The caring, qualified staff at the Center for Students with DisABILITIES is committed to helping students with disabilities succeed at the University of Houston.
Cheryl Amoruso has served as the Director of the Center for Students with DisABILITIES since February 1999.
Prior to joining the University of Houston, Cheryl was the Education & Training Director at the Mental Health Association (MHA). In this position, she was responsible for educating the community about mental health issues, supervising Information and Referral Services, developing the Self-Help Clearinghouse, and staffing numerous committees and advisory groups.
Prior to her employment at MHA, Cheryl's previous professional experience involved more than 10 years of program administration and service provision working with people who have a variety of disabilities, primarily mental illness, brain injuries, and substance abuse disorders. Cheryl has developed and coordinated several programs in educational, vocational, inpatient, and rehabilitative settings.
Cheryl graduated from the University of Houston's Graduate School of Social Work. She earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology from Western Illinois University.
In addition to her professional experience, Cheryl has served on numerous local, state, and national boards and committees. She is a past president for the Brain Injury Association of Texas and founder and past president of the Texas Brain Injury Network. She previously served on the Houston Commission on Disabilities and served as president of the Houston Community College System's Human Service Technology Advisory Board. She has received several state and local awards for outstanding service and dedication.
Crystle McDonald-Hutchinson was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, and graduated from St. Mary’s of Redford high school. She attended Texas Southern University the first years of her college education, and then transferred to the University of Houston-Downtown campus where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. Her educational inspiration carried her to earn a Master’s of Business Administration at Our Lady of the Lake University, and earned an MBA with a certification in Health Care Management. Crystle held a state certification from the Board of Evaluators for Interpreters and used that platform to work with deaf and hard of hearing children in the school district. She received a certificate in Special Education and English as a Second Language. Crystle has worked in education for nineteen years in different capacities. She has worked as a case manager for Early Childhood Intervention for the Mental Health/Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, a case manager for the Bread of Life Homeless Shelter, and has been the Director of Rainbow Academy for McGee Chapel Missionary Baptist Church.
Crystle has served as the Director of the Deaf ministry at McGee Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. She has also served as the membership chairperson for the Greater Houston Interpreters for the Deaf, and currently volunteers as an interpreter for church services.
Crystle has been working at the Justin Dart, Jr. Center for Students with DisABILITIES since September, 2013.
Ciara was born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. She earned her bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University where she studied Child and Family Studies. She is continuing her studies as she will be earning her Master's Degree in Child and Developmental Psychology in January 2020. Ciara plans to continue her education in hopes of receiving her PhD
Ciara's professional experience includes working as a Disability Adjudicator for the Social Security Administration's Disability Determinations Service of Louisiana. Later, she became a Case Manager for individuals with Developmental Disabilities working in partner with South Central Louisiana Human Services Authority. Ciara firmly believes that you have to be the change you wish to see in the world, and she lives her life accordingly.
Ciara is very excited to work at the Justin Dart, Jr. Center for Students with DisABILITIES. She looks forward to working with students help them achieve their goals and is glad to be a part of the Cougar family!
Cheryl Lynn Lewis
Adroit CSD Counselor
Cheryl Lynn is from Lake Charles, Louisiana. She graduated from Southern University A&M Baton Rouge and earned a Bachelor's degree in Child Development. She continued her studies at Prairie View A&M University and earned a Master of Education Degree in Counseling
Cheryl Lynn has worked in the field of education in various capacities. She has worked on the campuses of Prairie View A&M University and Texas A&M International-Laredo as a General Manager for American Campus Communities. She has been an Advisor to student organizations and an Instructor for the "Freshmen Experience Course".
Cheryl Lynn is a state certified educator in Louisiana and Texas. She is a Level 1 Dyslexia Practitioner and has more than ten years of experience as a Pre-K-12 School Counselor and Section 504 Coordinator. She has provided mentoring, coaching and consultation services to graduate level Counselor Interns for the following universities: McNeese State University, American Public University and Liberty University.
Cheryl Lynn is new to the Justin Dart, Jr. Center for students with DisABILITIES and is looking forward to assisting students with reaching their goals
Interpreter Services Coordinator
Therese was raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and earned a BA degree in Business Communications from Indiana University before moving to Miami, Florida where she lived for many years. In 2007 she relocated with her family to Houston and worked as an administrative coordinator at Texas Children's Hospital for several years before joining the staff at the CSD.
Demetria joined the Center for Students with DisABILITIES in August 2008 as Secretary II.
Before coming to work at CSD Demetria I worked at the University of Houston-Downtown campus for 11 years in the W.I. Dykes Library. She started as a work-study employee in the Administrative Office of the Library. Later she became Library Assistant III for the Circulation Department. While employed there she worked and went to school in Business Administrative Management, on a path towards a bachelor's degree at the University of Houston-Downtown. She earned two associate degrees – an AAS in Business Administration, and an AA in Management at Houston Community College, Main Campus.
She looks forward to many years with the Center for Students with DisABILITIES! She is so elated to be here and glad to be a part of the CSD family!
Sign Language Interpreter I
Christie Penzien is a Sign Language Interpreter in the Center for Students with DisABILITIES (CSD). She has been interpreting professionally since 2013 and is certified by the Board for Evaluators of Interpreters (BEI).
Christie graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors from the University of Houston's American Sign Language Interpreting program in 2012. She also has a degree in Psychology with a minor in Business Management. After graduation Christie worked as a Houston community interpreter for 6 years before returning to campus to work with UH's Deaf and Hard of Hearing students.
Christie loves working with the college students, expanding her knowledge base, and partnering with UH Coogs to facilitate accessible communication.
Sign Language Interpreter II
Michael has been an American Sign Language user for more than 20 years and been a Texas Certified interpreter for about 15 of those years. As someone who's lived in and had to adjust to several cultures, He's well aware of the need to bridge communication and cultural divides. He has a passion not only for the language and the profession of interpreting, but also giving back to His local Houston Deaf community that played a crucial role in sharing the language with Him. His passion also extends to growing the interpreting field and mentoring the next generation of professional and ethical Sign Language Interpreters.
When He's not interpreting for the University of Houston, Michael is happiest being the proudest Husband and Father He can be, while giving back to His Community.
Benjamin Epstein is the captionist at U of H. He graduated from Bard College. He likes writing, stories, history, and being with his wife and daughters.