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Program Staff

Emma Burgin, PhD, NCC, is the program coordinator. She earned her doctoral degree from the University of Tennessee in counselor education and supervision. Her master’s degree in clinical/community psychology is from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and her bachelor’s degree is from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her experience includes working as the internship and transition coordinator for FUTURE and as a clinical mental health counselor in various outpatient and inpatient settings. Her research interests include postsecondary education for students with IDD, mindfulness and acceptance-based counseling, creativity, professional development of counselors, etc. Outside of work, she enjoys reading historical fiction novels, going to concerts, playing with her pug mix puppies, watching Tar Heel basketball, and traveling.

 

Loidaly M. González-Rosario, MS, NCC, is a doctoral student in the Counselor Education program here at the University of Tennessee. Prior to joining the VFL family, she was an elementary teacher and school counselor in Miami Dade County Public Schools. She holds a certificate in teaching, and School Counseling in the State of Florida with an ELL and SPED endorsement. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree at Florida International University. Her research interests include school counseling practices, play therapy in schools and counseling with hispanic/latino children. She enjoys life with her cat, Garbanzo, gardening, and enjoying the outdoors. She loves cooking healthy and hardy meals while listening to dance-worthy jams!

 

Chelsea Wilson, BS, is a Graduate Research Assistant currently working as the Academic Support Specialist for FUTURE. She is a first-year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program. She graduated from Georgia Southern University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish. Her research interests include academic and behavioral interventions, specifically related to feedback and group contingencies. In her free time, she enjoys binge watching “The Office” and “New Girl,” playing volleyball (especially sand), traveling, photography, and spending time with friends and family. 

 

Jessica Kotik, BS, is a Graduate Teaching Associate currently teaching the Life Skills courses. She is a second-year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program and is also working concurrently on a master’s degree in applied behavior analysis. She graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and minor in sociology. Her research interests include peer revision techniques and their impact on writing, self-efficacy in writing, and writing motivation. In her free time, she likes to spend time with friends and family, go to musicals, and travel.

 

Jane Persaud, BS, is a Graduate Research Assistant currently working as the Internship Support Specialist for the FUTURE program. She is a first-year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program. She graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Her research interests include self-efficacy in writing, interventions to improve student writing, and student motivation for writing. In her free time, she likes to meditate, practice mindfulness, read, and spend time with family and friends.

 

Madison Nelski, BA, is the program’s Outreach Coordinator. Her main duties are to increase on-campus awareness of the program and create efficient ways of recruiting prospective FUTURE students in the Knoxville area. She recently received her BA in English from Florida Atlantic University. She is also currently serving as an AmeriCorps VISTA member.  When she is not at FUTURE, she enjoys attending music festivals, reading, yoga, and hiking.

 

Macey Pierce, BS, is UT FUTURE’S independent living coordinator. She earned her bachelor’s of science in both psychology and game design at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. She is also currently serving as an AmeriCorps member. She revels in expanding her repertoire of skills in programming, media, and esoteric topics in her free time.

 

Amber Carmody is one of the advocacy interns this year. She is working on projects to promote inclusion, support, and advocacy for the FUTURE students. She has been a FUTURE mentor for the last three years and has transitioned into a staff role.  She is an Undergraduate in her Senior year studying Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology. After graduating from UT, Amber plans on attending medical school to become a pediatric neurologist that specializes in Autism. Her research interests include relationships of people with IDDs, early intervention, and the neuroscience behind Autism. In her free time, Amber likes to play with her service dog, Brady, hang out with FUTURE students, go to concerts, watch sports, listen to musicals, hike, and binge shows and movies.