Nikki Ditchman is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Illinois Institute of Technology in the Division of Counseling and Rehabilitation Science. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) in the state of Illinois. She received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. She currently teaches graduate level courses in psychology, rehabilitation and mental health counseling and conducts research to understand myriad factors affecting quality of life and successful community outcomes for people with disabilities. Prior to her position at IIT, Nikki worked in a variety of counseling settings to promote well-being and successful community experiences for young adults with disabilities and their families. Nikki’s research interests include: community participation and wellness for people with disabilities, with a particular emphasis on transition-age youth, people with intellectual disabilities and people with traumatic brain injury, as well as the application of positive psychology in rehabilitation and mental health practice. Currently, her research group is focusing on examining factors impacting sense of community and social integration for people with brain injury and examining social stigma related to intellectual disability. She has published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters.
Chris is a doctoral student in psychology at IIT. He has a master's in psychology from IIT and a bachelor's degree in psychology and addictions counseling from Indiana Wesleyan University. He currently works as a neuropsychology extern and has previous experience as a graduate research and teaching assistant as well as adjunct teaching experience. His research interests include ADHD, effectiveness of neuropsychology recommendations, rehabilitation, substance abuse, and health psychology.
Sean is originally from Sparta, Wisconsin. He attended University of Wisconsin – La Crosse, double majoring in Psychology and German Studies. While completing his Bachelor’s degree, Sean gained clinical experience working with at-risk and developmentally disabled youth. Between his undergraduate and graduate studies, Sean also worked in community-based mental health with adults with serious mental illness. These experiences drove Sean’s research interests, focusing on community integration as a protective factor and outcome for individuals with a variety of conditions. His master’s degree focused on how people’s cultural attitudes relate to their attitudes towards people with intellectual disability. His dissertation focuses on the experiences of sense of community and virtual community for people with autism spectrum conditions. In addition to his research work, Sean has completed two therapy practica with emphases on adolescents and transition age populations, as well as a pediatric neuropsychology assessment practicum. Additionally while in graduate school, Sean has taught two undergraduate classes, worked as an applied behavior analysis therapist, worked on the Chicago Public Schools selective enrollment testing as a supervisor and examiner, and worked as an intake clinician for a psychiatric hospital, in addition to several other positions working with individuals with a wide variety of needs.
Outside of his work, Sean enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, craft beer, doing projects on his house, and enjoying what Chicago has to offer.
Kristi double majored at Lake Forest College, in neuroscience and psychology. This foundation of research and clinical experiences led her to pursue further education here at IIT, with specific interest in neuropsychology. Her research area is with people with neurological disorders and examining their quality of life and what factors increase it. Her master’s thesis was with people with brain injury and she is currently collecting data on people with epilepsy. She is on internship this year on a neuropsychology track at Illiana VA and will be applying for a two-year post-doc this winter again in neuropsychology. Outside of work she spends time going on motorcycle trips, having dog parties with her friends and making cocktails with her husband.
Julia graduated from Saint Louis University in 2014 with a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Spanish. For three years, she worked at a psychiatric hospital on the west side of Chicago as both a counselor and as a member of the risk management team. She is currently in her fifth year of the Clinical Psychology PhD program. Her externship experiences include community mental health, adult and pediatric neuropsychology, and TBI/Polytrauma services for Veterans. For her master's thesis, Julia researched STI testing intention. She is currently studying factors that impact quality of life in people with epilepsy for her dissertation. She works with Nikki across labs and with Michigan State University to implement the ASSET program, a social skills for employment training program for young adults with autism spectrum disorder. When she's not busy with school, Julia enjoys running the lakefront trail, cooking, and spending time with friends.
Eva Schiave has worked in a variety of professional roles focusing on early childhood intervention. As a Registered Behavioral Technician, she has conducted interventions for children with Autism across several levels of ability utilizing a variety of therapeutic approaches including ABA, ACT therapy, mindfulness, as well as social group interventions. Before this, Eva worked in the United Kingdom as a support worker for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Eva holds a BA from Tulane University, an MS in Communication Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MSc in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh where she researched the challenges that university students with learning disabilities faced in a high-pressure academic environment. Her primary area of research interest is promoting resiliency and coping skills in transition-aged youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Chanae graduated with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in sociology from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She assisted in two different research projects, one investigating the impacts of race and a prior record on jury decisions and the other testing a new measure for depression and memory loss in the geriatric population. She is interested in studying the effects of physical disability on individuals with PTSD. She is also concerned with stigma and how it affects the community’s perception of disabled individuals as well as their own self-perception. In her free time, Chanae enjoys painting, hiking with her dog, and reading.
Amanda Boyd graduated from Illinois Tech's Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling master's program in 2015 and is a current doctoral student in the Rehabilitation Counseling Education program. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. (CRC) and Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC). Prior to her master's, she received her bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign while simultaneously providing direct support services to individuals with developmental disabilities in residential settings.
Since receiving her master's, she has worked as a vocational counselor and clinical therapist in the therapeutic day school setting, working predominantly with transition-aged youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Her research interests involve the development/adaptation of interventions designed to increase post-secondary outcomes for individuals with ASD. In her free time, Amanda enjoys sports, video gaming, and spending time with her loved ones.
Born in Australia, Meena completed her undergraduate studies at Monash University in Melbourne where she majored in Psychology and Management studies. Meena has worked professionally in a variety of settings supporting the wellbeing of vulnerable young people. She also has also volunteered for 4 years at a non-for-profit organisation which provides support, recovery and education services to people and families living with anxiety disorders. Meena’s research interests lie in the youth and family psychology as well as and positive psychology concepts such as wellbeing, courage and resilience. She is currently in her first year of the Clinical Psychology PhD program and when not pursuing study/career goals, Meena enjoys being out in nature, watercolour painting and spending quality time with friends and family.