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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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 https://slpoverseas.com/
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
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 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.
Belize 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 Conner, 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.
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.