Staff Bios

Message from the Director

Nearly twenty years ago I visited a home in rural Wisconsin to provide therapy for a 3 year old newly diagnosed on the spectrum. When I arrived at their home my interview consisted of playing for a half hour. In those 30 minutes I discovered what I would spend the rest of my life working toward. What drew me to this profession so many years ago remains the same: Teaching, learning, and playing. Our Center opened its doors in 2004. In that time we have grown steadily from our first two students to over 70 today. The Rochester Center for Autism works with families, schools, and other therapies to provide a seamless thread of services. Therapies include but are not limited to individual and family skills training, crisis assistance, workshop and consultation as well as presentations. Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing environment for our students. Whether in the home, community, or on-site our students will enjoy their time as they learn critical skills. Please join me, our staff, and our board in providing the best possible services for children with autism. Thank you for visiting our website, we look forward to helping you in any way we can.

~Jon Sailer

Supervisors


Name: Molly Hill
Title: Manager/HR Director
Month/Year Started at RCA: : April 2004
Education/Experience: University of Minnesota- Twin Cities (Psychology)
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Wabasha, MN
Why I work at RCA: I have always loved working with kids and helping others and working at RCA helped me accomplish those goals. It was also important for me to work in a family oriented environment with people who shared the same values and had the same passion for the field.
Hobbies/interests: Playing sports, traveling, spending time with family and friends, boating, skiing
Family/Pets: Husband (Barry) and 5 kids


Name: Steve Bingner
Title: Clinical Director
Month/Year Started at RCA: 2004
Education/Experience: Southern Illinois University- Masters in Behavior Modification, Licensed Psychologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Describe yourself using one word: Encouraging
Hometown: Sioux Falls, SD
Why I work at RCA: I wanted the opportunity to support early intervention with children.
Hobbies/interests: Play the trumpet in a Big Band and Brass Quintet
Family/Pets: Wife of 35 years (Karel), Raised two daughters in Rochester that were born in 1983 and 1986


Name: Kelli Branstad
Title: Program Supervisor
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2004
Education/Experience: Bethel College- Psychology, St. Mary's University- Marriage and Family Therapy
Hometown: West Concord, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love being around the contagious energy of kids and knew I needed that as part of my day! Building relationships with all of the kids at the Center and their families and watching them grow and succeed is the most rewarding thing. It makes me excited to come back each day!
Hobbies/interests: Camping, being outdoors, spending time with family scrapbooking, reading
Family/Pets: Wonderful husband (Paul) since 2008, two beautiful daughters (Sophia and Eleanor), handsome son (George).


Name: Katie Meyer
Title: Administrative Coordinator
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2004
Education/Experience: University Center Rochester- Human Service Specialist, PCA, Recreation Therapy at Rochester Park and Rec, Special Olympic coach
Describe yourself using one word: Organized
Hometown: Stewartville, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love making a difference in the life of a child! Team RCA is amazing! All of our therapists work hard daily to help each child we serve reach their highest potential in life. It is fabulous to be a part of so many children's and families lives as they grow and learn new skills. Every day a child makes me smile or laugh!
Hobbies/interests: Traveling, spending time with my family and friends, camping
Family/Pets: Husband (Nate), Sons (Carson and Corbin), Daughter (Avery)


Name: Jaclyn Burton
Title: Lead Supervisor, New Client Intake Coordinator
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2007
Education/Experience: (College) Elementary Ed
Describe yourself using one word: Motivated
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy working with kids and being able to make a difference in the life of families and children. It's great helping students learn new skills.
Hobbies/interests: Running, sports, decorating, hanging out with family and friends, shopping
Family/Pets: Husband (Tyler), 1 son


Name: Kris Helfer
Title: Business Officer
Month/Year Started at RCA: August 2004
Education/Experience: Winona State University- Recreation Therapist, Possibilities Youth Recreation, Certified American Sign Language instructor
Describe yourself using one word: Incredible
Hometown: Zumbrota, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy watching the children grow and learn day to day. I love knowing that what I do everyday helps them be successful. It means so much to touch their families lives.
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with family and friends, attending my boys numerous activities, camping, vacations and coffee
Family/Pets: Husband (John) Sons (Ben and Tommy), Dog (Vader)


Name: Katie Dolan
Title: LeadTherapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2015
Education/Experience:  Masters in ABA
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown: New Ulm, MN  
Why I work at RCA: I love watching our kids make progress and grow. The work environment is so positive here.
Hobbies/Interests:  Spending time with family, being outdoors
Family/Pets: Husband (Tom), son (Jay), dogs (Freddie & Dilly)


Name: Lisa Hanson
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: December 2008
Education/Experience: Worked with children with autism for over 15 years
Describe yourself using one word: Patient
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy working with children and seeing their progress. RCA has a great work environment.
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with my family, going for walks and hikes, reading
Family/Pets: Husband, Two kids


Name: Lindsey Hanson
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: April 2015
Education/Experience: University of Wisconsin- La Crosse (Psychology/Sociology)
Describe yourself using one word: Dedicated
Hometown: Sheboygan, WI
Why I work at RCA: I have always desired to work with children with Autism and help them achieve their potential.
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, swimming, volleyball, fishing.
Family/Pets: Husband (Herb), Dog (Eddie)


Name: Stephanie Johnson
Title: Lead Therapist/In-Home Coordinator
Month/Year Started at RCA: July 2010
Education/Experience: Bachelor's degree in psychology from UW La Crosse and currently pursuing a master's degree in ABA at St. Cloud State
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I wanted a job where I could make a difference in a child's life, be surrounded with great co-workers and share my passion for helping kids on the autism spectrum
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with family, running, and serving as the secretary on the Board of Directors for the RT Autism Awareness Foundation (RTAAF)
Family/Pets: Husband (Tucker) and Bernedoodle (Haddie)


Name: Alyssa Krampitz
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2013
Education/Experience: University of Wisconsin- La Crosse- Psychology, University of St. Thomas- Special Education
Describe yourself using one word: Dependable
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I interned at RCA in the summer of 2011 and fell in love and was happy to be welcomed back as a therapist.
Hobbies/interests: Hanging out with friends and family, dancing, boating
Family/Pets: Two younger brothers


Name:  Katie Schnabel
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2016
Education/Experience:  University of Wisconsin- Stout (Psychology Major, Human Development Family Studies Minor). I also worked with the Wisconsin Early Autism Project.
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown:  Kasson, MN
Why I work at RCA: I fell in love working with children with Autism during college and RCA seemed like a great fit for me upon graduation. I love what the children have to offer!
Hobbies/Interests:  Crafting, decorating, spending time with friends and family
Pets: 2 cats (Tiger and Felix)


Name: Meggan Sprout
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2006 (original) or Aug 2009 (restart date)
Education/Experience: University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, BA Sociology, Minor: Family Studies; prior to RCA worked at an assisted living home for residents with Alzheimer's & Dementia
Describe yourself using one word: Kindhearted
Hometown: Edina, MN
Why I work at RCA: After working with the elderly population, I wanted to be able to help and make a difference in the younger population; helping make the best life for them and their families.
Hobbies/interests: Boating, waterskiing, swimming, snowmobiling, ATVs, reading, scrapbooking
Family/Pets: Husband (since 2004). I'm the mom of two very energetic, funny, loving boys. Dog (a Schnoodle named Sampson)


Name: Adam Will
Title: Lead Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2006
Education/Experience: Luther College
Describe yourself using one word: Friendly
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: During my internship I immediately fell in love with the kids and the atmosphere of learning, compassion and growth.
Hobbies/interests: Video and board games, paintball, Vikings football
Family/Pets: Wife, three living sons

 

Behavior Therapists


Name: Kerry Anding
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May, 2018
Education/Experience: Attending MSU-Mankato for a degree in RPLS recreation therapy. Completed an Associate Degree, worked with REM 2015-2018 as a Direct Support Professional and Program Supervisor  
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: Dream job! Love working with kids with disabilities and being a part of their growth and improving their well being.
Hobbies/Interests: I like to bike, swim, walk my dogs, read, color and draw
Family/Pets:  A husband – Cord and two dogs Luna and Aurora


Name: Adam Branstad
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2013
Education/Experience: St. Cloud State University, Assistant Director at University of the Child an inclusive childcare center
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown: Owatonna, MN
Why I work at RCA: Making a difference in the life of a child is amazing. Being able to teach, explore and laugh with them is a great feeling.
Hobbies/interests: Going up north to the lake, Minnesota Twins and Vikings, running, summer


Name: Jessica Brown
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: February 2016
Education/Experience: University of Minnesota (Psychology, Sociology), Certified personal care assistant, Experience working with children with Autism and developmental delays, volunteered at homeless shelter serving those with mental illnesses and substance abuse issues
Describe yourself using one word: Enthusiastic
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I was immediately attracted to RCA because of the positive atmosphere and sense of community you feel as soon as you come in the door. I also wanted to gain experience in my field and RCA seemed like the perfect place to do that as well as to help kids learn and progress toward their goals.
Hobbies/Interests:  Spending time with friends and family, traveling, reading, hiking, camping, watching/playing sports, photography
Family/Pets: Dad (Jim), Mom (Deb), Sister (Jenny), Brother (Andrew)


Name: Tylar Caldwell
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: April 2018
Education/Experience: I have volunteered with PossAbilities, worked with children with ASD and I have provided care for a family member with emotional disabilities.
Describe yourself using one word: Quirky
Hometown: Mabel, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love working with children and helping them learn.
Hobbies/Interests: Hiking and cooking!
Family/Pets: 2 dogs- Lucy and Bertha


Name: Sam Douglas
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: February 2018
Education/Experience: High School –St. Paul Central, B.A. - St. John’s University, M.A. - St. Thomas (University of) Graduate in 2018
Describe yourself using one word: Excelsior (Latin for Great)
Hometown: St. Paul, MN
Why I work at RCA: RCA is the best way for me to use my skills to serve others while training in the Mental Health Field.
Hobbies/Interests:  Rugby, Calligraphy, Singing and Ceramics
Family/Pets: 1 of 5 siblings (including twin sister), Married to Lauren (November 2017), Pets: Dog-Mr. Bingley, Cat- Willamina and a Hedge Hog Named Mojito


Name: Katie Dvorak
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: March 2018 
Education/Experience: Therapeutic Recreation degree from Winona State University
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: St. Paul
Why I work at RCA: To help the children grow and reach their fullest potential  
Hobbies/Interests: Spending time with my friends and family, going for walks, crocheting and watching movies.
Family/Pets: 3 Brothers and a Guinea pig named Bino 


Name: Christopher Fast
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2017
Education/Experience: Master’s in Clinical Psychology, Bachelor’s in Psychology and pursuing BCAB Certification
Describe yourself using one word: Loyal
Hometown: Fairmont, MN
Why I work at RCA: Working at RCA gives me the chance to help teach children the skills they will need moving forward and gives me opportunities to watch them grow.
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, playing video games, wood carving and film.
Family/Pets: Girlfriend, Mother, Father


Name: Melissa Gillmore
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: August 2018
Education/Experience: B.A. at Winona State University in Psychology
Working on a M.A. in Counseling + Psychological Services at St. Mary’s University
Describe yourself using one word: Empathetic
Hometown: Oronoco, MN
Why I work at RCA: I hope to work with children as a therapist
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, painting, running
Family/Pets: Husband – Jason, 1 daughter, 1 stepson, 1 stepdaughter, 2 cats, 1 rabbit


Name: Katherine Gloede
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: March 2018
Education/Experience: MA- Christian Counseling, 2 Years BT experience, Parent of child on the spectrum.
Describe yourself using one word: Compassionate
Hometown: Knoxville, TN –GO VOLS!
Why I work at RCA: I love working with children and it’s a wonderful feeling knowing I can help any child achieve their best.   
Hobbies/Interests: Painting/ photography/writing (Avid painter and photographer, currently working on a children’s book series.)
Family/Pets: Husband Jason (M-2009), 2 Kids (Lily and Tucker) and 1 dog (Kalon)


Name: Nachole Greenslade
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May, 2018
Education/Experience: Currently enrolled in RCTC
Describe yourself using one word: Outgoing
Hometown: Kasson, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love to work with kids and help them achieve their goals
Hobbies/Interests: I enjoy being outdoors in the spring, summer, and fall. I also enjoy swimming and walking.
Family/Pets: I have three siblings and one dog (Ace)


Name: Maddie Hettinger
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: August 2017
Education/Experience: Bachelor of Science- Social Worker
Describe yourself using one word: Kind-Hearted
Hometown: Stewartville, MN
Why I work at RCA: I knew I wanted to work with kids and feel RCA is a great place to gain experience for my future endeavors.
Hobbies/Interests: Running, outdoor activities, volleyball and hanging out with friends and family.
Family/Pets: 6 kids in my family/ 2 dogs (Willow and Wrigley) and 1 cat (Waldin)


Name: Bethany Holland
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2018
Education/Experience: Obtaining Masters degree in ABA
Describe yourself using one word: Outgoing
Hometown: Cresco, Iowa
Why I work at RCA: Education and experience
Hobbies/Interests: My kids, Arts + Crafts
Family/Pets: Turtle, Gecko


Name: Elizabeth Hoskins
Title: Office Manager
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2006
Education/Experience: Minnesota Bible College, 7 years at REM River Bluffs, 3 years of ABA Therapy, 7 years of scheduling
Describe yourself using one word: Caring/Loving
Hometown: Arlington, IA
Why I work at RCA: RCA has a positive atmosphere and the staff are great to work with. I love seeing the kids faces every day! This job is so rewarding seeing the kids achieve their goals.
Hobbies/interests: Spending time with friends and family, traveling, ridding on the pontoon, riding motorcycle and playing volleyball
Family/Pets: Husband (Lewis), Son (Lantz), Daughter (Liberty), Dogs (Oreo and Bailey), Cats (Milkyway, Dexter and Buster)


Name: Bailey Huppert
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: September 2018
Education/Experience: Finishing senior year of Bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Have 2.5 years of ASL
Describe yourself using one word: Creative
Hometown: River Falls, Wisconsin
Why I work at RCA: My passion is to work with children and help them reach their ultimate potential
Hobbies/Interests: Knitting, coffee, hiking, craft fairs, garage sales, painting, reading, walking my dog Milo
Family/Pets: Dog: Milo


Name: Melanie Jacobsen
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2018
Education/Experience: Nanny for multiple children with autism.
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Stewartville, MN
Why I work at RCA: To learn more knowledge of Autism.
Hobbies/Interests:  I like being outside, taking walks with my dogs, hanging out with my family and friends.
Family/Pets:  I have three dogs- Cooper, Jackson and Ziggy


Name: Katie Jech
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: August 2016
Education/Experience:  Winona State University (Social Work)
Describe yourself using one word: Understanding
Hometown: Chatfield, MN
Why I work at RCA: I want to gain experience in my field and to continue my passion of working with children in the mental health field. Hobbies/Interests:  Being with family and friends, reading a good book, going on walks, watching and playing sports.


Name: Jenny Kruse
Title: Neurologic Music Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA:
Education/Experience: St. Olaf College- Music and Psychology, University of Iowa- Music Therapy, Colorado State University- Neurologic Music Therapy
Describe yourself using one word: Creative
Hometown: Sherwood, WI
Why I work at RCA: RCA is one of those magical places to work where everyone is dedicated to the well-being of others, because it's the children and families we serve, or our co-workers. The work is hard, but the rewards are exponential.
Hobbies/interests: Singing in Choral Arts Ensemble, playing various instruments, reading, cooking yummy food, traveling
Family/Pets: Wonderful husband (Scott) and beautiful son (Aidan)


Name: Jada Lamka
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: June 2018
Education/Experience:  Graduated with a degree in Health Science, Service learning trip in Costa Rica where we worked at the National Children’s Hospital
Describe yourself using one word: Adventurous
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I think it is important to learn to understand others and learn to live everyday with compassion.
Hobbies/Interests: Traveling and watching funny movies.
Family/Pets: Parents: Brian and Michelle, a dog named Jorge and two family dogs Lois and Ricco


Name:  Courtney Langreck
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2017
Education/Experience: University of Minnesota-Rochester (Health Science)
Describe yourself using one word: Dedicated    
Hometown:  West Salem, WI
Why I work at RCA: I really love working with kids and at RCA, we have great goals for kids with disabilities.
Hobbies/Interests:  Boating on the Mississippi River, playing board games, spending time with loved ones


Name: Tea Mirkovic
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: Oct. 2016
Education/Experience: University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Psychology), Caregiver at UWM Children's Learning Center  
Describe yourself using one word: Compassionate
Hometown: Franklin, WI
Why I work at RCA: It has a very friendly environment with a very kind and welcoming staff. I also enjoy playing with children and watching them learn and grow
Hobbies/Interests: Hanging out with friends and family, working out
Family/Pets:  My dog Bella lives at home with my parents and sister. I moved to Rochester with my boyfriend.


Name: Kelly Miller
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: April 2015
Education/Experience: Minnesota State University- Mankato (Speech Communication), Special Education Para in the public school setting.
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Bloomington, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy seeing each child learn and progress. It is a privilege to walk each step of the way with them.
Hobbies/Interests: Writing, speaking, reading, cheering on my children’s sports teams.
Family/Pets: Husband (Eric), 4 children, Dog (Brittany Spaniel named Maggie)


Name:  Matt Mulvihill
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2016
Education/Experience:  Elementary Education- Worked in Rochester Public Schools as a substitute teacher, Cognitive skills trainer for 5 years at Learning Rx
Describe yourself using one word: Fun
Hometown: Rochester, MN
Why I work at RCA: I enjoy working with kids and to help anyway I can.
Hobbies/Interests:  I love the Pittsburgh Steelers, music and bird watching.
Family/Pets:  Wife (Lindsay), Sons (Garrett and Crosby)


Name: Lisa Munkel
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: November 2018
Education/Experience: Graduated from Mayo H.S., College at NICC for medical sec., 5 years of experience with special needs
Describe yourself using one word: Considerate
Hometown: Cresco, IA
Why I work at RCA: I want to make a difference in someone's life.
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, sleeping, shopping, scrapbooking, and crafts
Family/Pets: 3 animals. Yellow lab, Tanner. Black lab, Bella. Cat, Harley. Single.


Name: Caleb Pedersen
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2018
Education/Experience: Bachelors of Science in Exercise Science and a Minor in Sports Medicine, worked with substance abuse clinics, mental health centers, student engagement and wellness programs in a university setting (UMR)
Describe yourself using one word: Dynamic
Hometown: Eagle, WI
Why I work at RCA: I want to be in an environment where I can help individuals improve their quality of life, accomplish their goals and meet their potential.
Hobbies/Interests: Playing music (guitar), Olympic lifting and I have a strong interest in helping individuals use exercise as a therapeutic tool.
Family/Pets: 2 two younger sisters, Holly and Autumn


Name:  Abby Porter
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: Oct. 2017
Education/Experience:  University of Minnesota-Rochester (Health Science), Assistant teacher in a childcare setting
Describe yourself using one word: Dedicated
Hometown:  Austin, MN
Why I work at RCA: I’ve worked with kids in varying ages- either coaching gymnastics or working at a childcare center. I love seeing the growth and development of those kids. It’s very rewarding! I’m planning to pursue a career in psychology in the near future.
Hobbies/Interests:  I love art- drawing and painting, playing the violin, working out and spending lots of time with my family, boyfriend and dog.
Family/pets: 2 older brothers (Both married), niece, nephew, boyfriend and adopted dog (Dolce Gabbana)


Name:  Rachel Rem
Title: Behavioral Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2016
Education/Experience:  Luther College (Psychology)
Describe yourself using one word: Passionate
Hometown:  Winona, MN
Why I work at RCA: I have always enjoyed working with children. Watching them learn and grow is truly rewarding.
Hobbies/Interests:  Drawing, reading, spending time with family and friends.
Family/pets: Mom, dad, younger sister, 2 birds, a dog & fish


Name: Mariah Robran
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2018
Education/Experience: B.S. in Biology and B.A in Psychology and Spanish from Winona State University.
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: New Richland, MN
Why I work at RCA: I love working with children and want more experience in the field.
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, cooking and sports. Go Vikes!
Family/Pets: Mother, Father, Sister and 2 cats (Annabelle and Izzy)


Name: Cassandra Tri
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: May 2013
Education/Experience: PCA/Nanny for 4 years for a family of 4 children (2 of the children had special needs), I then started working at a facility as a behavior therapist and was there for 3 years
Describe yourself using one word: Caring
Hometown: Mazeppa, MN
Why I work at RCA: I chose to work at RCA because I wanted to work with children with disabilities and be a positive influence in their lives.
Hobbies/interests: Anything outdoors, skiing, snowmobiling, 4 wheeling, fishing, spending time with family
Family/Pets: Currently married and living in Mazeppa with my husband, 2 children and dog (Daisy)


Name: Jan M Wilson
Title: Behavior Therapist
Month/Year Started at RCA: March 2018
Education/Experience: Eli Ed. Teacher/ Counselor-Crisis intervention/Youth At Risk/ MHP-BT Autism
Describe yourself using one word: Talented and Positive
Hometown: Albert Lea, MN
Why I work at RCA: I Love being a part of children’s progress- to aide in the growth and have fun. (Work should be FUN!)
Hobbies/Interests: Reading, crafts with my grandkids, skiing downhill, travel exploring and hanging with my family and friends.
Family/Pets: 2 sons, 3 granddaughters, 1 grandson and 2 cats