Meet the team

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. All of our SLP Program supervisors are ASHA CCC-SLPs and all of our program teams consists of SLPs from diverse backgrounds, clinical, and academic settings.

Jessica Brown, MS., CCC-SLP
Co-Founder & Clinical Director

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 Allen
Co-Founder & Managing Director

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.
Belize Program Coordinator

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.

Dr. Kris Brock, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Academic Program Advisor & AAC Programs Director

Kris is an Assistant Professor at Idaho State University health Sciences Center 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. For more information about AAC programs email

Jen Credo
Student Care Coordinator

Jen serves as Student Care Coordinator for Therapy Abroad. She was born and raised in Southern California where she earned her Bachelors degree in Accounting from California State University, Fullerton. She has over 13 years experience working in customer service, program and flight planning and finance. She enjoys being a mom, reading, spending time with family and being an advocate for Down Syndrome.

Eden Thompson
Belize Program Assistant

Eden serves as program assistant for Therapy Abroad Belize’s program. She has over 7 years of experience working with the United States Peace Corps in Belize where she provided support to Volunteers under the education, youth development and rural family health programs. Her work also included providing administrative assistance, customer service, logistic and coordinator support. In her free time she enjoys traveling and cultural exchange.

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.

Kristin AmRhein M.S., CCC, SLP
SLP Program Supervisor and Travel Therapy Blogger

Kristin has served as a Therapy Abroad Team Leader / SLP Program Supervisor for Belize. She currently works as an SLP at the International Institute for the Brain (iBrain), a school for children with brain-based disorders, and as an Early Intervention 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. Kristin also blogs about her Therapy Abroad experience and other international travels. Check her out at

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. Tonya Dantuma, PhD., 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.

Mollie Mindel, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor & 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.

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.

Danielle Devore, M.A., CCC-SLP
Graduate Program Supervisor

Danielle is a bilingual speech-language pathologist at Texas Children’s Hospital. (TCH) She is also a Clinical Educator at the University of Houston in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication disorders from the University of Houston and her master’s degree in communications disorders from Texas State University. Her primary areas of interest include bilingual language development and voice disorders. At Texas Children’s Hospital, she leads research on pediatric voice disorders and coordinates evaluations and treatment plans with an otolaryngologist to assess children with vocal fold paralysis and other voice disorders. Prior to joining TCH, she specialized in home health therapy where she provided parent education and speech therapy for the birth to three-year-old population. In her free time, she enjoys listening to podcast, singing karaoke and is a lifelong member of Bee-Hive. She loves Beyonce.

Sandra Bond, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Graduate Program Supervisor

Sandra lives in Sonoma California and works with several Bay area school districts helping school SLPs decide how to best assess and serve CLD students. Sandra graduated with a BS in Communication Disorders and a minor in Spanish from Colorado State University, and an MS in Speech-Language Pathology from North Texas State University. Since 1982 she has worked in clinic, hospital, private practice, university and school settings. 20 years on the US/Mexico border working primarily with rural and underserved populations spurred a strong desire to explore alternate assessment and service delivery models. Sandra developed one of the first university graduate courses in multicultural issues in communication disorders and designed workshops to help practicing SLPs incorporate family and community in treatment programs. Sandra has worked in Texas, California, US Virgin Islands, Florida and Georgia. When she’s not working, she’s on her bike, on a hike, on a run, in the garden or doing her best to find an excuse to be outdoors.

Dr. 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.

Lynn Severin M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Lynn is a pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist from New York, who earned her Masters Degree from Northeastern University. Lynn has experience working in the school and home settings serving children with a range from mild to complex needs from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. In 2014, Lynn’s love for travel took her to London where she worked in a primary school for three years. During her time in London Lynn was able to develop staff skills on speech, language and communication needs through training days, create whole school communication improvement plans, and provide parent trainings. Throughout her practice she has found and believes that an integral part of successful therapy is collaboration between all professionals and the family. After her time in London, Lynn took a career break to travel the world, making her way through Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Africa. She is excited to be back in the states and blending her love of travel with supporting the language and communication needs of children through Therapy Abroad.

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.

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.

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 a medical SLP position at a hospital in Santa Cruz, CA from 1992-1999, specializing in Traumatic Brain Injury rehabilitation. Her love of travel brought her to England in 2000-2001 to work at a locked head injury unit in Unsted Park, Surrey. Upon returning to California, she began work as an SLP in the Live Oak School District 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 social communication. In 2016, she spent 5 weeks in Cusco, Peru with her 15 year old daughter going to Spanish School and volunteering at a Teen shelter. She is excited to be returning to Belize working with Therapy Abroad. When not working or volunteering, Cynthia enjoys traveling the world, listening to LPs with her family and eating her husband's cooking.

Camille Bulot, M.A. SLP
Team Leader

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.

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.

Victor Gebhardt
Operations Manager

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.

Kayla Welker
Team Leader

Kayla obtained her B.A.A. from Central Michigan University, as a double major in Communication Sciences and Disorders and Early Child Development & Learning. She will graduate with her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology in May 2019. Until graduation, she is completing her clinical internship in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, covering a K-12 education setting and a medical setting including inpatient, outpatient, and long-term care rehabilitation. During her first year of graduate school, she served as a trainee for the Michigan Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (MI-LEND) program, where she gained extensive training regarding interdisciplinary healthcare for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other neurodevelopmental disabilities. Her primary areas of interest include: pediatric feeding and swallowing, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and child language. When Kayla is not working, she enjoys doing anything outdoors!

Amelia Heagerty, MS., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Amelia is a speech-language pathologist who has dedicated her career to working with children at multidisciplinary pediatric clinics and schools since she earned her master's degree from the University of Colorado in 2012. Amelia believes that it is critical to unlock the full communication skills of those with speech and language delays. She has seen first-hand that a trained therapist can make all the difference for a child or adult with communication delays, expanding upon their latent abilities to help them blossom and realize their true speech and language potential. Born in New York, Amelia transplanted to Seattle as a child and has spent her adulthood exploring the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Amelia is passionate about travel, music, and games of all kinds, and she embeds fun into every goal-oriented speech session with her pediatric clients.

Laura Connor, M.A., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Laura Winchell Connor is a speech-language pathologist with over 25 years of experience working with students pre-k through 12th grade. At present, she lives just outside of Memphis, TN where she has a private practice. She lives with her husband, two daughters and two golden retrievers. She graduated with both her B.S in Communication Disorders and her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology from the University of Maine, Orono. She has a passion for her work with children. Through her husband’s job, she had the opportunity to move around the United States. She has lived in multiple states thus giving her an abundance of different experiences to draw from. She finds that a team approach is often the best for our kiddos and co-treats should be utilized more- OTs and PTs are our friends. We are all working towards the common goal -PROGRESS! Laura and her family like to travel and try new things from San Diego, CA to Old Faithful in Yellowstone, to relaxing in the Florida Keys, to riding the London Eye, to ziplines through waterfalls in Mexico, to swimming with dolphins and snorkeling with stingrays in the Bahamas and so much more.

Rachael Hirst M.S., CF-SLP
SLP Team Leader

Rachael received her B.A. from California Baptist University in Communication Disorders, and her M.S. in Speech Pathology from University of Hawaii. During her time in Hawaii, she worked for a hospital providing outpatient and inpatient speech services to traumatic brain injury and stroke survivors. She also worked on a military base during the summer with school age kids who had severe disabilities such as autism, down syndrome, and apraxia. She focused her research in grad school on apraxia of speech and is passionate about articulation and speech sound disorders. She recently moved back from Hawaii to start her career as a speech pathologist working in the preschool setting with kids who have mild to moderate speech disorders. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, trying new foods, and traveling with friends.

Cara Donohue, M.A., CCC-SLP / PhD Student
SLP Program Supervisor

Cara earned her BA in speech-language-hearing sciences and MA in speech-language pathology from the University of Minnesota. She is currently a third-year Ph.D. student in the communication science and disorders department at the University of Pittsburgh with primary research interests related to respiratory function and swallowing. Clinically, Cara has worked in a variety of settings as a speech-language pathologist including a cleft craniofacial clinic, inpatient and outpatient rehab for pediatrics and adults, home care and hospice, and acute care. Cara is a competitive long-distance runner and teaches group fitness classes including yoga, barre, spin, and cardio kickboxing. When she’s not at work or school, she enjoys hiking, rock climbing, running, traveling, and snuggling with her two greyhounds.

Sheeva Abolhassani, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Sheeva is a pediatric speech and language therapist from Boston, MA who earned her Master’s Degree from Teacher’s College, Columbia University. Sheeva has 10 years of experience working in the school, hospital, nursing home, clinic, and home settings serving children and adults with needs ranging from mild to complex needs from an array of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. In 2015, Sheeva moved to London where she worked in a mainstream primary school for three years before now working in a school for children with special needs. During her time in London, Sheeva has been able to establish and implement a speech and language program in both her current and her previous school, present staff trainings, and provide parent trainings. Throughout her practice as a speech and language therapist, Sheeva has found that the key to successful outcomes in therapy is functionality, collaboration between all professionals, and positive communication with families. Since living in London, Sheeva has had the opportunity to travel to many parts of the world such as Italy, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Norway, and Iran. She is looking forward to blending her love of travel with supporting the language and communication needs of children through Therapy Abroad.

Stephanie Sweigart, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Stephanie is a speech language pathologist who founded and currently operates Golden State Speech Pathology Services, a small family run NPA, where she has managed over 30 therapists. She earned her undergraduate degree from the Jesuit University of Scranton and her Master's degree from Bloomsbury University in Pennsylvania and has presented at the Pennsylvania Speech and Hearing Association. Stephanie has experience with working in hospitals, providing speech and swallowing assessments and therapy in the acute care setting and has also provided early intervention therapy to students in their home, as well as to charter school and non-public school students. She currently supervises SLP graduate clinicians during their CF as well as SLPAs. Stephanie takes great pride in volunteering with local organizations, ministries, non-profit organizations and charities to help individuals in various neighborhoods throughout California and across the globe with medical mission trips. Stephanie most enjoys traveling to National Parks in the U.S. as well as sight seeing some of the 7 wonders of the world! And, she currently is working on a completing her teacher certification in Mindfulness Meditation.

Isabelle Nastaskin
Team Leader

Isabelle is a Southern California native and a team leader for Therapy Abroad’s Belize program. She received her B.A. from UCLA in Communication Studies and a B.S. from Utah State University in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education. She is currently an M.S. candidate at Boston University in Speech-Language Pathology and will be graduating in Spring 2019. Isabelle spent nearly two years teaching English in Thailand and has traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and beyond. In fact, it was there that she discovered her passion for helping people with communication challenges and has been working towards becoming a speech-language pathologist ever since. In her free time, she loves to hike, play soccer, practice her Thai, and spend time at the beach.

Erin Neuenfeldt
Team Leader

Erin obtained her undergrad degree from the University of South Carolina where she majored in Elementary Education and minored in Communications and Disorders, while playing Beach Volleyball. She went straight on to Jacksonville University where she currently studies Speech-Language Pathology and serves as the Graduate Assistant Coach for Indoor and Beach Volleyball. Erin will graduate with her M.S. in April 2019. After graduation, Erin plans to work in the acute hospital setting working with adults who have had traumatic brain injuries, strokes, and other neurological disorders. She has special interests in Dysphagia, Cognition, Aphasia, Head and Neck Cancer/Laryngectomies, and Voice. In her spare time, Erin enjoys the outdoors, reading, playing sports, and traveling. Erin has participated in a program called Coach for College where she traveled to Vietnam with other student athletes and taught and coached 7th and 8th grade Vietnamese students. She is excited to blend her love for Speech-Language Pathology and traveling into one this summer!

Bethany Holden
Team Leader

Bethany is a Team Leader for Therapy Abroad’s Belize program. She received her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Appalachian State University in the tiny mountain town of Boone, North Carolina. Because she fell in love with the mountains, Bethany stayed at Appalachian State for the next two years. She is set to graduate with her M.A. in Speech-Language Pathology in the Spring of 2019. After traveling to Romania to teach English, Bethany discovered a passion for traveling and learning about different cultures. Since then, she has had the opportunity to travel more often, and loves that her career choice can be adapted to help individuals of all different kinds of cultural backgrounds. In school, Bethany has primarily been focused on early-intervention work, especially with children with special needs. She is also very interested in the evaluation and treatment of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders. In her free time, Bethany loves to get outdoors as much as possible. She enjoys long-distance running, snowboarding, yoga, traveling, and trying as many new things and food as possible!

Deirdre Muldoon, PhD., CCC-SLP, BCBA-D
SLP Program Supervisor

Deirdre is an assistant professor at The College of St Rose in Albany, NY. She has worked in the area of autism and developmental disability for 25 years. She specializes in behavioural feeding disorders in children with autism and other developmental disabilities and her current research studies are in this area. Deirdre is also working on a research project in the area of receptive language skills in children with autism. In addition to holding certification as an SLP, Deirdre is a board-certified behaviour analyst and she teaches about, and uses, behaviour management skills in classroom and clinic settings. Deirdre is the faculty mentor for the National Student Speech Language Hearing Chapter at the College, a chapter that serves both graduate and undergraduate students in the communication disorders program. Deirdre is from Ireland and she has travelled extensively throughout Europe including recent trips to Denmark, Norway and Turkey. When she is not working or travelling, Deirdre can be found in training – on her bike, running, or in the pool - for the next sprint triathlon.

Jennie Portney, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Jennie is a bilingual speech language pathologist who works both in Manhattan and in Upstate New York. She is a graduate of Teachers College, Columbia University where she completed her Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology as well as her Bilingual Extension in Spanish. Jennie currently provides direct services as a consultant at the Bank Street Family Center – an integrated special education early childhood program in Manhattan, where she provides treatment to children with a variety of needs, ranging from mild articulation disorders to complex feeding cases. Jennie supervises speech language pathology graduate interns from Teachers College, Columbia University and NYU. Additionally, Jennie works in Columbia, Greene, and Ulster Counties in upstate New York, providing culturally and linguistically appropriate Early Intervention and CPSE evaluations for the bilingual/multilingual members of the community. Jennie has always found ways to travel during her studies and feels that travel has been essential in developing a deeper understanding of the myriad ways in which we communicate – verbally and nonverbally. Over the course of her academic career, Jennie has studied special education in Brazil, traveled to Bolivia, and traveled to Ghana in order to collaborate with cleft palate medical teams, providing speech therapy treatment plans for patients post-surgery. In her free time, Jennie loves to travel, be outside, read, play music, try new foods, dance, go to art museums, and listen to live music.

Karen Vang, M.A., CCC-SLP
Team Leader

Karen earned her BA and MA in Communication Sciences and Disorders at California State University, Chico. While living in Ghana, she was able to educate and provide services in speech and language to a local special education school. This experience solidified her passion and commitment to speech therapy. As such, she has worked in early intervention and with the school age population in the home setting through a private practice. She enjoys parent coaching, teaching the PECS method to clients and families, implementing Social Thinking with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and providing voice therapy to adults with Parkinson’s Disease. She has a healthy addiction to traveling and has gone to over 15 countries (and counting). Her 2019 New Year’s resolution is to visit at least 6 national parks, so in her free time, you can find her hiking, traveling, or kickboxing."

Jill Westland, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Jill is a speech language pathologist serving students in the public schools of Roanoke City, Virginia. She earned a Master’s degree in communication disorders from Radford University and her undergraduate degree in Biology from University of Mary Washington followed by a Master’s degree in Education from James Madison University. Roanoke has a diverse population within the school system that keeps Jill on her toes when it comes to assessing and working with children from different backgrounds. She focuses mainly on the early elementary years and enjoys working with kids. She is a proponent of developing strong reading skills and over the last several years has organized a Family Reading Night for her school and surrounding community. Jill was drawn to the field of speech and language pathology to work more closely with students with special needs and their families. Over the past several years, Jill has also served as a Clinical Supervisor for Radford University in guiding the training of graduate students while they hone their skills at the Radford University Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic. Jill enjoys traveling and Therapy Abroad provides a great opportunity to combine her passion for helping others in the SLP field and her desire to learn about different cultures. When not working, Jill spends time with her children, doing anything outdoors, and taking pictures to capture the memories!

Philippa Brown, M.S., SLP
Team Leader

Philippa is from Queensland, Austalia where she is a practicing speech pathologist. She obtained her Master of Speech Pathology from Griffith University on the Gold Coast, Australia. She also has an undergraduate in Veterinary Technology, from the University of Queensland. After experiences working in rural and remote regions around Australia, Philippa currently works in a remote community with a paediatric population in outback Australia. Her primary areas of interest include: Autism Spectrum Disorders, fluency and child language. When Philippa is not working, she enjoys doing anything involving exploring the outdoors with her two dogs!”

Dr. Emily Leak, Ed.D., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Emily is the senior clinical supervisor at the University of West Georgia. She earned her master’s degree at Georgia State University and her doctorate at the University of West Georgia. She has work in the school system, long term care, short term care, hospitals, private clinics and now at the university clinic. Her research interests include clinical education and supervision. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, learning new things, mentoring students and hanging out with her family.

Amber Bettencourt, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Amber is a Speech-Language Pathologist who is passionate about working with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) populations. From addressing the needs of people and organizations through process improvement initiatives in Silicon Valley, to teaching English in South Korea, Amber found her way to the field of communication sciences and disorders. She obtained a M.S. degree from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, where she was a Graduate Assistant to the Program Director. During that time, she was a co-lecturer on African-American English and Bilingualism for an undergraduate course on Multicultural Issues in Clinical Service Delivery, and taught an Introduction to Linguistics course to a cohort of international students pursing their Master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language. Amber, then, traveled to New England where she worked with students of mild to complex needs in the Manchester School District and with neurogenic communication and swallowing disorders at a Dartmouth-Hitchcock affiliated hospital. Amber enjoys the assessment process and educating team members on linguistic differences. She views her role as that of a partner; where she collaborates with the clients, his/her family, and other service providers to work towards mutual goals and facilitate the development of effective communication skills. She highly values a multi-disciplinary approach to care, and keeps current on the latest research in the field. Amber enjoys connecting with her global community of friends and colleagues, a good cup of coffee, yoga, hiking and spending time on the Northern California Coast. She is currently working in Sonoma County schools and is a Coach for Girls on the Run.

Robert W. Serianni, MS, CCC-SLP, FNAP
SLP Program Supervisor

Bob is the Clinical Director and Assistant Professor in the Department of Speech-Language Pathology at Salus University, with a primary role of managing the Speech-Language Institute, the on-campus graduate student clinic, and coordinating the off-campus clinical practicum rotations. In addition to supervising students in the clinic, Bob teaches classes, including an interprofessional class that incorporates the 300+ graduate and professional students across the various health disciplines represented at Salus, focused on evidence-based practice. Prior to joining the faculty at Salus, Bob held clinical and administrative roles for a variety of healthcare providers. He has vast experience in assessing and treating adults in acute care, rehabilitation, and home health settings – he continues a small private practice for home-bound patients still today. His research interests include clinical supervision and interprofessional education and practice in the field of Speech-Language Pathology and as well as adult neurogenic communication and swallowing disorders. After earning his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Speech-Language Pathology from Loyola University Maryland, Bob relocated back to his hometown of Philadelphia to practice. He holds the Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and is licensed in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, in addition to achieving specialty certification in the areas of voice and dysphagia. Bob enjoys traveling regionally, nationally and internationally and spends most of his free time walking his dog, Cooper, volunteering and attending sports, dance and other activities that involve his four children.

Brittany Fletcher
Team Leader

Brittany will complete her M.S. in Communicative Disorders from the University of Louisville in Fall 2019. Along with her graduate studies, she served as the president of the National Student Speech-Language and Hearing Association-UofL Chapter. She was also involved, as a graduate research assistant, in the research on the effects of head and neck cancer treatment on swallowing. Brittany aspires to work with adults with intellectual disabilities by facilitating skill development within the community and building skills through augmentative training. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Bellarmine University where she majored in Elementary Education and minored in Learning and Behavioral Disorders. She has taught in the Swedish school system in Linkoping, working with immigrant/refugee students and children with Autism. Brittany loves travelling and has visited numerous countries in Europe, Central America, and Asia. When Brittany is unable to travel, she works with Catholic Charities Ministry to tutor immigrants and refugees in her hometown. She enjoys food, music, sports, reading and travelling!

Chris Wenger, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Chris obtained his Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Cal State Northridge. He has a strong background in working with individuals with learning disabilities and in program improvements for high school students. Chris is currently the CSHA District 10 Director-elect and works at Rancho Cucamonga High School. In addition, he supervises at a private practice. Growing up in Southern California, Chris was raised snowboarding and surfing. In his younger years, he played both soccer and baseball, as well as played guitar in a pop-punk band. He loves to travel and enjoys scuba diving, hiking, playing guitar and dancing. As a hobby, he is a part-time DJ and wedding officiant.

Lisa Zee, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLp Program Supervisor

Lisa is a bilingual speech-language pathologist currently working in the public schools near Santa Cruz, CA. She received her B.S. from the University of Illinois and her M.S. from San Francisco State University. She was an instructor and clinical supervisor at Southern Illinois University for five years. She specializes in bilingual language development and uses music in therapy. She has held a variety of positions including private practices, hospitals, nursing homes and public and private schools. She has traveled in Mexico, Costa Rica, Colombia and the Caribbean Islands. Lisa is a certified craniosacral therapist and enjoys singing and playing the guitar and hybrid banjo-guitar.

Nathalia Fonseca, M.S., CCC-SLP, TSSLD/BE
SLP Program Supervisor

Nathalia is a bilingual speech language pathologist and a Clinical Supervisor at Marymount Manhattan College. Nathalia has worked in various settings: Home health, university, school, hospital- NICU/PICU, outpatient rehab, skilled nursing facility, and private practice. Most recently, Nathalia opened her own private practice, Bilingual Speech-Language and Swallowing Therapy in New York City, where she treats bilingual pediatric patients with feeding and swallowing disorders, and provides transgender voice modification therapy. Nathalia obtained her B.S. from Marymount Manhattan College in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology with minors in Education, Hispanic Studies, and Psychology, and received her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology from Nova Southeastern University. During her undergraduate career, Nathalia studied abroad in Spain and traveled across the country and Europe. As someone who constantly has “itchy feet” when Nathalia realized she was able to combine her passion for SLP and traveling she knew that, that is where she wanted dedicate her time. Nathalia has been fortunate enough to be apart of Operation Smile and join their team on a mission to Bolivia (one of many in the future to come), and is extremely excited to see where her journey with Therapy Abroad takes her. Follow her during her wanderlust SLP journey @BilingualSLPNY #BilingualSLPNY

Kimberly Schoeck, M.A., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Kimberly earned a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology from Northwestern University and dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in Communication Arts and English from Trinity Christian College. She specializes in treating children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders, apraxia of speech, articulation and phonological disorders, oral motor and feeding disorders, and language disorders. Currently she works in an interdisciplinary clinic, providing comprehensive services for people with autism and implementing intensive intervention programs. In 2017, Kimberly earned an Award for Continuing Education from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Living in West Michigan, Kimberly enjoys hiking, and downhill skiing, and all the things Lake Michigan has to offer. She previously lived in Punta Gorda, Belize, for a year with her husband and two children (then ages 3 and 1), where she and her husband provided medical and speech therapy services, as well as having a blast enjoying the beauty of Belizean jungles, scuba diving in the Caribbean, exploring Mayan ruins, and best of all, developing relationships with many of the people there. She is excited to be returning to her "hometown" and introducing students to this wonderful country.

Heather Isaacson, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Heather has called Northern Michigan her home for the past six years. She and her family moved from Milwaukee, WI in 2012 to begin growing their roots in Marquette, MI. Currently, she is entering her seventh year teaching full-time at Northern Michigan University in the Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences program. Prior to this program, she obtained a Master of Arts in Speech-Language Pathology degree from Michigan State University. Preceding teaching at the University, she worked in the hospital, rehabilitation center, school, and long-term care settings from 2005 to 2012. Her clinical work has focused on a wide range of speech, language and swallowing disorders with special interests in the areas of traumatic brain injury and dysphagia. As a professor, she has adopted different roles, as needed – teacher, leader, consultant, counselor, and evaluator. Over the past years and the initial reason why she started teaching has to do with desire to create professionals that can work well with the individuals that she developed a passion for as a clinician. If she can do that, then she has met her goal.

Denise Cruz, M.A., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Denise Cruz is a Spanish bilingual speech-language pathologist and the Director of Clinical Education and Clinical Services for the Ruth Smadbeck Communication and Learning Center at Marymount Manhattan College, New York. She Supervises undergraduate student clinicians and provides diagnostic and clinical services to adults/children with communication and related needs. Denise has been in practice since 2005 with experience in a variety of communication, voice, feeding and swallowing disorders in various settings (schools, hospital, SNF, home-care), and delivery models. Her clinical interests lie in the areas of cognition, rehabilitation of head and neck cancer patients, swallowing disorders, voice disorders, transgender voice modification, and care of the professional voice.  Mentoring future clinicians is a way to give back to the amazing career that has given her so much joy and fulfillment. In her spare time she enjoys traveling (by land and sea), swimming, watching baseball, singing karaoke, and salsa dancing. She was born in NYC but her heart belongs to Puerto Rico.

Allegra Schiff
Team Leader

Allegra received her B.A. at Michigan State University in Psychology and Linguistics with a minor in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She is currently an M.A. candidate in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at San Diego State University graduating in May 2019. She hopes to start her career as an SLP in an elementary school in August. After spending two summers in Europe and traveling with her graduate school classmates to Costa Rica, Vietnam and Thailand, Allegra has been bitten by the travel bug and is eager to continue exploring the world this summer in Belize. In her spare time, Allegra enjoys working out, hiking, farmer’s markets, spending time at the beach with friends and catching as many San Diego sunsets as possible!

Dr. Melissa P. Garcia, Ed.D., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor

Melissa began her career as a speech-language pathologist in Connecticut where she resided for 12 years. She currently holds a Clinical Associate Professor/Program Coordinator/Clinic Director position at Texas A&M International University in the department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. For the past twelve years, she has been the faculty advisor for the National Student Speech-Language Hearing Association-TAMIU Chapter and for the past six years, she has been the faculty advisor for the Students for Global Communication-TAMIU Chapter. She has developed and taught nine study abroad courses, six in Belize, and one in India, Costa Rica, and Asia (Japan, China, and Thailand). Her research focus is in trends and issues of culturally and linguistic diverse populations, international service-learning and linking academic knowledge to clinical practice in undergraduate students. She is the past president of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)-Hispanic Caucus. She serves on the ASHA SIG 14 committee, the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association Distance Education Task Force and University Committee. She serves on the APCSLH International Advisory Committee. Most recently she presented at the Texas Speech-Language Hearing Association state convention, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention, in Hong Kong, Hong Kong; Guangzhou, China; and Belize City, Belize. In 2015, she was named the College of Education Teacher of the Year, TAMIU Global Scholar and received the School Bell Award for outstanding teaching and service in higher education. In 2018, the Texas Higher Education Board recognized her for her program in Belize. She was one of five Star Awards Finalist for “Service-Learning at Home and Abroad”.

Alexis Jo Cordero
AAC Team Leader

Alexis will receive her master’s degree at Central Michigan University for Speech-Language Pathology in 2019. She has a background in American Sign-Language and traveled to Jamaica to work with a school for the Deaf. She has a passion for working with people of diversity and received a certification in Multi-Cultural Diversity. She is currently completing her internship at Beaumont Hospital’s pediatric outpatient clinic in Royal Oak, MI. Her internship primarily consists of evaluation and treatment experience for children who have complex communication needs recommending and using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Her dream job consists of working in a children’s hospital implementing AAC devices for children pre and post operation.