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K-State Theatre

Where Are They Now? Drama Therapy Alumni Updates


Graduates of K-State’s Masters in Drama Therapy


Fatmah Al-Qadfan,MA, Class of 2016, is working as a drama therapist in Kuwait.

Jamie Ansley, MA, RDT, Class of 2013, is working as a drama therapist at the Post Traumatic Stress Center in New Haven, CT. Her first job was as a Life Specialist at Laurel Oaks RetirementCommunity where she co-managed the Memory Care Unit.  She also worked as a Child Life Specialist at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.   

Martha Crouse Burgess, MA, RDT, Class of 2006, has taught the 6th Grade Exploratory Arts Teacher at the Kunsmiller Creative Arts Academy, Denver, CO.

Ellen Burke, MA, Class of 2016, is working in Big Lakes Developmental Center’s Day Program with adults with developmental disabilities and teaching Acting for Fun, an after school drama therapy program for children on the autism spectrum.

Britt Burr, MA, RDT, Class of 2013, is Assistant Director of Autism Services for the ARC of Carroll County, MD. She also works part time with one of ArtStream’s Inclusive Theatre Companies.

LaVonne Canfield, MA, RDT, Class of 2015, began a job as Activity Therapist at the Topeka Juvenile Correctional Facility upon graduating.

Caitlin Cairns, MA, RDT, Class of 2010, is the Life Enrichment Coordinator at Bradford Village Retirement Community in Oklahoma City.

Hee-sun Cheon, Ph.D., RDT, Class of 2001, is Assistant Professor and Director of Internships in the Marriage and Family Therapy program at Seattle Pacific University.

Christina Cherry, MA, RDT, Class of 2008, is working for Synergy Services as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate, using drama therapy in her weekly groups. After she graduated from K-State she served as the Activities Therapist for the Topeka Women’s Prison, then as Activities Director at John Knox Village in Kansas City, and as a Therapist for Midwest Foster Care in Kansas City, MO.

Michelle Davenport, MA, RDT, Class of 2010, currently works as the Inclusion Supervisor for Carmel Clay Parks and Recreation in Hamilton County, Indiana. She supervises the Adaptive Program, which provides classes for children and adults of disabilities. She is in charge of accessibility, accommodations, and does one-on-one and group therapy. She also runs an accessible, integrated Playback Theatre Company. Her  first job was at Stone Belt Arc, Inc., which provides services for adults with developmental disabilities as their Lifelong Learning Curriculum Developer and Trainer. In addition to implementing group and individual drama therapy sessions along with curriculum development, each year she helped clients in writing monologues about their lives and directed in a production called I AM YOU, produced at a local theatre in Bloomington, Indiana. She also created one of the only integrated Playback Theatre troupe in the U.S. with clients and staff.

Alissa Duncan, MA, RDT, Class of 2004, teaches Communication, Women’s Studies, and Theatre at Barton Community College at Fort Riley, KS and is the Central Region Chair for the North American Drama Therapy Association.

Adrienne Eberhardt, MA, Class of 2014, worked for 2 years as a one-on-one Behavior Analysis specialist for a child on the autism spectrum in Manhattan, KS.  Currently she is a Behavioral Therapist at the Rainforest Learning Center in Chicago.

Meredith Gagich, MA, RDT, Class of 2013, worked for a year as a one-on-one Behavior Analysis specialist for a child on the autism spectrum after graduating from K-State.  Currently she is a fulltime Program Specialist for the ARC in Pittsburgh, PA and a PRN specialist for the Wesley Spectrum for youth with ASD. Currently she is a Unit Director for the Boys and Girls Club of Manhattan, KS.

Shannon Garretson, MA, RDT, Class of 2006, is the Education Director of the Salina Community Theatre in Salina, Kansas, with the charge of reaching out to underserved populations of all ages and abilities in the Salina Community. She was the recipient of the 2001 NADTA Student Service Award.

Hailey Gillespie, MA, Class of 2008, is the Education Director of the Lawrence Community Theatre.

Samantha Hindle, MA, Class of 2015, works at an Eating Disorder clinic in the Boston, MA area.

Jamie Johnson, MA, Class of 2011, is the Drama Teacher at Lawrence High School. She also serves as playwright for the Lovejoy Institute creating original musicals with adolescents at risk in the summers.

Kareen King, MA, RDT, Class of 2006, been able to create her own path as a Registered Drama Therapist. She quit her full-time job as an Activity Director in 2008 to launch her own business, The Golden Experience. She applies principles of Drama Therapy in her work as an Adjunct instructor at Allen County Community College teaching Public Speaking and Theatre Appreciation, in her work as a Creative Engagement Consultant at two different long-term care communities, and as a Keynote Speaker doing educational concerts and workshops for conferences in the field of long-term care (Health Care associations, Direct Care Workers, Culture Change/Person-Centered Care, Activity Professionals, etc.) and for in-services for direct care workers. Kareen says, “My training in drama therapy has helped me truly find ways to creatively engage, empower, and build community in my students and clients. Emilou, a puppet custom-built to resemble a resident I served, accompanies me to the care communities and conferences I serve. She has been an agent of healing and comfort to many.” Kareen published Engage! 28 Creative Enrichment Experiences for Older Adults in 2014 through ArtAge Publications.

Katherine Lawrence, MA, RDT, Class of 2012, is the Activities Therapist for the Topeka Women’s Correctional Facility.

Tracena Marie, MA, RDT, Class of 2013, is the Inclusion Director of the Barrier-Free Theatre program at the Muncie Civic Theatre, Muncie, IN.

Jessica Martell, MA, Class of 2015, is working as a special education teacher in Baton Rouge, LA.

Jessica Munoz, MA, Class of 2015, is doing research on drama therapy with displaced women and women in prison and is studying psychology at the Universidad Del Norte in Barranquilla, Columbia.  Previously she was the Clinician & Case Manager at the Eating Disorder Center of Albuquerque.

Stacey Park, MA, MSW, RDT, Class of 2002,is working at Hands of Hope Hospice and Heartland Health as an Arts Coordinator, a position she created and helped to get funded. At Hands of Hope, she and volunteers take arts opportunities to patients and their families. With their Healing HeARTS Cart they can bring arts opportunities to their patients’ rooms. They have also been taking creative storytelling to residents with dementia at care facilities. Lastly, they have been creating "Caregiver Gift Boxes" for family caregivers with decorated cards, lotions, chapsticks, message stones, teas, and candies. She created "Art a la Cart," an art lending program in which patients in one area of the hospital will be choosing their own artwork for their rooms. Lastly, she is working on bringing arts exhibits and arts activities to the Cancer Center.  She was recipient of the 2001 NADTA Student Service Award. See a picture of her with the Healing HeARTS Cart at http://www.heartland-health.com/body.cfm?d=83.

Tamra Patterson, MA, Class of 2014, is Curriculum Coordinator for PARK (Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids), a program for at-risk youth in Little Rock, Arkansas. After graduating she worked for a year as the Drama Teacher at Freedom Preparatory and Charter School for the Middle and High School in Memphis, Tennessee with lower achieving, inner city teens.

Monica Phinney, MA, RDT, Class of 2013, recently stepped down as the Peer-to-Peer Educator for SafeHaven in Kansas City to spend more time with her first child. At SafeHaven she toured an original play about dating violence with teens to schools. She works as PRN therapist at Two Rivers, a mental health program in Kansas City and supervises drama therapy interns.


Sarah Price, MA, RDT, Class of 2007,is currently a School-Based Clinician III for Aspenpointe Counseling and Health Services, Colorado Springs, CO. They use The Incredible Years curriculum, which includes a parent program and an early childhood program called Dinosaur School.  She provides case management and therapeutic services for individuals and families in community-based and school environments. The focus is on prevention and intervention groups. She is working on her MA in Counseling.

Barrett Scroggs, MA, Class of 2015, is pursuing his Ph.D. in Human Development at Kansas State University. He is the 2015 recipient of the NADTA Student Service Award and his thesis won the Drama Therapy Fund’s Graduate Research Award. He is the current Chair of the Drama Therapy Fund, a non-profit charity.

Ross Stone, MA, RDT, Class of 2013, is working as Drama Therapist at Marillack, a Hospital School in Kansas City for children and adolescence.

Timothy Tarkelly, MA, Class of 2016, is working as a Behavioral Health Counselor at KVC Wheatland Hospital in Hays, Kansas.

Amy Tichy, MA, Class of 2014 is a Mental Health Rehabilitation Worker at Gull Harbor in Moorehead, MN. She is one of the 2012 recipients of the NADTA Student Service Award for creating the NADTA Student newsletter.

Jayne Thompson, M.Div., MA, RDT, Class of 2002, is the Lutheran Campus Pastor at Thiel College in Greenville, PA and uses drama therapy and the creative arts in her ministry.

Sarah Tomek, MA, Class of 2013, is Director of Programs at Unified Theatre, an organization that mentors middle and high school theatre groups in creating original inclusive theatre.

Malerie Tabern Torres, MA, RDT, Class of 2011, has worked as a Senior Behavioral Intervention Aide for the Intensive Behavioral Intervention Autism program at Nationwide Children's Hospital with children ages 3 to 18, who have been diagnosed with autism, in their homes.

Nadya Trytan, MA, RDT/BCT, Class of 2002, is in Private Practice at Center for Creativity & Health in St Paul, MN. She primarily provides group therapy, but is available for individual therapy as well and works as a Program Therapist for United Hospital (St Paul) on the adult & adolescent psychiatric units (Inpatient & Outpatient).  She is the PastPresident of the North American Drama Therapy Association and also served as President-Elect and Communications Chair.

Brant Wadsworth, Ph.D., RDT, Class of 2008, was the Program Director at Lava Heights Academy of the Arts in St. George, Utah, a residential treatment center for adolescents that integrates therapy, expressive arts therapy, education, and artistic training until 2016.  Currently he is the Executive Director at Canyon Creek Women’s Crisis Center and he is a Level 5 Alba Emoting trainer.

Laura Williamson, MA, Class of 2015, is Executive Director of the Muncie Community Theatre and does drama therapy outreach in the Muncie community. She is currently running a $2.5 million fund-raising campaign to renovate the theatre.


RDTs who completed their Alternative Training through Kansas State University:


Zeina Daccache, MA, RDT, is the Executive Director and Founder of the Catharsis: Lebanese Center for Drama Therapy NGO in Beirut Lebanon where she works with men and women in prison, recovering substance abusers, refugees, and many other populations.  She is a recipient of the 2012 NADTA Performance Award.

Karen Johnson Knappenberger, LSCSW, RDT/BCT, works as Clinician at Midland Care Connection PACE Program, a not-for-profit, community based organization in Topeka, Kansas providing options to families with challenging health care needs.  She is the incoming Treasurer of the North American Drama Therapy Association and has been a member of the NADTA Registry Committee and on the board of The Drama Therapy Fund.

Lisa Peacock, MA, RDT is the Founder and Director of the Vet Art Project.  She is currently working in with homeless vets for the Family & Community Services Veterans Programming in Akron, OH.

Tim Reagan, Ph.D., RDT is Director of the drama programat Sidwell Friends Middle School in Washington, DC.  He has served on the board of directors of the North American Drama Therapy Association and as a judge for the Helen Hayes Awards in Washington, DC.  Tim is the recipient of a Fulbright Memorial Fund Award, Goldberg Award for Teaching Excellence, and several venture grants for curriculum development. 

Patti Woolsey, MA, RDT is the Founder and past Executive Director/Artistic Director for ArtStream in the metropolitan Washington, DC area. ArtStream is a not-for-profit arts organization with the mission of bringing the arts to underserved populations.  They sponsor 6 inclusive theatre companies in the metropolitan area. She is currently working as a drama therapy consultant in the DC area.