Cynthia FitzGerald, PhD-Director
Cynthia shares in the joy and affirmation of our Stroke Center students for their resilience and accomplishments. She enjoys working with students, caregivers, and families. Her background includes caring for multi-generational family needs as a counselor and teaching about human development and aging issues as a professor of psychology. She has also worked as a director of support services, dean, and most recently as the Director of Allied Health at Cabrillo. Beyond work she enjoys engaging in painting, gardening, tennis, time in the redwoods, and playing with her grandchildren on a regular basis.
Terri Cesari, BA- Program Coordinator
Terri comes to the Stroke Center after working at the Cabrillo College Small Business Development Center as a program administrative assistant for over 8 years. She has a B.A. Degree in Psychology, and also attended Cabrillo College as a student. Terri has lived in Santa Cruz County since 1999, and she enjoys nature photography trips and walking her dog at the beach.
Courtney Hewitt, MSW- Counseling Faculty
Courtney is excited to be joining the faculty at the Stroke & Disability Learning Center as of fall 2015 after working at Cabrillo College since 2014. In her role as the SDLC Counselor she provides counseling support through individual appointments, new student orientations and group classes. She has worked for many years in community mental health, school counseling, academic advising and higher education administration, and came to Cabrillo after working at UC Santa Cruz for five years. Courtney was born and raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains and is happy to still call Santa Cruz home. Outside of work she enjoys spending time at the beach and in the redwoods, going for a run or a hike, traveling whenever possible and being with her friends and family.
Lenny Norton, MS-Mobility Faculty
Lenny Norton is an Adaptive Physical Education Instructor, a licensed Physical Therapist and certified Yoga Instructor. He modifies his Mobility/ADAPT classes to include adaptive yoga for disabled students. Lenny has a private Physical Therapy practice incorporating Therapeutic Yoga combined with traditional Physical Therapy principles. He has been at Cabrillo since 2006. “I am fortunate to be part of a program so vital to our community.”
Merritt Tucker, MS-Speech Faculty
Merritt Tucker joined the faculty at Cabrillo College in 1999 as Speech Communications Instructor at the Stroke and Disability Learning Center. She has worked for many years in medical rehabilitation as well as in the K-12 school system as a Speech Language Pathologist. Her primary area of expertise is with Acquired Brain Injury. While at Cabrillo College she has broadened her skills in the use of Assistive Technology for students with a variety of learning needs. Another interest she holds is assisting Veterans in their learning needs as they transition to the community college setting.
Her background in dance and theatrical movement has helped in providing teaching tools to empower students to express themselves meaningfully when fluent speech is denied them.
“It is a privilege to work with the students here at the Cabrillo College Stroke and Disability Learning Center. The spirit of community is palpable in this program. The students prove to be the real teachers here as they guide curriculum and build on the foundation of learning and support.”
Meghan Lauf, BS
Meghan began volunteering at the center in the Fall of 2014. She then became a staff member and a favorite inspirational support in mobility and upper body exercises. Her professional goal is to become a geriatric nurse practitioner, and we are so glad to have her with us.
Ray Joseph, MPA
Ray Joseph is the newest member of the Stroke and Disability Center team. He will be working with Merritt Tucker as an Instructional Assistant in the speech therapy program. Ray has over 40 years experience in healthcare including knowledge of the hospital, nursing home, and clinical settings. He has worked as a respiratory therapist, case manager, and state healthcare inspector. Throughout his career, Ray had had a keen interest and extensive experience in stroke and disability in numerous settings.
Mary Quillin, BA
Mary Quillin first came to the Stroke and Disability Learning Center as a volunteer in June 2012 and was soon hired as Instructional Assistant for the Mobility/Fitness classes. She has taught therapeutic yoga, stress reduction and meditation courses to individuals, businesses, hospitals, schools and community centers locally for over 20 years. She is a UCSC graduate and is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor. Simple yoga stretches and mindful practices enhanced her own recovery from a serious spinal injury many years ago. When she’s not at the Stroke Center, you’ll often find her walking her dog in the forest, working on a writing project, volunteering with Hospice of Santa Cruz County or at the Santa Cruz SPCA.
Cheryl Trowbridge, BA
Cheryl loves sharing her passion for art with others on her website at TeachKidsArt.net and has taught art to children and adults locally for the last 20+ years. In addition to all kinds of art, she also enjoys reading, gardening, and long walks. She looks forward to teaching Ceramics and Painting classes at the Cabrillo Stroke and Disability Learning Center.
Joanna Manoff, MS
Joanna is a Physical Therapist who first came to the SDLC to teach Mobility/Fitness classes in 2008. Joanna currently offers Recreational Movement activities as part of the HEART program. She uses games, exercises and physical activities to encourage and inspire.
Penny Hanna, BA
Penny Hanna plays popular, jazz, and classical music on saxophone, bass, guitar, and viola da gamba. After spending most of her career on the road as a multi-instrumentalist and singer, she is thrilled and inspired to be part of the Cabrillo College Stroke Center Choir, blending voices with all the enthusiastic and gifted students.
Thomas Church, PhD
Tom Church has worked in higher education for the past 12 years as a counselor, lecturer and manager and is a published author in the field. He is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor with over four decades of professional experience working with people experiencing disabilities. Most recently he has been a volunteer and manager at the Mid County Senior Center and along with gardening there, he enjoys paddle boarding, photography, camping and related outdoor activities. He is excited to incorporate his transferable skills at Cabrillo College and to lead group discussions with the program students.
Patricia C. Christensen, MA
Patricia’s travels and extensive multicultural background have allowed her to help those she works with in various intercultural settings. She has worked previously in technology, as a Spanish academic instructor and interpreter, and in various counseling positions. After being introduced to the personal growth field, she obtained her Masters in Counseling. Since then, she has worked counseling teens, adults, families, has taught parenting and communications classes, and facilitated groups. Her extensive intercultural communications experience continues to aid her in the counseling field. In her free time, she enjoys swimming, playing volleyball, and walking on the beach with her daughters. At the Stroke Center, she is the Caregiver group facilitator.