MI-LEND 2022-2023 Long-term Trainees

This table contains names, pictures and bios of the current MI-LEND Long-Term Trainees.
Trainee Trainee Biographical Statement

Picture of Erin Augustyniak. Erin has brown haor and brown eyes and is wearing a yellow shirt.

Erin Augustyniak

Erin has lived experience as someone who has a hearing loss and ADHD/ADD. She was late identified at 5 years old with hearing loss in both ears. Erin was promptly fitted with hearing aids and continued to live her life. Hearing loss is a large part of her identity and is a main reason why she chose audiology as a profession. Since Erin's brain developed for 5 years without equal access to sound, it has contributed to some neuro-diverse traits. Erin loves working with children and has a special place in her heart for the littles that have a disability or difference, since she was and still is one of those kids.

Erin hopes to gain community with students and advocates like herself, confidence in her communication skills, competence in working with neuro-diverse populations, humility in serving children and their families and an overall knowledge in interdisciplinary work. She has seen many cases where a child doesn't get the care they need or receives delayed care because of miscommunication or lack of communication between disciplines. Erin believes that "Relationships between professions is very important to keep patients and families getting the services they need. We take oaths as clinicians, and it is our responsibility to provide the highest quality of care while conserving the person's health as a whole and their role within their family culture." She is honored to be a part of this community and is excited to work with her fellow trainees!

Picture of Rachel Bommarito. She has long blond hair, is wearing a pink sweater, and is smiling.

Rachel Bommarito

Rachel Bommarito is a school administrator and mother of two. Throughout the course of her career in education she has learned much about students with special needs including those with neurodevelopmental disabilities, but nothing has taught her more than her son's autism diagnosis. Living in a very rural part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan makes finding quality care a challenge. Rachel is passionate about providing equitable education opportunities for all students. She hopes through MI-LEND to increase her knowledge of neurodevelopmental disabilities and become a better resource and advocate for the people in her community.

Picture of Leonardo Bravo. Leo is sitting in a chair, wearing a blue shirt, striped pants, and black glasses. He has short black hair.

Leonardo Bravo

My name is Leonardo Bravo. I am 24 years old and I was born in Detroit, Michigan. I was born with a disability called cerebral palsy. Cerebral palsy affects your brain, your muscle movement and your walking which is why I use a power chair. I have dedicated my life to advocating for people with disabilities. I love what I do and thanks to organizations such as MI-DDI and MI-LEND, I am able to expand my story and share it with people with different disabilities. Not only do I share my story with people locally here in Michigan, but I also share my story in the form of Social Media. I use TikTok, Instagram and YouTube to show people what's it's like to live with a disability.

Picture of Emily Carroll. Emily has long brown hair and brown eyes. She is smiling, wearing a white blouse and black blazer.

Emily Carroll

Emily is a current medical student at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology from McGill University and worked as a registered behavior technician at the May Institute prior to medical school. This motivated her to pursue medicine with a focus on neurodevelopmental disorders, as she witnessed many families and children on her caseload struggle to access necessary medical care due to lack of qualified professionals. During medical school, she has pursued this focus through relevant clinical, volunteering, and research opportunities. Through the MI-LEND program, Emily hopes to gain knowledge, skills, and interdisciplinary connections that will assist in her pursuit of providing high-quality, informed, and compassionate care for patients with neurodevelopmental disorders as a future physician working in the mental health field.

Picture of Marcellus Castleberry. He is smiling and leaning against a building. He has black hair and is wearing a blue shirt.

Marcellus Castleberry

Marcellus Castleberry is currently attending Henry Ford College and majoring in social work .  The experience he has with disabilities is that he is a self-advocate.  He has epilepsy, a visual impairment in one eye, hearing loss, global  developmental delay, and cerebral palsy.  What he hopes to  learn from the MI-LEND Program is how to interact and host  group sessions with people with developmental disabilities. He would also like to learn how to approach them  as a person     so that they know that they are not alone and that someone has also gone through similar experiences.

Picture of Maya Castleberry. She is wearing a red dress and has black hair. She is

Maya Castleberry

Maya graduated from the University of Michigan Ann Arbor in May 2022 with a major in Kinesiology and a focus in neurodevelopmental and behavioral pediatrics. She currently works at Abbott Medical Group (internal medicine clinic) and with a nonprofit (Local Circles) that teaches teens about job readiness and how to utilize research. The organization she'll be working with in MI-LEND is with the Family Center. Maya has a brother who has a neurodevelopmental disability who she helps advocate for and support. Shae has experience working with children and adolescents with disabilities through working at a daycare at UM. There she teaches children how to develop their fundamental motor skills and provides recommendations to parents on how the children can improve their motor skills at home. Through here MI-LEND expereicne, Maya hopes to learn how to accomodate for and provide quality care to a variety of children and families with disabilities so she can prepare herself to become a better pediatrician. She also hopes to learn how to navigate resources for families and work with a variety of professionals who are dedicated to working with families. 

Picture of Grace Inch. She has long brown curly hair, is smiling, and is wearing a black shirt with a grey bllazer.

Grace Inch

Grace is a first-year graduate student at Western Michigan University (WMU) where she works as a graduate research assistant in Dr. Hope Gerlach's Stuttering and Psychosocial Outcomes Research Lab. She received her bachelor's in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Central Michigan University (CMU) in 2022. During her time at CMU, Grace worked with many local autism groups and disability programs. She worked as a home care aide for adults with developmental disabilities where she cared for and engaged with adults residing within the program. She volunteered with local autism groups, exploring sensory input and stimming withing autistic children. Grace has also worked closely with Deaf advocates through volunteer and mentorship positions while at CMU, exploring equity and bridging communication barriers. Through MI-LEND, Grace strives to improve interprofessional communication, to understand complex needs of wide populations, and to create a community of well-informed and well-supported professionals and patients. Her goal is to become a better listener and a greater advocate for those with developmental disabilities.

Picture of Dallas Jubinville. Dallas has long blonde hair. She is smiling, and wearing a black shirt with a sweater with a pattern on it.

Dallas Jubinville

Dallas is a third year doctoral student in the Audiology program at Grand Valley State University. She originally earned her BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Windsor, Canada. She has been volunteering with children with various neurodevelopmental disorders since high school. Her passion for volunteering with children with neurodevelopmental disorders continues today through volunteering with Special Olympics Michigan at their events all across Michigan. Dallas is most excited to gain more knowledge on interdisciplinary teamwork in the health care setting. Learning how to collaborate with students and understanding different disciplines will give her the skills to be a better advocate for her patients/families of patients in the future. She is also interested in learning more about healthcare policy and procedures in Michigan.

Picture of Kat Knepp. Kat has short brown hair, glasses, and is wearing a gray turtlekneck sweater.

Kat Knepp

Kat is an Audiology Doctoral student at Western Michigan University. Most of Kat's experience with disability stems from friends and family who are disabled as well as direct experience through clinical work. Through the MI-LEND program, Kat hopes to learn more about how to be a better clinician in order to effectively advocate for people with disabilities.

Picture of Amy Mook. Amy has long black hair and is smiling. Amy is wearing black glasses, a black shirt, and a purple coat.

Amy Mook

Amy Mook is a second-year genetic counseling and public health graduate student at the University of Michigan. Amy also identifies as a person with a physical disability and has experience in disability advocacy from a personal perspective and in a variety of other settings. While at Penn State University as an undergraduate, she was able to serve as a student representative for Student Disability Resources which included moderating an event with disability rights activist Judy Heumann and connecting with the Board of Trustees about accessibility and inclusivity of students with disabilities. During this time, she also served on the leadership team for a student organization focused on creating an inclusive campus environment for students with disabilities. Amy now finds herself continuing her disability advocacy work during her graduate training while serving as the Co-President of the Disability Advocacy Coalition of Health Professions, a local chapter of a national organization that creates a platform for students, trainees, faculty, and staff across all health professional programs and disciplines to connect in order to advocate, discuss, educate, and collaborate on what it means for patients and providers to have disabilities within the lens of medicine. Through her MI-LEND experience, Amy is looking forward to learning from those in other disciplines in order to grow her skills in utilizing an interdisciplinary approach to care. She also hopes to develop inclusive practices and expand her capabilities as a leader to improve her interactions with patients and their families. 

Picture of Cheyenne Nutlouis. Cheyenne has long black hair, is smiling, and is wearing a tye-dyed hooded sweatshirt.

Cheyenne Nutlouis

Cheyenne is a first-year graduate student at Northern Michigan University. She is studying Applied Behavior Analysis, working towards becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has worked as a Registered Behavior Technician for the last three years and will continue to work as an RBT until she becomes a BCBA. In this role she has worked one-on-one with countless children on the autism spectrum in clinical and in-home settings, working with individualized behavior and learning plans. She is currently working at Northern Michigan University's Behavioral Education Assessment and Research (BEAR) Center. She looking forward to the opportunity to work with other disciplines and to gain knowledge of resources that will benefit future clients. She is excited to grow into a leadership and advocacy role and hopes MI-LEND will help her better serve the clients and their families she will work with in the future. 

Picture of Jason Paul-Gillette. Jason has a shaved head and is wearing a University of Michigan hooded sweatshirt.

Jason Paul-Gillette

Jason was born and raised in Michigan. He attended Eastern Michigan University where he majored in Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Jason then graduated with a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis. He has spent the last 13 years working as a Psychiatric Care Worker on the Child and Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatric Unit in Mott's Hospital at Michigan Medicine. He recently accepted a position with Acorn Health as  Qualified Behavior Health Professional working with children and young adults with autism while he completes his practicum hours to sit the BCBA exam. With his experience through MI-LEND, Jason would like to find way to take ABA out of the traditional ABA centers and apply it to other environments that help to support those with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Picture of Aylasia Steen. She has black hair, brown eyes, and is wearing a gray pinstriped blazer.

Aylasia Steen

Aylasia is a graduate student at Michigan State University in the Human Resources and Labor Relations program. During her time in MI-LEND, she would like to gain more knowledge and understanding of adolescents, teenagers, and young adults living with neurodevelopmental disabilities to help support and accommodate their needs. As someone that is will be working in human resources, it's important to Aylasia to know how to properly engage and accommodate all people so that everyone can work in a healthy environment. She would like to aid in the transition of adolescents into adulthood and navigate the labor force. This experience will allow her to obtain skills and tools to help provide guidance and resources to people with neurodevelopmental disabilities so they can thrive and excel in the work force and be given a fair chance. Overall, Aylasia wants to advocate for an inclusive and belonging workforce FOR people that live with neurodevelopmental disabilities. MI-LEND will be a great opportunity to not only help educate herself but others about people that live with neurodevelopmental disabilities and the importance for actually taking the initiative to understand and help navigate not only the labor force but the world in general.

Picture of Rana Taher. She has long black hair.

Rana Taher

Rana Taher graduated in April 2022 with a Master's degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. She earned a Bachelor's degree in law from the Lebanese University. Rana worked on the operations side of the healthcare field for 14 years. She is currently completing practicum hours to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Rana provides a range of ABA therapies and direct interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. As an immigrant, she has a first-hand perspective into what the immigrant/ refugee population across Metro-Detroit faces on a daily basis especially for families raising children with neurodevelopmental disabilities. Rana views MI-LEND as an opportunity to broaden her horizons by leveraging a truly unique program design comprised of interdisciplinary professionals who come together around a common goal: to serve youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities by better understanding their condition, needs, and amazing potential. She is excited about the prospect of learning as much from her fellow trainees across numerous professions from physicians and dentists to social workers and speech therapists (among many others) as she is to learn from professional facilitators. As an immigrant, I am also drawn to the emphasis on culturally responsive practices and diversity. To that end, Rana hopes to gain a deeper perspective into managing neurodevelopmental disabilities; a clearer sense of how to collaborate with professionals in the future; a deepened ability to cater to a culturally responsive behavior plan; and the confidence to add value across various contexts.

Picture of Lauren Wylie. Lauren has long brown hair, is smiling, and is wearing a white blouse and gray blazer.

Lauren Wylie

Lauren is a third-year medical student at Wayne State University School of Medicine, MD program. As an undergraduate, she took American Sign Language courses and minored in Disability Studies. Through these educational experiences, she discovered a need for future medical professionals to be aware of the social model of disability and how to better treat patients with NDD. In a long-term project she created through her minor, Lauren worked with peers and faculty with disabilities to create a presentation on the basics of disability studies. She presented this to pre-medical students and taught them how to use this knowledge in a healthcare setting. She continued working with young adults with NDD and Autism as a Registered Behavioral Technician upon graduating from college. In medical school, she has continued to advocate for healthcare workers to create inclusive environments. Using her experience as president of the American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club in college, Lauren has been teaching medical students basic ASL and proper etiquette for working with deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Through her MI-LEND experience, Lauren is excited for the opportunity to work with interprofessional groups to make healthcare more inclusive and accessible to those with NDDs.

Picture of Julie Zaituna. She has shoulder-length blond hair and is wearing a pink blouse and black blazer.

Julie Zaituna

Julie Zaituna is a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics fellow at the University of Michigan. As a resident physician in Pediatrics at Ascension St. John Children's Hospital in Detroit, she provided medical care for children with physical, mental, and developmental disabilities in the NICU, PICU, emergency department, inpatient and outpatient settings. In her current training, she participates in the diagnosis and treatment of children with neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD). She is interested in examining the impact of parenting and family stress/trauma on treatment outcomes within this population, particularly affecting the maternal-infant dyad. She is hoping to engage with collaborative experiences with other disciplines through MI-LEND to better serve and advocate for patients with NDD and their families.