Mary Lynn Barrett has dual Master’s degrees in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Washington. She is the Director of Behavioral Medicine in the Family Practice Residency Program and Family Health Center at the Mountain Area Health Education Center in Asheville, North Carolina. Her current position involves both teaching physicians to manage the mental and behavioral health aspects of primary care and treating patients who experience these challenges to help their overall well-being. Mary Lynn has trained extensively in several mind/body modalities for healing trauma and is very knowledgeable of the effects of trauma and stress on both physical and mental health. As a Master Trainer in the Trauma Resiliency Model and the Community Resiliency Model, she trains all types of individuals from physicians and licensed mental health providers to case managers, parents, lay providers, veterans and clergy. Mary Lynn is fluent in Spanish. She has lived in South America and traveled throughout Latin America. She worked in Honduras with the Shoulder to Shoulder program, providing much needed mental health services and training medical students in the process. Currently, she lives in Asheville with her husband and young son.
J Eva Nagel has been working in the intersection of education and psychology for many years. She has a PHD in Education and Psychology. She maintains a private practice in Saratoga Springs and Schenectady, NY. She is the founder and past director of the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs. She co-founded Side by Side, a dynamic youth leadership program in NYC, PA and LA. She has trained with the People’s Institute for Undoing Racism and Peacemaking Circles, a tool for restorative justice. Eva teaches at SUNY Adirondack College, and has been a consultant at RPI, Skidmore, Power of Hope and others. She is a Training Facilitator with the Trauma Resource Institute where she has witnessed the power of this biologically-based model to heal trauma. Her written work has appeared in magazines and journals, book chapters, and on public radio. She is the wife of one, the mother of four, and the head-over-heels proud grandmother of two. She has seen the power of combining dreams with action to inspire great things and believes we can change the world right now.
Sara Stender is the Founder and Executive Director of Africa Healing Exchange. When she arrived in Rwanda in 2009, she immediately felt at home, and fell in love with the nation and its people. Sara lived in Kigali for nearly a year, working to provide vocational training to young adults who had lost their families in the genocide. Sara is inspired by solutions-based, positive psychology, and has experienced personal growth through adversity. She holds a Master of Science degree in Organizational Management, with a concentration in Leadership and Change. As an undergraduate, Sara majored in Business Management and French, with a focus on Women in Leadership and Global Development. She started her first business at the age of 23, led the movement to make Brattleboro, Vermont the second Fair Trade Town in North America, and served as the first National Coordinator of Fair Trade Towns USA. Sara sees great opportunity to create sustainable models whereby the business and nonprofit sectors are working together to create innovative and culturally-appropriate change. Recently Sara was chosen as a finalist for the prestigious international Echoing Green Fellowship award, is one of Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching”. Sara is based in Asheville, North Carolina and considers Rwanda her home as well.
Alex Niyonsaba is AHE’s Rwanda-based intern and trip assistant, currently pursuing a degree in mathematics, economics, and entrepreneurship at university in Rwanda. He was born in Masisi, Democratic Republic of Congo. His parents are both farmers in Kibuye, Rwanda (located in the Western province). He is the fifth of ten children. He loves to read books. When he was younger he admired intelligent people, but as he grows older, he admires kind people.