Anna Hicken MA, LPCA                                            

Art Therapist

Anna is a graduate of the George Washington University where she received her MA degree in Art Therapy. She has experience working in a variety of settings including an acute inpatient psychiatric unit, public and private schools, community youth centers, adult day programs, and a residential camp for students with special needs.

Through ATI, Anna currently works with the Exceptional Children’s Program in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School system, facilitating group art therapy sessions with students from kindergarten through 8th grade.

In her personal work, she enjoys drawing with chalk and oil pastels. She is also very interested in empathy and has researched the effects of the presence of art on art therapist empathy in sessions with individual clients.

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Annalee Heneghan                                                      


Annalee grew up on a small farm in Maryland where backyard play productions, chicken chasing and snacking directly from the garden were encouraged. Though she still continues to try and catch any chicken she comes across, Annalee has since received her Bachelor of Social Work from Belmont University and is currently a graduate student at the UNC Chapel Hill Social Work School. Annalee has past experience utilizing Play Therapy and mindfulness techniques with youth who have experienced trauma in both schools and residential facilities. She is eager to expand her knowledge of expressive arts therapies at ATI and become part of the beautiful community that is Chapel Hill/Carrboro. 


Bridget Pemberton-Smith, MA, ATR-BC

Development Director, Art Therapist

Bridget received her Master’s of Expressive Arts Therapies with a concentration in Art Therapy from Lesley College in 1998. She was one of the Founding Board Members of the Art Therapy Institute (ATI) and has worked part time at ATI off and on over the years. In February of 2019, Bridget began working fulltime at ATI. She has experience working with a wide range of populations including children with cancer, refugee and immigrant students, and senior adults living in memory care facilities. Bridget is also a Soul Collage Facilitator and offers workshops through ATI. In her free time, Bridget enjoys creating her own Soul Collage cards and watching her son play hockey and soccer.

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Brooke Babcock                    


Brooke is a graduate student in the School of Social Work at UNC-Chapel Hill, pursuing her Master of Social Work. She has worked with survivors of intimate partner violence and sexual assault, older adults living with disabilities, and youth in a variety of school and community-based settings. Having recognized the healing power of the arts in her personal life, she could not be more thrilled to have the opportunity to intern with ATI and engage with her local community.  

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Courtney Powers, MA, LPCA, ATR           

Program Director, Art Therapist

Courtney has provided art therapy services with the Art Therapy Institute since 2010.

She facilitates individual art therapy with newly immigrated children and adolescents. Courtney also co-leads weekly outpatient expressive arts groups for adults living with mental illness. In addition, she works with the Memory Care Program for older adults facing Alzheimer’s and dementia.

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Hillary Rubesin, PhD, LPCS, REAT                

Director, Expressive Arts Therapist

Hillary Rubesin received both her PhD and her MA in Expressive Therapies and Mental Health Counseling from Lesley University. She has training in numerous expressive therapies fields, including art, music, dance, drama, and creative writing, and believes that all art forms hold great potential for healing on both individual and community levels.

Beyond her duties as the Executive Director at ATI, Hillary provides expressive therapies sessions to newly-arrived refugees and immigrants in local schools and community-based settings. Hillary also co-facilitates the Arts and Peer Support Group, a free, weekly, outpatient arts group for adults living with severe and persistent mental illness. 

Hillary is available to provide supervision to LPCA's as well as REAT's. Please contact her if interested.

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Jailene M. Nieves-Mercado, MA, LPCA

Art Therapist

Jailene received her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Art Therapy from Lesley University in 2017. She has experience working with immigrant and refugee students within Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham public schools. She has also worked with students with developmental disabilities and adolescents with eating disorders in a hospital setting. Jailene is currently working on publishing her thesis, which focused on the influence of art therapy on identity expression and empowerment within Latina adolescents. She hopes to pursue a PhD in trauma-informed counseling in the future.

Contact Jailene

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Jesalyn Keziah                                              


Jesalyn Keziah is a final-year Masters of Social Work student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work, concentrating in community mental health and working towards her LCSW with a particular interest in serving Native American communities, LGBTQ2S+ clients, and others who feel as though they walk in two worlds. She is a member of the Lumbee Tribe, grew up in rural North Carolina, and spent the first decade of her career supporting rural community development through food justice, environmental stewardship, and nonprofit capacity building work.

Jesalyn is a potter/ceramic artist, mixed-media artist, and gardener, interested in the intersections of holistic approaches, therapeutic expressive arts and horticultural therapy programming, nature and culture as healing, and embodied wellness through somatic and mindful approaches. 


Kulsum Tasnif                                                           


Kulsum is a visual artist pursuing a master’s degree in Art and Design at NCSU. She graduated from the University of California, Davis in 1996 with a degree in Studio Art and Creative Writing. While in college, she was a humanitarian aid worker assisting Bosnian refugees in Croatia during the Bosnian conflict. It was there that she discovered art as a means to bridge cultural and language barriers.

Since then, Kulsum has had several solo exhibits about love, loss, and hope. As an intern at ATI, she is dedicated to learning more about art as a tool for healing and looks forward to being part of the team. 


Mallory Schellhorn, MA, LPCA                                      

Art Therapist

Mallory is a 2015 graduate of Saint Mary-of- the-Woods College where she received her Master of Arts in Art Therapy. She received her Bachelor of Art in Studio Art with a concentration in Art Therapy from Lenoir-Rhyne University in 2008. She has experience working with a range of populations including children and adolescents with exceptional needs, children with behavioral and emotional disorders, refugee and immigrant students, and senior adults in memory care facilities. In her personal work, Mallory enjoys painting with oils and acrylics and drawing with pastels.

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Natalia Torres del Valle, LPCA

Expressive Arts Therapist

Natalia received her MA in Clinical Mental Health specializing in Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University. She has worked in multiple settings as an educator and expressive arts therapist including public schools, inpatient and residential units in a hospital, community centers, and art museums. In addition to her LPCA license, she also holds licenses in Elementary Education (k-6) and ESL Education (k-12).

Natalia has experience working with a variety of populations such as immigrant and refugee individuals, exceptional children, families experiencing homelessness, and adolescents experiencing eating disorders.

Natalia incorporates all modalities into her therapeutic practice. In her personal artmaking, Natalia loves to embroider, sing, and write poetry.

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Samantha Boyce, LPCA 

Expressive Arts Therapist

Sam received her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapy from Lesley University in 2019. She has been trained to incorporate various art forms, including visual art, music, drama and movement, into the therapeutic process and believes in the capacity of the arts to respond to suffering and promote healing. Sam takes a person-centered and trauma-informed approach to therapy, within which she incorporates elements of mindfulness and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. 

She has worked with children and adults in a variety of settings, including working with those impacted by intimate partner violence and with individuals living with chronic and terminal illnesses. Sam also has experience working with immigrant and refugee students in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Durham public schools. 

Sam engages in art-making as a personal centering practice and enjoys using pastels, painting with oils, and taking modern dance classes.

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Uli Schempp, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, LPC        

Art Therapist

Uli Schempp received a Master’s Degree in fine arts from UNC-Greensboro in 1985 and has worked as a ceramic artist since then. He taught as a technical instructor and taught ceramics in the sculpture department of the School of Visual Arts in New York. In 2003, he obtained Master’s Degree in art therapy from New York University.

He conducted art therapy groups with Liberian refugee children and adolescents through Safe Horizon/Solace and the International Rescue Committee on Staten Island and worked for five years as a creative arts therapist in adult inpatient psychiatry at Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn. He is currently working with the Art Therapy Institutes exceptional children’s program.

Contact Uli