2023 Addictions Counseling Fellows
Addictions Counseling Fellows
Meet the 48 addictions counseling master's students named as 2023 NBCC Foundation MFP Fellows.
NBCC Foundation Addictions Counseling Fellows
Each MFP addictions counseling master's fellow will receive $15,000 to support their counseling education and to recognize their commitment to underserved and underrepresented communities.
Jessica R. Berry (she/her) – Denver, Colorado
Jessica (Jessy) Berry is a graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver and is currently a master's student in the clinical behavioral health program with an emphasis on addiction also at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Jessy is a counselor in the inner city of Denver, Colorado, advocating with many underserved groups in her work. Upon graduation, she plans to practice as a licensed addiction counselor and work to become a licensed professional counselor. Jessy plans to continue her work with individuals from underserved populations, especially the LGBTQIA2+ community and individuals who struggle with codependency and substance use. She currently works as a clinical case manager and enhanced outpatient counselor at WellPower in Denver. Jessy hopes to attain powerful, educational experiences through this fellowship, in order to continue serving those from diverse backgrounds.
Jennifer Lynn Sterling Bessert (she/her) – Harrah, Oklahoma
Jennifer Bessert is a graduate of Ashford University and East Central University. She is currently a master's student in the clinical counseling program at Central Methodist University.
After graduation, Jennifer plans to work with veterans and families, including children within the military community and foster care systems. Both of these communities are directly or indirectly affected, through the entanglement of addiction and family separations. They live in marginalized systems where mental health resources are highly limited because of stigma and limited resources, making them largely inaccessible or underused when available.
Jennifer is a teacher at heart and plans to work with the military family support system as an advocate to promote healthy coping and grief recovery as part of the prevention process. She wants to address and give voice to the individual perspectives within the family unit, whether it is the individual struggling with the addiction, or those family members who love them and walk the addiction journey through a different lens. She hopes to promote understanding and prevention of substance abuse by helping individuals recognize and address underlying trauma and grief, find healing, and gain competencies in coping, changing their trajectory in life where recovery is possible and generational cycles can be halted.
Earning this fellowship will allow Jennifer to continue her education, attend counseling conferences, learn evidence-based practices specific to CBT and DBT, and establish a stronger professional identity to better serve and advocate for the children and families of military veterans walking an addiction journey.
Jenaya L. Burns (she/her) – Bozeman, Montana
Jenaya Burns is a graduate of Montana State University and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health program also at Montana State University.
After graduation, Jenaya plans on serving Native Americans living on the reservation where she was born and raised. She is passionate about advocacy, rural work, and helping individuals feel seen. Receiving this fellowship will allow Jenaya to connect with other counselors who have the same passion as she does, and provide valuable learning experiences that she can then use in her practice.
Brooke Burtard (she/her) – Longmont, Colorado
Brooke Burtard is a graduate of Colorado State University and is currently a master's student in the addiction counseling program at Colorado State University.
Upon graduation, Brooke intends to work with individuals experiencing homelessness and substance use disorder. She would also like to work with people who are underrepresented based on their gender and sexual identity. Earning this fellowship will allow Brooke to attend counseling conferences, learn evidence-based practices to better serve underserved populations, and learn more about how to best utilize medications for addiction treatment for those in her community as a part of the harm reduction model.
Peace Cabaza (she/her, they/them) – Long Beach, California
Peace Cabaza is a graduate of the University of North Georgia and Middle Georgia College. They are currently a master's student in the art therapy/counseling program at Southwestern College.
Combining their creative talents, Peace forges connections between art, music, and spirituality to serve humanity. As a future clinician, it is their goal to advance on a deep calling to serve Indigenous people and people of color suffering from trauma and addiction, utilizing culturally relevant ceremonial healing practices that reconnect the mind, body, heart, and soul back to the earth.
Peace honors her indigenous multicultural heritage as she holds a particular calling to uplift individuals of color within the foster care system and displaced communities, and is committed to gaining knowledge that aids in their ability to bring awareness to trauma rooted in colonialism and intergenerational trauma response patterns. Knowing that the ceremonial connection to Earth has been destroyed, as a future clinician, Peace looks forward to promoting education on the ethical use of psychedelic psychotherapy, nature-centered ceremonies, and energy work to serve the communities she represents.
Mattsué Anhery Cahué-Lopez (she/her) – Arizona, New Mexico
Mattsué Anhery Cahué-Lopez is a graduate of Arizona State University and is currently a master's student in the art therapy and counseling program with a concentration in addictions abuse and recovery at Southwestern College.
Mattsué is enrolled in a mindfulness-based somatic therapy program offered at the Hakomi Institute. Her professional experience as a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach, skills in Motivational Interviewing, and years of working with at-risk youth, as well as her personal experience with addiction, piqued her interest in learning about the addictive mind. As a lifelong learner, she is also curious about how psychedelics, art therapy, mindfulness-somatic therapy, and holistic interventions can be integrated to prevent, heal, and transform intergenerational trauma from addictions wounding.
As she participates in the MFP-AC fellowship, Mattsué hopes to learn trauma-informed care, culturally-responsive healing modalities, and further her skills as a group therapy facilitator. Her most important aspiration, however, is to prepare future mental health leaders in a teaching role.
Upon graduating and becoming a licensed professional counselor, Mattsué will pursue national certification from NBCC and obtain a credential as a Registered Art Therapist (ATR). She is interested in applying preventive and proactive health models as she serves marginalized communities working with folx of all ages and identities. She is enthusiastic and grateful to be a fellow of the MFP-AC, as this opportunity provides a network of like-hearted individuals collaborating on a similar mission: to heal ourselves and our world.
Landen Le Van Chau (he/his) – Fairbanks, Alaska
Landen Chau is a graduate of Sierra Nevada College and is currently a master's student in the addiction program at Boise State University.
Landen plans to serve adults and adolescents in Idaho who struggle with addiction while focusing on rural communities. As Idaho is comprised of many rural communities, individuals often face added challenges of access, availability, and acceptability when pursuing mental health care and wellness. Earning this fellowship will help to empower Landen to develop a professional identity as an addiction counselor, collaborate with Idaho addiction professionals to support underserved communities, and build a larger professional network both inside and outside of Idaho.
Jude Chavez (he/his) – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Jude Chavez is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College. He is currently a master's student in the mental health counseling program also at the University of New Mexico.
Upon graduation, Jude intends to work with individuals affected by substance use and behavioral health disorders in underserved communities. He intends to approach treatment with a holistic lens of the individual, and his long-term mission is to address and illuminate the social determinants of health at the macro, meso, and micro levels. Earning this fellowship will allow him to gain additional education and training in addiction counseling, mindfulness-based relapse prevention, and neurosciences to establish his identity as a counselor. Additionally, the MFP-AC fellowship will help Jude further his vision of expanding access to much-needed addiction, mental health, neuropsychological treatment, and education programs and resources in his community.
Stephanie Stover Coello (she/her) – Omaha, Nebraska
Stephanie Coello is a graduate of Creighton School of Law and Kansas State University. She is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at the University of Nebraska Omaha.
Stephanie lived in Ecuador for several years and has five children who identify as Latino/a. Through her work in immigration law, she developed a passion for helping immigrants new to the United States. She is also enthusiastic about helping people who have been recently incarcerated. This fellowship will allow Stephanie to develop a stronger professional identity by training in evidence-based practices that are specific to Latinos. It will also allow her to seek culturally relevant trainings and expand her skills in serving individuals with comorbid substance use disorder and severe mental illness.
Courtney D. Collier (he/his) – Jackson, Tennessee
Courtney Dwayne Collier is a graduate of Union University and Lindenwood University. He is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Freed-Hardeman University.
Courtney is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. After graduation, he plans to help underserved rural, youth/adolescent, and LGBTQIA2S+ populations. His educational knowledge in the field of counseling is enhanced by his personal experience as a person in long-term recovery from both substance use and mental health disorders, bringing about his certification as a Certified Peer Recovery Support (CPRS) in the state of Tennessee. He serves as a member on committees such as the Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP), Opioid Planning Grant, Tennessee Community HIV/AIDS Partnership (TNCHAP), and the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (TDMHSAS) Planning and Policy Council.
Before graduation, Courtney anticipates having his Licensed Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselor II requirements completed, and soon after graduation plans to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC), Master Addictions Counselor, and a Licensed Professional Counselor/Mental Health Service Provider. Earning this fellowship has allowed Courtney to complete specific educational training, attend conferences, and demonstrate an ongoing professional commitment to the field of addictions and counseling in hopes of working with underserved populations.
Tim Combs (he/they) – Portland, Oregon
Tim Combs is a graduate of Kansas State University and Bowling Green State University. He is currently a master's student in the professional mental health counseling program with a specialization in addictions at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.
After graduation, Tim plans to continue working with marginalized communities in the Pacific Northwest with a focus on older populations who are often isolated, overlooked, and affected by mental health concerns, substance abuse, and process addictions. This fellowship will provide him with interdisciplinary networking opportunities and culturally relevant training so he can be part of integrating and encouraging older populations.
Natyra M. Crawford (she/her) – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Natyra Crawford is a graduate of Concordia University and is currently a master's student in the professional counseling program with an emphasis on school and clinical mental health counseling at Mount Mary University.
Natyra currently serves as Mount Mary University's graduate representative for the Wisconsin School Counseling Association. As she works to complete her master's program, she serves as a school counselor.
Natyra's drive to work with underserved communities and populations is fueled by lived experience and a desire to provide dynamic assistance to those in need. Upon graduation, she plans to continue her work as a school counselor and operate her own clinical practice serving teens and young adults. She is passionate about personal healing and plans to create spaces that allow clients to be just as brave as they are safe.
Ileana Dinette (she/her) – Golden, Colorado
Ileana Dinette is a graduate of the University of Denver and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Montana State University.
Ileana intends to work with Latinx and multiracial populations by providing bilingual counseling services. Given the disparities that exist in research and practice for people of color, she hopes to bridge the gap by providing more accessible mental health services for underserved communities and those with co-occurring addictions.
Through this fellowship, Ileana hopes to increase research, resources, and accessibility for underserved populations. This fellowship will also offer the opportunity to increase her multicultural competency in the counseling profession to better understand how mental health and addiction manifest cross-culturally. She is passionate about advocacy and integrating multicultural awareness into mental health treatment.
John P. Dorris Jr. (he/his) – Boone, North Carolina
John Dorris is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Appalachian State University.
John currently volunteers part-time at a nonprofit, Asian Mental Health Collective (AMHC), as their Chief of Technology. After graduation, he intends to support underserved communities in North Carolina affected by addiction. His goals are to directly support clients in his community and continue to advocate for the destigmatization of mental health care on a national level at AMHC. This fellowship provides the resources and network for John to achieve those goals and work toward breaking down barriers of access for underserved communities, especially those affected by addiction.
Travis Robert Wilson Elmore (he/his) – Spearfish, South Dakota
Travis Elmore is a graduate of Black Hills State University and is currently a master's student in the addictions counseling prevention program at the University of South Dakota.
Upon graduation, Travis intends to enroll in a doctoral program. Following graduation from his doctoral studies, he intends to become a professor at a university where he will attempt to ameliorate the stigma associated with addiction via education. He has further plans to open a private practice counseling service where he will work closely with individuals living with addiction. Travis is passionate about educating individuals on drug prevention with altruistic viewpoints and a high regard for honesty and empathy in both his teaching and counseling.
The fellowship will provide Travis with additional information from conferences, meetings, and social connections with like-minded individuals he intends to make throughout his career. He is excited to better serve underserved and underrepresented populations, specifically those who have been affected by the criminal justice system.
Liesl Engelbrecht (she/her) – Smyrna, Georgia
Liesl Engelbrecht is a graduate of Kennesaw State University and is currently a master's student in the addictions counseling program at the University of North Georgia.
Liesl currently works at a community counseling clinic as a counseling intern providing services to the local community at no cost. In addition, she works in a residential recovery program at a psychiatric hospital.
Upon completing her master's program, Liesl aims to continue to provide services to a diverse clientele, whether that would entail working at a treatment center, for a county drug court, or offering a sliding scale to clients in a private practice setting. Regardless of the setting, she wants to be a counselor in Georgia, providing an environment where clients of color and clients in the LGBTQIA2S+ community feel like they are understood and receive the quality care they deserve.
This fellowship will allow Liesl to network with other like-minded professionals, learn evidence-based practices and establish a counselor identity dedicated to serving and advocating for underserved populations.
Monica L. Giles (she/her) – Prior Lake, Minnesota
Monica Giles is a graduate of Metropolitan State University and is currently a master's student in the co-occurring disorders recovery counseling program also at Metropolitan State University.
Upon graduation, Monica plans to continue to advocate for all people trying to access treatment for co-occurring disorders in nonprofit settings. She is passionate about learning how to become more skilled in evidence-based practices, along with helping to make changes within organizations to help underserved populations. Earning this fellowship will allow Monica to attend conferences, professional trainings, and other educational opportunities to help gain more skills so she can continue to advocate for underserved populations.
Dani Grab (she/her) – Towson, Maryland
Dani Grab is a graduate of Towson University and Baltimore City Community College. She is currently a master's student in the addictions counseling program at Coppin State University.
After graduation, Dani plans to pursue a doctoral degree in forensic psychology to continue following her passion for working with the incarcerated population. She has volunteered at homeless shelters, food kitchens, jails, prisons, and institutions, which has influenced her desire to work with imprisoned violent offenders and their varying addictions. Dani is an advocate for mental health for those in jails, prisons, and institutions, and will utilize everything that she has learned from her experience in the fellowship to follow her dreams.
Clifford R. Hudson (he/his) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Clifford Hudson is a graduate of Temple University and is currently a master's student in the addiction psychology program at Arizona State University.
Upon completion of his master's program, Clifford intends to pursue a doctoral degree. His goal is to work first as a facilitator and ultimately as a licensed practitioner with persons experiencing problematic substance use in a psilocybin-assisted psychotherapy setting.
With FDA-sponsored clinical trials utilizing psilocybin to treat nicotine dependence as well as cocaine use disorder in full swing, and the state of Oregon granting approvals for psilocybin treatment centers to begin operation, Clifford is preparing to gain proficiency in this paradigm-shifting treatment modality at its inception. People of color, marginalized, and underserved groups will not have fair access to healing with these novel compounds. Clifford has made it his mission to advocate on behalf of these populations.
Broc Gianni Hutchinson III (he/his) – Phoenix, Arizona
Broc Hutchinson is a graduate of Ottawa University and Rio Salado College. He is currently a master's student in the substance abuse counseling program at Ottawa University.
After graduation, Broc plans to help underserved populations and create interventions that will aid in bringing balance to the disparities that so many in the Phoenix area fall victim to. He plans to specialize in using harm reduction principles and the four pillars and strategies designed by SAMHSA to regain the upper hand in the fight against the opioid epidemic. Broc plans to become a National Certified Counselor (NCC) who works mainly with clients suffering from opioid addiction. His hope is to become dual licensed in substance abuse as well as clinical counseling.
He currently runs a nonprofit men's and women's sober living facility that he hopes will expand and provide assistance for all medically assisted treatment clients to regain their place in the communities. Broc is currently a counselor at a local OTP clinic run by an organization called Community Medical Services. He firmly believes in this organization, mission, and vision and hopes to find his way up the ladder of success. He hopes to pass out Narcan to every person in the Phoenix area and end the accidental overdose problem once and for all.
Earning this fellowship has provided Broc with the opportunity to share his ideas, strengths, and concepts that could one day eliminate the disparities that underserved communities face.
Sybil Jackson (she/her) – Leonia, New Jersey
Sybil Jackson is a graduate of Kean University and Essex County College. She is currently a master's student in the addiction counseling program at Kean University.
Sybil is a dedicated medical case manager at Newark Community Health Center specializing in infectious diseases. Her primary focus is to help patients with infectious diseases receive the care they need, including coordinating their medical treatments and providing them with emotional support. Her goal is to expand her knowledge and skills in addiction counseling, which will help her serve her patients more effectively.
Talia Lauren Jones (she/her) – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Talia Jones is a graduate of Drexel University and is currently a master's student in the trauma, addictions, and recovery program at Thomas Jefferson University.
Upon graduation, Talia would like to work in settings that service people of color, and people of all marginalized communities, primarily in capacities that treat substance use, addictions, and disordered eating while addressing the relationship to trauma and toxic stress on individual, family, and community health.
Talia is passionate about helping people heal from complex, intergenerational, and racial traumas and is dedicated to using integrative interventions to help individuals achieve mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness. Her hope is to be part of teams that address holistic health regardless of socioeconomic status and to advocate for more programs that help patients treat the root causes of their stressors.
The MFP-AC fellowship will allow Talia to strengthen her professional identity as a counselor and network with industry leaders to better understand how to implement agency-wide change.
Shayna Sophia Kasdan (she/her) – Scottsdale, Arizona
Shayna Kasdan is a graduate of Northern Arizona University and is currently a master's student in the advanced practice program at Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addiction Counseling.
Upon graduation, Shayna hopes to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology. Clinically, she intends to continue to work with adolescents with co-occurring disorders. She is particularly interested in the intersection of trauma, epigenetics, and mental health. Shayna hopes to become a certified provider of neurofeedback, EMDR, and DBT to help combat trauma symptoms. She is an advocate for the rights of adolescents and plans to open her own treatment center for adolescents that places an emphasis on informed consent and transparency while still providing high-quality and evidence-based care. Earning this fellowship allows Shayna to attend counseling conferences to gain insight into new research and promising clinical interventions, and to develop her identity as a counselor.
Kathryn M. Kendall (she/her) – Mooresville, Indiana
Kathryn Kendall is a graduate of Beacon College and is currently a master's student in the mental health counseling program at Lynn University.
After graduation, Kathryn plans to help underserved populations of all ages. She plans to specialize in addiction, trauma, and grief counseling, and she will incorporate CBT, family systems, and person-centered counseling into her practice. She hopes to serve a wide range of underserved and underrepresented communities (e.g., LGBTQIA+, people of color) and military members and their families.
Kathryn plans to become board certified as well as achieve dual licensure in addiction and clinical counseling. Earning this fellowship has provided Kathryn with the opportunity to gain incredible opportunities to network within the field as well as to attend conferences and training to help further her goals to work with underserved populations.
Valerie A. Kenny (she/her) – Fort Collins, Colorado
Valerie Kenny is a graduate of the University of Illinois and is currently a master's student in the addiction counseling program at Colorado State University.
During her fellowship year, Valerie intends to gain additional training and experience in treating trauma, such as EMDR and other evidenced based modalities. Valerie will then utilize her specialized skill set by working with veterans and their families to help them heal.
Leon Leader Charge (he/his) – Parmelee, South Dakota
Leon Leader Charge is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and is currently a master's student in the addiction counseling and prevention program also at the University of South Dakota.
Leon's long-term passion is to work with Indigenous individuals and communities to assist in healing from historical trauma and promotion of strength-based historical resilience healing work within the Indigenous community. Earning this fellowship will allow Leon to finish his degree and eventually become a licensed addiction counselor with a long-term goal of living and serving in his home community on an American Indian reservation.
Sabrina JY Lin (she/her) – Lake Oswego, Oregon
Sabrina Lin is a graduate of Central Washington University and Chung Shan Medical University. She is currently a master's student in the mental health counseling and addiction counseling program at Lewis and Clark University.
After graduation, Sabrina plans to support Asian communities, bilingual populations and immigrants. She plans to specialize in addiction and underserved groups. Being awarded this fellowship will provide Sabrina with the needed assistance to continue her journey through higher education, allow her to attend counseling conferences to establish a stronger professional identity as a counselor, and learn evidence-based practices to better advocate for and help underserved populations.
Alexis J. Lowe (she/her) – Bothell, Washington
Alexis Lowe is a graduate of Seattle Central College and Edmonds Community College. She is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Seattle University.
Upon graduation, Alexis intends to work with underrepresented clients affected by severe mental health diagnoses, addiction, and the judicial system. She plans to continue working with clients in the Snohomish County mental health court program. This program serves clients who have mental health diagnoses, face criminal charges, and struggle with addiction. This program allows clients to enter the program, and upon completion, their charges will be dropped.
Alexis is a substance use disorder professional and serves clients with co-occurring disorders. She works at Snohomish County Case Management in the Aging and Disability sector. Earning the NBCC MFP fellowship will allow Alexis to continue her education working with her underserved clients, gain a community of support, and be exposed to new perspectives and ideas on how to better serve this population. In the future, she hopes to combine her education and experience to help reshape the mental health court program to serve more people.
Muna A. Mohamed (she/her) – Minneapolis, MInnesota
Muna Mohamed is a graduate of Metropolitan State University and is currently a master's student in the addiction counseling and mental health counseling program at Metropolitan State University.
Upon graduation, Muna intends to work with underserved inner-city individuals and youth struggling with co-occurring disorders, specifically opioid use. This fellowship will allow Muna to develop and gain professional expertise in assisting underserved communities and establish a professional identity fostered by individualized care. She looks forward to the growth and experience she will gain from this venture and looks forward to being a great catalyst for change.
Nicole Y. Moore (she/her) – Greensboro, North Carolina
Nicole Moore is a graduate of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and is currently a master's student in the integrated recovery for co-occurring disorders program at Hazelden Betty Ford Graduate School of Addictions Studies.
Nicole aspires to become a dually licensed clinical mental health and addictions counselor. Upon graduation, she plans to continue her current role as a certified alcohol and drug counselor, working with a multitude of underserved populations through community outreach and eventually building a mental health and substance use agency. Earning the fellowship will allow Nicole to further develop her knowledge and skills by connecting her to a magnificent network of counseling professionals, mentors, and evidence-based training.
Alexis E. Munoz Rivera (she/her) – Albuquerque, New Mexico
Alexis Munoz Rivera is a graduate of the University of New Mexico and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program also at the University of New Mexico.
After graduation, Alexis plans to work with the Latinx community and provide counseling in English and Spanish. As she continues in her career, she would like to enhance her work on mental health issues that occur in the Latinx community. She would also like to provide specialized services in Spanish, such as providing EMDR in Spanish to those in need. Alexis would also like to work toward offering those in the Latinx community a space free of mental health stigma and providing the language they need to express themselves.
Brian J. Nuckols (he/his) – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Brian Nuckols is a graduate of Penn State University and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Brian is passionate about helping others gain clarity, build meaningful relationships, and generate focus on what truly matters to them.
In his early 20s, Brian experienced pivotal moments that impacted his life at a time when he was faced with a profound sense of confusion about the direction of his life. Ultimately, these factors came together and inspired him to become an addiction counselor. His education and work experience during this time continue to impact his coaching practice and ideas about what success looks like in a coaching context.
Inspired by the principles of social justice, Brian desires to make an impact in his community. He has confidence that his skill set and interests can help effectuate the possibility of a better world. He also believes one of the major bottlenecks pertaining to solving problems and scaling impact is cognitive and/or social in nature. He thinks the lessons and research learned from psychotherapeutic change research can be brought to bear in novel ways to support people who are excluded from cutting-edge psychotherapy tools due to poverty and capitalism. His goal is to help accelerate the pace of social development by organizing with the poor and dispossessed to create a psychotherapy commons.
Nina Orlando (she/her) – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Nina Orlando is a graduate of Illinois State University and is currently a master's student in the mental health counseling program with a specialization in addictions at Marquette University.
Upon completing her master's program, Nina is dedicated to serving adults with substance use disorders and/or mental health disorders. Specifically, working with underserved communities in inner cities and rural areas. She has a passion for working with individuals with substance use disorders in a group setting and individual setting to provide support and advocate for those who experience barriers to treatment.
Nina is looking forward to connecting with other professionals who have a passion for the addictions field. Being awarded this fellowship will allow her to gain more knowledge and skills from other individuals in the profession with similar interests. Nina is honored to have the opportunity to attend conferences and trainings that will allow her to increase her knowledge and self-awareness to provide effective treatment to all individuals.
Mercedes F. Resendiz (she/her) – Kuna, Idaho
Mercedes Resendiz is a graduate of the University of Idaho and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Idaho State University.
Mercedes has witnessed how mental health disparities can lead to wrongful incarceration and death among underserved populations. She plans to work with the Latine population to bridge the gap and eliminate disparities for the underserved. She will do this by providing services in Spanish and English. She looks forward to serving rural and incarcerated populations.
Mercedes often finds herself creating her own road map as a minority and first-generation college student. As a 2023 Fellow, she is excited to have a network of like-minded clinicians. She looks forward to attending conferences and learning more about brainspotting.
Tara Robison (she/her) – Sumter, South Carolina
Tara Robison is a graduate of Purdue University Global and Cambria Rowe Business College. She is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program with a concentration in addictions at Walden University.
Tara has a passion for underserved and never-served populations. As a graduate student, she is heavily involved in various social justice committees within Walden, NAADAC, and ACA. Upon graduation, Tara's focus will be on individuals who need a voice, ones who others may have given up on, or the various individuals who require someone to walk with them as they fight their battles. The LGBTQIA+ community is close to her heart, especially those residing in rural, socioeconomically depressed areas that require understanding and a non-biased perspective. The fellowship is a way to make a change and show how transformation can look when the focus is counseling, not how individuals identify. Tara is ready to make a difference by using this fantastic opportunity.
Christine A. Russell (she/her) – Denver, Colorado
Christine Russell is a graduate of Metropolitan State University of Denver and is currently a master's student in the clinical behavioral health program with an emphasis on addictions counseling also at Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Upon graduation, Christine will continue her focus on serving a population of persons experiencing homelessness and poverty. She believes in assisting people in getting their basic needs met so they can focus on substance use and mental health considerations. Earning this fellowship will allow Christine to continue attending conferences, expanding her knowledge, and continue being a lifelong learner. She currently works at a withdrawal management facility and has plans to continue serving in community health.
Natasha Sams-Baughns (she/her) – Virginia Beach, Virginia
Natasha Sams-Baughns is a graduate of Old Dominion University and Fayetteville State University. She is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program at Walden University.
Upon completing her master's program, Natasha hopes to address service delivery disparities in the mental health and addictions field through culturally competent care, increased service access, and education. This fellowship will give her the opportunity to enhance her counseling identity and improve her understanding of the connection between racism, oppression, and trauma.
Kerrie Shively (she/her) – Newport News, Virginia
Kerrie Shively is a graduate of Old Dominion University and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program with a concentration in addictions at William & Mary.
Upon graduation, Kerrie intends to continue to advocate for equitable treatment and decrease the stigma surrounding accessing care for substance use disorders. She is passionate about working with the active duty military, veterans, and their families. Presently, she is working as a graduate assistant in Care Support Services for William & Mary, providing case management services and support for students. Kerrie is the Board Treasurer and counseling intern for Bloom Mental Health Foundation, a nonprofit providing free access to counseling services for underserved populations. She is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, a Certified Substance Abuse Counselor in Virginia, and a space holder for Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery). Kerrie intends to utilize recreation, adventure, and ecotherapy in her practice. Earning this fellowship will allow her to attend conferences that will strengthen her skill set as a counselor and development in evidence-based practices as she works to better serve underserved populations.
Emmalee L. Shoup (she/her) – Lusk, Wyoming
Emmalee Shoup is a graduate of Colorado Christian University and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counselor program with a focus on substance use also at Colorado Christian University.
Emmalee identifies as a grateful believer in Christ Jesus. She serves as chaplain for the Lusk Wyoming Chapter of the Christian Motorcyclists Association and Wyoming State Prayer Coordinator. She currently works as the IOP/OP Counselor at Wyoming's only women's prison. She is a Certified Addiction Practitioner and counselor-in-training.
During her graduate studies, she worked closely on an immersion project with her mentor Willie LeClair, who recently passed. She aspires to make an impact like he did to help promote community and understanding. Based on that immersive experience, Emmalee now focuses on ways to increase her impact in Wyoming, especially for Native American individuals. Her passion is to help those who are suffering to find their higher power and recover their true identity. Her focus is multicultural, multifaith counseling that is able to reach the underserved communities in Wyoming and beyond.
Upon graduation, Emmalee will continue to work with incarcerated people in the Wyoming Department of Corrections, serving as an addictions counselor through their treatment provider. Her 5-year plan is to open a counseling center that provides addiction treatment and mental health services that are so needed in rural Wyoming.
Julia H. Stuart (she/her) – Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Julia Stuart is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and is currently a master's student in the clinical mental health counseling program with a specialization in addictions counseling at Marquette University.
After graduation, Julia plans to work with underserved inner-city populations in Boston, Massachusetts. She plans to use her educational and professional background to integrate mental health and substance use treatment to provide holistic and personalized treatment services to clients. Being awarded this fellowship will provide her with mentorship and networking opportunities that will enhance her understanding of the current mental health and substance use climate and support her professional growth.
Ashley Swon (she/her) – Moberly, Missouri
Ashley Swon is a graduate of Central Christian College of the Bible and is currently a master's student in the clinical counseling program at Central Methodist University.
Upon graduation, Ashley intends to work in private practice. She has 8 years of experience as a home visitor in the field of early childhood education. She hopes to build on that experience by providing in-home therapy to individuals living in rural areas of Missouri where counseling may not be accessible. Ashley previously volunteered as a program mentor for a sober living home, which sparked an interest in working with marginalized communities. She is particularly interested in supporting biological parents in recovery from substance use disorder whose children are in the foster care system.
This fellowship will allow Ashley the opportunity to establish a strong counselor identity and learn about evidence-based practice for substance use disorders. She is looking forward to forming a relationship with a mentor and networking with other professionals in the field.
Ricky Rene Eugene Tyler (he/his) – Dallas, Texas
Ricky Rene Tyler is a graduate of Texas Tech University and is currently a master's student in the addiction counseling program at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School for Health Professions.
After graduation in 2025, Ricky intends to serve the LGBTQIA population, people of color, persons and families affected by HIV/AIDS, and economically disadvantaged people in underserved marginalized urban communities in the state of Texas. He will continue his advocacy for social justice as a member of the Texas Organizing Project, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Planning Council Committee, the Texas HIV Syndicate, and the Texas Black Women Initiative for reproductive justice. Earning this fellowship will allow him to address multicultural and social justice issues through evidence-based practices to improve the lives of individuals challenged with dual-diagnoses of mental health and substance misuse by having the opportunity to attend seminars and training.
Vicente Vasquez II (he/his) – Willmar, Minnesota
Vicente Vasquez is a graduate of Saint Olaf College and is currently a master's student in the co-occurring disorders recovery counseling program at Metropolitan State University.
A proponent of the unheard and unempowered, Vicente's passion lies in helping those mired at the intersection between substance use and mental health disorders to rediscover their voice and agency. Upon graduation, he plans to utilize his clinical specialty to equip underserved communities with contemporary resources and advocate for technological integration of interventions that expand accessibility and meet culturally competent standards. As a person-centered practitioner, his goals align with how to meet the individual's whole needs in the context of their worldview.
As a developing clinical professional, Vicente looks forward to building relationships with equally passionate individuals through fellowship training and conferences. Welcoming the collective array of experiences and perspectives, he hopes to further refine his counseling and leadership skills to serve the many through the one.
Brenisen P. Wheeler (she/her) – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Brenisen Wheeler is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and is currently a master's student in the co-occurring disorders and addictions counseling program with a specialty in expressive arts therapy at Adler Graduate School.
Upon graduating, Brenisen is dedicated to uplifting and centering the holistic wellness of multiple marginalized individuals, especially those in the LGBTQIAS2+ community; older people of color; and those impacted by addiction, sexual and domestic violence, and housing instability, by infusing embodiment-focused, culturally centered, and trauma-sensitive approaches. Earning this fellowship will support Brenisen in accessing specialized skills training and professional enrichment, contributing to trauma research, expanding her professional network through scholarly collaborations, and further diversifying the counseling field.
Brian Wilson (he/his) – Raleigh, North Carolina
Brian Wilson is a graduate of Elizabeth City State University and is currently a master's student in the mental health counseling program with a focus on addictions at North Carolina Central University.
After graduation, Brian plans to work with adolescents and families who are impacted by opioid use. He views the impact of opioids through a family systems lens and believes that the issues of an individual impact their family and close relationships. With a criminal justice background, Brian understands that adolescents and families involved with opioid use will likely encounter the criminal justice system. To counter this, he plans to advocate for children and adolescents through educating parents and other adults about the systemic impact opioid use can have. Brian is pursuing dual licensure as a licensed clinical addiction specialist and licensed clinical mental health counselor. He believes this fellowship will support his educational goals, allow him to attend trainings, and help further develop his professional identity.
Brigette C. Young (she/they) – Madison, Wisconsin
Brigette Young is a graduate of Central Washington University and is currently a master's student in the rehabilitation counseling program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.
Brigette has worked with people who use substances since 2017 and is passionate about addressing issues of treatment equity for people living with disabilities, as well as for other marginalized identities. She is also an advocate for people living with and at risk for HIV and other infectious diseases and believes in the intersection of public and behavioral health as a best practice. She plans to pursue ongoing education and experience to develop an accessible treatment curriculum for people living with brain injuries and cognitive disabilities. Brigette is grateful for the opportunity provided by this fellowship to learn from other professionals in the field, continue to implement best practices in her clinical work, advocate for issues that impact people who use substances within professional spaces, and network with people who share her passion.
Nicolas Zavala (he/his) – Chicago, Illinois
Nicolas Zavala is a graduate of Governors State University and is currently a master's student in the addictions studies counseling program also at Governors State University.
Currently a Certified Drug and Alcohol Counselor, Nicolas intends to continue to work within a community health center with underserved populations having difficulties with mental health issues by offering clinical counseling and substance use education. He would also like to take a proactive stance in regard to addiction by working with adolescents currently struggling with substance use. Nicolas grew up in the South Side of Chicago and hopes to continue to work within the same community that he lives in. He looks forward to using his experience as an NBCC fellow to continue to work with underserved communities throughout the Chicagoland area.