Our ABA Team

Clinical Director of ABA/ Board Certified Behavior Analyst : Yisrael Dahvid is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst currently providing ABA services in Houston, TX. She graduated Cum Laude with a BA in Psychology from The University of Saint Thomas. She is a member of the Aquinas Honor Society, founded the Disability Awareness Club, and completed numerous volunteer projects for the local community and surrounding areas. She also served as Concertmaster of the UST Orchestra 2012-2015 and led several chamber groups on campus. She received her Masters in Education from Penn State University with emphasis in ABA and is a Licensed Behavior Analyst now  working on several academic publications supporting ABA research.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst : Dr. Xin (Cynthia) Dong is from China. She has lived in College Station, Texas for 8 years with her family. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a doctoral degree in Special Education. Her research interest is in social skills interventions for children with or at risk of behavioral problems. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a great passion for bringing the research findings into practice and making positive impacts in the life of children with special needs. She is devoted to helping children to reach the maximum of their potential and succeed in their life.

Board Certified Behavior Analyst :Amber Goforth, BCBA is from Lafayette, Louisiana. She attended her undergraduate at Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, La where she received a dual major in Psychology and Addiction Studies. She attended her Graduate program at McNeese State university in Lake Charles, La where she worked as a graduate assistant and intern at the McNeese Autism Program. She graduated with a masters in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. Her experience with kids has been with varying ages, stages, and degrees of the spectrum. She is very passionate about Functional Communication and want to receive a Certification from the PECs USA. She recently moved from Louisiana, where she began her career as an Licensed BCBA, to Friendswood, TX to expand her experience and growth in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. she wants to get her PHD in child psychology in the future. She is also working towards pursuing her second masters in clinical social work where she hopes to expand more with children in the system with autism as well as use her addiction studies background to better help families and children suffering from addiction.
She also wants to attend a course in SOS feeding where she can become certified in working with children with different feeding disabilities. 

Board Certified Behavior Analyst: Leslie Phillips is a Houston-based Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with over 4 years’ experience providing behavior analytic services to children of various ages and backgrounds. Leslie earned a master’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from McNeese State University; during her studies she completed an intensive practicum at the university’s McNeese Autism Program. Leslie is passionate about using the tools of ABA to improve the lives of children and their loved ones.

Clinical Manager/ Senior Lead Therapist: Maria Perez is our Lead Therapist at Rise with ABA. She has over twenty years’ experience working with a diverse population of clients with special needs. She began working in this field as a paraprofessional in the severe and profound CAC 20 unit at F.B.I.S.D. While working there she seen firsthand the importance of ABA and the effect it had on the students. From there she went on to pursue her career in ABA. She has gained her experience by working at several ABA centers such as; Texana, MHMRA, and ABA Therapy of Houston. She has a passion for all children of special needs and believes that all children can become successful with the proper help. She looks forward to demonstrating her ability to teach, by motivating children to learn through positive reinforcement. She enjoys making learning fun and has a creative way of doing so. She is currently attending UHD and is in her final year. She is working on obtaining her degree so she can become certified as a BCaBA and then continue her education in grad school. Maria is very thankful to be part of such an amazing team and doing what she loves.

Program coordinator/Lead Therapist: Sofia Guerra was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. After graduating from Texas A&M with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology, she moved to Houston, Texas. During her university years, she was involved with extensive social and educational research studies. She explored different career paths including Human Resources, accounting and consulting, until she came across her niche, Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).  ABA allowed her to focus on two of her most esteemed passions, nurturance and psychology. She has enjoyed working with children on spectrum for 2 years now, and she is most motivated by the progress and results she can help achieve. She is now on the Master’s of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis to become a Board Certificated Behavior Analyst.

Administrative Clinical Manager/ Lead Therapist: Amanda Arends grew up in the Chicago suburbs and moved to Houston for college. After graduating from University of Houston in 2018, she found her passion for helping kids reach their full potential and became an RBT in September 2018. Ever since, she has loved working with kids on the spectrum every day, making sure to use compassion and understanding to help them overcome challenges.  She wants to see how kids grow and progress with her in Rise.

Kick-start Riser (Clinic 1) Manager: Darian Enriquez is from Houston, Texas. She is currently a student at the University of Houston-Downtown pursuing her Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice. Upon graduation, she plans on going back to school for her Masters in Child Psychology and continue working with children. She loves working with children and hopes to be a middle school counselor. She is very excited to be apart of the Rise with ABA team.

Rise Challenger/ Riser Core Activity Coordinator: Karolina was born and raised in Houston and graduated from the University of Houston on December 2019 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in biology. Her goal is to attain her masters in clinical psychology so that she can better help disadvantaged children and their families. Working here at Rise has been a wonderful opportunity to work with kids, and has further reinforced her desires to continue on this path. She looks forward to continue growing with the children and Rise team. . She is now in the Master Program of Applied Behavior Analysis to become a Board Certificated Behavior Analyst.

Registered Behavior Technician: Casey Nikolich is a student at the University of Houston pursuing a Bachelor’s of Arts in  Psychology with a minor in Laws, Values, and Policies. She plans to specialize in behaviors and continue work towards helping those at a disadvantage. She loves working with children on the spectrum particularly because they are such bright and unique individuals, that simply require a unique teaching style to learn. Doing ABA and seeing the kiddos grow, brings her so much joy, because they deserve this opportunity. She is excited to help them receive this opportunity with RISE!!

Media Team Lead/Registered Behavior Technician: Monic Cano was born in Alton, TX but raised in Green Bay, WI and have now followed her family back down here after 2 years of being apart from them. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee this past May with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. Her other concentrations were Women and Gender studies and Child and Adolescent studies. During her years in college, her passion for psychology grew, as well as her love for learning more about the little humans that run around in this world. It amazes her how every child is so unique. Every day is different when you are working with children, you really do learn something new every day and she think that it’s definitely one of the biggest reasons why she love to work with them. She looks forward to continue to gain knowledge and experience with the rest of the RISE team. It brings her so much joy to be part of these children’s lives and so much excitement to see the progress and results that we can all help achieve!

Behavior Therapist: Diana Paguada is from Houston, TX. She graduated from Texas State University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Microbiology and a Minor in Family and Child Development. During her college years, she fell in love with helping children on the spectrum and watching them grow more and more independent each day using ABA. She is very grateful to continue sharing this passion and be part of the wonderful team here at Rise with ABA!

Registered Behavior Technician: Andrea Chicchon graduated from the University of Houston in May of 2019 with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a minor in Public Health. She plans to go to graduate school to pursue her masters in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Andrea has been involved in behavioral therapy for over a year and gets a lot of joy from being able to help children develop their skills and grow as individuals. Andrea is excited to have the opportunity to work at Rise with ABA and looks forward to not just grow with the company but grow with the clients as well.

Registered Behavior Technician: Fatima Raza

Registered Behavior Technician: Amelia Brown

Behavior Therapist: Hannah Wendling is originally from Kalamazoo Michigan. She relocated to Houston Texas to work with foster children 4 years ago. She is currently studying mental health counseling with an emphasis on child and adolescents at Northwestern University. Hannah has a B.A. in Child Development and Family Studies from Central Michigan University. She looks forward to working with the kids at Rise with ABA and is excited for the opportunity to work with a dedicated team of individuals.

Behavior Therapist: Cortney Hernandez is from Las Vegas, Nevada. She has lived in Houston Texas almost all of her life. She is currently studying at the University of Houston pursing her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Health. Once she graduates, she plans on going after her masters in Cognitive Neuroscience with a focus in Behavior and then on to her Doctorates for Clinical Psychology. Her goal in life is to become a therapist and continue to work with children. She looks forward to extending her relationship with the ABA team.  

Behavior Therapist: Joy Lee graduated from University of Texas at Austin in December 2019 with a Bachelors of Art in Psychology with a minor in Educational Psychology. She plans on going into grad school in Clinical Child Psychology. With a passion, she hopes to become a therapist who will work for families and children in a clinical setting. She finds pure love and joy when working with children and has always been involved in helping them grow and connecting with them genuinely. Joy is excited to work with the kids at Rise With ABA and is grateful for the opportunity to work with the wonderful team at Rise!

Behavior Therapist: Kristeen Restrepo was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She graduated in December 2019 with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Schreiner University; where she also played on the Women’s Soccer team. She plans on pursuing graduate school for Clinic Neuropsychology. Her passion for psychology has always stemmed from wanting to help those around her who are in most need. She is excited to learn and grow while helping the kids at Rise with ABA. She is very excited and grateful to be apart of this amazing team!

Behavior Therapist: Hyejin (Hannah) Kim graduated from University of Texas at Austin in December 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Education. She discovered her passion for children while volunteering at various different special needs camps over the last few years. Her passion is to help and guide children reach their goals, as well as exploring how great their potential can be. Her goal is to pursue Master’s in Special Education, and continue to work in the ABA field. She looks forward to experiencing growth together at Rise! 

Behavior Therapist: Madeline Davis was born and raised in Fort Worth, Texas and recently moved to Houston. In May of 2020, she will graduate from Oklahoma Baptist University with her bachelors degree in Family and Community services and a minor in education. She has had always had a passion of working with children in need. She came across the field of ABA and it immediately sparked her interest because of her passion of helping children. She is so excited to help the children at RISE grow and learn! 

Behavior Therapist: Khristian Urosa grew up in Venezuela and moved to Houston in 2007, where he then graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in kinesiology. He has plans to pursue a master degree in nursing, as his passion has always been helping individuals who are in need. Khristian loves how the very nature of ABA work encourages creativity and free thinking, and how it also incorporates lots of fun activities like arts and crafts, sports, and many other disciplines. Since joining the ABA field, he has discovered his love for helping children in particular, and find joy in seeing them grow and make progress.

Behavior Therapist: Melissa Hernandez was born in New York, but moved to Houston in 2007. She graduated from the University of Houston with a degree in Kinesiology. After graduation and being introduced to the field of ABA, she decided to return to school this fall semester to pursue her certification as a SLPA. She has always had an interest for working with kids especially after family friend’s children were diagnosed with down syndrome and autism. She is so grateful for this opportunity and is excited to learn and growth along side the kids at Rise!

Behavior Therapist: Abigail Barefield (Abby) was born and raised in Houston Texas and graduated with her BA in Psychology at HBU. She has plans to get her PhD in Clinical Psychology with hopes to one day become a Clinical Psychologist working as a psychologist in psychiatric hospitals. Abby has enjoyed working at Rise because of the joy that she gets from watching the children grow and incorporate new skills into their daily lives! She has played piano for 19 years and hopes to one day incorporate live music therapy into her practices. Abigail would like to gain as much experience in the psychology field and see all of what life has to offer, and cannot wait to continue to see much more growth in all of the kiddos.

Behavior Therapist: Jennifer Hernandez was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She moved to College Station to attend Texas A&M where she received her Bachelors degree in Psychology. From the moment she chose her major she knew she wanted to use it to make a change. She believes that change in the world lays in the hands of our children. Her nurturing personality made Working with children come very natural to her and is something she is very passionate about. Her plans are to go back to school for her Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis. She says Working for Rise With ABA “felt like a calling” to her. She loves how natural and fun learning can be for the children. She is greatful to have the opportunity to come across our children’s life and excited to grow with the RISE team.

Behavior Therapist: Sophie Zielinski is from Houston Texas and will graduate from Houston Baptist University with her Bachelors in psychology. After graduation she plans to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and hopes to one day continue working with kids as a psychologist. She has always had a passion for working with children and loves having the opportunity to connect with them and find creative and fun ways to help them learn and grow. She is excited to start getting to know the kids and looks forward to working with such an awesome team!

Behavior Therapist: Aisling moved to Texas in 2005 from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a recent graduate from University of Houston-Clear Lake, where she earned her BS in Psychology. Working with children has always been a passion of hers and is why she is continuing her education and will be pursuing an MS in Child Life; after that, her goal is to become a Certified Child Life Specialist. Aisling is so grateful and excited to be apart of the RISE team; she is excited to see the progress and relationships she builds with the children.

Behavior Therapist: Andrea Chuvac was born and raised in Houston, TX. She then moved to San Marcos, TX where she pursued her bachelors in Sociology and minor in Social Work, at Texas State University. Growing up with a lot of siblings, made her realize that working with children was what she wanted to do. Children have a special place in her heart. When she came across Rise With ABA, she knew that it would be the perfect opportunity for her. Andrea is very excited to be apart of the team & is ready to grow with the company and the children as well.

Behavior Therapist: Heidi Jaquez was born and raised in Wharton, Texas. She graduated Magma Cum Laude with a BS in Kinesiology Wellness-Management and minor in Psychology from Houston Baptist University (HBU); where she also played on the Women’s softball team. She is currently obtaining her master’sdegree in Clinical and Mental Counseling. She plans on getting her PhD in Clinical psychology and hopes to provide treatment for mental, emotional, and behavioral health issues. One day she aspires to become a psychiatrist. Heidi would love to gain as much experience in the psychology field as much as possible and learn from her peers. Heidi is so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of the RISE team! When working with children every day is different. It allows the therapist to acquire new and learn new skills to help the children progress and see results. She is excited to build a relationship with all the children and watch them grow. Heidi is thrilled to be a part of such as amazing team at RISE.

Behavior Therapist: Monica Galvan was born and raised in Houston, TX. Graduated from University of Houston- Downtown with a bachelors in Health and Behavioral Sciences.  Working to help others has always been something that came natural to her, but when she started working with kids she fell in love with seeing the progress they make throughout  time together.  She aspires to be in the medical field working to help make a difference in someone’s life. She is excited for RISE and the opportunity it will offer her.

Behavior Therapist: Gabrielle Cantu