Executive Director

Braden Berkey, Psy.D.

bberkey@thechicagoschool.edu

Dr. Berkey is an associate professor in the Clinical Psy.D. Program at The Chicago School. Prior to joining the core faculty he was the director of clinical training at the Center on Halsted (www.centeronhalsted.org) where he created the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Institute to expand access to LGBT culturally competent mental health care. Braden also served as the Director of Behavioral Health and Social Services at the Howard Brown Health Center (www.howardbrown.org) for six years. During his tenure there he developed the Recovering with Pride substance abuse program.

In 2008 Dr. Berkey worked with the Community Academic Consortium for Research on Alternative Sexualities (CARAS) to create the annual Alternative Sexualities Conference, which has been accredited by the American Psychological Association and the American Association of Sex Counselors, Educator and Therapists to provide continuing education. Since its inception the event has been held in Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.

Dr. Berkey holds a Certification in Nonprofit Management, which was conferred by the Great Cities Initiative at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Chicago. Braden and his partner enjoy spending time with their schnauzer girls, Madison and Sara.

Project Directors

Ashley Molin, PsyD

Sexual Identity Development, Webmaster

Ashley received her BA in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Asheville in 2009. She graduated from the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2014. Ashley’s clinical interests include identity development, sexual, gender, and relationship diversity, and working with college students. Her doctoral dissertation examined how youth choose and use sexual identity labels, along with how certain demographic variables may influence these decisions. Ashley is currently working as the Webmaster for PASD and assisting in its development. She is also the Associate Director of Behavioral Health at the Center on Halsted in Chicago, IL. 

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Team Members

Erica Aten, PsyD

Erica received her BA in Psychology and Pre-Nursing from Augustana College in Rock Island, IL in 2012. She graduated from the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2017. Erica's clinical interests include LGBTQ youth, intersecting identities, trauma, family systems, and school psychology.  For her doctoral dissertation she created a group therapy program to better support adolescents who are adjusting to their siblings’ trans identity. In her free time Erica enjoys playing intramural sports, reading, and exploring different neighborhoods in Chicago.

Leesa Contorino, MA

Leesa received her BA in Psychology from Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY in 2012. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Leesa's clinical interests include LGBTQ issues, gender and sexual minorities, topics of sexuality, mood disorders, anxiety, college-aged issues, relationship problems, and substance use disorders.  Her doctoral dissertation focused on factors contributing to the experience of sexual satisfaction among lesbians as well as how the definition of sexual satisfaction in constructed. 

Kristin Elliott-Noon, MA

Kristin received her BA in Psychology from The University of Toledo in Toledo, OH in 2015 and MA in Clinical Psychology from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York NY in 2017. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Kristin's clinical interests include LGBTQ+ issues, complex trauma, and personality disorders. 

Jerrod L. Handy, PsyD

Jerrod received his BS in Psychology from the University of Scranton in Scranton, PA in 2010. He graduated from the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2017. Jerrod's clinical interests include LGBTQIA mental health, gender and sexual identity development, intersectionality, microaggressions, geek therapy, and play therapy.  His doctoral dissertation explored the intersection of racial and sexual orientation identity, racial and sexual orientation microaggressions, and academic persistence among Black gay cisgender male graduate students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWIs). It also described the perceived impact of microaggressions of Black gay males in higher education. In his free time Jerrod enjoys playing video games, exercising, going to the movies and engaging in a variety of social activities.

Ashley Jacob

Ashley received her BS in Psychology and Sociology from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, MI in 2013. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Ashley's clinical interests include sexual health and education. Her doctoral dissertation will explore the healing components and barriers the Indian culture may have for women who have experienced sexual assault. 

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Kat Jones, MA

Kat received her BS in Psychology from Capella University in Minneapolis, MN in 2013. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Kat's clinical interests include human sexuality, the kink community, the LGBTQ community, feminist theory, human development, and sex education.  Her doctoral dissertation is a qualitative study exploring the felt sense of empowerment that is gained through submissive identity within the kink community. 

Jessica Metzger

Jessica received her BA in Law, Society, and Justice from the University of Washington in Seattle, WA in 2009. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. 

Christie Pellow

Christie received her BS in Psychology from Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL in 2013 and her MA in Applied Experimental Research from the University of West Florida in Pensacola, FL in 2017. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Christie's clinical interests include personality disorders, mood disorders, substance use, trauma, psychosis, and forensics. 

Carly Rosenberg, LPC

Carly received her BA in Psychology from the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO in 2013 and her M.Ed. from Loyola University Chicago in Chicago, IL in 2015. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Carly's clinical interests include gender, competency of therapists, and LGBTQ issues.

Nicole Thalheimer, PsyD

Nicole received her BA in History and Psychology from Boston University in 2009. She graduated from the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in 2015. Nicole's clinical interests include sexual orientation, gender, intersectionality, and multiculturalism. Her doctoral dissertation explored how individuals navigate Jewish and transgender identities. Nicole is currently a clinical psychologist at Gersten Center for Behavioral Health in Chicago, IL. In her free time Nicole enjoys running, traveling, reading, exploring Chicago, spending time with her partner, family, and friends.

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Principle Investigators

Gabriela F. Baumann, MA

Research: An Investigation into the Lived Experience of the Modern-Day Courtesan

Gabriela received her BSc (Hons) in Psychology and Integrative Biology from the University of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 2011. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Gabriela's clinical interests include working with adults who have difficulty coping with disordered personality traits and their common comorbidities, such as mood, anxiety, eating, and substance use problems, in addition to difficulty with expressions of an individual's identity and sexuality.  Her doctoral dissertation investigates the lived experience of the “sugar baby,” with the aim of better understanding how an individual integrates this lifestyle choice into the formation of their identity.

Shelley Eisenberg

Research: An Exploration of Developmental Paths to Non-Binary Gender Identity

Shelley received her BA in Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University in State College, PA in 2015. She is currently enrolled in the Clinical PsyD program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Shelley’s clinical interests include sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as reducing negative cognitions about individuals with non-heteronormative sexual orientations and gender identities. Her dissertation explores the development of individuals who identify their gender identity as non-binary. The results will contribute to a narrative of these individuals experiences that include their contextual influences and epiphanies surrounding their gender identity formation.