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 Wellness Center Staff

 
 
 
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Dr. Schweitzer is the Clinical Director and a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.  She received her degree at the Illinois School of Professional Psychology/Argosy University in Chicago, IL.  Her previous experiences includes working in such settings as a residential substance abuse facility with a MISA program, 4 year college counseling center, community mental health, and a psychiatric hospital.  She has supervised clinical staff and students at both the practicum and internship level.  She has taught graduate and undergraduate level psychology classes for the last 14 years, and continues to teach as an adjunct professor in Chicago area graduate schools.  She opened the Malcolm X College Wellness Center in 2012, and has been delighted to serve the students of City Colleges of Chicago since then.          

Dr. Schweitzer’s orientation is humanistic in conceptualization and attitude and she also utilizes interventions from cognitive behavioral approaches such as DBT.  She firmly believes in demonstrating a healthy interactional style with flexibility of approach, transparency, and honoring the differences between herself and others’ process as a way to role model an adaptive and relational style.  For training and supervision, her approach is developmental and includes goals of competency, self-reflection, ability to accept feedback, and integration of personal and professional identity.   

Mercedes Kaltenecker, Wellness Center Coordinator (She/Her) 

Mercedes Kaltenecker has been the Wellness Center Coordinator since 2014.  She graduated from DeVry University with her BA in Business Administration. She works with outside organizations to provide free services in-house to all students of Malcolm X College such as free HIV/STD, SNAP/Link assistance, flu shots, and wellness checks through the Kidney Mobile foundation. She engages in outreach to student though classroom visits, stress management activities, and supportive awareness events such as for Domestic Violence survivors.  She is usually the welcoming front desk face for clients and visitors and manages the daily activities of the Wellness Center . Mercedes also runs the Fresh Market and supervises the volunteers and work study students who work in it.​

 
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Ms. Ramirez is a Bilingual Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC)
with a Master’s Degree in Community Counseling from Argosy University Chicago. Prior to working at Malcom X College, Jenniffel worked as Behavioral Health Coordinator at Alivio Medical Center. There she directed the Behavioral Health Program in six medical health centers and three school-based sites. She received the 40-hour Domestic Violence training as she provided administrative and clinical supervision to the Domestic Violence Program clinicians. She has supervised clinical staff and master level internship and practicum students. 
 
      
Jenniffel applies cognitive behavioral and solution-focused approaches in therapy; she believes in creating a therapeutic alliance with individuals to actively work towards achieving goals, healing, and empowerment. At Malcolm X College she provides supportive counseling and focuses on creating an environment where students can feel safe and heard as they explore life’s challenges.  Her approach to training and supervision is developmental, acknowledging the supervisee’s current stage and providing feedback and support appropriate to that developmental stage. 
 

Ms. Seals is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Dominican University’s School of Social Work. Prior to working at Malcom X College, Porcia worked as a Medical Social Worker at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. There she provided patient and family education that promoted wellness and increased knowledge of the healthcare system. Additionally, she provided psychosocial interventions to decrease hospital readmissions which included crisis intervention, coping with post-hospital care needs and linkage to community resources. Her previous experiences includes working in such settings as addiction recovery and rehabilitation center, employee assistance program, insurance providers and Catholic Charities of Chicago. She has contributed to hospital wide initiatives, multidisciplinary treatment teams and supervised a master level internship and practicum student.

a’s orientation is existential, as she believes that there is a meaning to all life experiences. She believes in the importance of building healthy relationships founded on mutual respect and empowerment. She values the privilege to walk alongside individuals as they work towards their journey to healing. Her approach to training and supervision aims to use self-awareness and feedback to foster an environment for personal and professional development.

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Ms. 
Jayawardena is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with a Master’s Degree in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. Prior to joining Malcolm X’s Wellness team, Rushini worked as a Mental Health Social Worker in Metropolitan Family Services, South Chicago location. During her time there, Rushini provided both individual and group therapy as well as skill building and case management to adults residing in the community. Rushini also works for a private practice in Hyde Park where she provides therapy to adults of varying ages.

Rushini’s therapeutic orientation is a relational-cultural one. What this means is she understands relationships (familial, intimate, professional, etc) can be both a source of great happiness and stress and believes growth can happen when we work on fostering and repairing relationships. She also believes that in order for individuals to feel authentically themselves they need to unlearn things that no longer serve them, while shedding light on newer truths.  She enjoys utilizing art, meditation and movement (yoga, walking, etc) in therapy to help create autonomy and control within her clients and is currently working towards certification in Trauma Conscious Yoga. 


Emily A. Hallendy, PsyD, Staff Psychologist (She/Her) 

Dr. Hallendy is a Clinical Psychologist with a Doctoral Degree in Psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago, IL. Prior to working at Malcolm X College, she worked in the Homeless Veteran’s Rehabilitation Program at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center (Lovell FHCC). During her time at Lovell FHCC, Dr. Hallendy provided psychological services for active duty military members and veterans within outpatient, residential, and inpatient levels of care. As part of the services she provided at Lovell FHCC, she emphasized in areas of trauma-related disorders, substance use disorders, serious mental illness, and homelessness. Her previous experiences also includes working in such settings as dual-diagnosis substance abuse facility, acute psychiatric hospital, and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center. She has assisted in psychology program development, served on psychology trainee committees, contributed to multidisciplinary treatment teams, and supervised doctoral level practicum students.  

  

Dr. Hallendy approaches treatment through acceptance and commitment therapy under relational frame theory. She also utilizes interventions from additional third-wave approaches such as DBT, and traditional and manualized cognitive-behavioral protocols such as cognitive processing therapy, CBT for Insomnia (CBT-I), and prolonged exposure. She believes in helping individuals identify their values towards creating a personally meaningful life. She helps individuals address struggles in life through increasing cognitive flexibility and acceptance of distressing thoughts and emotions. For training and supervision, her approach is developmental wherein she meets the supervisee at their current stage of training while providing feedback and support in creating growth in competency, self-reflection, and autonomy. ​​

 

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