2019-2020 LEND Trainees

Hannah Adazzio, Speech-Language
Hannah is a second student in the Speech- Language Pathology Master’s program at the University of Cincinnati. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from The Ohio State University- Go Bucks! Hannah is passionate for every individual to use their voice, in whatever form of communication that may be. She looks forward to working with the pediatric population upon graduation. Hannah is eager to be a member of the LEND team to gain invaluable experiences with individuals with developmental disabilities to sharpen her clinical skills.

Jennifer Alge, Family
I am a mom of two awesome children, Jack and Evie. Jack is my funny, sweet and snuggly 9 year old and is autistic and Evie is our 7 year old joyful diva and has Down syndrome. I’ve been married to my husband, Chris, for 13 years and we live in Landen. I am an attorney and practiced for about 7 years before I went part time and then eventually left my career to stay home with my children. I serve on the Board of the Autism Society of Greater Cincinnati, on the Government Affairs Committee at the DSAGC and I’m a National Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society. I recently served as Campaign Manager on a local state senate campaign and I’m an avid supporter of moms night out. I love dance parties and walks around the Landen lake as well as politics in all forms. I’m looking forward to learning everything I can with my fellow LEND caregivers.

Chloe Barnett, Genetic Counseling
Chloe is attending the University of Cincinnati, earning a Masters in Medical Genetics. She grew up in a very small town on the coast of Eastern Maine and attended Smith College in Massachusetts for her undergraduate degree. There, she earned a BA in Sociology with a minor in Biological Sciences. Chloe strongly believes in the importance of an intersectional approach to her work. She is looking forward to developing skills that will make her the best advocate she can be for her genetic counseling patients. When she is not at the hospital, she likes to cook, hike, and pet all of the dogs she meets.


Autumnlee Brown, Social Work
I am Autumnlee Brown. I am a graduate student at Northern Kentucky University earning a Master of Social Work. After undergrad, I served as an Americorps Member at an inner-city school in Over-the-Rhine. I also taught a program for disadvantaged Latino children. I engaged children of various socioeconomic backgrounds and cultures that needed an advocate and had no one. As a LEND student, I hope to learn how to become an advocate empowered with skills to assist children with disabilities and their families. Outside of academics, I enjoy cooking, reading, and spending time with my Chinese Shar-Pei mix, Winnie.


Elsie Bush, Occupational Therapy
My name is Elsie Bush, I work as an Occupational Therapist at Cincinnati Childrens Hospital Medical Center. I work with children with a variety of developmental diagnoses, and provide clinical intervention for a NIH funded research study on the efficacy of constraint induced movement therapy for infants affected by stroke. I earned my Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Health Services from Western Michigan University (WMU) in 2017, and continued my studies at WMU completing a Master’s of Science in Occupational Therapy in 2018. I look forward to participating in LEND to further hmy interdisciplinary team skills, and knowledge of neurodevelopmental disabilities.


Katie Effler, Family
I am a mom to two girls ages 10 and 8. My youngest daughter has a rare chromosome abnormality and is developmentally disabled. I earned my PharmD degree from The University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy in 2005 and worked as a pharmacist for 10 years before deciding to stay home full-time with my girls. I am looking forward to this new experience with LEND and working with the interdisciplinary team. I hope to gain leadership and advocacy skills that I can use to help improve healthcare and community inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. Go Bearcats!



Amanda Faler, Psychology
Amanda Faler is a fourth year in the School Psychology Doctoral Program at the University of Cincinnati. She earned her master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and is currently working toward her licensure as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her interests include developing and implementing evidence-based behavior management strategies, social skills instruction, and providing parent and teacher education on working with children with developmental disabilities. As a LEND trainee, Amanda hopes to gain more experience working within a multidisciplinary team and develop insight on how to better serve children with developmental disabilities and their families.


Shwana Garner, UCCEDD
My first love has always been Health sciences, but I was quickly thrust into advocacy in 2008 with my son’s behavioral issues. In order for me to create the best possible environment for my son to advance, I had to reinvent myself. In the process, I worked the last six years helping others achieve self sufficiency. It is through the LEND training, that I hope to further cultivate these skills to help persons with disabilities. I am a single mother of a 17 year old son on the ASD spectrum, and a 13 year old niece, who suffers from PTSD, RAD, and ADHD. I have a BA from the College of Mt St Joseph, with a concentration on Health Sciences and a minor in Scio-Psychology. I always say, I can bandage you up, and pick you apart.


Marissa Garrett, Occupational Therapy
Marissa is Pediatric Occupational Therapy Fellowship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She graduated with her BA in Psychology from Baylor University in 2016 and her MOT from Texas Woman’s University in 2018. Marissa has a passion for working with children who have challenges with sensory processing and integration. In her spare time, she enjoys going to the gym, being outdoors, and traveling. As a LEND trainee, Marissa is excited to be involved in research and work with interdisciplinary teams to further develop her ability to address the needs of children and their families.



Arin Gile, Community
Hi, I’m Arin! My background is in clinical counseling, but I currently do research in Autism at CCHMC. I hope the LEND program helps me have a deeper understanding and more holistic viewpoint of what life and care is like for our families in DDBP.




Brigid Griffin, Physical Therapy
My name is Brigid Griffin and I am a physical therapy resident at CCHMC. I am from Cleveland, OH and earned a B.S. in Exercise Science from Kent State University in 2015. I graduated from the University of Cincinnati with my Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2019. My favorite memory from PT school was advocating with the American Physical Therapy Association in Washington D.C! I am so grateful to be a LEND trainee and look forward to learning about advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. I hope to use this knowledge to influence healthcare policy in the future.


Kristen Groseclose, Family
Kristen Groseclose received her BA in German from Penn State and her MAT in German from Indiana University. She’s a part-time hairstylist and full-time mother of 2 teenagers, Jack (16) and Megan (14). In January 2018, Jack was diagnosed with Smith-Kingsmore Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. Last September, Kristen and her husband Mike created smithkingsmore.org, a website providing support for families. She hopes to use the knowledge gained from LEND to help Jack and others navigating the Smith-Kingsmore diagnosis. She enjoys her free time with her family, including her dog Bubba Sue, a very spoiled Plott Hound.


Jennifer Lapin, Developmental Behavioral Pediactrics
I am a pediatrician and a second year fellow in DDBP at CCHMC. Through the LEND curriculum, I hope to gain a better understanding of what it means for individuals and their families to live with disabilities. I also would like to learn about other disciplines so that I can better appreciate what they do for our patients.




Amber Massa, Psychology
I recently completed my doctoral degree at the University of Indianapolis and my internship at the Marcus Autism Center. I will be a postdoctoral fellow in the DDBP: Evaluation and Treatment Track. Originally from Cincinnati, I am so excited to be returning to my hometown to work at an organization that I love. My clinical interests lie primarily in the assessment of autism spectrum disorder and parent training interventions. By participating in LEND, I hope to learn advocacy strategies related to the needs of children and their families on various systemic levels, including how to make interventions more community-viable.



Rikki Morris, MPA
I am a full-time mom of two kids and my youngest child has Williams syndrome, which causes various medical and developmental needs. My background is in mental health, human services, and visual arts. I am currently a Graduate Assistant at University of Dayton and will be graduating in December with a Master of Public Administration. I am most interested in policy and research and through LEND hope to become a better advocate for my daughter and others with developmental disabilities.



Deniz Ozbudak, Social Work
I am a graduate student in Social Work. My interests include spending time with individuals who have different qualities than myself. Broadening my knowledge in areas of weakness that includes individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. I am looking forward to attending the Lend program. I believe at the end of the program I will have a greater understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders. I would love to be a great resource for the community and help connect families with resources.



Alexandra Parshall, Audiology
My name is Alexandra Parshall and I’m the LEND student for the Audiology department. I was born in Sydney, Australia but moved to Carmel, Indiana when I was three. In my spare time I enjoy traveling and being outdoors. I chose audiology when my brother ended up having a speech delay due to fluid in his middle ear spaces and was not identified until he was about two. Additionally, I worked in an Autism Center as a behavioral therapist for two years before applying for graduate school. It was there that I fell in love with pediatrics and special needs.


Randi Phelps, Psychology
Randi is a clinical psychology doctoral student at Miami University. Her research interests include understanding the development of anxiety disorders in typically and atypically developing populations. She is excited to learn from and collaborate with others in the LEND program to build her skills in community engagement, advocacy, and clinical work for children and families impacted by developmental disabilities.



Sara Schenck, Social Work
My name is Sara Schenck and I am currently completing my Social Work Fellowship here at Cincinnati Children’s. I am from Middletown, just north of Cincinnati. I have a husband, David and one adorable little pup, Zoey. I graduated with my Bachelors in Psychology from Ball State University and recently completed my Masters in Social Work from Miami University and Wright State University’s joint program. I love working with children and families to help find the resources they need when faced with a challenge. During LEND, I hope to gain a better understanding of the resources available for children diagnosed with a developmental disability.


Montray Smith, Graduate Nursing
Montray Smith is a PhD student at the School of Nursing. She received an Associate Degree in Nursing from Florida Community College, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of North Florida, a Masters’ of Science in Nursing Education from the University of Central Florida, and a Masters’ in Public Health (MPH) in Public Health Practice with graduate certificates in Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance from the University of South Florida. She is a Registered Nurse with the US National Disaster Medical System (member of a federal Disaster Medical Assistance Team). Ms. Smith is a former General Electric National Medical Fellow Primary Care Leadership Program Scholar (2015,) and a member in the Tennessee Primary Care Association Community Health Educational Experiences for Residents and Students program (fall 2016), where she worked at the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center, Nashville, Tennessee. She has worked with many local organizations related to community health and health disparities that includes the UL School of Medicine Global Health Initiative, American Red Cross, Redeemer Lutheran Church, and the Franciscan Healthcare initiative. Her research focus is on disaster management in vulnerable populations targeting families with special needs children, refugees, and low socioeconomic groups.


Gaby Suarez-Cano, Psychology
Gabriela (or Gaby) is a fifth-year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Cincinnati. Throughout her graduate training, Gaby has worked as a psychology trainee in outpatient and school settings providing psychotherapy (in English and Spanish) and assessment to youth and families from diverse cultural backgrounds and with various mental health needs. Gaby is dedicated to working with traditionally underserved populations through community-engaged research. In particular, one of her most recent projects involved collaborating with medical providers from DDBP and local Latino community leaders on a pilot intervention aimed at increasing awareness about neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g., ASD) among our local Latino immigrant community. Through LEND, Gaby is excited to expand her knowledge of developmental disabilities, work in a multidisciplinary team, and learn ways to best advocate and support families with neurodevelopmental and acquired disabilities.


Allison Theobald, Graduate Nursing
Allison is a pediatric nurse practitioner with a special interest in children with neurodevelopmental and related disorders. Through the LEND program, she hopes to strengthen her ability to care for complex children. She is excited to better understand the perspective of colleagues from multiple disciplines and to merge service, education, and community involvement with clinical practice to improve the quality of life of children with developmental disabilities. She hopes to learn more about advocacy for systems-change and parent resources for IEP and 504 planning.


Abigail Ugas, Genetic Counseling
I am a genetic counseling graduate student at CCHMC/University of Cincinnati. I grew up in Hamilton, Ohio and graduated from Miami University with a Bachelor of Science in biology. I previously volunteered as a job coach for young adult students with multiple disabilities, helping them adapt to life in the workforce. My passion for disability advocacy has continued into graduate school, where I am working on a Master’s thesis on genetic counselor attitudes on disability. I am excited to see how the LEND program continues to foster my passions and shapes me into a more compassionate, culturally competent genetic counselor!



Olivia Wnek, Speech-Language
Hi! My name is Olivia Wnek. I am a second-year student pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Cincinnati. I earned my Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology & Audiology and two minors in special education and disability studies from Miami University in 2018. I am very passionate about working with children with autism and other developmental disabilities, and I look forward to gaining more experience with advocacy and working on interdisciplinary teams through the LEND program. In my free time, I enjoy reading, traveling, drinking coffee, and watching mystery shows.