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. Our diverse program team is made up of professionals from a variety of clinical and academic settings. In addition to our full-time program staff, we also have professors, clinical faculty, and clinicians from around the world take time out of their busy schedules to lead our programs and mentor our students.
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.
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 [email protected]
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. Evan Liu, PT, DPT, OCS
PT Thailand Program Supervisor
Evan is a native Oregonian and serves as a physical therapy/occupational therapy program supervisor for Therapy Abroad Thailand. He is a local physical therapist out of Portland and is adjunct faculty for Pacific University's Physical Therapy program, where he also received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy (DPT). After this, he pursued an orthopedic residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is now in the midst of completing his Orthopedic Manual Therapy Fellowship through Regis University. Although he primarily specializes in orthopedics, he has a huge passion for pediatrics as well. He has had multiple abroad experiences, supervising and guiding prospective therapy students, including South Africa, Nicaragua, and Thailand. He continues to take advantage of traveling whenever he can and learning about new cultures.
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.
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.
Dr. Brian J Wilkinson, PT, DPT, CHT, CLT
PT Clinical Advisor for Global Programs
Brian is an Oregon native who completed his Doctor of Physical Therapy studies at the University of Southern California in 2006. Since that time, he has elected to specialize in conditions of the upper extremity, and has earned the Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) credential. He is also certified as a lymphatic therapy specialist as a clinician. Brian has been an instructor in therapy education programs since 2010, teaching as an adjunct in the Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Lane Community College in Eugene, OR and as Assistant Professor at Pacific University in Hillsboro, OR. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling to new and unique places, and his favorites to date are Morocco, South Africa and Ghana. He appreciates the opportunity to learn about various cultures firsthand during overseas travel, and is committed to helping young professionals access the perspectives and lifestyles of others so that they can better serve a more diverse clientele when entering the workforce.
Taylor Reckert MOT, OTR/L
OT Thailand Program Supervisor
Taylor Reckert is a Chicago-based pediatric occupational therapist at Chicago Occupational Therapy. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Eastern Michigan University. In her years of pediatric experience, Taylor has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), executive functioning deficits, developmental delays, and more. She has also earned her Early Intervention Certification which focuses on working with children ages 0-3. At Chicago Occupational Therapy, Taylor runs a handwriting group and has experience being a clinical supervisor for both fieldwork students and new graduates. She greatly enjoys working with a multidisciplinary team to help each child grow and flourish. Her love for travel started with a volunteer trip to Africa. Since then, she has been to over 30 countries and started her own travel blog! When traveling, she loves exploring new cities, trying new food, embracing the culture, and scuba diving in new locations. She’s excited to combine her love for occupational therapy and travel with Therapy Abroad!
Diane Jandron, M.A., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Diane in a native to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She had also spent 10 years in Phoenix, AZ, but decided to return to her roots and the four seasons. Diane earned her Master’s degree from Michigan State University, and remains a fan of Spartan basketball. Throughout her career, she has worked in multiple hospitals, skilled-nursing facilities, schools, outpatient programs and home health. In September of this year, she accepted a position at Northern Michigan University as the Director of Clinical Education. Diane’s passion has always been therapy. Taking the position at NMU made sense as a way to share her diverse clinical background with the students studying Speech Pathology/Audiology. Diane also enjoys interaction with students. She loves their creativity and energy. NMU is also planning to open their graduate program back up in June of 2021. Diane enjoys doing anything outdoors with friends/family and her dogs. She also enjoys traveling with her husband.
Jessie Ginsburg, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Jessie obtained her Bachelor’s degree from University of Redlands and her Master’s degree from Chapman University. She is a speech-language pathologist and founder of Pediatric Therapy Playhouse, a multidisciplinary clinic in Los Angeles. She is an autism blogger with an international following, and the creator of ASD from the Inside Out, an online course that teaches speech-language pathologists innovative ways to assess and treat young children on the autism spectrum. She presents at the state and national levels, contributes to the American Speech Language Hearing Association magazine, and is a board member of the California Speech-Language Hearing Association. Jessie is from Carmel, California, and grew up traveling around the world with her family. In her free time, she loves to have dance parties with her two little boys, Connor and Tucker. She is beyond excited to be joining the Therapy Abroad team.
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.
Dr. Elaina DaLomba, PhD, OTR/L, MSW
OT Thailand Program Supervisor
Elaina is originally from the Boston, MA area, and has loved traveling and working overseas since she was 13. She has helped to build a playground in Costa Rica, a latrine in Kenya, painted buildings in northern Peru, drywalled a youth camp in Germany, and served as a nanny in the Greek Islands. Elaina received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Providence College. She went on to earn her Master’s degree in Social Work from Tulane University and worked as a pediatric and adolescent psychotherapist for four years in the bayous of Louisiana before returning to school to become an OT. At Tufts University’s Boston School of Occupational Therapy. Determined to learn to research and show the value of OT, Elaina earned her Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy in 2015 from Texas Woman’s University. She is currently an Assistant Professor and researcher at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, CA. She also maintains a small private practice caseload, seeing mainly military children in Early Childhood Intervention (0-3 year olds) and in cyber school settings. She has worked with individuals of all ages but her heart lies with children, youth, and young adults with Cerebral palsy, autism spectrum disorder, and developmental delays and their families. Her research interests lie in family occupational participation while raising a child with a disability, military family life, and student approaches to learning, positive mental health, and self-efficacy.
Tyler White, M.S. CCC-SLP
Belize Team Leader
Tyler White received her MS and BS from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. Currently, she is a full-time teletherapist licensed in 4 states. She also works with the geriatric population in skilled nursing facilities and a rehabilitation hospital. Tyler also has experience in home health, outpatient clinics, and early childhood intervention. Tyler has served on a mission’s team to Alaska which consisted of rebuilding a Christian camp for a family of missionaries and assisting with running the camp after rebuilding it, she has modeled in New York Fashion Week, she spent 3 weeks in a Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica where she attended the Costa Rican Language Academy 4 hours each day and volunteered at a Spanish speaking special education school 4 hours each day where she delivered therapy services to students and a presentation to parents and staff regarding the process of AAC device acquisition. She has been bitten by the travel bug but wants to serve others in the process of her adventures. She has a passion for teaching and helping others and cannot wait to share this passion with her team in Belize. Tyler enjoys spending time with her husband and daughter, exercising, cooking, gardening, floating the Texas rivers, kayaking, fishing and hiking. She always says “yes” to a challenge or new experience.
Versonica Castillo, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Veronica is a Spanish bilingual Speech-Language Pathologist currently working in the public charter school system in Oakland, California. She earned her MS from San Francisco State University and her BS from Biola University. She has worked in the early-intervention and school-age population and is currently the Co-lead for the SLP team in her current position which entails providing professional development trainings to improve SLP practice and supervise Speech-Language Pathology Assistants. She is passionate about serving students and families from various socio-economic and culturally-diverse backgrounds, specifically topics such as bilingual language development, determining language disorder vs. language difference, and the effects of stress and trauma on language development. Veronica’s love of her career and traveling began in 2014 when she graduated with an undergrad degree and traveled to Guatemala to support a SLP from the States at a Mayan Special Education school. That experience was very transformational that it solidified her decision to apply for graduate school. She has traveled to various countries such as Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Japan, Iceland, Sri Lanka, China, Denmark, England, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, and all around the States! She is excited to be joining the Therapy Abroad team and combining her love of traveling and her love for speech and language therapy
Rebecca Prosser, MS, OTR/L
OT Thailand Program Supervisor
Rebecca Prosser is a California native who recently relocated to Chicago to join the amazing team at Chicago Occupational Therapy. After earning her Bachelor’s degree from Humboldt State University in California in Early Childhood Education, she taught preschool for several years before returning to school. After graduating from California State Dominguez Hills with her Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy, she combined her love of education and working with children and families and began her career as a pediatric occupational therapist. Rebecca has an extensive history working with children with a variety of abilities such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cerebral palsy (CP), sensory processing disorders (SPD), fine and gross motor delays, genetic conditions, physical disabilities, and more. She enjoys working with a great multidisciplinary team to provide holistic, quality care. Rebecca believes that mentoring fieldwork students and new graduates is the best way to give back to the field of OT. She has supervised several level one and level two fieldwork students and finds these opportunities as a great way to teach, while growing as a clinician. She has also been a part of the mentor team at Chicago Occupational Therapy, supporting new therapist as they grow and flourish. When it comes to travel, Rebecca loves to get out and explore. She's backpacked extensively through the Trinity Alps in California, lived in Germany and Hawaii, and tries to take a trip abroad every year. She got involved in international therapy trips in graduate school, traveling to Mazatlan Mexico for a week to provide support at a pediatric clinic and wheelchair center. She's excited for new adventures as a new team member with Therapy Abroad!
Dr. Elisabeth A. Mlawski, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Elisabeth “Liz” Mlawski is a Clinical Assistant Professor at Yeshiva University in New York. She began her career as a school-based clinician with the New York Department of Education while also dabbling in Early Intervention in the evening. After getting married and starting a family, she switched gears and began working as a clinical supervisor for graduate students completing their internship at a university- based clinic. This experience led her to return to school for her PhD with the goal of helping to educate the next generation of SLPs. At Yeshiva University, she teaches normal language development, language disorders, diagnostics, professional issues, and serves as the Faculty Advisor for the National Student Speech-Language, and Hearing Association Chapter. She also had the opportunity to be a faculty chaperone for undergraduate students traveling to Florence, Italy for a summer abroad program. When not preparing a lecture, grading student work, or holding office hours, she loves practicing on her yoga.
Stacy Springer, MS, OTR/L, ATP
OT Thailand Program Supervisor
Stacy is a native New Yorker currently living in the San Francisco Bay Area. She completed her Masters in Occupational Therapy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2004 and her Assistive Technology Practitioner certificate from Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America (RESNA). Stacy started her career in Special Education as a Preschool Special Education teacher serving children with multiple complex disabilities. Since then she has worked in a variety of school-based settings across the country, both private and public, as a Special Education Teacher, Occupational Therapist, and Assistive Technology Specialist. Currently, Stacy is the Team Lead for Oakland Unified School District’s Assistive Technology/Augmentative and Alternative Communication department, comprised of both Occupational Therapists and Speech-Language Pathologists. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty at Samuel Merritt University Occupational Therapy Department. Stacy started traveling abroad over 15 years ago with the CITTI project, building capacity in communities in Ecuador to create low-cost sustainable adaptations and tools to improve the function and participation of individuals with disabilities at home, school, and their community. As a team coordinator traveling during summers over 5 years, Stacy assisted in developing two publications that provide examples and strategies of how to create resources from locally available materials for increasing participation at home and school. In her free time, Stacy enjoys traveling with her family, hiking, yoga, exploring new places and serving as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for foster youth. She is excited to be joining the Therapy Abroad team and combining her love of traveling and her love for Occupational Therapy.
Nicole Meza, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Nikki earned a Master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology from California State University, San Marcos where she also received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development specializing in Children’s Services with a minor in Psychology. She has experience working with patients from 9 months to 98 years old within a private practice, educational, and inpatient hospital settings. Nikki has also had the opportunity to focus on the care and treatment at a primarily Spanish bilingual elementary school, as well as adults with mild to severe cognitive communication and intellectual disabilities. She has enjoyed giving back to the world of speech language pathology with the supervision of SLPA, undergraduate, and graduate students throughout her career. The last several years, Nikki has focused on the assessment and treatment of feeding disorders, apraxia, and aphasia. Nikki is a California native who recently relocated to North Carolina where she is working at a private practice for children and adults, as well as an elementary school. She enjoys hiking, working out, playing with dogs, cooking and traveling.
Phoebe Chen, M.S., CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Phoebe obtained her Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology from Cal State San Marcos. For the past five years, she has worked with students across the education spectrum in the public schools of Orange County, California. Her passion is working with young adults with moderate to severe needs in acquiring functional communication, self-advocacy, and social skills. She also provides teletherapy services to students in Guam. In her time off, she enjoys making last minute travel plans and learning about other cultures through food. Some of the favorite cities she has travelled to include: Paris, Delhi, and Cape Town. When she is not traveling or working, she enjoys doing yoga, listening to podcasts, being by the beach, and exploring Southern California.
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.
DR Team Leader
Vanessa obtained her B.A. in Linguistics and Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles and participated in a post-bachelors program at California State University, San Marcos with a specialization in Speech and Language Pathology. During her undergraduate career, she was part of a program called Hermanas Unidas where she learned the value of her skills as a bilingual, and bicultural woman and was constantly inspired by many amazing Latinas. Currently, she is working at a preschool as an intensive behavioral interventionist and tutoring students. Before traveling to the Dominican Republic with Therapy Abroad, she had only gone to Mexico to visit family! During her free time, she likes to spend time with friends, family, at the gym, watching Netflix and eating yummy food! She is excited to return to the Dominican Republic and meet all of the amazing individuals that will be participating this year; She hopes that everyone will have an impactful experience and realize how amazing it is to be a bilingual professional!
Lauren Carpenter, M.S. CCC-SLP
SLP Program Supervisor
Lauren obtained her B.S in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of New Hampshire in 2011 and her masters from Emerson College in 2015. She currently works in a school district outside of Boston, M.A. working with children in grades k-5. In addition to working in the schools, Lauren also works at a private local clinic. She has special interests in working with children with hearing impairments, social-emotional and behavioral needs, and AAC. She has previously participated in Therapy Abroad’s Belize program as an SLP supervisor and is beyond excited to be back! In her free time Lauren enjoys yoga, snowboarding, reading, cooking and traveling.
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.
Dr. Lia Jiannine, PhD, ACSM-EP, CSCS, CHES
Thailand Program Supervisor
Lia is a Florida Native. She received both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from the University of Florida’s College of Health and Human Performance. She holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction specializing in Public Health and Sport Science. She is currently a Professor of Exercise Science at Nova Southeastern University. Lia has presented internationally three times and traveled to 21 additional countries, on six continents, in the last two years. Dr. Jiannine’s research interests focus on supplementation, physical fitness, and sexual functioning. She also researches the reliability and validity of body composition methods. Her most recent project examines the effectiveness of training programs for NFL athletes. In her free time, she loves to spend time at the beach with friends and her 90lb Pit Bull named Boozer.
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/
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.
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!
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.
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.
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 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!
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.
Karen Vang, M.A., CCC-SLP
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
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 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 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!