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Meet Yunasa’s esteemed faculty members, who have years of experience working with gifted youth and shaping gifted discourse.
Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D.

Michael M. Piechowski, Ph.D, is the author of “Mellow Out, They Say. If I Only Could: Intensities and Sensitivities of the Young and Bright and Living with Intensity” (with S. Daniels). Earning a Ph.D first in Molecular Biology and later in Counseling Psychology, he served as a faculty member at three universities and one small college. He has published extensively in the areas of emotional development, developmental potential of the gifted, and emotional and spiritual giftedness. He is one of the original designers of Yunasa. In 2016, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by SENG and the NAGC Global Awareness Network Annemarie Roeper Award. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

Amy Gaesser, Ph.D.

Dr. Gaesser is currently an Associate Professor at The College at Brockport, State University of New York. She received her PhD in Counselor Education with a concentration in Gifted Education from the University of Connecticut, her Masters in Counselor Education from SUNY Brockport, and her Bachelor of Science in Social Work with a minor in Religious Studies from Nazareth College of Rochester. She is a certified New York State School Counselor and a Nationally Certified Counselor with more than 20 years of experience in mental health and academia, specializing in school-based interventions to assist gifted students with a variety of developmental, social, and emotional concerns. Her research interests include the social and emotional well-being of gifted students and interventions blending Eastern, Western, and Energy Psychology to assist students in overcoming challenges and reaching their greatest potentials. Her present research examines anxiety experienced by gifted students and the efficacy of therapies incorporating acupoint stimulation, such as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), to reduce anxiety.

Shelagh Gallagher, Ph.D.

Ms. Gallagher received her Ph.D. in Special Education with an emphasis in gifted education at the University of North Carolina. Prior to her current job working as an independent consultant in gifted education, she served for 10 years as Associate Professor in UNC Charlotte’s Department of Special Education and Child Development. She has served two terms on the NAGC Board of Directors. She and her father co-authored Teaching the Gifted Child.

Dan Tichenor, M.A.

Mr. Tichenor is a journalist, editor, storyteller, and teacher of gifted and special needs students. He is also the father of six gifted (now adult) kids and has been active in summer programs for gifted kids in the college and private school sector. Mr. Tichenor is a firm believer in the notion of “taking it outside” and his activities are firmly rooted in being outdoors and in learning from the environment. He received his bachelor’s degree in journalism and has two master’s degrees from Northeastern Illinois University.

“OUR DAUGHTER HAD THE BEST TIME EVER AND I CANNOT TELL YOU HOW MUCH THAT EXPERIENCE HAS CHANGED HER IN JUST ONE SHORT WEEK. SHE FEELS FOR THE FIRST TIME THAT THERE ARE OTHER KIDS LIKE HER, WHO ‘GET HER’ AND THAT SHE IS NOT WEIRD. SHE WAS COMFORTABLE SOCIALLY MAKING FRIENDS AND SHE WAS AWARE OF HOW SHE NEEDED TO PUSH HERSELF TO BUILD HER CONFIDENCE AND TO BELIEVE THAT WHO SHE IS (JUST AS SHE IS) IS AN INCREDIBLE GIFT (NOT A CURSE AS I THINK SHE HAS OFTEN SEEN IT BEFORE). AND SHE IS BEGINNING TO SEE AND USE THE PRACTICE OF MINDFULNESS AND MEDIATION AND WE HAVE ALREADY TALKED ABOUT HOW SHE CAN CONTINUE THAT AT HOME. BEST OF ALL FOR US WAS SEEING HER CONNECT WITH OTHER KIDS LIKE HER. THAT IS A GIFT THAT IS PRICELESS TO HER AND EVEN MORE SO TO US.”

– Yunasa Parent

“YUNASA IS AN UNBELIEVABLE EXPERIENCE FOR GIFTED KIDS – THEY CAN BE THEMSELVES AND CAN LEARN TECHNIQUES THAT HELP WITH EMOTIONS”

– Yunasa Parent

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