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Mentors 2018-12-12T13:51:11+00:00


Dr. Annette Hatala, OTD

As an occupational therapist, former homeschooler, and parent of a child with special needs (ADHD and sensory processing disorder), my goal is to help families with children and adolescents gain productive life skills and techniques to manage their day to day symptoms. In the past, I have worked with at-risk teens in group homes with many diagnoses including conduct disorder, oppositional defiant, ADHD, learning disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ADS), and attachment disorders. By providing experiential learning experiences, I help teens gain new and adaptive life skills while engaging in tasks. Life skills learned include sensory regulation techniques, alternative learning styles, executive functions, and self-regulating techniques, all of which allow these individuals to participate in activities which are meaningful to them.

Nicholas Leibner

I am a licensed occupational therapist. I have previous experience working in plant breeding and research, teaching English in Korea, mentoring at-risk youth, and being a field manager at a farm that provided work for people with disabilities. I was drawn to occupational therapy due to its holistic philosophy; I can use my passion for art, music, neurobiology, horticulture, and our environment to improve the lives of others. I’m grateful to be a part of Life’s Toolbox and the commitment to promoting engagement in meaningful activities.

Dr. Karen Ni, OTD, OTR/L

My passion is facilitating the human-animal bond between individuals of all abilities and our canine companions. I am an occupational therapist with specialty training in animal assisted therapy and owner of SunDog Therapy. I received my Bachelor, Master, and Doctorate degrees in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California. I have acquired continuing education in dog behavior, training, handling, and welfare, and in developing animal assisted therapy programs. I have presented on animal assisted interventions at conferences throughout the world. I am also a Field Representative for Paws With a Cause, an assistance dog organization. I have two canine co-therapists named Dottie and Tater Tot. Together, we are dedicated to supporting individuals on their paths to greater independence, health, and meaningful participation in daily life.

Dottie is a 2-year-old canine co-therapist that has been specially trained to work with Dr. Karen Ni in providing occupational therapy and animal assisted therapy interventions. She encourages participation in goal-oriented activities and inspires individuals with her focus, energy, and drive. Dottie was adopted at 14 weeks old and raised in Albuquerque, NM at Dogwood Therapy Services, an OT private practice. She is a Demonstration Dog for Paws With a Cause and has her AKC Canine Good Citizen Certificate. When Dottie is not working, she enjoys playing fetch, hiking, and doing agility.

Tater Tot is a 1-year-old canine co-therapist in training. He was born in York, Nebraska and spent his first year of life at Dogwood Therapy Services in Albuquerque, NM. Tater is able to facilitate participation in person-centered and occupation-based activities using his exuberance, goofiness, and enthusiasm for life. When Tater is not working, he enjoys playing at the dog beach, going on sniff walks, and snuggling.

Corinne Bernabe, OTS

I am a full-time occupational therapy graduate student at Stanbridge University and obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and a minor in Sociology. The diverse and holistic nature of occupational therapy is what attracted me to this particular field. Working as a Rehab Aide for over five years confirmed my desire to pursue a career in occupational therapy. After working side by side with occupational therapists and seeing their impact on patients’ lives, I was truly moved. At that moment, I knew I found the career for me, a career that cares for others and makes a difference in their lives. As a future occupational therapist, my mission is to provide the best quality of care that addresses overall health and well-being – mind, body, and spirit. I’m looking forward to working with Life’s Toolbox in providing the tools to promote participation in meaningful activities.

Anna Lynn Dy

Anna Lynn Dy is working towards her Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy at Stanbridge University and received her Bachelor’s Degree in both Public Health Policy and Sociology from the University of California in Irvine. She fell in love with occupational therapy because it gives her the freedom to be creative while incorporating her passion for science. She loves and hopes to work with clients across all lifespan to maximize their functionality and improve their quality of life. Anna Lynn believes that it is crucial to treat clients individually and humanely without focusing so much on their illness or disease. Her background as a behavioral therapist for nearly five years at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD) is a necessary foundational skill that would help her as a practitioner.

Jessica Rojas Ramirez, OTAS

I am currently a full-time student at Stanbridge University working towards my degree as an Occupational Therapy Assistant. What made me interested in occupational therapy is my want to help others. I was a certified nurse assistant thinking I had found my calling. However, having the opportunity to see some of my client’s OT sessions, allowed me to witness a field that not only helps people regain their ability to function after an accident or incident. I got to see how the practitioner has the opportunity to work one on one with their clients; an opportunity that not many healthcare fields have. Furthermore, occupational therapy allows OT practitioners to witness client progress by helping them engage in meaningful activities.  As a future Occupational Therapy Assistant, I want to provide the best quality of care to my clients by looking at the entire person, mind, body, and spirit.

Carolena Yorba

I am a full-time occupational therapy assistant student at Stanbridge University. I am a passionate and empathetic individual who has a desire to help people. I have a variety of experience ranging from drug and alcohol rehabilitation to previous fieldwork sites in pediatrics and community-based settings. I love occupational therapy because of the diversity of different treatment setting available. My goal as a certified occupational therapy assistant is to help improve and maximize function in individuals, so that they can engage in activities meaningful and unique to them.