The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute Welcomes Five New Staff Members

September 19, 2022

The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) at Kennedy Krieger Institute is happy to welcome five new staff members: Tracy Hincke, Christopher Mason-Hale, Tyler Cochran, Annie Carver, and Kristine Nellenbach. Our new team members are excited to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families through advocacy and community resources.

Tracy Hincke joins the MCDD as an Administrative Services Coordinator. Tracy was an MCDD trainee under the supervision of Dr. Mirian Ofonedu from September 2020 through May 2021. Her current role includes providing overall support to all of the MCDD program and projects by scheduling events, purchasing orders, assisting with trainings, processing payment invoices, serving as liaison to our Community Advisory Council, and much more.

Tracy earned a bachelor’s degree in family science with a minor in human development in December 2017 from the University of Maryland, College Park. She continued her education by completing a master of public health degree, as well as a master of social work degree, in May 2021 from the University of Maryland, Baltimore.

While pursuing her degrees, Tracy interned with several mental wellness organizations, including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), EveryMind, and Sheppard Pratt Health System. She volunteered at a peer counseling and crisis intervention hotline, performed blood pressure screenings with an organization, B’more for Healthy Babies, and worked to become a mental health peer educator by facilitating presentations on bystander intervention. Afterwards, she became a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). In addition, she served as a research assistant for two labs, coding qualitative data and discussing developmental literature and the significance of peer mentoring.

Tracy appreciates the variety of work the MCDD is involved in and hopes to contribute to its success in improving the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Chris Mason-Hale joins the MCDD as a Community Advocate, where he will serve as a liaison to the disability community through the implementation of federal and state grants and contracts. He will also support the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) program’s curricula, including training self-advocates, as a Faculty Advocate.

Before working with the MCDD, Chris had been a self-advocate for people with spinal cord injuries. Since 2016, Chris has been meeting with teenagers and young adults post-injury as a Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation peer mentor to discuss the lifestyle transition that comes with a spinal cord injury. Then in 2019, he joined the ethics program at Kennedy Krieger Institute as a community member where he provides a community perspective to hospital consultations.

Chris received his associate’s degree in psychology before recently graduating from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), where he received a bachelor’s degree in social work. During his time at UMBC, he was LEND trainee with the Psychiatric Mental Health Program (PMHP) at Kennedy Krieger Institute where he assisted patients through care coordination and as a group co-facilitator for young adult men transitioning into adulthood.

Chris looks forward to the opportunity to help represent people with disabilities and work with the support of a team that strives to ensure the disability community are heard, acknowledged, and served competently.

Tyler and Annie join the MCDD as legal advocates for Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), a medical-legal partnership that provides advocacy and civil legal services for Kennedy Krieger patients and families. In this role, they will represent children with disabilities in special education matters across the state of Maryland. Upon their passage of the Maryland bar exam, they will become staff attorneys.

Tyler Cochran received a bachelor’s degree in global studies from Loyola University Maryland and a Juris Doctor at Stanford Law School. While in law school, Tyler interned at the Nashville Public Defenders in Nashville, TN, as well as Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services in New Haven, CT. He also served full-time in his law school’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, where he brought a successful defensive asylum case before the San Francisco Immigration Court alongside a fellow student. Prior to law school, Tyler served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Moshupa, Botswana from 2017-2019.

Annie Carver received her Juris Doctor from University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. While in law school, Annie served as a Project HEAL trainee, the resources and referrals chair at University of Maryland’s student run medical-legal partnership, as well as a student attorney at her school’s public health policy clinic. For the last five years, Annie has volunteered as a counselor at Youth Rally, a summer camp for teens with serious medical conditions, and was a camper at Youth Rally for three years before. As a counselor, she helps foster self-advocacy and medical management skills. Annie currently serves on Youth Rally’s Belonging, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (BEDI) board committee. Annie is excited to bring her experience with self-advocacy to Project HEAL. Prior to law school, Annie received a bachelor’s degree in political science and English from the University of Rochester.

Kristine Nellenbach joins the MCDD as the new program coordinator for Resource Finder, a program that helps connect community members with resources. Kristine graduated from Towson University with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and a master’s degree in instructional technology. Before joining the MCDD, she was an elementary school teacher and media specialist in Maryland for twelve years.

Kristine uses her knowledge from working with students to understand the types of support parents need, particularly parents of children with intellectual or developmental disabilities. In addition to providing resources to families and professionals, she also creates the MCDD’s quarterly newsletter, showcasing all the amazing work the MCDD is doing. A goal for this role is to establish a relationship with the Baltimore City Public Library system, in order to increase awareness of the Resource Finder program and to provide more avenues for community members to receive resources. Kristine looks forward to providing a vital service to the public and connecting people with the information they seek.

The MCDD’s newest team members are thrilled to be a part of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities network and hope to collaborate with network members in the near future. For more information about the MCDD, please visit: