Emily D. Fernandes, LCSW

Executive Director

MSW, University of Utah, Clinical Social Work, 2006
BA, Bates College, Women’s Studies / Adolescent Girls’ Psychology, 1994
Grew Up In:
In Wilderness Therapy Since:
Populations Served at Open Sky:
Program wide
Areas of Expertise:
Depression, Anxiety, Grief and Loss, Trauma, Self-harm, Disordered Eating, Adoption and Attachment Issues

Emily has worked with adolescents and families in wilderness settings since 1996.  She grew up in Vermont and earned her BA from Bates College in Maine, where she focused her undergraduate coursework on adolescent girls’ psychology.  In 2005, Emily earned a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

On a wilderness trip in Alaska with the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) in 1995, Emily discovered she could combine two of her passions: working with youth and being outdoors. Since then, she has worked for Aspen Achievement Academy, Hurricane Island Outward Bound School, and Connecticut Wilderness School.  She was part of the founding team at Open Sky.

Emily worked as the lead therapist for adolescent girls for her first 5 years at Open Sky. Her areas of clinical expertise include depression, anxiety, grief and loss, trauma, self-harm, disordered eating, and adoption and attachment issues.  Her clinical approach is informed by cognitive behavioral, psychodynamic, family systems, and attachment theories.   Relationship building through letter writing is a major focus of her work with students and families.

As a founder and owner of Open Sky, as well as the Clinical and Executive Director, Emily brings a breadth of knowledge with her background as a therapist, field guide, trainer, logistics coordinator, emergency responder, and field director, Emily is known for her direct, caring leadership style, her ability to inspire excellence in others, and her team oriented approach.  The student treatment plan is her compass for her decision-making regarding Open Sky’s students, families, and employees.

Emily loves reading, writing, yoga, mountain biking, telemark skiing, rock climbing, spending time with friends and family, and cooking with foods from the local farmers’ market.