About Our Team

Ana Radovic, Project Director

Educational Background: I have a BA in Biology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and also went to medical school there for my MD. Then I did pediatrics residency and adolescent medicine fellowship at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. I also have a Masters in Clinical Science from the University of Pittsburgh.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Get rid of all tobacco and drugs forever
  • Make healthcare universal and free for everyone
  • Mandatory 3 day weekends for everyone

Kayla Odenthal, Research Assistant

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Educational Background: I am a current part-time graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. I did my undergraduate work at Carlow University, where I received a BSW, with a concentration in crisis intervention, and another concentration in behavioral health.

If I had a magic wand I would…

  • Appear wherever I needed to be on time so that I would never have to spend time commuting.
  • Make all basic needs affordable to every person.
  • Pay off everyone’s student loans to aid our economy.
  • Make sleep unnecessary.
  • Eliminate addiction.
  • Eliminate abuse of all kinds

Sana Karim, Project Assistant, Website Editor

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Educational Background: I’m currently a full-time graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Applied Developmental Psychology, with a concentration in Applied Research Methods for Child and Youth Serving Organizations. I got my B.A. in English with a minor in psychology and writing at Drexel University.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Make all types of education and the resources needed for it free
  • Give everyone access to basic and livable housing and food
  • Stop climate change

  • Sophie Wecht, Medical Student Assistant
  • Educational Background: I received a B.A. in Classical Civilizations from Emory University in Atlanta, GA and I am currently in my second year of medical school at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
    If I had a magic want, I would…
    • Establish universal healthcare for all
    • Make medical school affordable
    • Restart production of FP-100C film

Alyssa Davidson, Web Developer

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Educational Background: I’m an Information Science major at the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in Human-Computer Interaction and minors in Computer Science and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Eliminate extreme income inequality and make sure that everyone’s basic needs were met through free healthcare, housing, education, etc.!
  • Stop/Reverse climate change #SaveTheEarth!

Morgann Hendrixson, Volunteer Reseracher

Educational Background: I am a senior undergraduate student at Miami University of Ohio studying biology and neuroscience with a co-major in premedical studies. I hope to attend medical school and become a physician.

If I had a magic wand, I would…
  • Eliminate health disparities that exist
  • Find effective treatments/cure for cancer, dementia, and all mental health disorders
  • Make sure that all puppies have homes!

STAKEHOLDER ADVISORY BOARD:


Amy Philips-Haller, Parent Advocate

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Educational & Professional Background: A long-time graduate of California University of Pennsylvania, I hold a Bachelor’s of Liberal Arts degree in Speech Communication with an emphasis in Mass Media.

I am a student and narrator of the human experience.   Over the years, I have documented stories for television in Atlanta, as well as produced Everyday Science, a show that aired worldwide on public radio.  Now a reporter, I generate headlines for local publications, including the Pittsburgh-Post Gazette.

Recently, I scripted It Pains Me to Discuss, a novel documenting the difficult journey of a child with a chronic health condition.  I share the draft with physicians, in hopes of expanding patient care conversation to include the parent component.  I also serve on two advisory panels for ongoing research projects at Children’s Hospital.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Have purchased it at Ollivanders.  Inside the carved mahogany would reside the feather of a phoenix.  Why?  Every day is an opportunity to rise from the ashes and begin again.

Rachel Whitman, Youth Advocate

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Educational Background:  I have my BA in psychology (minor in anthropology) from the University of Virginia, my M.S.Ed. with a focus on Community Mental Health and Special Education Support from Duquesne University, and I am currently working on my EdD in Educational Leadership with a focus on disability studies at Duquesne University.

If I had a magic wand, I would… 

  • Make our world accessible in every way! Our understanding of “disability” is really just a social construct. We give someone a disability label because this person interacts with our world differently. Our default “normal person” is an able-bodied, neurotypical person – but there is so much beautiful diversity out there! We have to reconstruct our physical world and re-conceptualize our definition of humankind to reflect all types of people and thus respect all experiences, provide everyone equitable access to opportunities, and cultivate truly inclusive communities.
  • Provide all individuals with mental illnesses effective treatments that they can customize based on their needs. Some examples: psychiatric medications with no side effects, free health care, a medical system that really listens and truly honors stakeholder experience, and a cure for eating disorders (a category of mental illness that is so devastating and difficult to treat).
  • Body positivity and feminism for everyone!!!
  • Have a pet sloth who I would wear around the office so we could snuggle each other all day. Top three names: Humphrey, Agnes, or KaleChip

SOVA TEAM ALUMNAE:

We thank you for your time with our team!


Ana T. Flores, M.S.W. Intern, Moderator

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Educational Background: I have my BA in psychology from California State University and am currently an MSW/PhD student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Make everyone in the world kind, empathetic, and open minded.
  • Make Apparition, the Floo Network, and Portkeys a reality
  • Take special requests for gifts

Ji-Eun Choi, M.S.W. Intern, Moderator

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Educational Background: I am currently pursuing an MSW degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. Before graduate school, I received a BS in Neuroscience and a minor in Chemistry from Duke University.

If I had a magic wand I would…

  • Eliminate all forms of hate speech and hate crime
  • End poverty
  • Allow everyone to find inner peace

Maria Symonds, Student Research Assistant

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Educational Background: I am currently an undergraduate psychology student at the University of Pittsburgh.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Ensure every child has access to an education
  • Create a cure for Type 1 Diabetes
  • Make a cup of coffee appear in my hand every time I’m tired so that I don’t have to spend time waiting in line for one

Halle Celebrezze, Student Research Assistant

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Educational Background:  I am currently a Junior at the University of Pittsburgh double-majoring in Psychology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies. I also sing in two different acapella groups on campus!

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Help everyone feel better
  • Make time stop for a bit so I can catch up on sleep

Anthony Blair, Student Research Assistant

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Educational Background: I’m majoring in psychology and minoring in philosophy. I plan on going to graduate school for psychology to pursue a career in clinical psychology.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • End poverty by making sure that everyone’s basic needs like food, water, shelter were provided to them and give them financial security
  • Make sure everyone has an opportunity to have an education, including college education
  • End climate change

Sharanya Bandla, Website Support

Educational Background: I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, majoring in Bioinformatics. I’m also proficient in the following languages: Java, Python, Swift, CSS, and HTML.

If I had a wand, I would…

  • Take away all the stigma and prejudice associated with individuals who suffer from mental illnesses, especially on college campuses.
  • Teleport from class to class so I’d never be late again!

Jing Hua, Website Support

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Educational Background:  My name is Jing Hua, currently a graduate student in the Department of Information Science at University of Pittsburgh. I got my bachelor’s degree in computer science several years ago in China. I am good at web development, interface design and analysis, database management and android application development. I am also interested in E-business.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Create a magic children’s museum, where children have different experience each time they go.
  • Create an E-business application, where blind people and illiterate people  can shop online smoothly and safely.

Charlie E.A. Borowicz—Research Assistant

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Educational Background: I am a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with master’s degrees in public health and social work. Most of my work has been in mental health, at Resolve Crisis Network and several psychiatric hospitals and clinics. I am also actively working on projects to provide better healthcare for transgender and gender-expansive people.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Stop climate change
  • Give everyone access to clean water and sustainable, healthy food sources
  • Have unlimited space for rescue dogs to have a safe and loving home

Maeve Clair, Intern

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Educational background: I recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and Psychology. As a senior, I volunteered as a research assistant for the SOVA Project. I am continuing my work now with an internship through the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. I plan to continue my education in medical school.


Siddharth Coontoor, Computer Student


Amie DiTomasso, Moderator

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Educational Background: I have my B.S. in Psychology and a Minor in Neuroscience from the University of Pittsburgh. I am currently completing my Master’s in Public Health and my Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition I am a certified yoga instructor.

If I had a magic wand, I would… 

  • Make clean water accessible to people everywhere
  • Add at least two hours to everyday

Kaitlin Glover, MSW Graduate Intern

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Educational Background: I have my bachelors in Psychology/ Sociology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Currently, I am working on getting my Masters of Social Work (MSW) with a focus on Mental Health at the University of Pittsburgh.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Create a safe and equal environment for all LGBTQ members everywhere
  • Destigmatize mental illness.

Theresa Gmelin, Main Research Assistant, Moderator

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Educational Background: I have my Master’s in Social Work (M.S.W.) from the University at Buffalo in New York. I am currently in the Master’s in Public Health program at the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on Behavioral and Community Health Sciences.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Eliminate gender, class, and race disparities
  • And then also have a pet sloth

Lauren Johnson, Research Assistant, Moderator

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Educational Background: I have a Master’s in Social Work from California University of Pennsylvania.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Eliminate police brutality
  • Abolish the US prison system
  • Make higher education free
  • Eliminate some of the barriers for people from other countries seeking to reside or become citizens of the US

Katrina Keane, MSW Graduate Intern

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Educational Background: I have a BS in Political Science from East Carolina University, I am a Licensed Massage Therapist, and I am currently in the Masters in Social Work program at the University of Pittsburgh with a concentration in Community, Organization, and Social Action (COSA).

If I had a magic wand, I would… 

  • Eliminate child abuse in all its forms forever
  • Have free ice cream everyday
  • Not be lactose intolerant.

Liu yi (Laura) Lin

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Educational Background: I received my BA in American Literature and Culture at University of California, Los Angeles, and I am currently a 4th-year medical student at University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. I recently completed a year of research fellowship with National Institute of Mental Health, and my research focus was on social media and mental well-being. I am hoping to enter into a combined residency training program in Family Medicine and Psychiatry.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Make sure that we address the mental and emotional well-being of patients in the medical world!
  • Have an indoor garden that grew delicious vegetables in my apartment!

Cassandra Long, Research Assistant, Moderator

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Educational Background: I received my undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Delaware.  Afterwards, I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with my Master’s in Social Work, focusing on Mental Health.  I became a licensed social worker (LSW) in the spring of 2016.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Remove all illnesses from the world
  • Be able to communicate fluently in every language.

Kara Mackinson, Moderator

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Educational Background: I have my B.S. in Psychology from Fordham University and my MSW and MPH from the University of Pittsburgh.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Make mental health prevention and treatment a greater priority in our country’s health care, politics, and culture.
  • Be able to teleport, so I could visit my friends and family in other cities and travel the world cheaply and in an instant!

Megan Marmol, Youth Advocate

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Educational Background: Currently, I am enrolled at Carlow University. My passion in life is to serve my community, advocate for systematic and societal change, and empower others during the process.

If I had a magical wand, I would…

  • Make sure every individual has an active, consistent mentor in their lives from an early age who supports their dreams and helps them accomplish their life goals.

Jennifer Matesa, Project Assistant—Blogs

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Educational background: I did my undergraduate work in English at Allegheny College, and two master’s degrees at the University of Pittsburgh, including one in progress in social work. I have published four books and have taught writing to undergraduates for more than 15 years. I’m interested in helping young people articulate their particular questions and problems and in teaching them intellectual tools they can bring to bear on those concerns, to help empower them and thus reduce their anxiety and depression.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Make it possible for every child on earth to have in their lives at least one person who loves them unconditionally.
  • Make it possible for every child to learn peacefully and reasonably how to use language to express their feelings while they are in those feelings.
  • Stop the American cultural shame and judgment about people’s bodies.

Anna Rastatter, MSW Graduate Intern, Moderator

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Educational background: I have my bachelors in Rehabilitation and Human Services/ English from Pennsylvania State University. I am currently working on obtaining my Maters of Social Work (MSW) with a certificate in Mental Health from the University of Pittsburgh.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Take away the stigma surrounding mental health and wellness and make treatment more available and accessible
  • Do away with social injustice, especially surrounding race, gender, and class disparities
  • Make a three-day weekend standard

Ashley Seiler, Moderator

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Educational background: I have a B.S. in Psychology and I am currently studying for my Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in Direct Practice with mental health.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Travel around the world, make education free and accessible for everyone, and eliminate the negative stigmas regarding mental illness.

Yves Patrick Tagtsi Fotso

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Educational Background: I am a graduate student in telecommunications and computer networking at the University of Pittsburgh. I completed my bachelors degree in computer science with a minor in information technology in December 2014 at SPSU (Southern Polytechnic State University) in Georgia. Determination and hard work are two traits that I believe most reflect me as an individual. My expertise includes

  • android application development
  • software development
  • website design
  • database management
  • project design and management

Academically, I am interested in developing applications, websites, specifically software that will have a positive impact in the world. I would like my career to revolve around building software in the telecommunications world. Explicitly, I would like to merge the coding aspect of computer science with the radio communications and techniques used in telecommunication, to promote scalable and highly distributed software with high efficiency.


Kripa Venkatakrishnan, Research Assistant

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Educational Background: I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh majoring in Molecular Biology with a focus on cell and developmental biology.

If I had a magic wand, I would…

  • Make healthcare more accessible to the under-served populations of the world
  • Make chocolate have the same nutritional value as vegetables (so it would actually be healthy and we wouldn’t feel so bad about eating it)

Danielle Washington, MSW Gradutate Intern, Moderator

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Educational Background: I have my B.A. in Psychology from Hampton University and I am currently in my first year of the Master’s of Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Pittsburgh.

If I had a wand, I would…

  • Travel around the world for free
  • Make college more affordable so everyone has an opportunity to get a quality education

Supporting Our Valued Adolescents