Currently, as Director of ECP at the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, Ms. Larson provides strategic administrative and clinical oversight for ECP’s applied research and practice initiatives, staff and interns. She works closely with community partners to design, implement, and/or evaluate innovative programs aimed at improving the practices of early childhood professionals and caregivers to in turn improve the lives of vulnerable young children. ECP’s current partners include Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) Head Start, Early Head Start and Child Care Partners (1994-present), PPS Beechwood Elementary (2017-present), the Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center (COTRAIC) Early Head Start and Child Care Partners (2014-present), Propel Schools (2016-present), Pace School (2017-present) and the Pa. Dept. of Education (2010-present).
Ms. Larson is also Co-Chair of the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation Workgroup and member of the Local Young Child Wellness Council, both part of Project LAUNCH. She presents ECP’s work at professional conferences and recently co-authored an article on HealthyInfants: a tiered mentoring model for high risk teen parents and their infants that was published in Perspectives on Early Childhood Psychology and Education.
Ms. Larson is a Pittsburgh native and lives in Northern Allegheny County. She enjoys nature and spending time outdoors, kayaking, biking and hiking, with her husband and three children, ages 10, 17 and 21. She is pursuing her doctorate degree in Special Education at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on early intervention for children at-risk for or diagnosed with emotional and behavioral challenges.
Stacy Flowers Cullinan, BSW, graduated from West Virginia University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a Minor in Child Development and Family Studies. Stacy is a MSW Candidate specializing in Mental Health and graduating in May 2021 from The University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Stacy started her career working for Autism Services Center in Huntington, WV under the direction of Ruth Christ Sullivan as a Service Coordinator and Social Worker. Stacy worked directly with clients of various ages who have been diagnosed with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities. She played an intricate role in establishing Title XIX MR/DD Waiver Services for these individuals and advocating for their needs.
In October 2005, Stacy took a position with Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh/ UPMC as the Coordinator and Developmental Healthcare Consultant for HealthyCHILD. She has provided on-site classroom consultation to classrooms and individual children within Pittsburgh Public Schools and previously with West Virginia Northern Panhandle Head Start.
Stacy is certified in Positive Behavior Support through West Virginia University Center for Excellence in Disabilities. She is also became certified in Mindful Schools in 2019. She works actively with the Governor’s Substance Abuse Task Force in West Virginia and is a Board Member for Never Alone, a West Virginia non-profit organization assisting individuals and families struggling with drug addiction. Stacy has an interest in helping families and children who have been affected by substance abuse. Stacy has a passion to continue her work with children and families that have experienced trauma and healing the family as a whole.
Stacy enjoys spending her free time with her husband and their 5 year old daughter, Vivienne and 2 year old son, Zeke. Stacy and her husband enjoy spending time outdoors, they reside in West Virginia.
Denise Esposto, MS, CCLS, received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, School of Health-Related Professions with majors in child development and childcare. During her graduate studies, Ms. Esposto was a Graduate Student Assistant at the renowned Arsenal Family and Children’s Center, which was then the developmental preschool affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh. She is a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and is currently a candidate in the EdD program in the School of Education, University of Pittsburgh.
Ms. Esposto has over forty years of professional experience working with and for children and families in a variety of settings. She was the Manager of the Child Life Department for 12 years and the Manager of the Volunteer Services Department for 2 years at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. Prior to that, she had 18 years of experience as a child life specialist working with a variety of ages, diagnosis and programs. Most of those years were at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, with 2 years of casual work as a child life specialist at West Penn Hospital in their pediatric and burn units. Early in her career, Ms. Esposto was a supervisor at Horizon Homes, Inc. and a childcare worker at the Shuman Detention Center and at McIntyre Shelter.
Ms. Esposto has been an adjunct assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh since 2000 and teaches in the Applied Developmental Psychology Program, School of Education. She created and teaches two child life courses and two additional courses for the department. She has developed many educational programs, in-services, materials and presentations for hospitals, schools, community groups, organizations and national presentations.
Ms. Esposto’s professional interest is to work directly and support children to maintain and enhance their development in a healthy, safe, and nurturing environment. She joined the HealthyCHILD program in the Office of Child Development, University of Pittsburgh in September 2014. She is a Developmental Healthcare Consultant and provides developmental, behavioral, and mental health consultation and services. Ms. Esposto facilitates a pediatric bereavement group at Our Clubhouse, for children who have had a sibling die from cancer. She volunteers with Surgicorps International and has provided child life services during three medical missions to Antigua, Guatemala and one to Kenya, Africa. She is most proud of her two adult children and spends her free time at home relaxing with her Yorkie, Coco, grandcat, and 2 granddogs.
Tomasina Boyd, LPC, NCC, CCLS is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor. She earned a BS in Applied Developmental Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and a MS in Counseling Psychology from Chatham University. While her education was in the realm of psychology and counseling, Tomasina was able to balance her passion and became a Certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) after completing both a child life practicum and internship at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. She had rotations in the NICU, PICU, a general pediatric unit, and the Emergency Department. During her internship, Tomasina was able to attend training to become a Certified Infant Massage Instructor (CIMI).
Upon entering graduate school, Tomasina interned and then worked at Carnegie Mellon University’s Cyert Center for Early Education. With her time at Cyert, Tomasina was an educator in a preschool and young toddler classroom. As an educator Tomasina created and facilitated play experiences for both large and small groups, which met the cognitive, emotional, social, and physical needs of children while communicating the Reggio Emilia philosophy.
Tomasina’s research experience includes working on the SEED lab under Dr. Shannon Wanless from the University of Pittsburgh and as an infant mental health graduate research assistant to Dr. Robert Gallen on the HAPPi project during her time at Chatham University.
Tomasina is happy to continue to build relationships with children, teachers and families to support children’s social emotional wellness and maternal mental health. Tomasina is an active Surgicorps International volunteer and has completed 5 medical missions providing child life services to pediatric surgical patients in Antigua, Guatemala, Apia, Samoa, and Kenya, Africa.
In Tomasina’s free time she enjoys watching shows on Netflix and taking a good nap with her furry children, Mr. PappaGiorgio and Ruby.
Audra Redick, M.Ed. graduated from West Virginia university in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education, from Waynesburg University with a Master’s Degree in Special Education and is currently enrolled in the Ed.D program at The University of Pittsburgh, with a specialization in Special Education. Audra has spent the last 25 years in the field of early childhood education.
Audra’s has work as an infant/toddler teacher, a Pre-K teacher and Kindergarten teacher in private school setting for Pathways SWPA (Formally United Cerebral Palsy of SWPS) as well as a Program Director for that same non-profit program. Her experience also includes working with Pennsylvania’s QRIS system, Keystone STARS and Assistant Director of Education for BluePrints Head Start and Early Headstart in Washington, PA.
Audra has worked with the HealthyCHILD program for a total of 11 years as a DHC. Her HealthyCHILD work with children ages birth to 5 has included; on-site classroom consultation, family consultation, home visiting and individual child consultation in SW Pennsylvania and West Virginia. She has also been a member of the Healthy Infant and COMET teams, researching innovative ways to serve children, families and educators in the Early Childhood field.
Outside of work Audra lives on a small farm in Claysville Pa. She serves as an officer or the Hunt Kennedy American Legion Auxiliary Unit #639 and is a board member of Saltworks Theater Company. She enjoys photography, kayaking and cooking.
Molly is an educator, consultant, and researcher working on multiple projects with the Office of Child Development. She has a bachelors degree in elementary and special education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and a Masters degree in special education from the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her doctoral degree in special education from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017. Throughout her doctoral study, she worked as a researcher, college instructor, and consultant. Molly has a strong background in applied behavior analysis and precisions teaching. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a special education teacher. She worked primarily with students with low-incidence disabilities in an urban setting.
Molly’s research interests include academic instructional design, technology, and behavioral interventions. Her other professional interests include pre-service teacher preparation, professional development, and classroom management strategies.
She currently lives in Tarentum with her husband and daughter, Violet. She enjoys reading, spending time with friends and family, and is a huge fan of the Steelers and all things Pittsburgh.
Rachel LePage earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Kalamazoo College in Kalamazoo, MI. During her undergraduate studies, Rachel collaborated with Wayne State University’s Social-Cognitive Affective Neurodevelopment Lab investigating prenatal neuroimaging and early childhood trauma for her undergraduate honors thesis, which won her the College’s Van Liere Research Award. She presented this thesis at the Society for Research in Child Development’s biannual international conference in Philadelphia in 2015.
Before her graduate studies, Rachel worked as a Research Associate under Dr. Erika Forbes in the Affective Neuroscience and Developmental Psychopathology Lab at UPMC, investigating adolescent family risk for affective disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia via diagnostic interviews and fMRI data. Rachel then went on to pursue her Master of Science in Applied Developmental Psychology (ADP) with a specialization in Infant Mental Health from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Education.
Rachel focused her graduate studies on social-emotional strategies and mindfulness in early childhood within the ADP program and throughout her two-year internship with HealthyCHILD. She completed a Capstone project investigating the implementation of teacher-led mindfulness activities in Pittsburgh Public Preschool classrooms in partial fulfillment of the MS degree. Now a full-time consultant with HealthyCHILD, Rachel promotes a strengths-based, trauma-informed practice while working with children, teachers, and families to support children's development and foster nurturing relationships between children and adults.
Laura Campbell, M.Ed., NCSP
Laura Campbell, M.Ed., NCSP, is a western Pennsylvania native. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Mercyhurst University. Laura then moved to North Carolina and pursued her graduate degree in school psychology through the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Laura completed her internship year at the University of Pittsburgh through the HealthyCHILD and Leadership Education for Neurodevelopmental Disabilities programs (LEND) programs. HealthyCHILD and LEND enriched her interest on social emotional development in young children. After earning her Master’s degree and obtaining her National Certification in School Psychology, she worked as a school psychologist in western North Carolina. She provided evaluations and support for students with autism, traumatic brain injuries, and other developmental disabilities. Her main focus was on social emotional development in preschool classrooms. She created a county-wide model to support preschool classrooms and students with challenging behaviors. Laura recently moved back to the Pittsburgh area and works for Early Childhood Partnerships, a program through the Office of Child Development.
In her free time, Laura enjoys spending time with her husband, twins, and 2 dogs. She enjoys hiking, running, and being outdoors. Laura is looking forward re-experiencing Pittsburgh activities.
Kelley Gavel, MS, is currently studying as a second-year graduate student at The University of Pittsburgh in the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Gavel is pursuing her second masters in Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health counseling concentrating in pediatrics. Gavel finished her first masters from The University of Pittsburgh this past spring in Applied Developmental Psychology concentrating in children with special healthcare needs and Child Life.
Gavel completed her Bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education at The Pennsylvania State University where she was nominated for Student Teacher of the Year in 2017. From 2017 to 2018, Gavel taught 5th grade in Galway, Ireland, served as an educational aid in a high school special education life skills classroom and taught elementary gifted education in Central Bucks School District. In the summers off from college and teaching, Gavel worked at The Double H Ranch. The Double H Ranch is a summer camp that is designed specifically for children and families with chronic or life-threatening illnesses. After careful career consideration, prompted by inspiration by medical personnel and campers at the Double H Ranch she decided to leave the classroom and pursue a career in healthcare. Throughout Gavel’s first year in Pittsburgh, she enjoyed interning at a Pittsburgh based Oncology non-profit, Connecting Champions. Gavel was an active volunteer at UPMC Children’s Hospital where she had the privilege of having her Child Life Practicum in the summer of 2019. Gavel had rotations on the Gastroenterology & Pulmonology Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Burn unit at UPMC Mercy Hospital.
This past summer of 2020, Gavel had her counseling practicum on the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU) of UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, she was unable to fulfill her entire practicum requirements on the CICU and had to move to next internship rotation at UPMC’s Center for Adolescent and Young Adult Health. Gavel will be interning on their behavioral health team until April of 2021.
Gavel loves her work on University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Child Development HealthyCHILD team and is currently working on exciting new projects. One that is focusing on responding to childhood traumas in the classroom. The second, focusing on creating a social justice and equity curriculum for Pittsburgh Public School’s early childhood classrooms.
In her spare time, Gavel enjoys working out and taking long “friendship walks” around her neighborhood, Shadyside. Friendship walks are either walking with a friend or walking and talking on the phone to a close friend or family member. She loves chocolate ice cream and adores cooking. Gavel is currently obsessed with her Instant Pot and new panini press. She plans to run both the Philadelphia half marathon and the Pittsburgh half marathon with her dad whenever races are able to be held again. She looks forward to her future as a certified Child Life Specialist (CCLS) and as a certified and licensed professional counselor (LPC) focused on the mental wellbeing of children with special health care needs.
Heather Roesinger, B.S.
Heather is currently a doctoral student at Duquesne University receiving her degree in School Psychology. She received her Master of Education in Child Psychology from Duquesne University in August of 2020. She attended the University of Pittsburgh where she received her undergraduate degree in Applied Developmental Psychology and collaborated with the Early Child Development Research lab to learn more about early childhood social interactions. She also began her internship with HealthyCHILD during her senior year of undergraduate where she worked with early childhood classrooms in Pittsburgh Public Schools to provide resources on social-emotional learning in the classroom.
She is in her third year with HealthyCHILD as a Developmental Healthcare Consultant and works closely in K-2 settings to provide social-emotional learning, trauma-informed care, and mental health supports to students, teachers, and families. Specifically, her interests lie in understanding and addressing the impacts of trauma in children. She is currently working with a team of consultants to develop a Trauma Informed Toolkit for educators addressing different forms of trauma and how to provide trauma-informed practice in the classroom and home.
In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family and friends, reading, taking walks, and doing yoga. She loves to explore Pittsburgh and is always looking for new things to do that she hasn’t discovered yet in her time here!