Caring Together Conference


Janice Posatery Burke, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA

Janice Burke was among the graduates of the inaugural class of occupational therapists at Utica College. She jumped into what has been a 47 year career immediately following graduation and has maintained her involvement in the profession since that time. Janice was a clinician at Burke Rehabilitation Center (no relation) and Wabash Center for Children before attending graduate school at the University of Southern California. While earning her master’s degree, she worked with Dr. Mary Reilly, best known for her promotion of the “modernization of occupation” that looked to revitalize an understanding of how occupation could guide practice. During this time, she also completed her sensory integration certification under the guidance of Dr. Jan Ayres.

Janice’s scholarly work began when she published and lectured on ideas associated with occupation in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s including her papers on “motivation reconsidered” as well as her contribution to the introduction and development of the Model of Human Occupation, a contemporary conceptual framework that continues to guide practice today. Her scholarship and research has continued throughout her career and has included 18 years of continuing funding from the US Department of Education to train occupational and physical therapists, as well as NIH funding to develop an evidence based treatment model for individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease and their caregivers.

Burke’s long career in clinical practice has primarily focused on working with young children with development disabilities including Autism and their families. She began teaching full time in 1988 at Thomas Jefferson University. Beginning as faculty, she later became director of the graduate program, chair of the department, and Dean of the School of Health Professions.

Janice has received awards and honors for her work throughout her career including the AOTA Eleanor Clarke Slagle Lectureship in 2010. Dr. Burke credits her professional training and enduring identity as an occupational therapist to her education at Utica College.

Jeremy W. Earl, PT

Jeremy Earl is a physical therapist and executive director of The Root Farm, a community non-profit agency that offers agricultural, recreational, and equine experiences to individuals of all abilities. Jeremy’s vision and entrepreneurial efforts have expanded the variety of services offered at The Root Farm to include honey and maple syrup production, year-round leafy green production through the use of hydroponic greenhouses and adaptive recreational programming, including high and low ropes courses, zip lines, and rock climbing. Jeremy’s underlying goal for all development at The Root Farm remains focused on creating unique experiences to create life changing opportunities for people of all abilities.

Previously, Jeremy worked at Upstate Cerebral Palsy (Utica, NY) for 15 years while holding several positions, including Associate Vice President for Therapeutic Services.

Jeremy received a BS in Physical Therapy in 1999 and an MS in Health Care Administration in 2013 from Utica College. Jeremy is very active in the Great Utica community including Leadership Mohawk Valley, Camp Ronald McDonald for Special Children, and The Ride for Missing Children.


Thomas Durr, OTR/L

Tom Durr’s career has gone from treating therapist to rehab director to area rehab director to risk management all since beginning his career in 1987. The productivity issues have remained constant throughout his career: “being productive,” “maintaining a productive staff,” and “towing the company productivity standards.” Tom continues to react to the changes in healthcare ever since the start of his career with DRG’s (Diagnostic Related Groups), PPS (Prospective Payer System), changes in PPS reimbursement, Senior Advantage Groups—HMO’s, Affordable Care Act (ACA), and the current changes to the ACA. The productivity demands of the occupational therapist … physical and speech therapists, too … have only become tighter and more demanding. The “toolbox of interventions” learned over his career is what Tom credits with his survival during the demands placed on him through these times of change. In 1986, Tom first became an occupational therapy assistant while serving in the military and stationed at Fort Sam Houston (TX). Tom has worked in a variety of settings including skilled nursing, acute rehabilitation, and acute care. Tom graduated from the inaugural Occupational Therapy Weekend Program at Utica College in 1993.

Annmarie T. Kinsella, OTD, MS, OTR/L

Annmarie Kinsella is an assistant professor of occupational therapy at Utica College and an alumna of the College. She has numerous years of experience as a practitioner with both children and adults. Her teaching focuses on practice with children, leadership, and interprofessional education. Annmarie has provided professional presentations at the state and national levels.

Gabriele Moriello, PT, PhD

Gabriele Moriello is an associate professor of physical therapy at Utica College. She joined UC in 2015 and previously taught at The Sage Colleges from 2003 – 2015. She earned her PhD in Health Related Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University, her MS in Allied Health from the University of Connecticut, and her BS in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College. Her interests and teaching are focused in neurological physical therapy, older adults, and research. She has 16 peer reviewed publications, 9 peer reviewed platform presentations, and 19 peer reviewed poster presentations. Her clinical expertise is mainly in the home care setting.

Jaime McHale, MS, OTR/L

Jaime McHale is a pediatric occupational therapist who owns a private practice, Right Starts Occupational Therapy, which focuses on children from birth to 21 and works contractually for pediatric facilities in the Tom River, NJ area. Jaime has advanced training and certifications in a number of areas within the realm of pediatric practice. She is a co-author of STARS: Social Skills Training and Readiness Skills. Jaime received a BS in Health Studies in 2004 and an MS in Occupational Therapy in 2006, both from Utica College.

Victoria L. Nackley, MS, OTR/L

Victoria L. Nackley is a professor of practice in occupational therapy at Utica College. Her expertise is in the areas of sensory processing, motor learning, early intervention, and handwriting. She is a co-author of Sensory Stories and a handwriting program for individuals learning English as a second language. Tory received her BS from the University of New Hampshire and her MS from Syracuse University. She has provided professional presentations at the state and national levels.

Janice Nellis, MS, CCLS

Janice Nellis is a certified child life specialist with CompassionNet, a pediatric and perinatal palliative care program of Lifetime Care. Jan began her career at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital (Syracuse, NY) where she was a child life specialist for twenty years. In 2014, Jan joined CompassionNet where she focuses on the needs of children and families facing a life-threating illness.

Michelle T. Nunno-Evans, PT, DPT

Michelle Nunno-Evans is the assistant director of clinical education for the Department of Physical Therapy at Utica College. She joined Utica College in 2008 as an adjunct professor and became the assistant director of clinical education in 2013. She earned her Transitional Doctorate in 2008 at Utica College and her BS in Physical Therapy from Ithaca College in 1983. Michelle continues her clinical practice at Mohawk Valley Health Care System as a per diem physical therapist. Her clinical expertise and teaching are focused on clinical education, neurological and geriatric physical therapy. She is currently an executive board member of the New York State Physical Therapy Association, Central District, as well as the NYNJ Clinical Education Consortium.

Michele Pratt-Giammella, MS, OTR/L

Michele Pratt-Giammella is a 2009 graduate of Utica College’s Weekend Occupational Therapy Program. Since graduation, her main focus has been in STR/LTC. Currently, she works for Seco Occupational Therapy and is the lead therapist for the UHS, CMH STR/LTC unit. Michelle also provides services at UHS, CMH on the acute floor and at the outpatient clinic; she is the main occupational therapist at the outpatient clinic that focuses on neurological conditions. Michele became an LST BIG clinician in May 2017.

Jennifer E. Rupp, CCLS

Jennifer Rupp received her bachelor’s degree in child life/psychology from Utica College. She is a Certified Child Life Specialist and a member of the Association of Child Life Professionals, where she serves as a reviewer for the Internship Accreditation Oversight Committee. For the past 13 years, she has worked at the Children’s Hospital of Dartmouth with the Pediatric Hematology Oncology team. In this role, she provides therapeutic medical and developmental play sessions and school re-entry visits for children, facilitates support groups with adolescents and siblings, and supervises the Child Life Intern Program. Jennifer has presented at the New Hampshire School Nurses Association in conjunction with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Association of Pediatric Oncology Social Workers, and the National Child Life Professional Conference.

David Schilling, PT, DPT, OCS

David Schilling is an assistant professor of physical therapy at Utica College, where he teaches courses related to the examination and management of musculoskeletal conditions and manual therapy. He received his physical therapy degree from Utica College in 1999, his DPT from Utica College in 2007, and became board certified in Orthopaedics by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists in 2009. Dave is actively involved with research related to injury prevention in athletes and has presented at the World Confederation for Physical Therapy Meeting, the American Physical Therapy Association Combined Section Meeting, the American Academy of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting, and the New York Physical Therapy Association Conference.

Christie Shaw, MS, CCLS

Christie Shaw is a certified child life specialist with CompassionNet, a pediatric and perinatal palliative care program of Lifetime Care. Christie spent approximately 8 years working as an inpatient CCLS on the adolescent unit at Golisano Children’s Hospital at Strong (Syracuse, NY) and the last 13 years working as a CCLS for CompassionNet. Christie has also spent time co-facilitating groups for A Caring Place, a local children’s bereavement program. She continues to be as passionate about the field of child life as she was when she graduated from Utica College in 2000.

Judith Sheehan, OTR/L

Judith Sheehan, a 1983 graduate of Utica College, has over 34 years of experience as an occupational therapist and is a certified orthotic fitter (CFo) credentialed by the American Association of Orthotics, Prosthetics, and Pedorthics. She is the president and owner of Splinting Solutions, LLC. Judi has been working in the field of prefabricated orthotics for 17 years in over 225 long-term care facilities throughout Connecticut, southern Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. She has designed training materials and programs to assist therapists in developing and structuring organized splinting programs which meet federal and state guidelines for documentation compliance, audits, and reviews. Judi regularly conducts facility staff in-service programs throughout Connecticut. In 2014, she presented at AOTA on orthotics. She and her business engage graduate fieldwork students from Quinnipiac University, where she shares her knowledge of orthotic fittings and splinting protocols. She has taught classes on orthotics at many of the Connecticut OT and COTA programs. Judi has prior experience as a regional rehabilitation director for CARF accredited sub-acute facilities. She is currently the President of the Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association.

Suzanne Shepard, DPT

Suzanne Sheperd is a physical therapist at Whispering Pines Preschool in Amsterdam, NY. She received her bachelor’s degree in health studies from Utica College in 2009 and her Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree ( DPT) from Utica College in 2011. She completed an APTA credentialed residency in pediatrics through the University of Central Arkansas in 2012, after which, she accepted a position at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia working in pediatric critical care and acute care. In 2013, she became a Board Certified Pediatric Specialist, and in 2014, she completed an APTA credentialed fellowship in neonatology at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She remained on staff on the inpatient NICU team, acute care team, neonatal follow-up clinic, and cardiac kids development follow-up team until November 2016 when she accepted a position at Whispering Pines Preschool where she provides evaluation and treatment in an early intervention and preschool setting.

Michele Tryon, MA, CCLS

Michele Tryon is a certified child life specialist who has worked with children and families in hospital, community, and school settings for thirty years. She is employed by the Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters and owns a consulting business, Michele Tryon Consulting. She is a national trainer/consultant for Nurturing Parenting ProgramsTM, and is co- author of The Nurturing Program for Parents and Their Children with Special Needs and Health Challenges. Michele has published three activity manuals focused on grief and mindfulness and movement for children. She is actively training educators and developing mindfulness programs in schools. She lives in Virginia Beach, VA and enjoyes spending time at the beach with her three granddaughters.

Kristen Schilling Willson, OTR/L, CEIM

Kristin Shilling Willson is an occupational therapist, specializing in pediatrics for the past 21 years. She received her B.S. in occupational therapy from Utica College 1995 and became a Certified Educator of Infant Massage (CEIM) in 2009. Kristen has worked with children with special needs in both an inpatient setting for children with neurological difficulties and with children with various genetic and neurological diagnoses in their homes or day care settings through early intervention and pre-school programs. As a Certified Educator of Infant Massage, Kristen has worked with the early intervention programs in both Ulster and Westchester counties (NY). These programs show parents and caregivers how to create a special massage time that fosters mutual love, compassion, and respect.


Office of College Events and Conference Programs

(315) 792-3344
(315) 792-3006
1600 Burrstone Road | Utica, NY 13502