Autistry Studios Staff
Janet Lawson, LMFT, CEO/Executive Director
Janet is a Marriage and Family Therapist and has worked with adolescents and young adults for many years. She has a Masters in Library and Information Science (Indiana University) and an MS in Counseling Psychology (Dominican University). She worked for several years in the film industry and was a Producing Fellow at the American Film Institute. She is a Phi Beta Kappa – Summa Cum Laude graduate of UC Berkeley, with a major in Film Studies. Blog Posts
Dan Swearingen, COO/Director of Studio Operations
Dan was educated as an astrophysicist but has mainly worked in software development for private industry and government projects. Outside of work Dan has always loved building things and Autistry Studios leverages and challenges all his skills. Dan’s job is to maintain technologies for the students to use in their projects and teach the students how to (safely) use them. Blog Posts
Sarah Horowitz, Director of Development
Sarah has a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and undergraduate degrees in fine art and English. Her work experience includes stints at Matrix Parent Network & Resource Center, Outside magazine, and The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. She and her husband have a teenage son who attends Build Stuff Workshops at Autistry. Sarah’s areas of special interest are science fiction, dogs, and garden design.
Sara Gardner: Marriage and Family Therapist Intern (MFT-I)
Sara is a graduate of Mills College and has a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology from Dominican University. She has years of experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum. Sara is an accomplished role-playing gamer and has developed a therapy model for working with young adults using role-playing scenarios. She is also an avid equestrian and quite skilled with LARP weapons. Sara is an intern therapist in the workshops and also counsels clients in individual sessions. (Supervised by Janet Lawson, LMFT)
Amelia Sandy: Workshop Lead / Mentor
Amelia is a graduate of SF State with a B.A. in Art and Psychology, and is interested in expressive arts therapy. She loves backpacking, gardening, and art-making of all kinds, from welding to crocheting! She believes that creative expression is an integral part of the human experience and looks forward to sharing creativity and adventure with everyone at Autistry.
Allison Mages: Workshop Assistant / Mentor
Allie has been interested in and passionate about autism and Asperger’s ever since her wonderful twin brother, Ben, was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was ten. Allie interned at Autistry’s 2012 summer program and enjoyed herself tremendously. She previously interned and co-led workshops at 826 Valencia, a writing and tutoring center co-founded by Dave Eggers for low-income students in the Mission district of San Francisco. While working at Autistry, Allie is taking a year away from pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Columbia University. Allie is interested in psychology, education, and speech therapy, and also loves creative writing, dancing (ballet and modern), and RPG gaming.
Susanne Bruggemann: Workshop Assistant / Mentor
Susanne is a graduate of Sonoma State University with a Masters in Psychology, (emphasis on Depth Psychology) and is pursuing her Masters in Counseling also at Sonoma State. She is interested in the expressive arts including Kalffian Sandplay and is pursuing certification as a Sandplay therapist. Her professional background includes experience working as a school administrator and as a high school advisor at an all girls school. She also counseled young adults at a Psychosomatic Clinic in Europe. Susanne enjoys gardening, hiking, making pottery, has a deep appreciation for nature and is passionate about various types of music.
Dayna Camden: Workshop Assistant / Mentor
Dayna began as a volunteer at Autistry in fall 2012 and has grown into a workshop assistant and mentor. She is a student at Redwood High School and when she graduates in 2014 Dayna would like to go to University of California, Davis to study psychology.
Blue Gardner: Dog
Woof woof woof woof woof.
Melissa Diaz-Infante: Workshop Assistant / Mentor
Enthralled by puppetry at a young age, Melissa Diaz-Infante continues to carry with her an appreciation for the art form and will co-lead our Puppet Theatre workshops. Harnessing the transformative power of theatre and the unique way in which puppetry makes self-discovery and expression possible, she looks forward to facilitating their application at Autistry Studios and witnessing the fantastic results to come. Melissa is a graduate of Boston College and is currently a shadow puppet designer at Bindlestiff Studio, a San Francisco based Filipinio American performing arts center.
Jeremy Gaunt: Workshop Assistant / Mentor
Jeremy is a talented model builder, RPG gamer, and has lots of experience with the business side of things (like accounting!). Jeremy will be a great asset as we set up the accounting infrastructure to support the launch of our Autistry enterprises. Jeremy also knows his way around a workshop filled with power tools – always a plus at Autistry.
Erin Reed, MFT Intern
Erin is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern with an M.A. in Counseling from Sonoma State University (2012). Erin is also pursuing registration as a dance/movement therapist and she earned a B.A. in Psychology and Dance from Humboldt State University (2008). Her professional background includes experience with children, developmentally disabled adults, and adults with severe mental illness. Erin’s interests also include expressive arts therapy and dance performance and teaching.