- Valentina Penalba, BA, MA
Valentina earned her BA and MA in Clinical Psychology in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In 2004 she completed a MS in Psychobiology. She has experience working with individuals, couples and families. She specializes in assisting those that suffer from depression, anxiety, grief/loss, trauma/PTSD, life cycle and transition issues, medical conditions, and relational distress. She is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and English and has worked in different countries with multicultural families for the last 25 years as a marriage and family therapist. She uses a bio-psychosocial approach, including neurobiology, individual, relational, culture, gender, and community aspects. Her theoretical approach stems primarily from Family Systems Theory. The approach assesses and develops awareness of multigenerational influences, family relational interactions, and the process of developing emotional independence through individuation.
- Erika Ottolini, M.Ed, LPC
Erica has a masters of arts in teaching and a masters of education in counseling. She was trained in counseling at the University of Missouri – St. Louis and then worked avidly with trauma survivors both locally and internationally. Previously, a middle school teacher, she now works full-time in her private counseling practice, Artemis Counseling Services, LLC, where she focuses on helping young women to find their voice and empower them and their families as they ride the turbulent waves of adolescence. She is passionate about young women’s issues and has worked to support them as a member of Empowering Young Women Leadership Team, as well as being involved with Girls on the Run and Girls in the Know.
- Tracie Berry-Mcghee, M.Ed., LPC, NCC
Tracie Berry-McGhee is a therapist, motivational speaker and author also known as DivineTea. A native of Saint Louis, MO, she attended the University of MO-STL where she received her Masters of Education in Counseling in 1998 and her Bachelors of Arts in Psychology in 1990. In 2004, she founded SistaKeeper Empowerment Center. In March 2005, she started her private practice Imani Therapy, specializing in women & teen girl issues. As a past mental health consultant for the YWCA headstart, Parents As Teacher Teen Educator, and Literacy Coordinator she utilizes her experience to speaks on topics such as conflict resolution, dealing with low self-esteem, bullying, releasing anger through her creative expressions. In 2010, she was the keynote for the Empowering Young Women’s Conference held at the University of MO, Presenter for The Uniquely Me Girls Scouts of Eastern Mo Conference, and hosted the first “All About You” teen summit. Tracie has been the recipient of numerous awards for her work with women and girls as well as for her writings.
- Candice E. Cox, LCSW
Founder and Clinical Director of “A&A Inspirations” and Executive Director of “KHAOS Inc”, Candice graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. She is an author of adolescent therapeutic references, a motivational speaker, trainer and developer of various programming such as, “Organized Khaos”. Since 2004, Candice has provided licensed counseling and consulting services to children and families growing up with undiagnosed ADD, abandoned by her father, and with a mother who lived with post-traumatic stress disorder, she developed the motto to live a life of KHAOS (Keep Healing and Overcoming Struggles). In 2008 Candice graduated with her Master of Science in Social Work from Saint Louis University. Candice is very passionate about meeting individuals where they are to assist them with getting to where they want to be in life; In 2014, Candice started implementing her Organized KHAOS program in schools and community centers to address the lack of social and emotional coping skills; taught both in the home and educational environments.
- Sarah Saffold, MSW
Sarah holds a Masters in Social Work degree from Washington University with a concentration in Mental Health. Her areas of expertise include facilitating parenting education groups, working with families to strengthen parenting/interactions with their children, and providing direct counseling and support services to individuals, children, and families involved in the department of family services. Sarah also works with children in the foster care/child welfare system and currently serves as an academic advisor with the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University. Sarah is passionate about using the Wraparound philosophy to meet families where they are and to individualize services to best meet the needs of each situation.
- Christy Ottinger, MSW, LCSW
Christy earned a Masters degree in Social Work from Washington University and has worked as a licensed social worker since 2001. Following graduate school, she spent 7 years working for BJC Health Systems as a medical social worker providing counseling and crisis intervention services to children, adults and families adjusting to chronic and terminal illnesses. It was during these years that she developed a passion for working primarily with adolescents. Christy then left the hospital setting to become a therapist at Logos School, a therapeutic alternative secondary school. Christy is currently in private practice specializing in work with adolescents who need support navigating middle and high school or are struggling with mental health issues. Christy believes that with education and encouragement, adolescents can learn the skills necessary to cope with stress, adjust to life’s transitions and mature into healthy, resilient adults.
- Julie Walther-Scheibel, MEd., LPC
Julie has a Masters in Education in Community Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Missouri. She has a private practice specializing in tween and teen girls and is passionate about the mind, body, spirit connection. She incorporates emotional and physical fitness in her work with girls.Julie leads programs on the topic of empowerment, provides specialty “Power” workshops, and runs a Transition Camp for girls. Her new favorite project is developing curriculum for a program called Marshall’s Mentors which is based on the children’s book, Marshall the Miracle Dog, by Cyndi Willenbrock.
- Lisa Deutsch, MSW, LCSW
Lisa is a Washington University graduate with a Masters of Social Work degree. She worked 7 years at the Physical Rehabilitation unit at Barnes Jewish Hospital and two years at St. John’s Rehabilitation. For the last eight years, Lisa has been the facilitator for two girls’ programs, “It’s a Girl’s Thing” and “Strong Girls”. Lisa has also co-facilitated an 8th grade drug awareness program called “Now n L8r”. Lisa has been a speaker for the Girls In The Know program since it’s inception 7 years ago.
- Wilka Vincent, RD
- Shannon Ebron, MS, RDN, LD
Shannon is a registered and licensed dietitian-nutritionist. Shannon is the Child Nutritionist at Ritenour School District in the Department of Child Nutrition Services. Inspired by the PreK-12 students she serves, Shannon is excited about making school food nutritious, appealing, local, and on trend. She is also devoted to post-secondary students as an adjunct lecturer of Dietetics in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences at Fontbonne University. Her professional preparation includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Family and Consumer Sciences from Tennessee State University. To advance her knowledge of food science and nutrition, she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Dietetics from Fontbonne University and Master of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics/Dietetic Internship with a Public Health Nutrition emphasis from Saint Louis University. She is excited to share her joyful and positive attitude about food and eating traditions with Girls in the Know participants.
- Katie Corder RD, LD, ACSM Certified Health Fitness Specialist
- Amy Moore, RD, LD
Amy is a registered and licensed dietitian. Amy earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Southeast Missouri State University and completed her dietetic internship at Saint Louis University. Amy continued on at Saint Louis University and received a Master’s Degree in Medical Dietetics and a Masters of Public Health along with a PhD in Education. Amy teaches at Saint Louis University in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics. She teaches nutrition counseling, nutrition education, and maternal and child health. Amy’s research is centered on family meals and improving the self-efficacy of adolescents cooking skills and nutrition knowledge.
- Shannon Hayes Buescher, MS, RD, LD
Shannon is a registered and licensed dietitian. Shannon earned a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics from Buffalo State College. She received her Masters Degree in Nutrition and Physical Performance from Saint Louis University. Shannon has over ten years of experience with nutritional counseling in weight loss, weight gain, sports nutrition and eating disorders. Shannon has worked at McCallum Place, an inpatient and outpatient eating disorder center located in St. Louis. It was there she gained valuable knowledge working with eating disorder clients. Shannon now devotes full time to her private practice. She continues to focus her practice on those that struggle with eating disorders and disordered eating and those looking to improve their relationship with food and their body.
- Rebecca Adams, RD, LD
Rebecca is the owner of Balanced Nutrition Therapy, LLC, founded in 2012. Rebecca graduated from Viterbo University with a Bachelor of Science in Community and Medical Dietetics and minors in Psychology and Spanish. She worked in a residential eating disorder treatment facility for four years and at the Eating Disorder Center of Missouri’s Intensive Outpatient Program for one year. Due to her experience with those struggling with eating disorders, Rebecca has learned that intervention and proper nutrition education early on in the lives of young girls is critical to optimal health and happiness. Rebecca’s passion is to help endurance athletes optimize his/her performance through proper nutrition and fueling. As a personal trainer and triathlete herself, she is able to bring personal and professional experience when working with swimmers, cyclists, runners, triathletes, and endurance athletes. Rebecca is currently working towards becoming a Certified Sports Specialist Dietitian.
- Katie Lambert MS, RD, LD, CDE
Katie is a registered and licensed dietitian, and a certified diabetes educator. Katie earned a Bachelor of Arts in dietetics at the College of Saint Benedict in Minnesota. She received her Master’s Degree in Nutrition from Saint Louis University. Katie has over 5 years of experience with nutritional counseling in weight loss and weight management, diabetes management, chronic disease management and sports nutrition. Katie has worked inpatient and outpatient at Barnes Jewish Hospital and currently works for Mercy designing and running a weight management program for all ages. She also sees clients and families on the side. Her passion is to help people improve their lives. In her free time, Katie likes to hang out with her dog Lucy, cook, and run.
- Christy Allen, Sergeant & St. Louis Police Academy – Recruiter
Christy is a 14 year veteran of the Saint Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Currently holding the rank of Police Sergeant, Christy is the Department’s recruiter; seeking extraordinary candidates interested in a career in law enforcement. An alumni of Webster University, Christy holds a Master Degree in Management and a Bachelor Degree in Criminal Justice.
Christy is a mentor, health & fitness blogger of her own website XTYFIT.com, former professional bodybuilder who still loves to workout daily, travel the world and jump out of airplanes for leisure. Christy is a strong advocate for the betterment of women and strives to be the best possible role model for all young girls.
- Carrie Brandt-Schulte, Detective
Carrie is a 15-year veteran of law enforcement. She currently serves as the lead detective for all Juvenile, Sex Crimes and Computer Forensics investigations for the Chesterfield Police Department. Carrie is a past president of the Missouri Juvenile Police Officer’s Association, a current member of the International Homicide Investigator’s Association and Deputy Report Officer for the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan Major Case Squad. She has been a homicide investigator with the Major Case Squad for over nine years. Carrie has extensive training and background in computer forensics and investigations. She has participated in a multitude of criminal investigations specifically geared towards the protection of child victims. Carrie has had the opportunity to present to thousands of attendees on topics such as Child Online Predator Safety, Criminal Investigations, Social Media Protections, and a myriad of other relevant topics.
- Sarah Bodi
Sarah graduated from Missouri Valley College with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Science in Sociology. She began her law enforcement career with the Creve Coeur Police Department where she served as a patrol officer, school resource officer, and juvenile officer within the detective bureau for 10 years. Her work as a school resource officer in a middle school inspired her to complete her Master’s Degree in School Counseling. Sarah currently works at Hixson Middle School in the Webster Groves School District as a middle school counselor. She is excited to share her life and career experiences with the moms and daughters through the Girls in the Know program.
- Deneane Jones, Juvenile Detective
Deneane has been a police officer with the St Louis Metropolitan Police Department for approximately 8 years. She is currently a detective assigned to the Juvenile Division. As a mother and a woman with strong values, Deneane loves serving youth as a role model who provides encouragement and guidance.
- Jennifer Schwartz, Corporal
Jenny graduated from McKendree College (University) with a Criminal Justice degree and has been in Law Enforcement since 2005. The majority of her time has been spent working with the Clayton Police Department where she currently works in the patrol division as a supervisor. Jenny’s career experience includes working in community relations, as a DARE instructor, a Field Training officer and in Drug and Alcohol enforcement. She is a certified Drug Recognition Expert. She has worked with the Special Olympics Organization (SO) as a Missouri delegate for the Law Enforcement Torch Run both nationally and internationally. She participates in SO fundraising events, helps to spread awareness for the organization and volunteers at local sporting competitions.
- Kimberly Bruegenhemke
Kim is a graduate of the Eastern Missouri Law Enforcement Academy. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Lindenwood University. Kim served as a commissioned police officer for 15 years with the St. Charles City & Chesterfield Police Departments. During this time she held a variety of specialty roles in addition to working as a street officer. These roles included Child Abuse Investigations, DARE, Community Affairs, School Liaison in the Parkway and Rockwood school districts, and field training of new officers. Kim retired from police work in 2013 and is now working in the Compliance Division of Edward Jones Company Headquarters in St. Louis. Kim has been with the Girls in the Know program since its inception and continues to be passionate about educating the girls and mothers about safety issues affecting them today.
- Stephanie Tsai, OB/GYN
Dr. Stephanie Tsai completed medical school at Saint Louis University and then Ob/Gyn residency at Barnes Jewish Hospital/Washington University. She joined SSM Ob/Gyn in 2016, and her offices are located in Arnold and at St. Clare Hospital in Fenton. Her practice is affiliated with both St. Clare and St. Mary’s. She enjoys taking care of women of all ages and specifically enjoys educating and inspiring young women. She is originally from Kansas City, MO, and is a huge sports fan. Her free time is spent running, traveling, hanging out with her husband, and cheering on the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals.
- Julie Schweitzer, MSN, WHNP
Julie has been a Board Certified Nurse Practitioner with Women’s Care Specialists™ since 2002. Julie graduated from the University of Missouri St. Louis with a Master’s of Science in Nursing as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. Julie’s past experience includes OB/GYN and Labor and Delivery nursing as well as a Nursing Supervisor for a local community hospital. Julie provides care to all women across the lifespan from teenage to older adults. In 2013, Julie was a finalist in St. Louis Magazine’s Nursing Excellence Award.Julie is a native to St. Louis and currently resides in St. Charles with her husband, Al. Julie enjoys spending time with her family and friends, is an avid reader of all genres, enjoys boating and watching soccer.
- Janet Matuszek, OB/GYN
Dr. Janet Matuszek is a board certified OB/GYN who attended medical school at A.T. Still University (formerly KCOM) in 1992, finished her internship in Arizona in 1993, and completed her OB/GYN residency at Michigan State University in 1997. She then moved to St. Louis and was employed by St. John’s Mercy (formerly Unity Health) for the first two years. In 1999, she founded Women’s Care Specialists. Dr. Janet Matuszek served as the first woman Medical Staff President at St. Luke’s Hospital and was elected to serve as a representative of the Medical Staff Association on the Medical Executive Committee in December 2013. She has extensive experience in providing traditional OB/GYN care and offers a wide variety of treatment for infertility, pelvic pain, menstrual irregularities, urinary incontinence, high risk pregnancies and advanced laparoscopic procedures. As the founder of Women’s Care Specialists she realizes the importance of providing quality care as well as building a lasting relationship with patients. Dr. Matuszek currently lives in St. Louis County with her husband Bob, and their two children, Joshua and Emma. During her time away from the office, Dr. Matuszek enjoys cooking with her children, golfing and music.
- Rubab Jafri, OB/GYN
Dr. Rubab (Ruby) Jafri grew up in Chicago, IL, and completed medical school at Southern Illinois University in Springfield, IL. She moved to St. Louis and completed her residency in OB/GYN at Mercy Hospital. She is currently in private practice at St. Clare Hospital in Fenton, MO, with a satellite office in Arnold, MO. She enjoys teaching young adolescents and teens and empowering them to make healthy decisions. In her free time, she enjoys exploring places with her son, trying new restaurants, and crocheting.
- Angela Warner, MSN, WHNP
Angela received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at University of Missouri-Columbia in 2000. She began working as a nurse in Labor and Delivery at St Luke’s Hospital where she continues to work on an as needed basis. Angela joined Women’s Care Specialists, LLC, as a triage nurse in 2006, while working towards her Masters in Science in Nursing degree with an emphasis on Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. She became board certified in 2009 and has been taking care of women age 14-90 years old ever since. She is passionate about helping women of all ages pursue their optimum health and well-being physically, emotionally and mentally. Outside of work, Angela loves to spend time with her family. She and her husband, Dave, have two beautiful children. She enjoys painting, doing crafts, party planning and shopping.
- Laura Mueller, MD, OB/GYN
Dr. Laura Mueller is originally from the Kansas City area and completed medical school at the University of Kansas. She moved to St. Louis for her residency training at St. Louis University and joined OB/GYN Associates of St. Louis after completing her residency in 2015. Her practice is associated with Missouri Baptist Medical Center and Barnes Jewish. She enjoys the adolescent age group and the opportunity for patient education.
- Dr. Caroline Morgan OB/GYN
Dr. Caroline Morgan earned her medical degree from Medical College of Ohio. She joined Women’s Health Care, Inc. in 2006, after completing her postgraduate training at Washington University. Her practice is affiliated with St. Luke’s Hospital. Dr. Morgan thoroughly enjoys working with young women and being their first contact with women’s health and the OB/GYN experience. When she is not busy working, you can find her on her horses or walking her dogs.