Meet the 2020-2021 Executive Board
Katie McEwen, President
Katie McEwen is currently a Certified Child Life Specialist II at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital working in the Cancer and Blood Disease Institute outpatient clinic. Katie has her Masters of Science in Child Life from Bank Street College of Education and a Bachelors of Music in Music Therapy from Southern Methodist University. Over the last few years, Katie has upheld several positions on committees and councils and presented at numerous regional and national conferences. Katie is so excited to be a part of the GLACLP E-board and looking forward to the opportunities to engage and collaborate with amazing professionals this year! Katie enjoys spending time with her family and eating Italian Food!
Bridgette Danielson, Past President
Bridgette Danielson is a Certified Child Life Specialist II at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She has worked with children and families for 12+ years in a variety of settings. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Development with a minor in Psychology and her Master of Art in Family and Consumer Sciences with a Child Life concentration from Western Michigan University. Bridgette has presented at collegiate, regional, and national conferences on topics such as child life in psychiatric care, bereavement education, and imposter syndrome. In her free time, Bridgette enjoys spending time with her family and cats, reading, running, and working on home projects. Fun facts: Bridgette cheered in college, was recently in a musical, and is currently a coach for Girls on the Run.
Jalyssa Kessler, President-Elect
Jalyssa graduated from IUPUI with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Jalyssa is a Certified Child Life Specialist and also a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician & Special Needs Technician. She worked for 3 years in the ER at a level 2 trauma center and is currently working in mental health in the community setting. Jalyssa is also active as a volunteer with ACLP. She enjoys spending time with her one year old daughter, one year old puppy, husband, family and friends. For self-care she enjoys baking, crafting, reading, playing with her daughter, date nights with her husband and having fun with family and friends.
Fun Fact: Jalyssa started out as a nursing major wanting to work in pediatrics but then found out about child life and switched her major (which she was already minoring in) within 24 hours.
Ashley Curcio, Treasurer
Ashley Curcio is a Certified Child Life specialist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where she is a Clinical Leader for the child life team. She received both her Bachelor of Science in Child Life and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. Ashley has been working as a child life specialist for 19 years, and prior to moving to Ohio, she was a child life specialist at Maynard Children’s Hospital in Greenville, NC. Throughout her career, Ashley has worked in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings, established child life positions in new clinical areas, guest lectured for child life classes, presented at regional and national conferences, and served as a mentor with the ACLP Mentor Program. When she is not working, Ashley enjoys spending time with her husband, teenage son, and their Labrador puppy. She is a soccer mom who spends most of her weekends traveling to soccer games throughout the Great Lakes region. Fun fact: Ashley changed her major 6 times in college before finding child life!
Morgan Syme, Secretary
Morgan Syme is a Certified Child Life Specialist II at Helen Devos Children’s Hospital. She’s been working as a child life professional for nearly 4 years in a variety of inpatient and outpatient units. She is a proud alumini of MSU (go green!) where she receieved her Bachelor of Art in Child Development. Morgan has newly began working with students interested in pursuing child life at Aquinas college. She loves anything and everything dog. Her favorite four-legged pup is her 2 year old golden retriever, Mozzy. Fun fact: Morgan could also sleep in a tent and/or boat every weekend of the year and be the happiest camper.
Jeannine Brown, Child Life Specialist Member-at-Large
Jeannine Brown has been working as a CCLS for 2 years at HDVCH since retiring from teaching after 25 years. She has a master’s degree in early childhood special education. She works on 2 inpatient units with a variety of patient populations (general surgery, Neurology, trauma, COVID, NICU grads, CF, and orthopedic). The GLACLP community was pivotal in throughout her child life journey due to being an unaffiliated student. It was a great way to connect and meet child life professionals. This will be Jeannine’s 4th time serving on the GLACLP executive board. She loves camping, hiking, quilting, spending time with her husband and their 4 little granddaughters.
Janelle Mitchell, Child Life Educator-at-Large
Janelle Mitchell, MS, CCLS currently works as a full-time assistant clinical professor at Ohio University. She graduated from Bank Street College of Education child life program before moving back to Columbus, Ohio. Janelle’s career as a child life specialist started at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in 2009 where she continues to work in a contingent role. When she’s not working, she keeps busy with 3 children (2-6.5y.o). Janelle is looking forward to working on the E-board of GLACLP this year and collaborating with dynamic child life professionals!
Sydney Hooker, Child Life Assistant Member-at-Large
Sydney Hooker is currently a child life assistant at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for 2 years. Sydney is working towards becoming a child life specialist. She loves love to stay busy and active: tubing, wake surfing, swimming, snowboarding, camping, exploring, traveling with my fiancé. Fun Fact: Was a competitive swimmer for 13 years and a collegiate swimmer for 4 years. She is getting married this year in Montana!
Nikki Allen, Child Life Student Member-at-Large
Nikki Allen graduated from Western Michigan with a Bachelors in Child and Family Development and is currently working towards her Masters in Child Life. Nikki is the President of the Child Life Organization at WMU, as well as a phase one student at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. She is beginning her first practicum at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital in Tennessee where she will be working with patients in outpatient, surgery, and hematology/oncology. Her second practicum is at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago. Nikki worked on the Pediatric Trauma and Injury Prevention team at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, where she was a certified Child Passenger Safety/ Special Needs Technician. In her free time, she loves to be outdoors fishing, hiking, camping, running, or being with her horses. A fun fact about Nikki is that she owns two horses who are both 31 years old!
Matt Flynn, Technology Liaison
Matt Flynn has been a Certified Child Life Specialist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center for the past seven years where he works in the inpatient neurology, neurosurgery, trauma, and epilepsy monitoring unit. Matt has his Masters of Science in Child Life from Bank Street Graduate School of Education. Part of his time is dedicated toward researching and implementing new forms of patient-facing technology for patients and their families. This includes using video games, virtual reality, robots, and more to improve the hospital experience for kids as procedural interventions, to improve compliance, and for normalization. When he isn’t working, Matt spends his time watching movies, podcasting, and taking a picture of his wife, Sarah, every day.