After obtaining her BA in Psychology, EJ dove into working in the mental health field while simultaneously nurturing her passion for the outdoors. She worked at a holistic mental health RTC, was an applied behavioral tutor for young kids on the autism spectrum, completed a thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail, and began to weave these two worlds together in meaningful ways in her own life. EJ then continued her formal education at Appalachian State University, where she completed her MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling with an Addiction Counseling specialty.
EJ places high importance on having a career path that is a reflection of her passions and her values. She turns to wilderness when seeking lessons, growth, confidence, and honesty. She finds that wilderness gives her the time and space to sort things out, reflect, and overcome challenges. She has always wanted to come alongside people in a supportive role. Wilderness therapy captures all of this.
Open Sky's holistic, family systems oriented, and clinically sophisticated program drew her from her beloved Appalachian mountains out West. She began at Open Sky as a Field Guide in order to immerse herself in the student experience. She has a deeply rooted compassion for students and their experiences that brought them to Open Sky. In the guide role, she enjoyed sharing her appreciation for the small steps between each "Aha!" moment. EJ was named the 2020 Jumping Mouse, an annual award given to exceptional wilderness therapy field guides.
As a therapist on the Family Services Team, she comes alongside families with a deep knowledge of the Open Sky model, the hard skills, mindfulness practice, and coping resources they learn along the way. She works from a place of curiosity and approaches her work with an eagerness to build relationship with each family. In addition to weekly Family Quest excursions, EJ provides tailored parent coaching services to families, supporting and guiding them in their healing journeys alongside their Open Sky loved ones. As the Family Services Development Manager, she engages with her passions of teaching, mentorship, and transformation within the Open Sky family.
EJ values the community of learning that we all offer each other in the desert and mountains. Whether from students, families, therapists, operations staff, managers, or field guides, EJ believes there is so much to learn about relationship, communication, vulnerability, nature, and the world.
Outside of work, EJ loves to explore the magic and beauty of the West, a place she is grateful to call home. She loves to venture up mountains on foot, run, and slackline. She does almost everything with her dog, Dune, is an avid reader, and board games are her jam.