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If you are interested in the Emerging Leaders program, please contact

ACACI 2021 Emerging Leaders

Julie Langan

Julie Langan, is pursuing her masters in clinical mental health
counseling at Northeastern Illinois University where she is also a teaching
assistant in the program’s counseling skills courses, and peer mentor in the
Counselor Education Student Association (CESA). Julie is passionate in
providing support, guidance, and advocacy for individuals with disabilities
and chronic illnesses, their families, and the diverse stresses they face.
Julie has been working for the past six years as an Applied
Behavior Analysis therapist providing evidence practices to individuals with
the diagnosis of autism or related disorders. She currently works at
Steinberg Behavior Solutions in Chicago. Julie is also a volunteer
ambassador with the online platform Our Heart Speaks, a place for
individuals with an acquired disability or illness to share their stories of
meaning and hope despite the medical challenges they face.

ACACI 2020 Emerging Leaders

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Cindy Danzell

Cindy Danzell, MS, LPC, NCC, PEL currently works as a Licensed Professional Counselor at Compassionate Care at LSC Therapy Group and as a Suicide Prevention Director at National Louis University. Cindy has been in the field for about 3 years and has worked with children, adolescents, and adults. Working at National Louis University has allowed Cindy to create a wellness infrastructure and bring mental health awareness to campus. She enjoys working as a therapist because it allows her to partner with clients on their journey to better mental health. Trauma, PTSD, Suicide, and Adverse Childhood Experiences are some of the passions Cindy has, so joining ACACI and other organizations is important to her. Since Cindy is new to the counseling field, it is important for her to grow and learn from other clinicians. When she is not working at the private practice or the university, Cindy is volunteering with special needs children at her church; she has been doing this for almost 10 years. Cindy is hopeful for the future and feels blessed to be one of the 2020 Emerging Leaders

ACACI 2019 Emerging Leaders

Sarah Silva, MA, LCPC, NCC is a PhD candidate in Counselor Education and Supervision at Walden University. She is the CEO and founder of a group practice and works primarily with individuals living with anxiety disorders, those struggling life transitions and individuals having difficulties acculturating to the Chicagoland area or to the United States. Sarah has taught at Wright College and Northwestern University. Her primary areas of research interest are life balance, burnout, clinical supervision, and best practices in counseling and clinical supervision.

Sarah Silva

Elizabeth House

My name is Elizabeth House and I am currently a Master of Science in Counseling student at National Louis University.  I studied abroad for a year through the Loyola Rome Center while working on my undergraduate degree with St. Louis University. That experience shaped my career as an educator and showed me that I wanted to work with immigrants.  I have been in the educational field for the last 13 years. I worked as an English Language Learners teacher for children ranging from five to fourteen years of age. My students came from all over the globe making the experience completely different year to year. In the classroom, I saw the effects of war and trauma get in the way of my students’ learning. There was often not enough time in the academic day to address all of the issues today’s children face.


In St. Louis, I volunteered in an afterschool program for refugee children.  This position made it abundantly clear to me that I wanted to help others in some capacity. As an educator, I saw numerous obstacles that people struggled with on a daily basis.  It is my hope as a counselor that I can foster relationships with my clients to help them live their lives to the fullest while meeting their personal goals fo r success.


I am currently working as a behavioral specialist for ProActive Kids where I run a closed small group for children from 8-14 that struggle with obesity.  My internship will be at an alcohol and drug substance abuse treatment center working as an addictions counselor. I am very interested in the effects of fitness on mental health and grief and hope to research these topics further.

Ammarah Hussain

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Megan Sandos


My name is Ammarah Hussain; I am a first year student at Adler University in the clinical mental health-counseling program. My interest in counseling peaked at high school and undergraduate at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Throughout my time at University of Illinois at Chicago, I use to volunteer at the Intouch crisis hotline, which motivated me to pursue a Master’s degree in counseling. My interest is primarily working with children and adolescents but I am also very open to working with wide variety of clientele and clinical concerns. My goal is to never stop learning as a future clinician because this field is always expanding and I am always eager to learn.  I love brainstorming and getting insight from other professionals and so I am grateful to be part of the emerging leader in that I get the chance to interact with other professionals in this field. I am so grateful to be part of something that enables individuals to reach their fullest potential. In addition to this, I hope that through this experience as well as getting a Master’s degree in counseling I hope to also enhance my critical thinking skills as well as utilizing creative ways to initiate therapy in the future. I’m very excited and eager to see what is to come!!


Megan Sandos currently attends Adler University pursuing her Master’s in Clinical Mental Health Counseling focusing on working with immigrant and refugee children, adolescents, and their families. A non-traditional student, Megan has spent the last ten years, post-Bachelor’s degree, working in events, sales, and hospitality in St. Louis and Chicago before transitioning into her current career aspirations. Growing up in four states across the midwest and broadly traveling the world, Megan is fascinated by diverse cultures, people, and the beauty of their identities, connections, and intersections. Living and traveling globally has provided valuable opportunities to engage and contribute to social change, a core value stemming from strong social change makers with her large multi-ethnic and multi-racial family. Megan is eager to work within Chicago communities and contribute to the field at large through research in identity, belonging, and spirituality. 

ACACI 2017-2018 Emerging Leaders

Christine Vinci

­­­­­­­­­­­­In November 2017, I attended the Leadership Development Academy through ICA at Adler University in Chicago, IL.  After several months as a member in ACACI, I was approached to attend ICA’s Leadership Development Academy.  At first, my thought was “me! A leader!?!, I’m not sure.”  After some thought, I decided to do it and saw this as an opportunity to increase my leadership skills in order to where I want to be in my career.


After completing the application and thinking about the questionnaire that I had to answer, I thought, “Did I answer these questions right? What if I don’t get it?”  After thinking about it, I knew it was to really get to know me and what I am looking for, so I decided to be honest and answer them accurately.  I’m glad I did because I learned that I was accepted into the program.  It was very exciting and empowering because I was myself and honest.

Karina Breezer

Karina Breezer

 My name is Karina Breezer.  I am a Master of Arts student at Concordia University in the Clinical Mental Health program.  Most likely will work with children, adolescents and families however, I do not want to limit myself. Have a huge interest in anxiety and depression caused by trauma. I am a crisis counselor for Crisis Text Line, I just hit my 1 year mark. I plan on pursuing a PhD in the future. 


Richard Smith

My name is Richard Smith. I am currently working on my master’s in counseling at Governors State University. I am passionate about both physical and mental health. I have a background in exercise science and look at ways to integrate this component with psychological wellbeing. I also have a love for traveling. I've had the privilege to present on topics related to personal health in both Haiti and Thailand. My long-term goal is to provide a unique service that will benefit both man and woman kind. As I make my way towards that goal, I make sure to enjoy the steps along the way. 


Carolyn Raitt

My name is Carolyn Raitt.  I am a master’s candidate in the Counseling Program at The Family Institute (TFI) at Northwestern University pursuing a specialization in child and adolescent psychotherapy. I earned my B.A. in psychology with concentrations in women’s studies and biomedical studies at St. Olaf College. I am currently a clinical trainee in the Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) Clinic at TFI, where I conduct empirically supported treatment with complex, multi-problem clients. Previously, I completed my practicum fieldwork in the Bette D. Harris Family and Child Clinic at TFI, where I provided individual psychotherapy for a diverse population of adolescents and adults with a wide variety of presenting problems, in addition to leading a support group for children dealing with divorce. Later, I completed internship fieldwork at Highland Park High School’s Drop-in Counseling Center, where I provided individual psychotherapy, led support groups, and did crisis counseling with adolescents. Key clinical interests emerging from my work thus far include depression, anxiety, trauma, self-injury, suicidality, eating disorders, ADHD, LGBTQIA+ issues, grief & loss, adolescence, emerging adulthood, psychodynamic psychotherapy, DBT, and EMDR.


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