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Meet the Foundation Board of Directors


The Schultz Foundation for Advancing Counseling is governed by an elected Board of Directors that consists of counselors, counselor educators, and professionals dedicated to supporting the Foundation’s Mission: 

"To promote excellence in counseling and support mental wellness in Illinois, the Schultz Foundation for Advancing Counseling provides financial support that encourages professional development and research

and which addresses social issues within the State."

We are proud to celebrate more than a decade of supporting

professional counselors and counseling graduate students.

The volunteer Board of Directors is comprised of counselors, counselor educators, and professionals dedicated to supporting the Foundation’s Mission in an ethical, legal, fair, and efficient manner.  

Here is a bit more information about the Foundation Board Members:   

Photo of Dr. Melanie Rawlins

Dr. Melanie Rawlins, President  

In 2005 she led a dedicated team to establish the Foundation.This capstone in her professional contributions took an extraordinary amount of time and effort. Dr. Rawlins is Professor Emeritus and former Chair of the Department of Counselor Education at Western Illinois University (1997-2006) and was a counselor educator for 19 years at Eastern Illinois University.  


Learn more about Dr. Rawlins

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Ms. Roseanne Oppmann, M.A., Vice President  

Roseanne was elected to the Board of Directors and awarded a Robert J. Nejedlo Social Emphasis Grant from the Foundation in 2016 as a reflection and result of her professional accomplishments and continued goals. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in 1978 in education and special education from National College of Education. In 1998, she earned her Master’s degree in Human Service Counseling from National Louis University.

Learn more about Ms. Oppmann

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Dr. Donna Kirkpatrick Pinson, Treasurer
Dr. Kirkpatrick Pinson is an Assistant Professor of Counseling and Human Services at National Louis University. Prior to this appointment, she served as adjunct faculty in the Northern Illinois University Counseling Program and as a professional school counselor at Byron Middle School.   

Learn more about Dr. Kirkpatrick Pinson


Ms. LaCleta Hall, M.A., Secretary

LacCeta Hall is one of the founding members of the Foundation.  Hall personally knew Merlin W. Schultz, one of the Foundation’s major benefactors and visionaries.  She states; “Merlin’s personal commitment to the counseling profession has been a very real fundamental focus for me to stay involved with the Foundation to this day.” She has been serving as the Board Secretary for many years helping to ensure the work and accomplishment are noted for future generations of counseling professionals.

Learn more about Ms. Hall

Mr. Earl Bracey

W. Earl Bracey, J.D., M.S., Board Member

Earl Bracey received his law degree from Southern Illinois University of Law in 1979, an M.S. in guidance and counseling from Eastern Illinois University, a B.A. in secondary education from Mount Senario College and an associate' degree from Wright Junior College. He served in leadership at Western Illinois University for 35 years.  He retired the summer of 2015 as the Associate Vice President for student services at Western Illinois University.  Prior to this leadership position at WIU, he served as Director of Student Legal Services from 1979 to 1986.

Learn more about Mr. Bracey


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Dr. Heidi Larson 

Dr. Heidi Larson currently works as a Professor in Eastern's Department of Counseling and Higher Education. Her recent teaching experiences include; Professional Orientation, Basic Counseling Skills, Group Counseling (a specialty), Internship and Family Counseling. Additionally, she provides clinical supervision, professional consultation, and training for master's level counselors. 

Learn more about Dr. Larson

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Sherri McLaughlin 

Sherri has devoted her life to counseling and mentoring adolescents.  She graduated from Eastern Illinois University with a degree in Speech Communication and a minor in Journalism and Public Relations.  After teaching in central Illinois, Sherri earned her Master’s Degree in Human Development Counseling from the University of Illinois.


Learn more about Ms. McLaughlin

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Dr. Maricruz Ramos, Board Member
Dr. Ramos is a Board Member and a past recipient of the Melanie E. Rawlins Research Grant from the Foundation.  As a grantee she was compelled to join the Board to her to share her interest in helping others learn and benefit from the Foundation's Grants.  Dr. Ramos is a counselor/ faculty at College of Lake County in Grayslake, IL  

Learn more about Dr. Maricruz Ramos

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Ms. Nicole Zook 

Nicole Zook received her B.A. in Psychology from Saint Mary's College, Notre Dame, IN in 2006. Upon graduation she enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, leaving as a sergeant in 2010 after deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan where she earned multiple personal awards. After receiving an honorable discharge, she returned to Northeastern Illinois University and received her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling in 2014.

Learn more about Ms. Zook


Jenica Hopkins, Executive Director

Jenica Hopkins brings a strong commitment to the counseling profession and has extensive experience in community outreach for nonprofit organizations. She has led numerous health care campaigns throughout her career and received multiple awards for community development both regionally and nationally.

Ms. Hopkins holds a BA in Political Science and History from Quincy University. She served as a political liaison early in her career before transitioning to bio medical services on behalf of the American Red Cross. 


Learn more about Ms. Hopkins


Dr. Stephany Joy-Newman, Board Member Emeritus
Since age eleven Stephany Joy-Newman was certain she wanted to be a counselor and psychotherapist when she “grew up”.  She steadfastly pursued a Bachelors and Master’s Degree in Psychology from Western Illinois University, (WIU) after which she “paid her dues” by working in agency settings (caseworker for Division of Children and Family Services; counselor in Community Mental Health Center).   

Learn more about Dr. Newman

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