2019 AC Counselors
2019 AC Counselors
Zena Dadouch, M.A., earned her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley and her master’s degree from Northern Illinois University (NIU). She is pursuing her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at NIU. Zena grew up in Damascus, Syria, and her research interests in trauma in children originated from the war that has engulfed Syria since 2011. In moving to the U.S. to pursue higher education, her research and clinical experiences have led to a growth in her passion for working with children across clinical settings. She has had wonderful opportunities working with children, families, and adults during her training, including clinical practice at the Psychological Services Center at NIU, a local private practice, the DeKalb County Court Services, and at Advanced Therapeutic Solutions (ATS). During those experiences, she has become fascinated by the variation in anxiety-related problems and their consequences, and has developed a passion for planning exposure-based therapies and applying them in group and individual formats for clients across the lifespan. Being a first-hand witness to the positive changes in her clients over a short period of time, such as at Adventure Camp, has further solidified her faith in such therapies, particularly in children. Working as a counselor for Adventure camp the past three summers, Zena has loved using evidence-based exposure therapy with the campers each year, as she watched them grow and thrive. In July 2019, Zena joined ATS as a practicum clinician, and is thrilled to be working with children and their families to help them use their brave and improve their quality of life.
Kristina Kochanova, M.A., holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Northern Illinois University (NIU) and is currently working towards her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, Child Focus, at NIU. Kristina first heard about Adventure Camp (AC) intensive group treatment for selective mutism through her colleagues at NIU a few years ago, and in 2017 she applied and was accepted to participate as an AC counselor for the first time. Since then, she has returned to participate several times in both Winter Adventure and Adventure Camps, and she also completed a year’s rotation (2018-2019) in Advanced Therapeutic Solutions’ outpatient services treating children, adolescents, and families coping with selective mutism and related anxiety conditions. Kristina’s training and experience includes working with at-risk youth, pursuing research with families and children with various emotional and behavioral concerns such as anxiety and ADHD, and serving as a behavioral consultant at Opportunity House providing assessment and therapeutic services to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a 12-yr-old immigrant to the US from the Ukraine, Kristina remembers not yet having the language skills to communicate in middle school, and how scary that felt. She uses this understanding to empathize with kids at Adventure Camp. This will be Kristina’s third summer participating in Adventure Camp, and she is even more excited this time around because some of the campers are from her recent caseload! Kristina looks forward to seeing some familiar faces, as well as meeting new campers, and to continue honing her skills in applying exposure therapy with kids.
Anton Petrenko, M.A., is a fifth year graduate student in the clinical psychology program at Northern Illinois University (NIU). His research focuses on children’s temperament and emotion regulation development. Anton graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology. He also obtained a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from California State University, East Bay in 2011. Anton has worked with children in clinical settings for the past ten years, ranging from providing in-home behavioral therapy for toddlers with autism to conducting family therapy sessions involving parents and children. Prior to coming to NIU, Anton worked as a classroom therapist in an elementary school in Oakland, California. While at NIU, Anton continued to gain clinical and assessment experience with children, adults, and families as a clinician in the Psychological Services Center. During the 2018-2019 school year, Anton worked as an extern at the Joliet Public School District providing therapy and assessment services for students. His favorite part of working with children has been seeing kids push themselves outside their comfort zone, and being rewarded with good memories of new experiences! Anton has been a counselor for Adventure Camps for the past three years. His favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip, his favorite summer activity is swimming, and he owns two cats.
Samantha Awada, M.A., is a fourth year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology, Ph.D. program at Northern Illinois University, with a focus on children and families. Prior to beginning graduate school, Samantha worked in a residential treatment facility for children and adolescents who displayed a wide range of psychological symptoms (e.g., conduct behaviors, oppositional behaviors, depressive disorders). Further, she has been providing therapeutic and assessment services to college students and children with a variety of diagnoses (e.g., anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, anger problems) for the past two years in the Psychological Services Center at NIU. Her research focuses on understanding the impact of contextual factors (e.g., poverty, trauma exposure) on the development of conduct problems in childhood and adolescence. Samantha is excited to apply her skills in exposure therapy and learn unique skills to support children with selective mutism!
Lauren McNeela, B.A., graduated from Saint Mary's College with a bachelor's degree in psychology and is currently a rising fourth-year student in the Clinical Psychology Program, Child Track at Northern Illinois University (NIU). Prior to beginning her graduate training at NIU, she worked with at-risk children and adolescents in Chicago, facilitating evidence-based techniques to work with externalizing (e.g., conduct issues, attention-deficit/hyperactivity) and internalizing (e.g., anxiety, depressive symptoms, adjustment issues) behaviors. Lauren also has studied the development of psychopathology among at-risk youth after graduating with her bachelor's degree and has worked as a clinician at Northern Illinois University’s Psychological Services Center. Currently, Lauren is conducting research that is focused on adolescent stress and mental health outcomes. In the future, she hopes to develop her child clinical training and expand her clinical experiences to prepare her for treating childhood anxiety disorders. This is Lauren’s second summer as a counselor at Adventure Camp and she is looking forward to meeting the campers!
Angela Lee, M.S., graduated from Washington University in Saint Louis with a bachelor’s degree in psychological and brain sciences with a concentration in experimental psychopathology, and minors in anthropology and children studies. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the University of Oregon. Although Angela comes from out of town, she is able to participate in Adventure Camp (AC) because of its intensive format, a benefit for both counselors and families who come from out-of-state. This year, she will be returning for her second AC after loving her experience working with the campers and watching them grow two years ago. Clinically, Angela has had the opportunity to provide empirically supported interventions to children and families with a variety of emotional and behavioral concerns, in both individual and group settings. Angela also works with children in a research setting examining risk factors for the development of pediatric anxiety, particularly among preschool children. After spending so many years in the clinical world, Angela has realized that resources for children with SM are very rare, and that AC presents a unique opportunity for children and families across the country. She specifically mentioned the helpfulness of AC’s school setting, saying that the setting “facilitates success for our campers who go back to school soon after Adventure Camp.” Angela is thrilled to be returning to Adventure Camp, and looks forward to working directly with students who are affected by Selective Mutism.
Diana Robinson, M.A., is in her third-year pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Northern Illinois University, with a focus on trauma and resiliency. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and her M.A. in Experimental Psychology from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). Her undergraduate and master’s research focused on intimate partner violence and sexual assault prevention education. Diana’s overarching research and clinical interests are interpersonal violence, trauma, and resiliency. Diana has worked with adults and children in a clinical setting using individual and group formats. This is her first year as an Adventure Camp counselor and she is so excited to participate in this amazing program and meet all the campers! Diana has heard from previous counselors about the amazing experiences the counselors and campers have together, and she cannot wait to be a part of it!
Ben Laman-Maharg, B.A., is a rising third-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology, Ph.D. program at Northern Illinois University (NIU). Prior to beginning graduate school, Ben worked as a research coordinator studying trauma and traumatic brain injury at the Portland VA Hospital in Portland, Oregon. Additionally, Ben has experience administering psychological assessments to adults and has provided individual therapy to college-aged adults with diagnoses including social anxiety disorder through the Psychological Services Center at NIU. Ben’s current research focuses on understanding the impact of attention and biases on the development and maintenance of anxiety and fear-related disorders. Ben is very is excited to apply his skills in a group setting and to learn how to best support children with selective mutism!
Gloria Arteaga, B.A., is a recent graduate from the University of Illinois in Chicago where she majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. While Gloria prepares to apply to Ph.D. programs in clinical psychology this fall, she is employed as the Aquatics Supervisor at the Wheeling Park District. Here, she teaches swimming lessons, trains lifeguards and swim instructors, and communicates with parents about their child’s progress in the swim program. Gloria is bilingual in English and Spanish, and she has also completed two years of instruction in American Sign Language. Her diverse language skills have enabled her to expand the diversity of children she is able to teach. Gloria’s dream is to open her own clinical practice in Mexico, where she has witnessed a lack of mental health services and the stigma behind mental health issues. She is very excited to be part of Adventure Camp! She is eager to gain knowledge and skills about the treatment of SM, which she will carry into her future training and use to spread awareness to Spanish-speaking communities.
Sister Adele Human
Sister Adele Human, OP, LCSW, earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Quincy University, in Quincy, Illinois and a Master’s Degree in Social Work, Family Concentration, from St. Louis University, in St. Louis, Missouri. Since graduation, Adele has spent many years in the non-profit world, specifically working for Catholic Charities in a variety of dioceses in the United States and in Peru, South America. Her ministries have included working with children and their families as a school counselor, as an English as a Second Language instructor, as a therapist for troubled teens and their families, and as a parish social worker in Lima, Peru. Currently, Adele is employed by Catholic Charities and provides school counseling services in four Catholic elementary schools in the Western suburbs. She’s delighted to have this opportunity with Advanced Therapeutic Services to increase her clinical skills to help children who cope with Selective Mutism!
Elizabeth Corning, B.S., is a rising third year student in Northern Illinois University’s doctoral clinical psychology program with a focus on children and families. She graduated from the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in criminal justice. For the past year she has been working as a clinician in the Psychological Services Center at NIU which has involved the provision of therapeutic services to both children and adults presenting with a variety of psychological conditions. Further, she has served as a co-leader for a parenting group in a private practice setting aimed at equipping parents with skills to help manage their children’s symptoms of anxiety. Her graduate research focuses on understanding how different parenting behaviors impact the development of child externalizing problems (e.g., conduct problems, oppositional behavior). Elizabeth is excited to combine her passion for working with children and families with her prior training in applying evidence-based therapies through her role as a counselor at Adventure Camp!
Meghan Kanya, M.A., graduated from Michigan State with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She is currently working towards her Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a specialization in children and families at Northern Illinois University. Prior to beginning her work at Northern Illinois University, Meghan had the pleasure of working with hundreds of children and adolescents of all ages while teaching swim lessons and coaching a summer swim team. Additionally, Meghan interacted closely with children and families while conducting research at Michigan State on children's development of cognition, emotion regulation, and temperament characteristics. Within her graduate school work, Meghan has worked clinically with children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of emotional and behavioral difficulties (e.g., anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct issues, depression, developmental disorders, and general adjustment issues) both in outpatient clinics and in elementary and junior high schools. This is Meghan's third time as a counselor at Adventure Camp and she is excited to continue to be a part of the AC team and to provide evidence-based care to the children and families involved!
Jacqueline "Jackie" Pabis
Jacqueline "Jackie" Pabis, B.A., is currently a rising third year in Northern Illinois University's Ph.D. clinical psychology program with a focus on children and families. She graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology as well as a minor in human development & family studies with a multicultural certificate. Prior to beginning at NIU, Jackie spent time working with children at Advanced Therapeutic Solutions (ATS). She initially served as an intern and volunteer, and then worked as Research Project Manager of a longitudinal study focused on the efficacy of intensive exposure therapy for children with selective mutism. In addition to her focus on research at ATS, she has served as a counselor and facilitator for both Winter Adventure and Adventure Camp, as well as co-facilitated group therapies for children with selective mutism. Within her graduate work, she is focused on conducting developmental research to better understand the association between parenting behaviors and child anxiety. Further, she has been providing therapeutic and assessment services to children and adults with a variety of diagnoses for the past year at NIU's Psychological Services Center as well as co-facilitating parent and child groups focused on child anxiety, social skills, and mindfulness at a private family practice in Naperville, IL. Jackie looks forward to returning to Adventure Camp for the fifth time to continue her passion of practicing evidence-based skills with children and families!
Anna Snyder, M.A., is pursuing her Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University (NIU) with a focus on children and families. She graduated from Hope College with a bachelor of arts in psychology and secondary mathematics education and received her master of arts through NIU. As a trained educator, Anna has had experience working with a variety of children and adolescents in a variety of settings. Specifically, Anna conducted individual therapy, family therapy, group therapy, and psychoeducational assessments with children ages 5 to 17. She has worked with children who experience anxiety, as well as behavioral and emotional difficulties, at the Psychological Services Center at NIU and at a private practice in the area. Specific to working with children with selective mutism, Anna was a counselor at Adventure Camp 2018 and Winter Adventure 2019. She is passionate about working with children and adolescents, particularly those who have anxiety, and she enjoys working with them and their families until each child has reached his or her full potential. Anna is excited to use her background in secondary education and evidence-based treatment of anxiety at Advanced Therapeutic Solutions as a practicum clinician.
Erin McKay, B.S., is a fourth year graduate student working towards her Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Northern Illinois University with a specialization in developmental psychopathology and trauma. She earned her Bachelor of Science from Texas Christian University (TCU) in child development. Clinically, Erin works with both children and adults on a variety of difficulties (e.g., posttraumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, oppositional defiant disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and social anxiety disorder). She is also interested in working with parents to assist them in helping their children. Erin is looking forward to joining the Adventure Camp team this summer!
Cathleen "Cate" O'Leary
Cathleen "Cate" O'Leary earned her Master of Arts in counseling from Saint Xavier University in Chicago, Illinois. She completed her practicum and internship at Richards High School in Oak Lawn, Illinois where she worked as a school counselor helping students who struggled academically due to social and emotional issues. Her professional experience also includes working as a hospice counselor where she provided anticipatory grief and loss counseling for patients, families, and caregivers. Cate has been with Adventure Camp (AC) since 2013, serving as an AC Counselor from 2013-2015 and as an AC Classroom Facilitator since 2016. She also joined ATS' clinical team in 2015 as a part-time therapist accruing her licensure hours to turn her provisional LPC license into a full LCPC license. In addition to providing part-time hours at ATS, Cate continues her role as a job coach for both high school and adult transition students with developmental and emotional disabilities at a nearby school district. She provides on-site vocational training and counseling for students who may also have co-existing issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder or selective mutism. As a professional counselor and also a mom of two girls, Cate feels passionate about providing a safe and nurturing environment for children and adolescents so they may grow and develop to their full potential.
Britney Blackmon, M.Ed., graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BS in Psychology and later earned a Master’s in Education from DePaul University. She is currently earning a second master’s degree in Clinical Psychology with a Clinical Child and Family Psychology concentration from Roosevelt University. Britney has experience with children of various backgrounds that includes a blend of early childhood to adolescents. She currently works as an advisor for young adults in higher education. Britney has volunteered as a clinical research assistant in DePaul’s Parent-Child Interaction Therapy lab and worked as an after-school instructor for Youth Guidance, Inc. Because of her passion to help children, she dedicates time each week to read, tutor and mentor in and outside the community. She is a volunteer tutor and mentor with DuPage County’s Bridge Communities. She meets with at least two elementary school children each week to help with homework, discuss interests and assist them through such a difficult time in their lives. She also volunteers reading time with children, 8 – 10 years old, in the Working in The School (WITS) program once per week at Roosevelt University. Britney’s career goal is to counsel children and families. She is excited to learn more about therapeutic practices for children with selective mutism, and she is looking forward to joining the Adventure Camp Counselor team this summer.
Chelsea Holley, B.S., received her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Family and Child Development from Texas State University. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Child and Adolescent Development through Capella University. During Chelsea’s undergrad studies, she volunteered in the children’s ward at Austin State Hospital and worked at the Child Development Center on campus. Chelsea has been working as a behavior therapist for the past two years in Austin, TX and received her Registered Behavior Technician License last summer. She hopes to finish her master’s program and become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Chelsea is excited to travel to Chicago, learn more about Selective Mutism Treatment, and can’t wait to participate in camp!
Michelle Platt, Ph.D., NCSP, BCBA earned her Ph.D. in school psychology from Northern Illinois University (NIU) and her bachelor's degree in child psychology and sociology of law, criminology and deviance from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities; additionally, she is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Michelle completed her doctoral internship working at the University of Illinois' Disability Resources and Educational Services Center and the Vermilion Association for Special Education Co-operative, and she currently works as a School Psychologist for the Hiawatha School District #426 and as a BCBA Approved Course Sequence Instructor at NIU. Her educational, clinical, volunteer, and work experiences have allowed Michelle to work with individuals with a wide range of exceptionalities, ages, and backgrounds. Michelle is passionate about working with children, adolescents, and families to support skill building, the development and maintenance of a high quality of life, and self-determination.
Alyssa Mielock, B.A., is in the Clinical Psychology, Ph.D. program at Northern Illinois University (NIU), with a focus on trauma and PTSD. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro with a major in psychology and a minor in American Sign Language. Then, she moved to Nashville, Tennessee as a researcher at Meharry Medical College working with women who experienced interpersonal violence. At NIU, Alyssa’s research focuses on understanding how social interactions impact mood and psychological distress in those who have experienced traumatic events. Alyssa has worked with both adults and children in a clinical setting, with a variety of clinical concerns. Given that trauma and anxiety are a focus in Alyssa’s work, she is looking forward to gaining more knowledge in exposure-based treatments to treat anxiety, including selective mutism. This is Alyssa’s first summer as an Adventure Camp counselor, and she is excited to support the campers in their growth, as well as learn from them!
Kristine Kelch, SLP,graduated from Illinois State University in 2000 with a Bachelor's Degree and earned her Master’s Degree in speech-language pathology in 2003. Kristine worked as both a Staff Speech-Language Pathologist (SLP) and a Speech Coordinator at Krejci Academy. Krejci Academy is a private, therapeutic day school primarily serving students with autism spectrum disorders as well as a variety of other special needs. During her time at Krejci, she developed an interest in augmentative and alternative communication as a means of helping her students communicate to the best of their ability. Kristine then joined the Community Unit School District #308 as an SLP at the elementary school level. She will be starting her twelfth year there this fall! She has worked with students who demonstrate childhood apraxia of speech, stuttering, articulation delays, receptive and expressive language delays, and selective mutism. In her free time, she enjoys reading, hiking, and volunteering with Rover Rescue, a local dog rescue. She also has two dogs of her own: Buster (a black and tan Coonhound mix) and Vinny (a Border Collie/Cattle Dog mix). Kristine is very excited to be an Adventure Camp Counselor this summer!
Dr. Tracey Ward
Tracey Ward, Ph.D. is a Child Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow at The Seattle Clinic in Seattle, Washington. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Seattle Pacific University under the mentorship of Beverly Wilson, Ph.D. She completed her APA accredited internship at Seattle Children's Hospital/University of Washington, School of Medicine in the General Child Track. Her dissertation examined dispositional mindfulness, maternal depression, and stress among mothers of children with ASD. Currently, her research interests include identifying best practice techniques of assessment of children with symptoms of selective mutism and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and examining group treatment outcomes for children with selective mutism. Clinically, she specializes in assessment and treatment of children and teens with ASD, anxiety disorders, in particular selective mutism, obsessive compulsive disorder, and parent training for challenging behaviors in young children utilizing the Incredible Years Program. Dr. Ward participated in the program development of the Selective Mutism Group at Seattle Children's Hospital, has been an invited speaker numerous times training professionals within the medical and mental health setting on selective mutism, and provides consultation to schools and other providers for selective mutism. Dr. Ward loves teaching children how to build their brave muscles and supporting parents in helping their children use their brave. Dr. Ward is very excited to work at Adventure Camp this summer and meet so many new fun and brave kiddos!