"Everything in life, prepares us for everything in life." -Mallary
Born and raised in Woonsocket, Rhode Island Mallary and Michaela became members of the Rhode Island Children's Crusade, (now the College Crusade of Rhode Island) a program for low-income urban youth providing opportunities for learning and service. The Crusade provided workshops, training, volunteerism, and leadership opportunities which helped build a solid foundation in academic success and community service. Their undergraduate education at Rhode Island College helped further their passion for community involvement with elected positions for both the RIC’s Psychological Society and the local chapter of Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology. They lead several service projects in the community and helped students by offering guidance and support through their academic journeys.
During their undergraduate studies, Mallary and Michaela were behavioral therapists for Bradley Hospital’s in-home Intensive-Behavioral Therapy program for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They were also employed at Northern Rhode Island Mental Health Services in Woonsocket working with at-risk youth in the Youth Mentorship Program. They were offered an opportunity to work as field researchers for a project funded by the National Institute of Health, and engaged in research projects with RIC’s psychology department investigating attitudes towards domestic violence. In recognition of their dedication to learning in psychology and counseling, they were the co-recipients of the 28th Annual Victoria Lederberg Psychology Department Faculty Award at Rhode Island College in 2008. In acknowledgment of their overall service, leadership and academic excellence, both Mallary and Michaela were named to the national honors program Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and received the distinguished Rhode Island College’s Bertha Christina Andrews Emin Award which honored two women of the graduating class for demonstrating distinguished academic and leadership performance. They were also members of the Rhode Island College Women’s Soccer Team and were recognized for their academic and athletic accomplishments receiving the Legislative-Scholar Athlete Award from the RI Speaker of the House and were featured in Rhode Island College’s student newspaper, The Anchor.
Embarking on separate paths…
Michaela earned heldheld a graduate assistantship positionpositions with UMass Darmouth’s department of Student Conduct and Dispute Resolution and with the Center for Access and Success working with students with disabilities. She researched and designed student resource guides, ran student support groups and offered academic support. She volunteered time to the university’s drug and alcohol committee and with the campus’ Wellness Center where she researched and developed a program manual using evidence based practices aimed to help educate university students on the misperceptions of drinking among peers. Michaela was recognized in an Alumni Feature by The College Crusade of Rhode Island and was identified as a graduate spotlight by the UMass Dartmouth office of public affairs. She was honored at her graduate ceremony by delivering the graduate student commencement speech, sharing her academic and personal achievements despite her struggle with anxiety and depression. After graduation she was eager to pursue her passions in cognitive-behavioral counseling, neuroscience and writing. In 2013 she suffered two major concussions while playing soccer and found herself struggling with post-concussion symptoms and depression. She sought alternative healing methods, remembering that she was treated by a hypnotist for a childhood medical condition after years of unsuccessful attempts with conventional treatments. Through a very difficult and trying journey of physical, mental and spiritual healing she came to discover her own abilities as an intuitive healer and a renewed passion for helping others. In June 2015 she received her Usui Reiki Master training from Kellie Surdis, RMT, IET, C.H.t followed by her Reiki Master Teacher and Karuna Holy Fire certification in 2016. Also in 2016, she completed a course offered by the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology on the Science of Energy Healing. She continues to engage with the College Crusade of RI where she volunteers her time speaking to RI’s youth and is eager to continue learning and sharing with others.
Mallary was first drawn to Springfield College’s graduate program and humanics philosophy which emphasized leadership and service to others employing a mind-body-spirit approach to education. Mallary was selected to become a member of Americorps, a nationally recognized service program that provides intensive services to meet critical needs in the community. During this time, Mallary also became a member of the Espirt De Corps Committee supporting personal and professional development to corps members and volunteered as a soccer coach in inner-city Springfield. She also received an assistantship in the Psychology Counseling Department at Springfield College. Currently, Mallary is a Student Assistance Counselor in Rhode Island supporting students in making healthy decisions and providing substance use prevention and education to middle school and high school students. She currently advises a student group, Above The Influence, which assists students to recognize and make informed decisions regarding the negative influences around them. She became interested in holistic and natural healing after experiencing a troublesome onset of Lyme Disease in August 2013. She sought holistic treatment utilizing Reiki, nutrition, and Flower Essence Therapy. Her journey of healing and coping with the unpredictable and painful complications of the disease has motivated her to help others through their experiences of pain as well as its resulting effects on the mind, body, and spirit. She completed her Usui Reiki Master training from Kellie Surdis, RMT, IET, C.H.t. in 2016 and went on to complete her Holy-Fire Master Reiki Teacher certification in 2017.
In 2015 Michaela and Mallary completed a nutritional certification from the Health Science Academy and joined Kellis Surdis and the Healing Tree Wellness Center staff where they provide traditional and holistic mental health counseling, energy healing and nutritional support. In 2017 they began a Flower Essence Practioner’s certification program with Delta Gardens and have begun developing educational material on a variety of topics related to mental health, healing and wellness.
“Challenges provide rich experiences for our consciousness to expand. If we perceive challenges as opportunities we may afford ourselves the opportunity to grow and heal in ways far beyond what we ever thought possible.”-Michaela