The Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities at UNC
The Carolina Institute includes:

Current Trainees

The NC-LEND currently has 37 long-term trainees/fellows across the disciplines of Audiology, Child Psychiatry, Family, Genetic Counseling, Genetics, Health Policy and Management, Neuropsychology, Nursing, Nutrition, Occupational Therapy, Pediatric Dentistry, Pediatrics, Physical Therapy, Psychology, Self-Advocacy, Social Work, Special Education, and Speech-Language Pathology.

We have an impressive cohort of trainees for the 2015-2016 year. Each trainee is listed below, along with a brief introduction to each.

Yolandas M. Alston is a LEND family trainee and her LEND faculty mentor is Ms. Ann Palmer. She is employed with Durham County Department of Public Health's Dental Division.
Abby Ampil is a LEND physical therapy fellow at the CIDD. LEND faculty mentor is Catherine Wilson, PT, DPT, MSPH. Abby received her DPT from Northern Illinois University in 2014. Currently, she is the pediatric physical therapy resident at Duke University.
Julie Anderson is a 2nd-year doctoral student in the UNC School Psychology Program and a CIDD extern. She has worked as a school psychologist in NC for 14 years and hopes to complete her training in 2017 with an emphasis on nonacademic resilience factors in children.
Bekki Buenviaje is a former educator, school counselor, behavior therapist, and mother of a 10-year-old son with autism. Bekki hopes to help families overcome obstacles which prevent their neurodiverse children from realizing their potential. She is a LEND family fellow mentored by Ann Palmer.
Ashley Costner is a 3rd-year PhD student in UNC's School Psychology Program. She is completing her pre-doctoral internship at the CIDD and Charlotte TEACCH Center under the supervision of Jean Mankowski, PhD. Research interests relate to evaluation, diagnosis, and support services for individuals with I/DD.
Samantha Croffut is a 2nd-year MPH/RD student in nutrition. LEND faculty mentor is Janice Sommers, MPH. Interests include infant and young child health, and specifically in Sub-Saharan Africa. She hopes to serve as an advocate for those living with DD in developing and low-income countries.
Adam DePrimo is a licensed, practicing occupational therapist and 2nd-year occupational science PhD student. Interests include working with adolescents and understanding their occupations during the transition from high school to post-secondary life. LEND mentor is Emily Kertcher, PhD.
Erica Fornaris is a UNC School Psychology PhD student and LEND trainee in special education, mentored by Donna Yerby, Med. Interests include educational supports for students with disabilities, gender differences in autism, and behavioral/emotional health in youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Alexandra Galipeau is a 2nd-year social work student interested in working with children on the autism spectrum and their families. She is also excited about broadening her experience by working with different populations, such as individuals with I/DD. Faculty mentor is Sherry Mergner, MSW, LCSW.
Conner Haring is a 3rd-year audiology student interested in newborn hearing screenings and reasons for delay of diagnosis. Her LEND project is focused on newborn hearing screening performed outside the hospital setting.
Brendan Hendrick is beginning his 4th year in the School Psychology PhD Program at UNC. His research interests include school-based mental health service provision and universal social emotional learning intervention.
Laura Hiruma is a clinical psychology post-doctoral fellow at the CIDD. Her clinical and research areas of interest include interdisciplinary diagnostic assessment, behavioral interventions, and social skills interventions for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Kim Holden is a 3rd-year student in the Audiology PhD Program at UNC and a 2nd-year LEND trainee. She is focused in pediatrics and has a particular interest in the clinical management of children with auditory neuropathy spectrum disorder.
Lillian Howard is a graduate assistant for the genetic counseling program at UNCG and is the first NC-LEND genetic counseling trainee.
Lauren Johnson is a 3rd-year audiology PhD student at UNC interested in pediatric audiological management, specifically for the teenage population. She is currently working on a review of North Carolina’s regional birthing hospital’s newborn hearing screenings models and outcomes.
Kenneth Kelty is a 2nd-year LEND trainee and self-advocate. He is a motivational public speaker on his experience with autism and social inclusion on a college campus. In the future, he hopes to move to Washington and advocate for social inclusion and social justice.
McCafferty Kenmon is a 3rd-year LEND fellow, featured artist, and public speaker with a local and national presence in the field of self-advocacy. She provides education coaching and support at the CIDD.
Heather Lam is a 2nd-year MA student in speech-language pathology. Interests include developmental disabilities, aphasia, dementia, and interventions in literacy, AAC, and social communication. She hopes to work in therapy services for children and adults with developmental and acquired communication disorders.
Sarah Lineberry is a 2nd-year MSW student. Her faculty mentor is Sherry Mergner, MSW, LCSW. Sarah is interested in improving access to education, healthcare, and housing for children and adults with I/DD.
Maria Martinez is a post-doctoral fellow at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research. She has a clinical psychology background and research experience developing screening measures and interventions for families in community and clinical settings at-risk for chronic healthcare needs.
Heather Mazzola is a 3rd-year UNC audiology student interested in working with patients across the lifespan. She has been a Special Olympics Healthy Hearing Program volunteer for many years and her LEND project is focused on the specific challenges unique to those with intellectual disabilities and hearing loss.
Lia McNeilly is a LEND family trainee and her LEND faculty mentor is Ann Palmer. Lia has two children, ages 9 and 11. She hopes to turn her passion for helping people into a leadership role in the I/DD community.
Allison Meyer is a 5th-year PhD student in clinical psychology at UNC. She is a psychology extern and LEND trainee at CIDD. Research interests include atypical development of attention skills in ASD and how these impairments in attention relate to ASD symptoms.
Crystal Miller is a 2nd-year MPH healthcare administration student at UNC. Her goal is to increase the quality and efficiency of healthcare systems in the midst of the changing regulatory environment.
Tabatha Moore is a 2nd-year MA communication disorders student at North Carolina Central University and will graduate in May of 2016.
Natalie Murr is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow at the CIDD. She also serves as the 2015-2016 AUCD Virtual Trainee Representative for NC-LEND. Interests include educational policy and legislation, advocacy, and improving educational and learning outcomes for all students, including those with developmental and intellectual disabilities.
Paul Offen is a self-advocacy trainee in the LEND Program at CIDD and working in collaboration with Deb Zuver and Donna Yerby.
Brittney Peters-Barnes is a 2nd-year social work student at UNC. She is interested in early intervention and education with families who have a child recently diagnosed with a disability, transition-age youth with intellectual disabilities, and promoting community inclusion.
Orah Raia has a 30-year-old son who has fragile X syndrome and autism. For the past 25 years, she has worked as an advocate and consultant with a focus on including individuals with disabilities in the general education classroom.
Teri Travisano received her doctorate of physical therapy at the University of Colorado. She joins the CIDD after working for 6 years across multiple practice settings, predominantly in pediatrics. Teri is a physical therapist in the LEND program in conjunction with UNC's Pediatric Physical Therapy Residency program.
Adrienne Villagomez is a pre-doctoral psychology intern specializing in developmental disabilities. Clinical interests include assessment and intervention with individuals with I/DD. Research interests include self-determination and comorbid autism spectrum disorder in fragile X syndrome.
Dani Warmund is a 3rd-year doctoral student in audiology. Her interests include pediatric audiology with a specific emphasis in assessment and intervention for children with multiple developmental disabilities.
Sarah Webster is a 3rd-year doctoral student in audiology. She is interested in the early identification, diagnosis, and treatment of children with hearing loss, particularly those from Spanish-speaking families. Sarah’s LEND project is focused on creating EHDI materials for Hispanic families to help them access pediatric audiology services.
Anna Wilkins is a pediatric primary care nurse practitioner student with an interest in NP curriculum surrounding children with I/DD. She has experience as a nurse in pediatric oncology and case management for CAP/C.
Julie Williams-Swiggett has 10 years of early childhood education experience. She is also a parent of a child with bilateral sensorineural hearing impairment. She is interested in becoming a stronger advocate for her child and leading other parents in their roles as advocates for children with special healthcare needs.
Stephanie Wolfe is an MD/MPH, 5th-year Pediatric Neurology resident and 2nd-year LEND fellow. Clinically, she strives to provide developmentally- and functionally-relevant neurologic care. She is also interested in translational and diagnostic research for neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Loren Wright is a school psychology doctoral student at UNC. She is completing her advanced externship in school psychology at the CIDD. Her area of interest is the intersectionality between race, disabilities, and mental health.
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