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.  While an undergraduate, she did two years of research at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in the Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology department. She also had multiple internships at Pathways, a neurological pediatrics clinic and at Rush University Medical Center in their neurological movement disorder department. She is starting her fifth year at IIT in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. Her research and clinical interests involve neurological disorder, such as epilepsy and TBI, and neuropsychological assessment and health/rehabilitation outcomes, and ultimately plans to become a neuropsychologist.  Outside of work and school, Kristi enjoys adventuring with her friends and dog.

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 fourth year of the Ph.D. program. Her externship experience includes a psychotherapy rotation at the Euclid Center of MacNeal Hospital and an adult neuropsychology rotation at NorthShore University Health System. For her master's thesis, Julia researched factors that impact STI testing and hopes to continue researching health promotion in the future. She is currently working 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.

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Nikki Ditchman