Meet the Class of 2012

Meet the Class of 2012 click to enlarge RCP graduates stand for recognition at the UNC Chapel Hill Commencement on May 12.

Sally Archer


I was born and raised in Charlotte, NC. After graduating from East Mecklenburg High School, I attended UNC majoring in psychology and minoring in medical anthropology. After working in Charlotte for a year, I was so happy to be accepted to UNC’s Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology program. Through this program I have learned so much and am really excited to be able to pursue a career as a rehabilitation counselor when I graduate in July. I am currently completing my internship at Freedom House in Chapel Hill and Durham and have developed a passion for working with those with serious mental illness and/or substance use disorders. After graduation, I hope to obtain my CRC and eventually my LPC and LCAS.


Leah Cox

Raised in Salisbury, NC, I graduated from UNC Wilmington and am currently both a Licensed and Certified Recreation Therapist. I worked with numerous disability programs, which helped me to decide to pursue a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling. The RCP program at UNC has helped me to add many more therapeutic skills and techniques to my repertoire (counseling, psychological assessments, holistic treatment approaches) and allowed me to combine the best of both skill sets. I completed my practicum at the UNC Burn Center and am currently completing my internship in UNC Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I hope to continue to help better the lives of individuals with disabilities and plan on eventually pursing a PhD in an area related to this.


Luz De La Serna Buzon

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, I moved to the U.S. when I was 15. During this time, I decided that I wanted to become a counselor, as through my numerous relocations I had witnessed countless individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. I graduated from NC State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. As an undergraduate, I worked with a girl who had a developmental disability and helped a friend battling alcoholism. It was then that I decided to become a rehabilitation counselor. During my practicum and internship experiences at UNC, I had the opportunity to work with individuals with SPMI. My current interests include working with individuals suffering with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental illness.


Rachel Espey

A lifelong resident of North Carolina, I grew up in Gastonia and earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Appalachian State University. I was drawn to rehabilitation counseling and psychology due to exposure to mental illness and a desire to work with individuals with disabilities. Through this program, I gained the knowledge and skills to pursue a counseling career. I also worked as a research assistant for Dr. Eileen Burker, further developing my knowledge of the research process and passion for obtaining new information. My practicum and internship at New Leaf Behavioral Health allowed me to provide mental health counseling to a variety of individuals and groups and to create collaborative treatment plans. I plan to continue working with individuals with psychiatric disabilities, obtain my CRC, and pursue licensure (LPC).


Gina Johnson

A native Texan, I grew up in Austin and attended the University of Texas. After completing a bachelor’s degree in psychology, I accepted a research position with the University of Virginia Psychiatric Department. Working in a research setting strengthened my interest in psychiatric disorders and helped me clarify my desire to provide direct counseling services to individuals with these disorders. I feel strongly that the education and clinical experience I have received through the RCP program has prepared me well for this type of work. Through my master’s project, I also identified an interest in working with women who have postpartum depression. After completing my internship at New Leaf Behavioral Health, I plan to remain in the area and pursue clinical licensure as a counselor.


Caley Kropp

I grew up in Statesboro, Georgia, with a loving and supportive family. I attended Erskine College in South Carolina and obtained a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in biology. While pursuing my graduate degree in the RCP program, I specialized in providing holistic rehabilitative care for adults with developmental disabilities. In addition to receiving a great education, I had many formative experiences outside of the classroom. I was a research assistant for Dr. Kelly Kazukauskas, completed my practicum with Dr. Eileen Burker and the UNC Transplant Team, and interned with Dr. Karen Sullivan and the UNC Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation neuropsychology team. In the future, I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and one day work in a hospital setting.


Sena Moran

I am from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. After studying psychology and specializing in neuropsychology at the University of Florida, I developed an interest in rehabilitating individuals with mental illness. As a student in the UNC Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology program, I served as a research assistant, worked at the UNC Pain Clinic as a pain management counseling practicum clinician, and am now interning on the Carolina Outreach ACT team in Durham. In the future, I plan to get my CRC and LPC in Florida.


Kelly Nelson

A Louisiana native, I grew up thinking words like “gumbo” and “zydeco” represented quintessential parts of American life. However, upon moving to North Carolina to pursue a master’s in rehabilitation counseling, I quickly discovered I had a few things to contribute to NC’s diversity and this state had a wealth of culture to give back in return. This realization closely parallels how I would soon view my experiences counseling people with disabilities–both individuals can gain from each other’s unique backgrounds. Words cannot convey the ways in which I have been impacted by the relationships formed in my two years at Chapel Hill. The RCP program has provided me with countless opportunities for professional growth and self-exploration in clinical settings, and it is my aspiration to continue giving back to the community.


Laurel Powell

I became interested in working with young adults with developmental disabilities during my time as an undergraduate studying Special Education at UNC Wilmington. After graduating, I began a fulfilling career as a special education teacher, working with middle school students with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Six years into my career, I developed an interest in supporting students with disabilities as they left the school system and began facing the struggles of adult life with disabilities. During graduate school, I have had valuable, hands-on experiences first in my practicum with the Division of Services for the Blind and now in my internship at Easter Seals UCP. I hope to work in the nonprofit sector, continuing to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities upon graduation.


Shahin Sabouri

I am originally from Iran, but I have lived most of my life in the United States. I received my psychology degree in 2009 from NCSU. My life found a new direction when I was accepted into the UNC Rehabilitation Counseling program. I am very committed to helping individuals with psychotic disorders on the road to recovery. This program has given me the opportunity to learn from some of the best teachers in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation. I’m planning to sit for the CRC certification exam in October and fulfill the requirements for an LPC licensure. I look forward to serving the people of my community through working at a community mental health clinic.


Karie Strader

I grew up in Charlotte, NC. While attending Appalachian State University for my bachelor’s degree in psychology, I worked at Camp Royall and developed an interest in working with people who have autism spectrum disorders. The RCP program was my first choice for ongoing education, and it has been a wonderful journey. I gained experience identifying and fulfilling the needs of people with disabilities while learning about the recent research on best practices. During my internship with the UNC TEACCH Supported Employment program, I developed my skills in advocacy, service coordination, teamwork, and innovation of creative supports. In the future, I hope to continue serving people through counseling and community integration.


Amanda Tewell

Originally from Belmont, NC, I now live with my husband in Durham, NC. I graduated from NC State University with degrees in political science and sociology with a minor in women’s and gender studies. I was drawn to the field of rehabilitation counseling and psychology due to its holistic nature and focus on recovery oriented therapy. I spent my internship working at UNC Hospital’s Eating Disorder Unit where I developed a person-centered approach to treatment. My immediate plans include acquiring my CRC and LPC certifications while continuing work with individuals with eating disorders. Ultimately, I aspire to obtain a PhD in clinical psychology.


Brooke Vincent

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and went to the University of Kansas to earn a BA in psychology. While attending the University of Kansas, I had the opportunity to volunteer at an equine-assisted therapy center. This experience fostered my interest in working with individuals with disabilities and prompted me to apply to the Rehabilitation Counseling and Psychology program at UNC. My practicum at Community Workforce Solutions and internship at the UNC Pain Management Center have allowed me to see the various roles rehabilitation counselors can undertake. The knowledge learned and experience gained in this program have only amplified my desire to provide support for people with disabilities. I have enjoyed my time in this program and hope to continue working in this field after graduation.


Caroline Williams

A lifelong resident of North Carolina, I grew up in Winston-Salem and obtained a BS in psychology from Appalachian State. The strengths-based and holistic approach drew me to the RCP program because it offered a unique viewpoint in working with individuals with a wide variety of disabilities. During my time in this program I have been able to develop who I am as a counselor and have acquired a strong foundation in working with individuals with a mental illness. Through my internship at the PTSD Clinic in the Durham VA, I have been able to gain experience in individual therapy, group therapy, and administering assessments. Following graduation, my goal is obtain my CRC and LPC and practice clinical therapy.