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After a selective application and evaluation process, the following extraordinary individuals were been selected as receipients of the NAADAC Minority Fellowship for the 2015-2016, 2016-2017, and 2017-2018 academic years.
I was born and grew up in Ondo State, one of the most prominent states in Nigeria. I attended both elementary and high school in the same state and was one of the brightest student in my school and also a good soccer player. I was very shy as a young man and very stubborn. Being born into a large family has it advantage and its disadvantages; I learned very early the importance of parental approval, and I did very well at school and was very helpful at home and my parents love me very much for that. My parent name was Mr. Elijah and Mrs. Comfort Akinnola both of whom were successful in their respectful business. . I came to the United States few years after graduating from high school with the hope of furthering my education and to return back to Nigeria where most of my families still resides.
My name is Jaime Anderson of both Native American and Caucasian decent. I have three sons, ages are 15, 14, and 9. I have always been athletic and enjoy exercise and enjoy learning about nutrition and eating healthy. I am a recovering addict whose primary dependency was methamphetamine. I have been in recovery for almost 10 years. I have been working as a substance abuse counselor for 7 years and graduated with my Bachelors in Behavioral Science in May 2013. I am currently pursuing my Master’s Degree in Addiction Studies from the University of South Dakota. Since becoming a substance abuse counselor, I have only been employed on Indian reservations and have only worked with the Native American population. I am currently employed with Indian Health Services on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation.
A Boston, Massachusetts native, Stacey earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Cambridge College and currently enrolled in The Master’s Degree Program also of Cambridge College. She has close relations to her 11 siblings most in the Boston area. When not at work or attending school, Stacey enjoys spending time with her fami, loves to travel, swim, Journal Writing and is highly interested in Drama Therapy with an empathetic value in the individual suffering from trauma and addictions. Stacey also is committed to Motivational Speaking as she has had prior engagements with Simmons College, Cambridge College and Saint Anselm College of New Hampshire, speaking in front of freshman students. Stacey is currently a Board member with OWLL (On With Living and Learning) Productions, a non-profit organization. OWLL is a transformational ""verbatim theatre” organization. Stacey is also a member of NAADAC (The Association for Addiction Professionals). Engaged as an associate/student, working towards qualification for licensure or certification in the addictions profession.
My name is Joshua Crick. I am 32 years old, married for over two years and have a 16 month old daughter. I was born in Massachusetts and moved to Iowa shortly thereafter. My father worked for ACT in Iowa, but got a job in Philadelphia at the National Board of Medical Examiners so we moved to New Jersey in 1989. I am the youngest of three, and the only boy. I always have done well in school but around middle school mental health issues and addiction began to create dramatic effects in my life through many of my friends. I got my act together in 2007 and completed my associate’s degree in addictions counseling in 2010. I finished Cum Laude at Rutgers Camden in 2013 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in sociology. I have one year left in the MSW program at Rutgers New Brunswick and currently have a 4.0. I work in a correctional facility as a substance abuse counselor and have been there for over four and a half years.
My name is Orlesha Diane Fairgood; I am a thirty four-year-old single mother of one son. On July 10, 2006, I accepted a position with the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services as a Unit Caseworker, working with adult male offenders. I later accepted a position in the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program as a Chemical Dependency Treatment Specialist (CDTS) on May 12, 2008. I attended Training for Addiction Professionals (TAP) at The Lincoln Medical Education Partnership and received my Provisional License for Alcohol and Drug Counseling (PLADC) on March 12, 2009. I became a fully Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LADC) in March 2012. I began my academic career in Clinical Social Work Fall 2012 and have an anticipated graduation date of May 2016.
In 2008, I graduated from Perth Amboy High School and was admitted into the EOF program at Rutgers University - New Brunswick. In 2013, I graduated from Rutgers University - New Brunswick with a Bachelor of Arts in criminal justice with a minor in sociology. I earned my first job out of college working with a company called Cognostane, which was contracted by the Department of Medicaid and Medicare to oversee the rollout of the Affordable Heathcare Act. During the fall of 2015 I was admitted into the Rutgers School of Social Work and began my quest to achieving masters in social work. My desire to help individuals who have suffered as a result of the lack of culturally competent services lead me to want to become an agent of change with the goal of assisting vulnerable minority populations during their time of need.
Personal statement coming soon.
Born and raised in Detroit, I moved with my young sons to Washtenaw County in August 2011 after a long battle with addition. In 2012 I returned to school to pursue my dream of working with disadvantaged populations. While working toward a BSW I earned The EMU University Fellowship, Eastern Michigan Black Alumni Association Against all Odds Scholarship, Emerald Scholarship, The Barr, Maxine, Donald and The EMU Women’s Associations Scholarship. In 2014 I completed the BSW program and began my work with Dawn Farm as an Outpatient Therapist and a Detox counselor. Currently I am a candidate for an MSW through EMU school of Social Work recipient of the 2015 HRSA workforce development and the NADAAC Minority Fellowships. I am interested in working with adolescent and young adults with co occurring mental health and substance use disorders.
I completed my undergraduate degree in education in 1998, taught diverse and disadvantaged youth, and worked as a paralegal both in and near my hometown. In 2013 I returned to graduate school to pursue a master’s degree in counseling psychology with a certification in clinical art therapy and specialization in substance use disorders. Alcohol and prescription drug abuse are primary causes of substance use disorders in my community. As an NMFP-AC fellow I’ve developed a psychoeducational art therapy project aimed to start public dialogue about reentry after incarceration. Many people undergo treatment in the criminal justice system but they recover in their communities. There often isn’t a lot of support or services available in that transition. My goal is to bridge service gaps and promote successful reentry and recovery for safer, stronger communities.
Diana Sanchez is pursuing her MSW while simultaneously a part of the Addiction Counselor Training program at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Diana works in addictions providing group and individual counseling to both English and Spanish speaking clients. She is currently an intern at a co-occurring treatment program. Her main area of focus is on substance abuse and mental health disorders among minorities and the need for cultural competency in clinical settings. Diana has worked with underserved communities in Argentina, Colombia and Romania. Her passion for helping others paired with her determination, dedication and drive for success fuels her desires for professional growth within the social work field. As a future dual license clinician Diana plans to encourage and support adequate training in treating co-occurring clients and educating clinicians in understanding how the therapeutic relationship is affected by cultural differences.
NMFP-AC Fellow Nil Shores grew up in a small village in the state of Maranhao in northern Brazil. The village, Barracao de Madeira, is so small, says Nil, that it doesn’t even appear on the map. One of seven children, Nil was the first in her family to complete high school, and she credits her father for encouraging her to continue her education. A passion for learning English brought her to the United States in the 1990’s. While working and attending college in Delaware, Nil met and later married an American soldier who had been deployed in Iraq. After a second tour of duty, Nil’s husband returned home with post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury. Opiates prescribed for his chronic pain led to a heroin addiction and ultimately, death by overdose. Her husband’s struggles motivated Nil to pursue a graduate degree in mental health counseling with an emphasis on trauma and addiction. She learned about the NMFP-AC fellowship through her advisor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. While completing her studies, Nil has also been working full time as a counselor in child protective services at Savio House, a local social services agency. Many of her clients speak only Spanish, or have limited English language skills. One requirement of the NMFP-AC fellowship is to complete six educational webinars available through the NAADAC Institute Webinar Series. She cites the webinar “Cultural Humility and Counseling Hispanic and Latino Populations” as being particular valuable to her work. “All of the webinars have increased my knowledge about cross-cultural issues and cultural sensitivity,” says Nil. Nil encourages any student in a master’s program in addiction studies to consider applying for the NMFP-AC fellowship. “It is a great opportunity to expand your knowledge of how to best serve minorities and underserved populations.
My name is Anadoris Estrada Torres. My hometown is Ponce, but I’m temporarily living in Bayamon for my graduate studies. My Bachelor’s degree was in Forensic Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico at Ponce. During the past semester I was a Representative of Substance Abuse Program in the Student Council of the Universidad Central de Caribe. I’m a young woman with great ambitions for my future. More than a profession, I see my career as a vocation and a call to service. I have always been given to others and with an immense will to give my all to whom needs a word of strength or service in relation to my knowledge and skills provision. I’m a woman that has been developed in the cultural, artistic area and think I have a few extra tools to involve young people in transitional age in activities which increase their development and decrease the likelihood of falling into substance use as a means of prevention.
I have a Bachelor Degree in Sociology, a certificate of Administrative Assistant and a Minor in Education of the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. I’m in my second year of my Master’s Degree of Substance Abuse Counseling at Caribbean Central University in Bayamón Puerto Rico. In my free time I play the classical guitar, dance salsa and belly dancing. I love dogs and I have two. I always try to be an organized person and do activities to increase my knowledge. I also in my free time take workshops in other areas like management and education. I like to be in constant learning because counseling is a profession that requires that the facilitator be in constantly training.
Jessica Attas is pursuing her Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Alcohol and Other Drugs of Abuse practice at the University Of Chicago School Of Social Administration. She is currently completing her second year clinical internship at the Gateway Foundation-West Life Skills and Recovery Treatment Program, a residential co-occurring disorder program. At Gateway she completes clinical intake assessments and provides individual and group therapy sessions and is engaged in milieu management. Jessica is passionate about providing mental health and substance use services to individuals with co-occurring disorders. She hopes to obtain her certification in substance abuse counseling as well as her clinical social work license so she can provide a variety of holistic services for underserved populations. When Jessica is not studying or working in the field she enjoys traveling, reading, photography and cooking. Jessica’s hometown is Vienna, Virginia and she plans on moving back to the Washington DC area after she graduates from her MSW program in June 2017.
My passion for humanities and social sciences started during my childhood. I was able to develop this passion throughout my schooling experience. I specialized in social sciences in high school, and pursued my Bachelor’s degree in literature, linguistics, media studies, and cultural studies; which I specialized in during my last year of undergraduate education. My desire to utilize the acquired knowledge on individuals and groups in the socio-cultural milieu and expand on it resulted in my enrollment at New York University- Silver School of Social Work in 2015 for my MSW. My MSW enrollment was in concomitance with my internship at a psychiatric hospital that offers mental health services and substance abuse treatment, as well as with a training to become a certified substance abuse counselor (CASAC), in addition to my NMFP-AC fellowship; all of which constitute major motivating factors to my work with the dually diagnosed population.
Elizabeth Coates is currently a Master’s of Social Work student at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, UT. She moved to Utah with a Bachelor’s of Social Work from James Madison University to work as an Adventure Therapy Lead Guide for two years prior to attending graduate school. Elizabeth is most interested in merging the substance use counseling field with outdoor experiential education for adolescents and young adults. As a social worker, she intends to take an active role on the political side of the substance use and criminal justice fields to advance social work’s mission of Social Justice.
Riley Cochran is a 27 year old male from Denver, Colorado. He enjoys exploring the Rocky Mountains, attending any local sporting event, many different forms of physical activity, and connecting with others, both professionally and socially. A graduate from the University of Colorado Denver’s Undergraduate program, Riley majored in Psychology and minored in Sociology. He is currently anticipating graduation in June of 2017 from the University of Denver’s Counseling Psychology program with a Masters in Clinical Mental Health. After an adolescent experience full of challenges and character growth Riley developed a passion for wanting to help others facing the many different challenges and intersections of life. He has a specific interest in helping transitional aged youth involved with the judicial system and struggling with the many different facets of addiction. Riley currently holds a position as an Addiction Counselor at Arapahoe House, an organization providing multiple levels of ASAM care to a diverse population of clientele within the state of Colorado.
My name is Christelle Cook. I have lived in Colorado most of my life, and hope to stay in state as I begin my career in the mental health field in the coming months. I completed my undergraduate degrees in Psychology and Sociology through the University of Colorado at Boulder, and I am currently finishing the second and final year of a Master’s program at the University of Denver in Counseling Psychology. Throughout this program I have worked in practicum and internship sites that focus on substance use treatment with adults and crisis stabilization with adolescents and have very much valued these experiences. I have been interested in substance use and addiction counseling as well as working with adolescents for many years, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity to begin this journey in the coming months.
Ann-Marie Denton is currently in her 2nd year of graduate school at the Cambridge College, clinical psychology program, Master of Education. Her concentrations are addiction and trauma. She joined the Dimock Community Center in 2016. She became the Outreach/Preventive Coordinator and Community liaison, where she develop all educational materials for dissemination to underserved communities, coordinates appropriate linkages to care as needed for infected individuals and families and supervises all aspects of the Integrated Testing Program (HIV/STDs) including supervision of Prevention Coordinator. She also assists the HIV Program Manager of all network agencies with respect to onsite visits, and grant expectations.
Earned her undergraduate degree in Human Services from Fort Hays State University. She is currently a graduate student completing her MA in Addiction Counseling with Washburn University. Jessica’s passion for the addiction field is deeply-seated. With long lines of addiction on both sides of her family, she has witnessed the effects of addiction on the individual and the family, and also how treatment and recovery can help individuals and families rebuild. A Kansas native, Jessica will utilize the skills she learns during her fellowship to provide culturally competent care to underserved populations in the communities she serves. Jessica currently resides in Junction City, Kansas with her husband and son.
I live in Dilworth, Minnesota. I am currently enrolled in the Master’s of Counseling program, addiction track at the University of Mary. I currently work for Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch with at risk youth aged 10-18. I love what I do every single day. I have worked in this field for about 5 years. I love the program that I am apart of and I am entering my second and last year. I am looking forward to starting my internship hours this fall and being involved in this fellowship.
Christopher Fenwick was born in Ogallala, NE and has lived throughout the Midwest. He obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. After applying to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s program in Fall of 2014, he was accepted and started in Spring of 2015. He will graduate in December of 2017 with a dual track including Addictions Counseling. He has always had a strong passion for helping others, a passion for counseling, and has personal ties and professional desires to work with the LGBT community. Following graduation, Christopher hopes to work with Substance Abuse clients as well as the LGBT community. Christopher plans to pursue a Counseling Education Doctoral degree in the future, while still maintain practice and reaching full licensure. He is very thankful and excited to be a part of NAADAC’s fellowship program.
Demi Folds is a second year Master's student at University of Denver in the Clinical Mental Health program with an Addictions specialization. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from University of Georgia. Before starting graduate school, Demi tutored student-athletes, worked at a Methadone clinic for a year, and traveled abroad. Demi is currently a student intern at a private practice center, providing psychotherapy and brief substance abuse interventions. In her first year of her Master's program, she worked at a local Denver high school, with unserved youth. Demi is passionate about working with those struggling with and affected by substance use disorders and enjoys conducting research on addictions and underserved populations. Demi has hopes to eventually obtain her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology, to continue counseling and serving disenfranchised populations.
Laura Geller is currently a master's student at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration, specializing in AODA treatment. She is completing her field placement at Insight Behavioral Health Center where she works with individuals struggling with with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Laura grew up in rural Missouri, and is interested in providing addictions treatment to underserved rural and tribal populations, particularly for transition age youth. As a meditation practitioner, Laura is passionate about incorporating mindfulness and spirituality into her work as an addictions counselor.
Taneka Gibson is in her final year of study in the Mental Health Counseling – Rehabilitation Counseling Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (N.C. A&T). In December of 2017, Mrs. Gibson will graduate with a Master’s of Science degree, earning two certificates - Rehabilitation Counseling and Behavioral Addictions and Rehabilitation Psychology and Behavioral Medicine.
Mrs. Gibson received a Bachelor of Science degree in Rehabilitation Studies in May of 2014 from Winston-Salem State University. Before coming to N.C. A&T, Mrs. Gibson worked for 18 years in the healthcare industry as a Medical Assistant and a Phlebotomy Coordinator with 15 direct reports.
Mrs. Gibson’s research interest includes decreasing the recidivism rates among African American males, increase-sustaining competitive employment, at-risk minority youth, and substance abuse. Upon graduation, Mrs. Gibson will obtain her state licensure as a Professional Counselor along with her certification as a Licensed Clinical Addictions Specialist (LCAS). Taneka also plans to work for a vocational rehabilitation agency and for a private counseling organization. Mrs. Gibson’s ultimate career goals consist of starting a private practice along with opening a community resource center for underserved populations.
My name is Dorothy Hillaire. I got my Bachelor’s of Arts at Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. I majored in Comparative Religions and Philosophies with a minor in English Literature. I went back to school in 2013 to get my certificate in Chemical Dependency at Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington. I am currently enrolled at the University of Akron in the Master’s in Social Work program with a specialization in Addiction Counseling.
My professional work experience includes two years at Phoenix Recovery Services, where I conducted Intensive Outpatient Chemical Dependency treatment groups and worked with individuals with substance use disorders in an outpatient setting. My field experiences include an internship in the detox unit at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lutheran Hospital and my current internship at the Hitchcock Center for Women. At Hitchcock Center I am currently developing a psychoeducational and therapeutic program for trauma-informed care. I am currently licensed in Ohio as a Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor II.
My name is Megan Kenney and I am from Maple Grove, Minnesota. I obtained my Bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University in 2015 with a double major in Psychology and Child Adult and Family Services. Following graduation, I moved to Denver, Colorado where I am currently in my second year in the Counseling Psychology program in the Clinical Mental Health track working towards an addictions specialization at the University of Denver. Aside from school, I enjoy all Colorado has to offer. I love going to the mountains, snowboarding, hiking, running, and doing yoga. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family. Following graduation in June 2017, I am excited to pursue my passion of working with adolescents and underserved populations.
I am a second-year master’s student at the University of Denver and will be graduating with a degree in Counseling Psychology in June 2017. My concentration is in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with a specialization in addictions. I am an intern at Progressive Therapy Systems, which is a sex offender treatment provider. During treatment, I focus on the dysfunctional response cycle, anger management, and emotional regulation. I tend to utilize Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Psychodynamic Therapy with clients. Prior to my internship, I was a practicum student at Dakota Ridge High School. I worked with adolescents who had substance abuse issues, social anxiety, and difficulties in school. I have also had experience in the Counseling and Educational Services Clinic at the University of Denver working with clients who identify as LGBTQ as well as couples counseling. I plan to continue seeking minority populations throughout my counseling career.
Sarah King is a second year Master's student at William and Mary in the Clinical Mental Health & Addictions Counseling program. She earned her B.S. in Interdisciplinary Studies from Virginia Commonwealth University. Sarah is an intern at New Leaf Clinic; providing alcohol education and brief interventions. In her second semester as a Master’s student she completed her practicum experience at Cumberland Hospital; working with children and adolescents. She looks forward to beginning her internship at Bacon Street Youth and Family Services in the fall. Sarah is passionate about working with those struggling with and affected by substance use disorders; having particular interests in working with traditional youth and underserved populations. Sarah plans to pursue a Doctoral degree with research interests in the epigenetics of addiction and trauma in marginalized populations, with particular interest in the American Indian population.
Graduate student from Kings Mountain, North Carolina, who is completing the final year of an accredited master’s program in addiction/substance abuse counseling online at USD. She is a certified substance abuse counselor (CSAC), a human services- board certified practitioner (HS-BCP), certified peer support specialist (CPSS) as well as a national certified addiction counselor II (NCAC II) currently working with the inmate population in her state. Rebecca plans to continue working in her current position after she earns her LCAS and CCS licensure in her state. In addition to her passion is working with those struggling with addictions, Rebecca is also a devoted wife and mother of 2 young children. Rebecca is involved with her local church, where she serves as pianist as well as youth board member. In addition to being in recovery herself, Rebecca strives to make an impact in her community, and to aid those struggling from their addictions.
Melinda Kuoch is a first-generation Cambodian American student currently attending the University of Southern California's Master's of Social Work program. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Irvine in which she majored in Psychology with a focus in Cognitive Neuroscience. Melinda previously served a year with AmeriCorps as a Community HealthCorps Navigator and was placed at a federally qualified health center (FQHC) in her hometown of Long Beach, California. Following her service, Melinda began working as a mobile/mental health worker as part of an Integrated Mobile Health Team (known as the Homeless Innovations Project) with Mental Health America of Los Angeles. It was here where Melinda was able to learn about the complex nature of substance use disorders, which drove Melinda to focus her career in addictions counseling from a social work perspective. Upon graduation, Melinda hopes to develop her career in addressing the substance use and mental health needs of at-risk minority transition age youth. Melinda is particularly interested in working with ethnic minority populations, refugee communities, and first-generation Cambodian Americans.
Deirdre Kuvaas graduated from East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology. For the past 4 years, she has been working as a psychiatric technician in a psychiatric facility in Fargo, North Dakota with acute mental health and substance abuse clients. She particularly developed a passion for working with substance abuse adults in a high intensity residential setting. In Fargo, large amounts of Native American clients are admitted to treatment where Deirdre developed an interest in working this particular cultural group. Deirdre is currently entering her second year of her Master’s program in addiction counseling at the University of Mary with aspirations of becoming a licensed addiction counselor and licensed professional counselor and continue to become culturally competent to work with Native American clients.
I am originally from Pittsburgh, but I am currently finishing up my Master’s at the University of Denver in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addictions Specialization. My goal is to obtain a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC) Level III licensure in Colorado. I have personal experience with the foster care system as my parents were foster parents. I saw first-hand the impact that addictions can have on both youth and families. It was through this experience growing up that pushed me towards a career in this field. I have clinical experience working in community mental health with the Salvation Army as a counselor for homeless men with addictions. I am currently working in a hospital setting in Denver on an acute psychiatric unit. It is an honor to have received this fellowship and I am excited for where it will take me in my career.
Laura B. López-Aybar was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico to a family of educators. She earned her B.F.A in Interdisciplinary Studies- Psychology and Drama at the University of Puerto Rico- Rio Piedras Campus, researching trauma, intimate partner violence, relationship patterns and substance use in transition age populations. She worked for one year as an assistant researcher at the Center for Job Relations, researching mobbing in government workplace settings. She also worked a year and a half in the Institute for Psychological Research in numerous research projects as an assistant. During her undergraduate studies she offered several workshops and seminars about healthy lifestyle, drama as a tool for high risk populations and yoga. Currently, she is working towards obtaining a M.H.S. in Substance Abuse Counseling and training to be a Trauma Specialist. She plans to continue her graduate studies in Clinical Psychology.
While completing her final year as an MSW student at Eastern Michigan University, Nancy Mayo has been interning for Washtenaw County Community Mental Health and providing mental health services at the Washtenaw County Jail. During this time she has maintained her employment as the Drug and Alcohol Program Manager for Michigan based airline, Kalitta Air. Her employment history includes intensive case management for dual diagnosis individuals in both inpatient and outpatient settings, as well as developing educational resources to better prepare entry level staff for working in the recovery community. Her career and educational goals have largely been driven by a long familial history of chemical dependency and mental health concerns and she hopes to obtain her PhD in Social Work with the intention of conducting addiction related research. Nancy’s personal interests include kayaking, exercise, cooking and music.
My name is Trina McDonald and I was born and raised in Wilmington, NC. I attended the University of North Carolina-Wilmington where I earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology. I currently attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona and I am completing Practicum work for my degree in Professional Counseling. I have experience working with inpatient and outpatient mental health, corrections, with military personnel, and with HIV Case Management. I am a DWI and SAP evaluator and I am approved by my state to offer ADETS, Short and Long Term treatment for DWI offenders. I have been blessed to open a business by the name of Life Transitions Inc. in which I provide these services in Wilmington, NC.
I have a passion for working with people and being a mentor and motivator for those who may be misguided or lack direction in their lives. I find the field of counseling both challenging and rewarding and have been exposed to some great tutelage and supervision over the past twenty-nine years. I have personal life experiences that I bring to the field and am grateful that God has graced me to endure throughout my career in this field. It is my desire to elevate my private practice after graduating this August and I am eager to be able to attend the 2017 NAADAC Conference in Denver this year in which the theme is “Elevate Your Practice.” I appreciate the opportunity to network and learn as well as meet other professionals from other areas and across the globe. My personal interests include reading, avid music listener, traveling, and meeting new people.
Born and raised in California, just outside of Los Angeles. I received a Bachelor’s Degree in English from Brigham Young University in 2001. Upon graduation I taught English as a Second Language to elementary age students in Taiwan, and also traveled extensively in South East Asia. Upon returning home, as I was applying for graduate school, I met my husband, Jeff, and we married in 2003. I put graduate school on hold and focused on rearing and raising our three children. In 2015 I applied and was accepted to the Clinical Mental Health Counseling program at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, with a focus in Addictions. I am currently an intern at A Willow Bends, a small practice in a rural mountain town, working with court mandated clients with addictions.
An Ethiopian American who has lived in the United States for over 34 years. I hold a BA in Economics/Business Administration, and I am currently working on a Masters in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. I am also a certified substance abuse counselor (CSAC) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. My work experience over the past 5 years includes my current work in housing case-management at Volunteers of America/Chesapeake shelter here in Arlington County, case management at A-SPAN, and residential counseling at Phoenix House’s adolescent treatment facility, also in Arlington, Virginia. I have volunteered in area jails and institutions over the past 9 years. I am determined to make a difference helping under-served individuals who are experiencing addiction and other challenges overcome these obstacles to live their optimal lives. I live by the belief that, “what has happened to you is not nearly as important as what has happened in you.
Before returning to graduate school, Jennifer Mossefin worked with individuals struggling with homelessness, severe and persistent mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders as a Peer Community Health Worker for 3 years. She has been published in the national Journal of Ambulatory Care Management for her work integrating physical and mental health care with the homeless population in Durham, NC. She had the opportunity to present at the National Healthcare for the Homeless Council conference in 2014 on both integrated care and cultural humility. Throughout graduate school at UNC- Chapel Hill, Jen has enjoyed internships working with youth getting swept into the school to prison pipeline and with young women and gender non-conforming individuals with co-occurring eating disorders and substance use disorders. She is looking forward to returning to the professional world and continuing to work with transition aged-youth on their substance use disorders from a holistic perspective.
Stephanie Nisle is pursuing her Master’s in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Addictions at the University of Denver. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois in 2012 where she participated in a semester abroad French language immersion program in Aix-en-Provence, France. Previously, she has worked as a research assistant analyzing residential substance abuse treatment facilities. Stephanie has also worked in the addictions field providing group and individual counseling to adults and adolescents with co-morbid disorders. Additionally, she has spent the past eight years working and volunteering with at-risk and special needs students. The combination of her teaching and work experiences, have led to the formation of her research interests related to personal, environmental, and behavioral factors that contribute to adolescent development and substance abuse. In the future she aims to develop programs and interventions in hopes to create greater empowerment within these communities.
Shane is currently in his final year of the MSW program at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to starting at UNC, Shane worked with adolescents and emerging adults in primary SUD treatment settings in Asheville, NC. After working in wilderness-based programs for a few years, Shane helped start a residential treatment facility for emerging adults that also incorporates adventure therapy and nutritional programming. During the first year of his MSW program, Shane interned at a long-term residential treatment facility for homeless and underserved populations in Raleigh, NC.
Before working in treatment programs, Shane completed his bachelor’s degree in English at Georgia State University and his associate’s degree in outdoor leadership at Young Harris College. He is passionate about working with adolescents and young adults, and has a particular interest in health equity and social justice for people with substance use disorders. Shane established his own long-term recovery in 2004.
I’m 35 years old and I’m Puertorican. I’m product of the public school and I was raised in a housing project. The high rate of crime and drug addiction forces my parents to move to “Caimito” a neighborhood in San Juan. Where I complete my middle and high school. I have a Bachelor Degree in Physical Education of the University of Puerto Rico. Since 2002, I’m a Community Intercessor of Centros Sor Isolina Ferre. Through sports I have impacted children and young people with high-risk behaviors. Searching for resources for participants who fall into the use of substances, I discover my passion for this field and start a Masters in Counseling Substance Abuse at the Central University of the Caribbean. I recently completed my first internship, experience that confirmed that this is my vocation. I am very grateful to NAADAC for this scholarship and support.
Hello and Hafa Adai. Born and raised on the island of Saipan, one of the islands within the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), I am a Chamorro and Filipino pacific islander. Graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work from Arizona State University in May 2007. In hopes of gaining a higher education, currently pursuing efforts to obtain a Masters of Social Work degree from Walden University by August 2017. Currently a Substance Abuse Treatment Supervisor within the Commonwealth Healthcare Corporation Community Guidance Center, the CNMI’s single State Behavioral Health agency, gained experience and exposure working with drafting and implementation of program policies, pursuing funding resources through grant writing/management, efforts to increase substance abuse treatment levels of care, to include substance abuse treatment workforce development. As part of the Pacific Behavioral Health Initiative, involved as a CNMI’s representative trainer formed by the Pacific Behavioral Health Collaborating Council (PBHCC) to establish pacific jurisdiction trainers that are able to provide specialized training throughout the different western pacific island nations.
Alli Schad was born and raised in the South. Always keenly aware of the injustices, hardships, strengths, and beauty of diversity in the South, she fostered a penchant for advocacy and social justice. As a queer-identified woman, she has been working for LGBTQ rights since before she could vote. In 2017 she is completing the Master’s Program in Social Work and the Substance Use and Addiction Specialist Program at the University of North Carolina, as well as certification as a Somatic Experiencing Trauma Therapist. She has served on advisory boards, created programs, and published articles about LGBTQ health and addiction treatment. Alli Schad is dedicated to improving the mental and physical health outcomes of minorities, particularly among LGBTQ populations, and is committed to having fun along the way.
My name is Christine Shaw, I am 30 years old and grew up in Maine and North Carolina. I have 1 child, a 3-month old boy named Brady. I received my undergraduate degree from North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina. After years working in business, I decided to do something that more reflected my concern for people. I have experienced the impact of substance use on family and friends for years, and I have a passion for working with men and women on their journey to recovery. This career change began at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in their Masters in Social Work program where I am specializing in addictions treatment. As a part of this program I have worked with people who are struggling to achieve abstinence while living in a homeless shelter. I am currently working with Veterans who are learning to cope with chronic physical and mental health conditions while working to overcome substance use disorders. This population is close to my heart because of my family’s long military history. Outside of work and school I have enjoyed volunteering in my community and abroad. I have volunteered as a GED tutor at a local residential treatment facility, as well as three months volunteering with artisans in Guatemala, teaching entrepreneurial skills, design skills, and overall empowerment.
I expect to graduate with my Masters in Social Work in May 2017, at which time I will pursue licensure as an addictions specialist as well as clinical social work. I am looking forward to working in a field about which I am so passionate, and I hope to use this extra training to continue to work with the underserved populations in my community.
Born and raised in Colorado. I graduated with a BA in Psychology from Metropolitan State University of Denver. I am 2nd year Masters student at the University of Denver in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addictions Specialization program. I worked four years for the State of Colorado caring for clients who are mentally or physically disabled, severely mentally ill, and disabled sex offenders. I completed my practicum at Creative Treatment Options as an outpatient addiction counselor. I am currently working at Arapahoe House, working with clients who suffer from addictions in withdrawal management and adult and adolescent inpatient units. Also, I am an intern at Jefferson Center of Mental Health, working as an outpatient clinician for adults and children. I am greatly passionate in the addictions field due to coming from a family that struggles with addiction and seeing the great need for treatment and prevention.
Melissa Wheeler was born and raised on the Navajo Nation in Arizona. She is currently enrolled in the Master’s of Counseling Psychology with an Emphasis in Addictions at the University of North Dakota. She is currently an intern at Northeast Human Service Center in Grand Forks; providing substance use disorder treatment for adults in residential services.
Melissa’s research with Native American includes substance use disorder prevention and treatment, intimate partner violence, historical and intergenerational trauma, microagressions, spirituality, and suicide prevention in Indian Country. Melissa’s short-term goals are to become a Licensed Addictions Counselor while her long-term goals are to earn her Ph.D in Counseling Psychology. Melissa is determined to make a difference in helping under-served populations who are experiencing addiction. She aims to integrate tribally appropriate spiritual and cultural aspects into her counseling approach.
Employed as an Intensive Case Manager with Heartland Regional Alcohol and Drug Assessment Center, working with individuals that have co-occurring disorders. I’m extremely passionate about helping and encouraging others in their recovery. My message consists of HOPE; if others had given up on me I may be out there still trying to prove that I could drink. It’s hard to believe that I have this tremendous opportunity to share this little glimpse of my life with you. The reason why, you ask? Five years ago, I was actively struggling with my addiction of alcoholism. It wasn’t pretty, it was miserable; in fact, it was barely a life at all. After countless recovery attempts, I finally had the realization that recovery is the only solution for me to live a desirable life. I welcome this opportunity, working with my mentor, and becoming a part of the NMFP-AC.
Bio coming soon…
Patrick Chesebrough moved from Indianapolis with his family in 2003 and started his career working in the not for profit world caring for the refugee community in the Fort Wayne area. He currently works at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission. Patrick received his undergraduate degree from Indiana University Purdue University Fort Wayne and is currently finishing his last year in graduate school for addiction counseling at Indiana Wesleyan University.
Patricia Corso makes her home in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and is in her last year of Graduate studies at the University of the Cumberlands. Patricia is working on two Master’s level degrees, in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Addiction Counseling, with a prospective graduation date of the first Master’s degree of August 2018, and the second Master’s degree in December 2018. Patricia is currently completing internship studies at Foundations Counseling and Consulting, LLC, where she works with individuals suffering from addiction/substance use. Patricia hopes to continue to serve addicted/substance use individuals and their families, as well as at-risk transitional youth and underserved minority populations who suffer from this challenging disease. With her newly learned counseling skills and her compassion for helping people be the best they can be, Patricia is confident she can make a difference in her community.
Andrew Ferro is a 2nd year master’s student at the University of Denver where he is anticipating to graduate in 2018 with a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in clinical mental health and an addictions specialization. He is originally from Minnesota and completed his BA in Psychology from a small school in Indiana before he moved out to Colorado. He is currently interning at Rite of Passage which is a residential facility for troubled adolescent males many who struggle with addiction. Aside from school Andrew enjoys being outdoors, rock-climbing, skiing, hiking, and camping. After graduation, Andrew is excited to pursue a career working with adolescents and transitional youth.
My name is Jessica Freudenberg, and I am currently a second year graduate student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Denver. I completed my undergraduate degree at the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota where I successfully graduated with my B.A. in Psychology and Communication. Throughout my current graduate program at the University of Denver, I have had the opportunity to intern at an inpatient, mental health facility that specializes in working with children and adolescents, as well as their families during times of crisis. My primary responsibility involved helping adolescents develop stabilization in response to suicidal and homicidal ideation. Additionally, I have always had a passion for the field of addiction. Thus, it is my ultimate goal to help adolescents overcome their addiction to substances, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to make this goal a reality through NAADAC’s Fellowship Program.
Dakota was born in Ogden, UT. He played on the varsity lacrosse team throughout high school and excelled in visual arts. After graduating from Weber High School in 2010, Dakota began studying art at Weber State University. In 2012, Dakota left his studies to serve a mission for his church. During his two-year mission, he developed a love and passion for serving people, especially those belonging to minority groups. Upon completing his mission in 2014, Dakota returned to Weber State University and began pursuing a degree in social work.
In 2014 Dakota began working as a drug counselor at a residential treatment center for adolescents with substance use issues. In 2017 Dakota received his Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and was admitted into the University of Utah to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. Dakota is currently working in community mental health and will receive his CSW in 2018.
A graduate student from Rutgers University with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Labor Studies, who will be completing her final semester of a Master’s program at Rutgers University in Clinical Social Work with a concentration in Clinical Alcohol and Drugs Counseling in May of 2018. During my professional career in the mental health field I had the opportunity to work with children whose parents were struggling with addictions. It occurred to me that if I had the chance to get to those parents, before they even had kids, I could make a bigger impact by decreasing the abuse and suffering these children face. The next step in my career is to obtain my Ph.D to continue educating, helping and supporting minorities. As a minority myself, I feel extremely grateful and proud to be part of the NAADAC’s fellowship program. This is a dream come true and it goes to show that hard work pays off.
Rebecca Halff is a Master’s of Social Work student in her final year of study at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, where she specializes in substance use and cognitive-behavioral therapies.
Rebecca grew up between New York City and Paris, France, and earned her B.A. in History, Arabic and Arab Studies from Hunter College in 2015. She wrote her senior thesis on the history of racial integration and segregation in American penitentiaries.
Prior to graduate school, Rebecca worked with foster youth and birth parents in Bronx Family Court, and with court-involved youth at a NYC alternative-to-incarceration program. She also spent two years doing editorial work at a feminist magazine.
Rebecca began her graduate school fieldwork working with homeless and unstably housed clients in a street outreach team. She currently interns at a behavioral health hospital, in the detox and dual diagnosis units and in a specialized LGBTQ program.