging in life-long learning.
Victor Gebhardt serves as the operations manager for Therapy Abroad. He has years of operations experience in the tech and real estate sectors and has experience leading development projects across Southeast Asia. He served in the Peace Corps in Thailand focusing on youth development through the use of IT. Victor has a passion for international travel and adventure, most recently driving a junk car from London to Mongolia. He is currently an MBA candidate at UCLA.
Stephanie Wilson RN
Medical & Health Advisor
Stephanie has been a nurse for over thirty years and is currently working in the health and wellness field. She loves to travel internationally and volunteer her time. Stephanie's true passion has always been caring for her children. Her youngest was adopted from Guatemala with special needs, including a cleft lip and developmental delays. After many years of speech, physical and occupational therapies, he is now sixteen and doing well. Stephanie joined Therapy Abroad to advise on student health concerns and help facilitate our integrative approach to meeting the needs of the communities and children we work with.