Meet the team

Meet the team

The Aspiro Team

Aspiro is dedicated to providing a high level of care to all of our clients. We want you to feel confident that your child is safe and receiving the very best opportunity for change. Our multi-disciplinary treatment team is made up of compassionate and experienced professionals that share a focus of attaining positive outcomes. Please take some time to meet our team members below.

  • All
  • Admissions Team
  • Clinical Team
  • Family Services Team
  • Field Management Team
  • Field Mentors
  • Health and Wellness Team
  • Leadership Team
  • Marketing Team
  • Support Dogs
  • Vantage Point
  • Katie Thoma
    Katie Thoma
    Executive Director
  • Leah Shingler
    Leah Shingler
    Admissions Director
  • Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
    Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
    Executive Clinical Director / Vantage Point Males & Females, Ages 13-17
  • Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
    Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
    Clinical Director / Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 18-26
  • Carl Smoot, PhD
    Carl Smoot, PhD
    Director of Clinical Assessment
  • David Mayeski, LCSW
    David Mayeski, LCSW
    Family Services Director
  • Carla Shorts, LCMHC
    Carla Shorts, LCMHC
    Director of Client Relations
  • Nick Pellitteri
    Nick Pellitteri
    Program Director
  • Kayleen Richter, PHR
    Kayleen Richter, PHR
    CCO
  • Josh Watson, LCSW
    Josh Watson, LCSW
    CMO
  • Dr. Rachel Wheeler, MD
    Dr. Rachel Wheeler, MD
    Psychiatrist
  • Danielle Gagnon, LCMHC
    Danielle Gagnon, LCMHC
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Jamie Ahern, LCSW
    Jamie Ahern, LCSW
    Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17
  • Hannah Eckert, LCSW
    Hannah Eckert, LCSW
    Vantage Point Females, Ages 13-26
  • Kenzie Larsen, ACMHC
    Kenzie Larsen, ACMHC
    Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 13 – 26
  • Nick Bolton, CSW
    Nick Bolton, CSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26
  • Elise Scribner, CSW
    Elise Scribner, CSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Shailee Davis, CSW
    Shailee Davis, CSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Amalia Gamboa, CSW
    Amalia Gamboa, CSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Carly Sternberg, CSW
    Carly Sternberg, CSW
    Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
  • Jeff Reyes
    Jeff Reyes
    Vantage Point Program Coordinator
  • Adam Balls, MD
    Adam Balls, MD
    Medical Director
  • Jordan Cox, BSN
    Jordan Cox, BSN
    Assistant Medical Director
  • Lizzie Madloch
    Lizzie Madloch
    Medical Coordinator
  • Sophie Zhang
    Sophie Zhang
    Assistant Medical Coordinator
  • Mark Widmer, PhD
    Mark Widmer, PhD
    Independent Research Director
  • Whitney Fox
    Whitney Fox
    Administrative Assistant
  • Natalie Thacker
    Natalie Thacker
    HR Administrator
  • Ally Jackson
    Ally Jackson
    Admissions Counselor
  • Kate Crowell
    Kate Crowell
    Admissions Coordinator
  • Audrey Stewart
    Audrey Stewart
    Digital Marketing Specialist
  • Michael Stanley
    Michael Stanley
    Marketing Media Producer
  • Kip Swem
    Kip Swem
    Field Director
  • Trevor Ahlquist
    Trevor Ahlquist
    Associate Operations Manager
  • Jon Anderson
    Jon Anderson
    Associate Logistics Manager
  • David Gutierrez
    David Gutierrez
    Logistics Manager
  • Grant Nickles
    Grant Nickles
    Skills Camp Facilitator
  • Sophie MacMillan
    Sophie MacMillan
    Field Manager
  • Katy Stockton
    Katy Stockton
    Adventure Coordinator
  • Robert Baldassari
    Robert Baldassari
    Risk & Compliance Manager
  • Hailey Fitz
    Hailey Fitz
    Field Mentor
  • Reuben Hoyos
    Reuben Hoyos
    In-Field Trainer
  • Caroline Willis
    Caroline Willis
    Field Manager
  • Ari
    Ari
    Support Dog
  • Rascal
    Rascal
    Support Dog
  • Saranac
    Saranac
    Support Dog
  • Lewis
    Lewis
    Support Dog
  • Cheyenne
    Cheyenne
    Support Dog
  • Junie
    Junie
    Support Dog
  • Sadie
    Sadie
    Support Dog
  • Boo
    Boo
    Support Dog
Katie Thoma
Executive Director

Katie has been with Aspiro since 2013 and has worn many hats within the organization including Chief Financial Officer, and Controller. Katie came to Aspiro with over twenty years of experience managing businesses with an emphasis on accounting and financial planning. Throughout her tenure, Katie has helped carry out the vision of Aspiro with a dedication to innovation, client care, and excellent customer service. She has developed a deep understanding of Aspiro which contributes to her insightful and practical perspectives on the planning and oversight of the company. Katie believes that building a strong team is the best way to ensure success for Aspiro students and a positive work environment for employees. Kaite’s vision for Aspiro is to continue to bring meaningful experiences to students and provide a supportive and positive environment for employees.

Katie graduated from the University of Northern Iowa, where earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and worked primarily with Middle School and High School age students. After graduating, she found her love for business, especially startups, where she developed a knack for problem-solving in a business setting which has translated to her several roles at Aspiro.

In Katie’s free time you can find her woodworking and running back and forth from Home Depot for home improvement supplies. Katie is also an avid runner and cyclist.

Leah Shingler
Admissions Director

Leah is a graduate of Sterling College, where her passion for outdoor education and wilderness therapy truly began. She joins the Aspiro team with over 20 years of experience in the field of Wilderness Therapy where she has worked in various capacities, ranging from Field Guide to Director of Admissions and Outreach. Leah brings with her a genuine passion for assisting families and referring professionals in finding the best possible solutions for the difficult situations they face. Leah is dedicated to helping students, families and employees achieve growth, healing and personal well-being. Her professional and caring approach instantly fosters trust and connection for those with whom she works. While she has lived in many beautiful regions of the country, Leah grew up in Western Massachusetts and still remains a New Englander at heart. When she is not working Leah enjoys spending time with her husband, friends and fur baby, Josie. She also loves watching most sports, eating most foods, playing golf, road biking, adventuring to new destinations and finding new home-improvement projects to do.

Jamie Kaczmarek, LCSW
Executive Clinical Director / Vantage Point Males & Females, Ages 13-17

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Depression / Attachment / ADHD / Mood Disorders / Anxiety / Addiction / Learning Differences / Trauma

Jamie is a Clinical Supervisor for Aspiro’s Vantage Point program. She holds a B.S. in Outdoor Recreation, emphasizing Environmental Education from Indiana University, and a Master’s in Social Work from The University of Utah. Jamie began her career in the wilderness therapy field over 22 years ago. She specializes in working with students who are neurodiverse and designs treatment plans that focus on social pragmatics, emotional regulation techniques, executive functioning skill-building, and developing reciprocal relationships. With Jamie’s guidance and the support of the entire Vantage Point team, students build up their self-efficacy while being given many opportunities to learn what it takes to succeed.

Jamie’s love for the wilderness influenced her to study outdoor recreation and environmental education. After completing her bachelor’s degree, Jamie attended the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS), where she trained in leadership and team dynamics via an experiential adventure approach. This additional training is something that Jamie integrates into her work with the Vantage Point program.

You can find Jamie mountain biking, hiking, or skiing with her family and her dog Lewis during her free time.

Caitlin Galt, LCMHC
Clinical Director / Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 18-26

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Anxiety / Depression / Identity Issues / Mood Disorders / Attachment /  Trauma / Addictive Behaviors / ADHD / Learning Differences

Caitlin is a Clinical Supervisor for Aspiro’s Vantage Point program. She is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in the State of Utah. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, focusing on Art therapy, sculpture, and painting, and earned her Master’s Degree in Transpersonal Counseling Psychology with an emphasis in wilderness therapy from Naropa University, in 2008.

Caitlin has been a therapist at Aspiro since 2010; however, her experience with wilderness and experiential therapies has played a big part throughout her life. She specializes in working with students who are neurodiverse and has a talent for getting to the root of issues. Caitlin starts by building a trusting relationship with her clients then curates an individualized treatment plan that works best for each client’s and each family’s unique needs. General themes of her approach include problem-solving, emotional regulation techniques, social pragmatics, executive functioning skill-building, and developing reciprocal relationships. Additionally, Caitlin provides continuous support to the Vantage Point team to build up students’ self-efficacy.

When Caitlin is not working, she enjoys visual art projects, rock climbing, and skiing with her family and dog Juniper.

Carl Smoot, PhD
Director of Clinical Assessment

Also specializes in: Psychological Evaluation / Supervision / Autism Spectrum / Disorders / Developmental Disorders / Psychodynamic Psychotherapy / Group Therapy

Carl has been working with outdoor and residential therapeutic programs for over 30 years. After completing his degree, Carl supervised three school-based mental health programs in Hawaii. Carl moved back to Salt Lake City because of his love of the outdoors and for the opportunities in Utah to work in wilderness programs, complete psychological evaluations, and to conduct consultations.

Carl has been with Aspiro since 2012 and is currently Aspiro’s Director of Clinical Assessment. In this role, Carl supervises the Aspiro clinical team, reviews complex clinical cases, and consults with Aspiro clinicians and families when unique clinical challenges arise. Given his extensive experience in mental health, Carl often assists with training Aspiro field staff in a variety of clinically relevant topics.

Under Carl’s leadership, the Aspiro clinical team aims to create positive client outcomes by implementing evidence-based clinical practices. Critically, Carl ensures that the Aspiro clinical model is motivating and is built on the principles of positive psychology.

Away from work, Carl enjoys fly fishing, duck hunting, and being outdoors with his wife of over 20 years, his 3 children and his grandchildren.

David Mayeski, LCSW
Family Services Director

Also specializes in: Family Systems Work / Understanding Family Roles, Dynamics and Power Struggles / Genograms

David comes to Aspiro with almost 20 years of experience working with families in therapeutic programs. Originally David received his Bachelor’s degree in Government and Politics and went on to earn his Master of Social Work.

Prior to joining Aspiro, David served in many capacities at highly respected residential treatment centers as a primary therapist, Admissions Director, and Clinical Director. After working as a primary therapist for two years, he was awarded his License in Clinical Social Work (LCSW) in 2003 and has continued practicing therapy with students and their families. His desire to help families heal and overcome obstacles, his years of experience, and his clinical sophistication, make him the perfect match as the Family Services Director where he continues to help families heal through parent coaching, therapy sessions, webinars, and during groups over Aspiro’s Parent Seminars.

David is passionate about helping others and guiding families through their journey of connecting and healing as a system. David enjoys talking politics, playing a round of golf, and especially cherishes time with his beautiful wife and three children.

 

Carla Shorts, LCMHC
Director of Client Relations

Carla adds over 15 years of clinical experience to the Aspiro leadership team. She brings warmth, enthusiasm, and a good dose of humor to her role as the Director of Client Relations, where she provides additional support to current and alumni families. She does this by facilitating support groups, planning regional family programming, and collaborating with the marketing and family services team to enhance family and referral partner experiences.

While earning a master’s degree in clinical counseling from Johns Hopkins University, Carla had the opportunity to help conduct research alongside many of the leaders in the field of autism and ADHD. After graduating, Carla’s career has been centered around helping struggling families.

Additionally, Carla has experience working in various mental health settings, including therapeutic boarding schools, wilderness therapy programs, inpatient hospital settings, and private practice. Prior to joining the team at Aspiro, Carla was the marketing and admissions director at a highly regarded therapeutic boarding school.

Outside of work, Carla enjoys traveling, painting, cheering on the Clemson Tigers, and spending time out on the lake with her family.

Nick Pellitteri
Program Director

After earning a degree in Forestry and Recreation Resource Management from the University of Wisconsin, Nick took his first wilderness therapy job in Utah. Nick started as a field staff, and throughout his 7 years working for that company, he took on roles in staff development, program leadership eventually becoming a field director. In 2014 Nick switched to the nonprofit world where he helped improve access to the outdoors to people from various backgrounds. He continued to grow as an industry leader in experiential, and adventure education before his love of wilderness therapy drew him back to the industry in early 2020.

Nick’s passion for the outdoors began when he was a child growing up in Wisconsin as he spent time outdoors camping, hunting and fishing with his Dad.  When Nick is not working, you can find him snowboarding on the slopes, hiking through the forest, or camping with his wife and son.

Kayleen Richter, PHR
CCO

Kayleen Richter, Chief Compliance Officer for Aspiro Group, is an HR professional with over 16 years of experience in the public and private sectors. She is certified through Human Resource Certification Institute as a Professional Human Resource, PHR. Kayleen has been with the Aspiro team since April 2013, managing employee relations, training, recruiting, compensation, performance management, employee engagement, Licensing compliance, workers compensation, benefits, risk and more. She has been a Society for Human Resource Management Member since 2015. Kayleen loves working with people and helping employees have a great experience while employed at Aspiro. Kayleen enjoys running, volleyball, camping, boating, and most of all spending time with and raising 6 beautiful children.

Josh Watson, LCSW
CMO

Also specializes in: crisis de-escalation / anxiety resolution / frustration tolerance / verbal de-escalation / CBT/DBT / interpersonal relationships/leadership development

Josh has been working with adolescents, young adults, and their families since 2001. As an original member of the Aspiro Leadership Team, Josh has fulfilled several roles at Aspiro including Clinical Wilderness Therapist, Clinical Supervision, Admissions Director, Strategic Development, and currently serves as the Chief Marketing Officer. He is passionate about carrying out the mission of Aspiro and creating the best possible experience for our clients. When Josh is not at work he enjoys traveling, cooking, outdoor adventure (of course!), golf, and spending time doing just about anything with his wife and two daughters.

Dr. Rachel Wheeler, MD
Psychiatrist

Dr. Rachel Wheeler provides Aspiro students with psychiatric care, including medication management. She received her Doctor of Medicine (MD) from the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and has practiced medicine for more than 20 years. Dr. Wheeler completed an adult residency at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI, during medical school. After residency, she transferred to The University of Utah and completed a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry at Primary Children’s Hospital. Dr. Wheeler believes in the importance of involving the family in psychiatric care and is an advocate for doing so. She also recognizes the importance of various treatment modalities when working with her patients, including adventure therapy. She believes that wilderness adventure therapy increases gratitude and helps students overcome stressful and unique circumstances. Dr. Wheeler lives an active lifestyle and has personally benefited from various activities that nurture the mind and body.

Danielle Gagnon, LCMHC
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in: Trauma / Adoption / Attachment / Family Relationships / Family Dynamics / Substance Use / Emotional Regulation / Anxiety / Depression

Danielle has worked with adolescents and young adults in a wide range of settings including residential treatment centers and wilderness therapy. Throughout her years as a therapist, she has especially resonated with experiential therapeutic modalities and with the healing nature of the outdoors. This has created a passion for working in wilderness therapy.

Danielle has a deep understanding of the importance of working with the whole family in addition to the individual client, thus allowing family members to grow and change both individually and as a system. She uses a holistic approach in her work and pulls from a variety of therapeutic modalities in order to best fit each individual’s specific needs. Some of the many modalities she uses include Brain Spotting and Trauma-Focused CBT. These forms of therapy create a space for students to access negative memories and feelings then release them, allowing the brain and body to heal. Danielle takes pride in using a relational approach and in creating a safe and comfortable environment for her clients.

Danielle was born and raised in New England. As a true New Englander, she loves spending time immersed in the great outdoors. When she is not at work and teaching students about the power of nature and adventure, she can be found outside on adventures of her own which include hiking, kayaking, snowboarding, paddleboarding, rock climbing, and camping.

Jamie Ahern, LCSW
Adolescent Males, Ages 13-17

Also specializes in: Trauma / Relationships / Emotional Regulation / ADHD / Executive Functioning Skills / Anxiety / Depression / Substance Use / Learning Differences. 

Jamie has been a mental health therapist since 2011. He was first introduced to wilderness and adventure therapy as a field guide at Aspiro. After working as an Aspiro therapist for nearly 4 years, he relocated and provided therapy services in an underserved area of rural Montana. It was during this time that he found a passion for helping his clients recover from trauma, utilizing EMDR therapy as a core treatment modality in addition to a variety of other therapeutic modalities such as CBT, DBT and motivational interviewing. He returned to wilderness therapy after working with community mental health and is happy to now be back at Aspiro. Jamie is a warm and inviting therapist with a passion for helping young people and families in need. He strives to establish a non-judgmental and mutually respectful therapeutic relationship with his students and works very closely with their families, supporting them during their child’s stay and inviting them to challenge their own patterns.

Jamie wholeheartedly believes in and is passionate about the healing power, growth opportunities and excitement found in the outdoors. His free time is spent with his wife in pursuits such as fly fishing, hunting, mountain biking, and skiing. He also enjoys tying flies, playing the banjo, and spending time with his dogs.

Hannah Eckert, LCSW
Vantage Point Females, Ages 13-26

Originally from the Adirondacks of Northern New York, Hannah attended the University of Denver where she graduated with a B.A. in Psychology. Her passion for the outdoors and working with adolescents translated well for her start at Aspiro as a field guide in the spring of 2015. In that position, Hannah fell in love with the field of wilderness therapy. After leaving to work at a therapeutic boarding school and gaining a broader perspective of the therapeutic field, she returned to Aspiro where she worked as a therapist intern before completing her Master’s Degree and working as a clinician herself. She also has done therapy at a grief support center for kids, where she did counseling and led grief groups, furthering her knowledge about grief counseling and complicated bereavement. A main focus for Hannah is working with girls who have ASD, a neuro-atypical presentation, or who have a difficult time with social integration. She also has experience working with oppositional behaviors, anxiety, depression, addiction, and finds value in incorporating experiential modalities such as adventure therapy, art therapy, and recreational therapy.

The beautiful desert landscapes of Utah drew Hannah to this part of the country. She now spends most of her free time canyoneering and exploring these areas with her dog, Saranac.

Kenzie Larsen, ACMHC
Vantage Point Males and Females, Ages 13 - 26

Also specializes in: Autism Spectrum Disorders / NLD / Family Systems / Mindfulness / Depression / Attachment / ADHD / Grief and Loss / Mood Disorders / Anxiety / Identity Concerns

Kenzie has worked with adolescents and young adults in various settings, including residential treatment centers, outpatient treatment facilities, and wilderness adventure therapy. Kenzie started at Aspiro as a guide and was then motivated to get her master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling.

As a therapist, Kenzie has specialized in working with neurodiverse individuals who struggle with cognitive, behavioral, executive functioning, and social issues. Many of Kenzie’s past clients have also experienced depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, stage of life issues, family issues, and identity concerns.

Kenzie takes a relationship-based approach to helping her clients which makes them feel more comfortable and connected. She utilizes a variety of evidence-based clinical practices and frameworks to create individualized treatment plans for her clients. In addition, she teaches her clients a wide variety of skills to help them shift their emotional and mental states more effectively. Kenzie’s goal is to set her clients up for success, wherever their path may lead.

Kenzie is an adventurer at heart and can be found rock climbing, running, hiking, or biking in her free time with her family and her dog, Gus.

Nick Bolton, CSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males, Ages 13-26

Also specializes in: Substance Use Disorders / Relationship Work / Lack of Motivation/ Risk-Taking Behaviors / ADHD / Self-Esteem Issues / Depression / Anxiety

Hailing from Portland Oregon, as a teen Nick Bolton dreamed of becoming a high school football coach and history teacher. However, while attending college he began working at therapeutic programs and recognized he could apply his strengths as an educator to help people overcome their personal challenges. Starting in 2012 he began as a peer support, and then a life coach, a DBT skills trainer, a case manager, a recovery coach, a parenting coach, a program manager and a program director. His love for helping people work towards their goals and become the best version of themselves, propelled his educational pursuit to become a therapist. He has enjoyed his work in the wilderness most of all, because that is where he has seen the most growth take place.

Nick has a talent for connecting with his students. He believes that client-driven treatment is crucial to the change process, especially with the older adolescents and young adults that he primarily works with. He assists his students in identifying their goals and aligning their behaviors with those goals to create a healthy future. As a therapist, Nick takes a collaborative approach, meets people where they are at, and can integrate different modalities depending on what the student and family feel most comfortable with. He is just as passionate about sports and the outdoors as he is about personal growth. He enjoys weight lifting, running, playing softball and golf, skiing, and camping.

Elise Scribner, CSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26
Also specializes in: Trauma-Informed Care / ADHD / Self-Esteem Issues / Depression / Anxiety / Mindfulness / SMART Recovery

Elise began working at Aspiro as a field guide in 2015. After witnessing the profound impact that wilderness therapy had on the youth and young adults she worked with, Elise decided to return to school to become a wilderness therapist. Elise moved back to her hometown of Portland, Oregon, to attend graduate school at Portland State University where she earned her Masters of Social Work and became a Licensed School Social Worker. Her Bachelor’s degree in Social Justice that she received from Quest University Canada in Squamish, British Columbia, helped provide a strong foundation for her focus on equity as she completed her master’s program.

Elise’s therapeutic approach is strengths-based, student-centered, and trauma-Informed. She integrates Motivational Interviewing, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy while maintaining an equity lens with her students. Elise has used this approach while working with children in the foster care system and with teens in academic settings who struggled with challenges such as early trauma, depression, anxiety, and identity development. Elise believes that everyone deserves to live a life worth living and sees therapy as one step that can help young people move towards achieving their goals. In her free time, Elise likes to adventure. She enjoys rock climbing, snowboarding, backpacking, biking, and sailing.

Shailee Davis, CSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26

Also Specializes in: Family Systems/Self-Esteem Issues/Substance Use/Trauma-Informed Care/Depression/ Anxiety

Shailee was born and raised in Utah. During her undergraduate studies at Utah Valley University, she worked in substance abuse treatment and she also worked at a residential treatment center for teenage girls, where she found passion in helping others enhance their lives. Shailee grew to love working with families and helping them understand their family dynamics. She quickly learned that change can happen when love and boundaries work together. Her work experiences led her to the decision to pursue a career as a therapist. During her four years working in residential treatment, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Social Work.

Shailee pursued her goal to become a clinician and graduated with a Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. She is trained in Motivational Interviewing, Solution Focused Therapy, and Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She believes in utilizing the therapeutic relationship with her clients to help them explore, understand, and live their own core values in order to enhance their lives. Shailee has a gift for helping the people she is with feel loved and understood, and she therefore has a talent for connecting with and earning the trust of her students. Shailee married her childhood best friend and they enjoy spending time together in the great outdoors. She loves to travel and go on camping and fishing trips.

Amalia Gamboa, CSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26

Specializes in: Trauma / Substance Use Disorders / Family Systems / Attachment / Lack of Motivation / Risk-Taking Behaviors / Self-Esteem Issues / Depression / Anxiety / Mood Disorders / Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

Amalia is a native Costa Rican who completed her bachelor’s degree in eco-tourism. She then worked at Outward Bound Costa Rica before getting a job as a field guide in a wilderness program. She excelled at her work in the wilderness and became the field director before earning her master’s degree in social work.

Amalia has worked in settings such as juvenile correction and wilderness therapy. She has worked with clients from various backgrounds, particularly teens and young adults who struggle with risk-taking behaviors, defiance, and substance abuse. Amalia uses a mix of different modalities tailored to the needs of both the client and family. These include motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, and narrative therapy.

She finds that narrative therapy can be particularly beneficial for helping clients analyze and change the stories they tell themselves about the world. In addition, experience has led her to believe that this type of therapy can benefit people who experience mood disorders or learned helplessness during their early adulthood.

Amalia is fluent in English and Spanish and is comfortable working with clients in either language. Amalia has a passion for traveling and experiencing other cultures. She loves the outdoors, specifically mountain biking and rock climbing, and appreciates the power of nature. She finds joy in seeing students overcome their struggles and creating lasting change in their lives.

Carly Sternberg, CSW
Adolescent & Young Adult Males and Females, Ages 13-26

Also Specializes in: Family Systems / Depression / Anxiety / Self-Esteem Issues / Attachment / Family Relationships / Family Dynamics / Trauma

Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Carly attended the University of Vermont and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in global studies and economics. After a short stint on the east coast, she found her way to Utah, where she spent summers working as a field guide for Aspiro. Carly went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Utah and believes that the challenging and nurturing atmosphere in the wilderness offers a valuable ground for personal growth.

Carly also brings a wealth of previous experience working with families. She focuses on creating and strengthening healthy boundaries, facilitating closeness, and building cohesion. Carly works effectively as an intermediary between family members and uses this position to establish better lines of communication.

As a former guide, Carly brings a unique authenticity to her approach to wilderness therapy. She knows what it’s like to be out in the wilderness with students and uses this knowledge to build rapport with her clients. As a result, Carly is exceptionally skilled at building relationships with her clients and often gets through to them where others have failed.

Carly loves exploring the diverse landscapes of Utah through mountain biking and backcountry skiing. She also enjoys tending to her vegetable garden and cooking for her family and friends.

Jeff Reyes
Vantage Point Program Coordinator

Jeff Reyes grew up in the woods of Wisconsin and spent summers camping and fishing on his grandparents’ farm in Iowa. While in high school, he discovered the joy of working with kids while employed at the YMCA as an athletic instructor. The enthusiasm he gained for working with young people continued into college where he was the after-school program director at a daycare. Jeff graduated from Graceland University double majoring in Psychology and Health. After college, he taught English at a kindergarten academy in South Korea. Upon returning from Korea, he discovered Aspiro, which was a perfect blend of his many passions; being outdoors, working with young people, mentoring, and helping others. Jeff quickly found his niche in the Vantage Point Program and was a consistent lead guide in the group for a year and a half before taking the Vantage Point Program Coordinator position. In his free time, Jeff plays multiple team sports including basketball, soccer, and ultimate frisbee. He also enjoys outdoor activities such as mountain biking, rock climbing, and snowboarding.

Adam Balls, MD
Medical Director

Dr. Adam Balls is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who is actively practicing in the Salt Lake City area for Utah Emergency Physicians. He obtained his MD degree from Georgetown University in 2004. In 2007, Dr. Balls completed his residency in Emergency Medicine at Maricopa Medical Center in Phoenix, AZ where he also served as chief resident. After his residency, Adam and his family relocated to San Antonio Texas where he served on active duty for four years as an EM physician at Wilford Hall Medical Center, a Level 1 Trauma Center and EM Residency Program. During his time in the Air Force, he served as a team leader for a Critical Care Aeromedical Transport Team on deployments to Iraq, Germany, and Afghanistan.

Adam currently resides in Salt Lake City with his wife and three children. He serves as Medical Director for Intermountain Medical Center in Murray, Utah, a Level 1 Trauma Center and the largest ED in the state of Utah. He also works as Medical Director for Murray Fire Department. Adam is passionate about delivering excellent patient care in the Emergency Department and enjoys training and teaching. He is excited to support the needs of Pure Life in his Medical Director role. Outside of his clinical work, Adam enjoys the outdoors in Utah, supporting his children in their various sports and school activities, and living life through travel experiences around the world.

Jordan Cox, BSN
Assistant Medical Director

Jordan completed his Bachelor’s in Nursing at Utah Tech University and has served as a Registered Nurse in emergency medicine and long-term care facilities. Jordan works with Aspiro’s Medical Director, Dr. Adam Balls, MD, and the rest of the Aspiro medical team to provide students with comprehensive medical care. Jordan is a particularly strong communicator and finds ways to connect with parents, field staff, therapists, and other medical professionals to provide the highest quality medical care to Aspiro students.

Jordan is originally from Huntington, Utah, a small town about an hour east of the Aspiro basecamp. He is a proud Eagle Scout and is grateful to have had the opportunity to grow up in Utah. In Jordan’s free time, he enjoys getting outdoors by backpacking and mountain biking. However, you can find him in the kitchen when he is not out on an adventure, as he has a passion for nutritional sciences and loves to cook for family and friends.

Lizzie Madloch
Medical Coordinator

Lizzie’s experience as a field guide adds to her understanding and knowledge as she cares for Aspiro students. She has an Advanced Emergency Medical Technician certification with over four years of experience providing direct patient care in this role. She was a Crew Chief for the Skidmore College Emergency Services and served as a member of their board of directors. Lizzie has a degree from Skidmore College and graduated summa cum laude majoring in biology and chemistry. Lizzie has been an instructor for the Stop the Bleed program. This program is intended to teach people how to recognize life-threatening bleeding and how to intervene effectively. Lizzie enjoys being outside and reading. Some of her favorite activities include backpacking, hiking, climbing, and skiing.

Sophie Zhang
Assistant Medical Coordinator

Sophie Zhang is Aspiro’s Assistant Medical Coordinator. She is a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and Wilderness First Responder (WFR) with experience providing direct patient care. She has been an asset to the Aspiro medical team in providing excellent patient care for Aspiro students. In her role, she completes weekly medical check-ins, ensures accurate distribution of student medications, and is a part of the on-call medical staff rotation to address medical concerns that come up in the field. 

Sophie is originally from Reno, Nevada, and grew up hiking. She went to college at UCLA and earned a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience with a minor in Spanish. Before working at Aspiro, Sophie was a management team member for a free health clinic in Tijuana, Mexico. She also worked as a whitewater guide in California for five years. When Sophie is not working, she is skiing, climbing, whitewater rafting, or kayaking.

Mark Widmer, PhD
Independent Research Director

Mark Widmer, Ph.D. is a licensed Recreational Therapist and a tenured professor of Experience Design and Management and teaches in the MBA and EMBA programs at the Marriott School of Business at BYU. For over 20 years he has conducted research on the effectiveness of theory-based adventure programs in promoting self-efficacy, identity development, and positive psychology/character strengths. He and his colleague’s work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals. Mark also has several ongoing research projects with leading therapeutic outdoor programs. In 2008 he started a consulting company and has worked a number of domestic and international companies, including Intel, ADIA, Actelion Pharm, Hyundai Heavy Industries, and more; building intentional culture, performance management, and utilizing adventure experiences. He also works with high net worth families to identify and pass on family culture and prepare future generations to thrive. Mark loves to mountain, snow, road and gravel bike. He also spends time backpacking, sailing, ice climbing, fly fishing and other outdoor adventures with his wife, 4 kids, and 5 grandkids.

Whitney Fox
Administrative Assistant

Born and raised in Utah, Whitney joined the Aspiro team in early 2018. Whitney’s study of the arts has allowed her to look at systems with a creative and fresh perspective, making her an integral part of Aspiro’s office management team. She is eager to jump into new projects and broaden her understanding of the inner workings of Aspiro. Whitney’s attention to detail and family focus has enriched the family services department and added an important element of attention and care to everyone she works with. Whitney enjoys spending her free time with her daughter and camping with her friends, family, and dogs.

Natalie Thacker
HR Administrator

Natalie Thacker is Aspiro’s Human Resources Generalist. In this role, she wears many hats and does a great job balancing recruiting, onboarding, compensation, benefits, and ensuring that company policies and procedures are followed. Natalie has worked at Aspiro for over eight years. Prior to coming to Aspiro, Natalie worked as a childcare provider where she incorporated the outdoors as much as possible and encouraged the development of a lifelong connection with the natural world. Natalie has called Utah home for over the past 20 years. Prior to Utah, she lived in the Czech Republic, Virgin Islands, and Colorado. Natalie enjoys working for Aspiro because she feels it is a company with a positive growth mindset that supports individuals reaching their true potential. When Natalie is not working, she enjoys traveling, reading, hiking, and camping all over Utah with her husband and six children.

Ally Jackson
Admissions Counselor

Ally has been working in the treatment industry for over six years in various admissions and marketing roles for residential treatment centers and wilderness programs. Ally graduated from Utah Valley University with her Bachelors degree in Psychology, and also brings four years experience as a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children to the team. Admissions is something Ally is very passionate about and she understands the importance of connecting with and supporting families throughout the admissions process in order to help find the right fit for each family. Ally loves spending time with her friends and family, and when not working, she can be found spending time with her dog and exploring all of the beauty Utah has to offer.

Kate Crowell
Admissions Coordinator

Kate has worked in the wilderness industry for over twelve years, spending the majority of that time with Aspiro.  Kate has gained vast experience in numerous departments including working as a field guide, logistics coordinator, purchaser, accountant, and now as the Family Services Coordinator. The different roles she has played at Aspiro plus her great attention to detail and organization, make her an incredible asset to the Family Services team as she has an in-depth knowledge of the details of each department and of wilderness therapy as a whole. Kate’s experience allows her to easily arrange details for clinicians and families when organizing Family Days, and to answer questions for parents on all of the aspects of Aspiro.  Kate enjoys gardening, reading, knitting, and spending time with her husband, two little girls, and three dogs.

Audrey Stewart
Digital Marketing Specialist

Audrey started at Aspiro in 2014 as a field guide. After working in the field, Audrey transitioned into the Logistics department where she primarily facilitated student intakes and departures. After several years, Audrey was promoted to Logistics Manager and joined the Senior Management team. Most recently Audrey has moved over to the marketing team where she currently works as a digital marketing specialist. Throughout her time at Aspiro, Audrey has worked in many roles but has always maintained her passion for helping students and their families. Audrey’s educational background includes a degree in Child, Adult, and Human Services from Iowa State University in addition to a Paramedic Specialist Certificate. She previously worked in a pediatric emergency room and brings her medical background with her to work every day. She is committed to being a life long learner and is currently working towards a marketing certificate. Her love for the outdoors and desire to help others has never waned and she believes strongly in the healing properties of the wilderness and of high adventure activities like mountain biking, skiing, and rock climbing, which she pursues in her own time.

Michael Stanley
Marketing Media Producer

Michael is a Utah native who grew up among the red rocks near Zion National Park. He is a storyteller at heart. Michael is passionate about sharing the inspiring stories of transformation and reconciliation he is privileged to witness in the lives of Aspiro students and their families. He holds a degree in Media Arts with an emphasis in non-fiction film production. He enjoys adventure and wildlife photography and takes pride in helping Aspiro showcase its beautiful and awe-inspiring areas of operation. He’s also a dad joke aficionado and loves nothing more than to help guides and students find the joy and humor in everyday situations. Among his many adventures, being a dad to his son and daughter is his favorite.

Kip Swem
Field Director

Kip grew up in eastern Washington where he quickly found a love for the outdoors. After going to school at Central Washington University, he traveled to Honduras to volunteer as an English teacher and manage a  program on proper nutrition for the local youth. It was in Honduras that Kip learned that service was his passion, thus leading him to wilderness therapy. Kip has been with Aspiro since early 2016. He started out as a field guide where he was able to develop a diverse skill set to help our unique and complicated students. Following that, he transitioned into the role of recruiter where he discovered our staff and helped them develop to a high standard which Aspiro holds. As an associate field director, Kip now manages Aspiro’s field staff and focuses on training them to be as effective as possible. Kip can likely be found visiting student groups in the field, hiking into a backcountry lake, or planning his next adventure.

Trevor Ahlquist
Associate Operations Manager

Trever Ahlquist is Aspiro’s Associate Operations Director. In this role, Trevor oversees Aspiro’s expeditions and weekly staffing needs. Trevor has held many roles within the Aspiro group since he started as a guide in 2006. These include being a lead field guide, the logistics coordinator, and an in-field trainer. In addition to his work at Aspiro Adventure, Trevor also has experience as a shift lead at a residential treatment center and spent a year in Costa Rica working as a guide at another adventure-based wilderness program. Trevor is excited about his new role as Associate Operations Director at Aspiro as he enjoys the company culture and believes in the work that Aspiro does. Trevor’s favorite outdoor activity is backpacking and in his free time, he enjoys going disc golfing and exploring new restaurants.

Jon Anderson
Associate Logistics Manager

Jon Anderson is Aspiro’s Associate Logistics Manager. He provides daily operational oversight and direction to the logistics team to ensure all student and staff needs are met in this role. Jon attended the University of Utah and earned a bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation. Jon started out guiding at Aspiro, then gained experience in logistics and sales while working for an outdoor gear company.. Jon came back to Aspiro and worked as a logistics coordinator before accepting the position as the Associate Logistics Manager. Jon is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah. He enjoys skiing, biking, fly fishing, camping, and playing guitar in his free time.

David Gutierrez
Logistics Manager

David Gutierrez is Aspiro’s Logistics Manager. In this role, David provides oversight to the logistics department, including fleet management, transportation coordination, student gear distribution, and supervises logistics staff. David attended Northern Illinois University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science with a minor in History. David also served in the United States Army and worked for several years in the logistics field as a Service Coordinator for a medical courier company. David is originally from Chicago, Illinois. He grew up snowboarding and playing football and lacrosse. When David is not working enjoys hiking with his labradoodle Walter, hunting, snowboarding, and watching football.

Grant Nickles
Skills Camp Facilitator

Grant Nickles is Aspiro’s Skills Camp Facilitator. In this role, he facilitates a unique experience where students build self-efficacy while learning the arts of leatherworking, primitive skills, basic metalworking, and archery. Grant is originally from Wyoming, where he grew up camping, hunting, backpacking, and hiking. Grant earned his associate’s degree in outdoor education and recreation leadership from Northwest College and his bachelor’s degree in recreation and outdoor education from Western State Colorado University. After graduation Grant spent ten years leading youth backpacking trips, ski patrolling and even portered loads for a mountain guiding company in Montana.

Grant loves working at Aspiro most of all because of the “Ah-Ha!” moments when students learn a new skill or something new about themselves. When Grant is not working, he enjoys running, bowhunting, mountaineering, backpacking, rock climbing, skiing, primitive skills, and reading.

Sophie MacMillan
Field Manager

Bio Coming Soon

Katy Stockton
Adventure Coordinator

Katy is an Adventure Coordinator at Aspiro. In this role, she teaches guides how to facilitate adventure with a therapeutic approach and emphasis on risk management. Katy is originally from a small town in New Mexico. She attended Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, CO, and earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy with a psychology minor. While earning her degree, Katy spent six years mentoring middle schoolers. After graduating from college, she spent time as a commercial rock and ice guide. When she isn’t at work, Katy enjoys mountain biking and rock climbing.

Robert Baldassari
Risk & Compliance Manager

Robert Baldassari is one of two In-Field Trainers at Aspiro. It is his job to support Field Guides by providing on-the-job evaluations and coaching. Robert works with our Field Guides to grow their toolbox of guiding techniques. In this role, Robert has the pleasure of visiting several student groups each week and is able to get to know most of the students at Aspiro. Robert grew up in California and moved to Utah in 2006 to live near the mountains. His background is in ski instructing, where he has over 10 years of experience and holds several certifications, including his PSIA level 2, AASI Level 1, and Children Specialist 1. During his free time, Robert enjoys skiing, hiking, and backpacking. He has also been known to rock climb and ice climb. Some of his more memorable expeditions include climbing Mt Gannett, Mt. Shasta, Mt. Rainier, and Mt. Hood.

Hailey Fitz
Field Mentor

Hailey Fitz is a guide mentor at Aspiro. She provides professional coaching and support to fellow field guides in this role. In addition, Hailey helps field guides expand their knowledge of guiding techniques and provides additional support to the team as a whole. Hailey’s favorite part of working at Aspiro is seeing the students’ transformations at parent seminar, especially when reuniting with their families. Haily attended Florida Southern College and earned two bachelor’s degrees in criminology and psychology. She is originally from Jupiter, Florida, and has previously worked at several summer camps and completed an internship working with at-risk youth in Lakeland, Florida. When she is not working, Haily enjoys rock climbing, mountain biking and has recently learned to ski.

Reuben Hoyos
In-Field Trainer

Reuben is an In-Field Trainer at Aspiro. It is his job to support field guides by providing on-the-job evaluations and coaching. Reuben works with our field guides to grow their toolbox of guiding techniques. In this role, Reuben has the pleasure of visiting several student groups each week and is able to get to know most of the students at Aspiro. Reuben attended Middle Tennessee State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in advertising, public relations, and social psychology. After graduating, he worked as the director of marketing for an insurance company. When he decided that the corporate world wasn’t for him, Reuben decided to search for more meaningful work. He chose to work for Aspiro because he agrees with the company’s philosophies and loves the supportive community. When Reuben is not working, you can find him rock climbing.

Caroline Willis
Field Manager

Caroline is one of Aspiro’s Field Managers. She recruits, evaluates, and trains qualified applicants to become field staff in this role. Caroline manages field guides and provides continuous training and development opportunities. Caroline earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Barnard College/Columbia University. After college, Caroline returned to Wyoming to teach skiing at Jackson Hole. Then Caroline joined Aspiro as a Field Guide, served as Field Mentor, and earned her Wilderness First Responder (WFR) certificate. Caroline enjoys her role because it combines her passion for teaching and mentoring with her love for the outdoors in a way that has furthered her commitment to helping adolescents create healthy lives. A Connecticut native, Caroline spent summers teaching sailing in Maine and led a sailing program of instructors and students. She fell in love with the West during a month-long wilderness camping trip in Yellowstone National Park. When Caroline is not working, she enjoys sailing, skiing, rock climbing, hiking, tennis, golf, and yoga.

Ari
Support Dog

Meet Ari! She is a very playful 2-year-old who loves nothing more than sticks and playing in the water. She loves going to base camp with her owner, therapist Janna Dean. Ari spends her time at Aspiro’s basecamp chasing sticks with students or settling in with them during therapy to offer an extra listening ear and support. When Ari is not working with Aspiro students, she loves going on hikes with her family and cuddling up to them at home.

Rascal
Support Dog

Meet Rascal! Rascal is a 5-year-old Border Collie German Shepherd mix and life-long companion to therapist Nick Bolton. He is a dog with a lot of personality and energy. He relates well with Aspiro students because he too requires a lot of emotional support. Rascal is sensitive and deeply cares for people, which makes him an excellent companion during therapy sessions. Aspiro students always look forward to the days that Rascal gets to join Nick at the Aspiro basecamp.

Saranac
Support Dog

Saranac is a giant white lab whose happy place is hanging out with students at our base camp, especially when they throw sticks for her! In between fetch sessions she likes to check in on therapy sessions or curl up in the circle for group therapy. She’s not a big talker but we like to include her anyway. Saranac is a great co-therapist to her owner, Hannah Eckert, and what she doesn’t contribute verbally comes through in her meaningful or quizzical eye contact with whoever’s sharing. Her funky name comes from a small town in Northern New York where Hannah grew up exploring the mountains, woods, and lakes. When she’s not busy working or exploring Utah, Saranac likes taking long naps on the couch and making sure Hannah stays on schedule by reminding her when it’s mealtime.

Lewis
Support Dog

Lewis Edward Kaczmarek is the very best stick fetcher at Aspiro. He’s very familiar with Aspiro as he started to work here when he was only eight weeks old. He is now six, and is pretty sure he knows the mountain better than any human.  He loves going to work with his mom, Jamie Kaczmarek.  Lewis’ strengths include fetching, handshakes, not eating people’s food, and kindness.  Some of his weaknesses are persistence (he tends to be preoccupied with fetch), and sometimes he cuddles up on sleeping bags without asking (He’s working on this).  Lewis’ mom and the other students say he is good at helping people to stay calm.  He tries to engage people in play whenever he can. He truly believes in letting the inner child out and allowing himself to surrender to the silliness.

Cheyenne
Support Dog

Although Cheyenne is far too humble to brag, her owner and her students have appointed her as the “Queen of Aspiro.” Cheyenne is a 12-year-old Border Collie who’s joined hundreds of therapy sessions over the years. She is the fly fishing and adventure partner of Jamie Ahern, Aspiro Boys therapist. Cheyenne was adopted in Tennessee, where she was neglected as a puppy. Her story is one of overcoming and learning to trust. She’s older now, so she spends less time chasing deer and elk and more time chewing pine cones. Her demeanor is calm and sweet, but Cheyenne will only approach someone when she knows she’s safe. Getting to cuddle with Cheyenne is a right of passage for Jamie’s students.

Junie
Support Dog

Juniper (Junie) is a one-year-old mixed breed dog hailing from the desert of New Mexico. She found her way to Utah through a rescue organization, and after a short time in a foster home, she arrived at her forever home with Aspiro’s therapist Caitlin and her daughter. While in the field, Junie utilizes her intuition and gentle demeanor to connect with students in any way they feel comfortable. She loves belly rubs, finding antlers, and running around base camp. When Junie is not at work, she loves to play at the dog park, ski with her humans in the backcountry, paddleboard, hike, and run wild in the desert.

Sadie
Support Dog

Sadie is a Goldendoodle and belongs to one of our admissions counselors, Ally Jackson. Sadie loves coming to the office and greeting new students and parents. She frequently makes appearances over zoom calls and meetings. Sadie would love to be a therapist herself, she is a master at knowing who needs support and loves to lick tears away. She’ll be best friends with anyone who gives her belly rubs and plays fetch with her. Sadie brings joy, laughter, and endless amounts of cuddles to everyone around her!

Boo
Support Dog

Boo is a 7-year-old teddy bear masquerading as an Australian Shepard. Boo loves to go to work with his owner Lizzie Madloch, Aspiro’s Medical Coordinator. Lizzy brings Boo to work with her when she meets students for medical check-ins so that they can play with her and enjoy her companionship. Boo loves to snuggle and also loves picking up rocks in rivers, hanging out at climbing areas, and playing fetch.