2020 -2021 LEND Trainees

Amenna Ahmed, Psychology
Hi, I’m Ameena! I’m a fourth year in the Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology at Xavier University. Throughout my graduate training, I have worked in community mental health and school settings, providing psychotherapy and assessment to children and families. My clinical and research interests include understanding and supporting family adjustment to childhood developmental disability; my dissertation will examine the feasibility of an online self-compassion intervention for parents who have a child with a developmental disability. As a LEND trainee, I am excited to gain experience working within a multidisciplinary team and learn ways to advocate for families on various systemic levels.

Paola Amaya de Lopez, DDBP Peds
I recently completed my Pediatric residency program in NYC and moved to Cincinnati with my dear husband and 5-year-old son to start our new jobs. I am so thrilled now to be the first-year fellow in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Being born and raised in El Salvador, I have had the opportunity to advocate for the most in need throughout my life and is something that I feel very passionate about. By participating in the LEND program, I hope to understand better and help patients and families dealing with developmental disabilities. 

Katie Black-Walker, Self-Advocacy
Hi! I’m Katie Black-Walker. I was born in Cincinnati, Ohio with Spina Bifida. I spent two weeks in the NICU, which happened to be at CCHMC. I guess you could say I am a veteran! I have my Bachelor’s of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Sexuality Studies. I’ve always had a passion for helping people. From my degree and personal experience, I have a love for learning how to help people with disabilities navigate barriers put on them (us) by society. One of the specific aspects that I see people with disabilities needing a voice is with matters to their sexual health.  

Amanda Brinkman, Physical Therapy
My name is Amanda Brinkman, I am a physical therapy resident at Cincinnati Children’s. I earned a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences and a Doctorate of Physical Therapy from University of Cincinnati. I have a wonderful sister who has some developmental disabilities that has drove me down a path towards LEND. I am excited to gain more experience with leadership and to learn more ways to advocate for and treat individuals with disabilities and their families. In my free time I enjoy running, reading and playing with my baby. 

Kaylee Crossen, Genetic Counseling
I am a genetic counseling student at the University of Cincinnati and CCHMC. I hope to work as a pediatric genetic counselor after graduation. I grew up in a small town in Northeast Ohio and graduated from Allegheny College with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a minor in Global Health Studies. I hope to gain skills and knowledge to work with others on a multidisciplinary team to ensure my patients have well-rounded care. I am also excited to better understand my patients and their families and to be a great advocate and resource for them.

Allie Fisher, Psychology
My name is Allie Fisher, and I am a rising third year at the University of Cincinnati in the Clinical Psychology program. My clinical interests are working with families of children with developmental disabilities and behavior problems. My research interests include understanding and improving the efficacy of family-based interventions for children and adolescents with behavior problems. In my free time, I enjoy walking my dog, reading a good book, and hiking.

Krushawna Harper, Family
I am the proud Mom of five amazing children, three with disabilities.  I work as a Community Coordinator for a local school.  I served three years on the CCHMC Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics Family Advisory Council. In 2016, I created a Sunday school ministry that provides a spiritual education, while addressing the developmental and physical challenges of children with disabilities.  Every child embodies a special gift. My desire is to provide them with the proper tools to assist with the growth of those gifts.  By being a LEND Family Trainee, I hope to increase my leadership and advocacy skills to support a community I hold dear to my heart.

Lori Hogenkamp, Self – Advocacy
Lori Hogenkamp graduated from Miami University with a BA in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience. Ms. Hogenkamp has taken an active role in the autism and autistic communities as a Consumer Advocate for CDMRP and as a Board Member for the Ken Anderson Alliance (KAA) building Live-Work-Engage opportunities for adults with disability in Cincinnati. Ms Hogenkamp also speaks to small groups and directed a new enterprise with an advocate-driven scientific conference on “Autism & Stress” with the goal of bringing together researchers, practitioners, advocates and the public to usher in a new paradigm of discussing autism from the perspective of a stress adaptation.

Lauren Jones, Psychology
My name is Lauren Jones and I am a clinical psychology doctoral student at Miami University. My research interests involve studying resilient parenting during early childhood development. Clinically, I am interested in early interventions for children through assessment and treatment. I am so excited to be part of an interdisciplinary team and to learn all I can about advocacy and support for children and families impacted by developmental disabilities. I am also very excited about the emphasis that the LEND program has on community engagement. 

Lindsey Kovacs, Audiology
My name is Lindsey Kovacs and I am a 3rd year Doctor of Audiology student at the University of Cincinnati. I am from Indianapolis, Indiana. I love sports (Go Colts and Hoosiers!) and enjoy spending my free time with my friends and family. I am interested in Audiology because my brother has had a severe to profound hearing loss since he was born. I want to be able to help kids just like him!  

Nora Lascell, UCEDD
My name is Nora and I have been a pediatric SLP for over 20 years.  I have worked in several venues, with my favorite being in a cotreatment setting–I have found that I am a very sensory-based  therapist.  This led me to becoming certified in Sensory Integration.  I am able to utilize these principles in working within my private practice and  school settings.   I am passionate about empowering my pediatric population and their families  through research, advocacy and education. I live in Mason with my husband and three children.

Rose McKee, Social Work
My name is Rose McKee, and I am a student at the University of Cincinnati receiving my masters degree in Social Work. I also work at Greater Cincinnati Behavioral Health as a care manager on the first episode of psychosis team. I am passionate about helping individuals with disabilities. Outside of work and school, I enjoy cycling, cooking, and being with my friends and family. My hope for what I will learn from LEND is how to best serve individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, and learn how to best promote their independence and self-determination.

Shelby Miller, Speech Language Pathology
My name is Shelby Miller and I am a second year student in the Speech-Language Pathology Master’s program at Miami University. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders and two minors in special education and disability studies from Butler University in 2018. Before beginning graduate school, I worked as an Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA) in an Autism Center in Indianapolis, IN. I am very passionate about serving children with autism and other developmental disabilities and look forward to gaining advocacy and leadership skills through the LEND program. In my free time I enjoy traveling, reading, crafting, and listening to true crime podcasts. 

Kadori Ngirabakunzi, Nursing
My name is Kadori Ngirabakunzi. I recently completed my MSN at Northern Kentucky University and obtained my Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner board certification. I have three beautiful children. One of whom is now an adult, has several mental health issues, and I truly believe was misdiagnosed as a child. Due to this, my family has faced many challenges. However, it is also a contributor to my inspiration to become a mental health provider. Mental illness and developmental disabilities both interfere with thought processes and behaviors; they are often lumped together as a result. While completing my clinical hours for my psych NP, I encountered several clients that had both mental illness and developmental disabilities. These clients need special attention regarding treatment, as they may have more difficulty understanding and complying with their treatment plans. As a psych NP, it is very likely that I may be helping to treat clients with a combination of mental health and/or neurodevelopmental challenges. As a LEND trainee, I look forward to learning and understanding the many differences so that I will be in a better position to care for them and their families, using an interdisciplinary

Allison Oh, Speech Language Pathology
Hello! My name is Allison Oh and I am a second-year student in the Communication Sciences & Disorders Masters of Arts program at the University of Cincinnati. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology at Miami University where I also majored in Disability Studies. I am passionate about working with children with developmental disabilities and adapting my care to best fit their needs. I value gaining knowledge in the areas of advocacy and family-centered care. As a LEND Trainee, I look forward to growing as an advocate through interdisciplinary collaboration and by deepening my understanding of caregiver perspectives.

Katherine Perry, Genetic Counseling
Katherine Perry is a current student in the University of Cincinnati Genetic Counseling program. She attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Music in Viola Performance and pre-medical studies. Katherine hopes to continue to develop leaderships skills to use inside and out of the clinic. Through the LEND program Katherine hopes to learn how to best understand and support her patients and families, and how to advocate for them to get the care and support they deserve. 

Sue Ram, Occupational Therapy
I’m Sue Ram, the current OT fellow at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. In 2019, I earned my doctorate in occupational therapy at Gannon University. I have a passion for leadership, research, and advocacy. I completed my doctoral specialty internship at the American Occupational Therapy Association in the federal affairs department. I am always looking to advance my professional journey through didactic and hands-on experiences. As a LEND trainee, my hope is to further develop my clinical skills and reasoning to continue learning ways to provide culturally competent and evidence-based intervention to children, youth, and their families.

Vanessa Scocchera, DVM/Behavior Analyst
I’m a second-year student in the Foundations of Behavior Analysis Master’s in Education program at the University of Cincinnati. I hold a degree in Veterinary Medicine from University of Parma, Italy, where I’m from. I moved to USA where I had the pleasure and fortune to stay home and raise my twice exceptional daughters with Dyslexia. My oldest with ASD/EDS is at her second year of honors math and computer science in college and my youngest teen is a gifted creative visual artist and aspiring surgeon, with ADHD and EDS. I believe focusing on the strengths and talents of each and every one of us is the key to a happy life, no matter our origins and “diversabilities”. I have an interest for Positive Psychology and Meditation. I’m currently taking a course on Mental Health and Disability Rights offered by WHO. I’m excited to be in the LEND program and I look forward to cementing my advocacy skills, learn about research and teamwork with a wide range of professionals.

Sarah Smith, Community
Hi, I’m Sarah! I currently work at CCHMC as a clinical assistant in DDBP which fits nicely with my passion for helping others and supporting their needs. In my free time you can find me travelling, hiking, gardening, decorating sugar cookies, or trying out new recipes in the kitchen. I’m always up for a challenge and strive to grow daily. I am super excited to see what opportunities come my way by participating in LEND as a Community Engagement trainee! 

Christina Turner, Family
Christina Turner is a stay at home mom and wife to her son William and husband Drew.  Her son keeps her very busy with therapy appointments, jumping on the trampoline, and filling up sinks with water just to enjoy watching them drain.  She loves to volunteer at his school and enjoys going on gal pal trips.  She is a member of the Family Advisory Council here at CCHMC.  Christina is extremely excited to be in the LEND program this year and hopes to gain skills and apply them in a setting where she can help others.

Jena Wells, Family
I graduated from Michigan State University with a BA in Family Community Services specializing in health-related topics and the development of children under 8 years. I have 20+ years of experience working with children and their families. My most recent position was the Early Matters Coordinator at the Down Syndrome Association. I am a mom to four amazing boys. Ashton, our third son, was born with Down syndrome and has severe Apraxia of Speech. I am thrilled to be learning alongside my fellow LEND trainees to gain knowledge about the needs of our community, and to grow my leadership and advocacy skills to create more opportunities for people of all abilities.

Emily Witt, Social Work
My name is Emily Witt and I am the 2020-2021 Social Work Fellow with Cincinnati Children’s. I’m from Ross, Ohio which is a small town north of Cincinnati. I’m getting married to my fiancé, Conner, in May (COVID permitting) and in my free time I enjoy spending time with family, friends, and my dog, hiking, and crafting. I attended Xavier University for my Bachelor of Social Work and I recently graduated from Northern Kentucky University’s Master of Social Work program. Through LEND, I look forward to gaining a better understanding of the social work role in the diagnostic process, working with an interdisciplinary team, and learning more about the resources offered at Cincinnati Children’s and the Cincinnati/tri-state area. 

Melissa Wong, Genetic Counseling
Melissa is a genetic counseling graduate student at CCHMC/University of Cincinnati. She grew up in central California and graduated from University of California, Irvine with a BS in Chemistry. Through LEND, Melissa hopes to become a better advocate for her future genetic counseling patients and to connect with other disciplines that work with individuals with developmental disabilities. In her free time, she likes to bake, practice yoga, and daydream about having a dog one day.

Paige Wulliger, Audiology
Hi! I am Paige and I am a third-year audiology doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati. Originally from Columbus, I graduated with a B.S. from Ohio University. My love to learn American Sign Language and being involved with Deaf community led me to discover audiology. In addition, I enjoy reading, testing puppies’ hearing at FETCHLAB, and advocating for audiology at the state and national levels. Through the LEND program, I look forward to working with an interdisciplinary team and enhancing my skills through new mentors. Overall, I am thankful for this opportunity to become a better clinician.

Courtney Young, Psychology
Courtney is a fourth-year clinical psychology graduate student at Wright State University’s School of Professional Psychology. Her research interests focus on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and the collaboration of various treatment providers related to diagnosis and treatment of children with FASD. Her clinical interests are the assessment of neurodevelopmental disorders and parent training. Courtney is excited to be a LEND trainee in order to expand her knowledge of developmental disabilities, learn how to be a valuable member of a multidisciplinary team, and advocate for and empower children and families with neurodevelopmental disabilities.