Couple and Family Therapy Students

Rafee Al-Mansur is a second-year Couple and Family Therapy masters student from Waldorf, MD. He completed his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Management at Johns Hopkins University in 2013. As a Woodrow Wilson Undergraduate Research Fellow, he co-directed a research study on the emergence of African American Muslim communities in Baltimore City, capturing it in a documentary (https://youtu.be/XOaI20E_jyc). After graduation, Rafee co-coordinated an evaluation of a Community Benefits District in Baltimore City under a grant from the Abell Foundation. Apart from academic interests, he loves to launch and manage start-ups and ideas, and typically always has his hands in at least one or three. Rafee also loves listening to people's experiences and helping them find meaning and opportunities in them, no matter the circumstances they find themselves in. He is particularly interested in understanding how people's and society's conception of family changes across history, and as a practicing Muslim, hopes to uncover how this will unfold for the growing multi-cultural body of second-, third-, and fourth-generation Muslim Americans.

 
Gabriela Barber is a first-year Couple and Family Therapy student from Clermont, Florida. She graduated from Princeton University in 2017, with an A.B. in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. During her time as an undergraduate, she was actively involved in several volunteer organizations on campus, volunteered answering calls for a local crisis hotline and the national suicide hotline, worked with other groups on campus and within the community to implement a pilot program at Princeton University for a campus-specific crisis chat service, and completed her senior thesis in a developmental psychology lab. Her current research interests include working with couples as they make the transition to parenthood and work through the challenges and difficulties that can come with this transition, including issues of infertility. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, spending time with friends, and relaxing.  
Crystel Britto is a master's candidate in the Couple and Family Therapy program from Rockville, Maryland. She earned her A.A. in International Relations from Montgomery College, while in the Montgomery Scholars Program. She also earned her B.A. in International Affairs with concentrations in Global Public Health and Conflict & Security in May 2011. During her time as an undergraduate, she completed her Capstone Project on international water scarcity and conflict issues, and started the UNICEF Campus Initiative to raise funds for international water, sanitation, and hygiene projects in water-scarce areas of the world. She has interned at the Mennonite Central Committee, International Medical Corps and American Red Cross (National Capital Region) focusing on policy and refugee work. She currently works for Montgomery County Government, Department of Health and Human Services as the Quality Assurance Specialist for the Coordination of Community Services Program. She has worked for programs serving those with developmental disabilities for the past four years, helping enable those individuals to integrate into their communities within Montgomery County, Maryland.  
Ashley Copeland is a first-year Couple and Family Therapy Master’s student from Christiansburg, Virginia. She earned a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from Virginia Tech in May 2016. During her time as an undergraduate, Ashley was heavily involved in school service. She was a Resident Advisor, Orientation Leader, as well as a member of the Marching Virginians and many other music ensembles. Outside of these activities, Ashley was dedicated to a research lab centered on prosocial behavior interventions, as well as the Women’s Resource Center, which is a community program providing services to adult and child victims of sexual and domestic violence. Both of these programs became her focus this past year as she worked as the Research Lab Coordinator as well as a Crisis Intervention Intern and Overnight Substitute for the Women’s Resource Center. Outside of academics and work, Ashley enjoys traveling, playing (and listening to) music, snacking, and spending time with family and friends.  
Stefania Gheorghiu is a first-year Couple and Family Therapy Masters student from Baltimore, Maryland. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and French Studies from Smith College in 2017, and spent a semester studying abroad at the University of Geneva in Switzerland during the spring of 2016. Her curiosity for exploring the lengths and limitations of psychological resilience, and the consequences of trauma and other environmental factors on the psyche, has fueled her passion for research. Throughout her undergraduate career she worked as a research assistant for Dr. Nnamdi Pole, whose research focuses on trauma and a variety of related disorders including: PTSD, complex PTSD, police-related PTSD, dissociation, and trauma-specific treatments. In her senior year, Stefania became involved in volunteer work for Safe Passage, a non-profit organization that provides shelter and support to survivors of domestic violence. This experience helped bridged the gap between her research knowledge and clinical practice, which inspired Stefania to pursue a career in Marriage and Family Therapy. At UMD, Stefania plans to continue along the research path, and looks forward to absorbing the wealth of opportunities and knowledge provided by this world-class institution.  

Katie Hippen is a second-year Couple and Family Therapy M.S. student from Elkridge, Maryland. She earned her B.S. in Family Science from the University of Maryland at College Park, with minors in Human Development and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies. In college, Katie worked as a research assistant at the Center on Young Adult Health and Development (CYAHD) and as a research coder at the Couples Abuse Prevention Program (CAPP). She was also an administrative assistant at Laurel Fay & Associates, LLC, a couples and family therapy private practice located in Silver Spring, MD. After undergrad, Katie attended Georgia State University (GSU) where she earned her M.A. in Sociology, with a concentration in Family, Health, and Life Course. Her master's thesis was titled, “Attitudes Toward Marriage and Long-term Relationships Across Emerging Adulthood.” Since returning to Maryland, Katie has continued her work with CYAHD as a graduate research assistant and with Laurel Fay & Associates, LLC as an administrative assistant. She is also currently working as a therapist intern at the Center for Healthy Families. Katie’s research and clinical interests include sexuality, LGBT families, aging, divorce, depression, anxiety, and trauma. In her free time, Katie enjoys spending time with friends and family, singing, playing guitar, hiking, jogging, canoeing, eating lots of popcorn, crocheting, drinking wine, reading, and playing with her cat, Divina.

Emma Levin is a first-year student in the Couple and Family Therapy program from Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Emma completed a research thesis using data from the Harvard Study of Adult Development to examine marital satisfaction in first and second marriages, which remains a research interest of hers. Her other research and clinical interests include families with children who are queer or trans, mixed families, and couple communication. In her free time, Emma reads, watches stand-up comedy, and spends time with friends and family.
Stephanie Martinez is a first-year Couple and Family Therapy student from El Paso, Texas. She graduated from American University in May 2016, earning a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Marketing. During her time as an undergraduate, Stephanie volunteered at The National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Family Place in Washington, D.C. She interned at The Child and Family Network Centers, where she shadowed social workers as they conducted psycho-social analyses on parents and family members of students in the Alexandria area and analyzed how parent-child interactions affect kindergarten-aged children in the classroom. Stephanie's current research interests focus on marital and couple relationships within Latino immigrant communities. In her free time, she likes eating new foods, watching Netflix documentaries and laughing with her roommate.
ElexisO'Neill Elexis O'Neill is a first-year Master’s student in the Couple’s and Family Therapy program. After growing up on a farm in North Texas, Elexis attended Pomona College, a small liberal arts school in California. At Pomona, she majored in Psychology while babysitting and volunteering. Her thesis researched the moderating effect of resilience and self-compassion on the relation between traumatic experiences and empathy. Elexis has a soft spot for children and animals; her best weekends are spent finding the fuzziest and friendliest petting zoos in the DMV.
Elena Sanchez Dominguez is a first-year Couple and Family Therapy Masters student. Originally from Seville, Spain, Elena earned a B.A. in Marketing and a master’s degree in Administration. After a few years working as a Coordinator of Business Management and Management Consultant, she decided to go back to college to study business. She began working for the Spanish government in Afghanistan in 2007. She was transferred to Washington, DC in 2008, where she has lived since then. In her free time, Elena enjoys traveling, hiking in the Shenandoah, lifting weights, zumba, reading and spending time with friends.