Maria Patricia Caruso, MS, BCBA
Owner/CEO

Maria Patricia Caruso is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and the owner of Evolving Minds Together and Evolving Minds Counseling. Maria Patricia’s graduated from the University of Miami where she attained a double bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biology. She also obtained her Master degree from Nova Southeastern University as a Mental Health Counselor with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis. Maria Patricia’s journey begins while working with the department of juvenile Justice where she has the opportunity to offer counseling and ABA services to adolescent and their families. As her passion for the field growth, she had the opportunity to work with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. It was her everyday experiences and passion for the field that brought her to take a step beyond and become an extra support for the families and their kids by developing a company which mission is to combine passion and dedication with an individualized treatment in order to build brighter future. Maria Patricia is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and had the opportunity to travel to different countries in Latin America to provide Applied Behavioral services to children and their families.

Renee Vassell, MS, BCBA
Clinical Director

Renee Vassell received her M.A. double Major in Mental Health Counseling and Applied Behavioral Analysis at Nova Southeastern University, June 2017. She is currently working on achieving the necessary components and requirements in order to obtain her BCBA licensure. Renee has been working with children with Autism, Mental Disability and Developmental Delay for over 8 years. Renee has experience working in settings such as, in home, summer camp, school and private center. Her experience working with children with Autism ages ranges from 2-11 years old. Renee feels passionate about ABA and aiding each child to become his/her best and serving as a mentor and an advocate for the children and their families. She is delighted to be a part of the Evolving Minds Together team, and is thrilled on making a difference in each child she works with life.

Nicole Hyde, MS, BCaBA
Assistant Clinical Director

Nikkie found her passion in working with children of various exceptionalities through her diverse volunteer work, particularly when she embarked on a mission trip to Mexico. Nikkie earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology and Family & Child Sciences from Florida State University, working as a research assistant under prestigious professors studying cognitive development, family relationships, and academic success. She is currently working on her Master’s of Science degree in Family Therapy at Nova Southeastern University. Nikkie has loved her journey in the field of ABA. Her motivation to help children and their families progress toward their goals drives her to pursue greater knowledge and experience!

Diana Rada, MS, BCBA
Staff Developer Specialist

Diana Is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She holds the title of B.A. in Clinical Psychology with foundations and training in applied behavior analysis. As well as a Master’s degree in developmental disabilities from Nova Southeastern University with a concentration in ABA and Early Intervention. She is a certified ITDS (Infant-Toddler Development Specialist) and worked with the Early Steps program from Broward County for 4 years. She has been working in the field of ABA since 2005 and, although autism spectrum disorders have been her main focus, she has experience with typically developing children, as well as various other disabilities, working hand in hand with parents, caregivers, teachers, and other related disciplines. Diana is passionate about ABA and considers it an effective and comprehensive method to approach children with and without disabilities to help them reach their potentialities and bring welfare to them and their families.

Laura Torres, MS, BCBA
Operations Specialist

Laura graduated from the University of Central Florida where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She also obtained her Master’s degree in Counseling with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis from Nova Southeastern University. She’s a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with experience working with children who are diagnosed with ASD providing direct behavioral therapy both at school and at home settings. She also has experience working with individuals who are pre- and nonverbal, while managing maladaptive behaviors and teaching replacement behaviors, and teaching them to develop strong social skills. Laura is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and is devoted to working with children of all ages and many levels of ability, alongside their family, to achieve their maximum potential.

Rita Hiatt, BCBA

Rita received her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts from the Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University in 2012. She continued her education at FAU to obtain a Master’s in Psychology in 2016, majoring in Cognition. Rita then attended Western Michigan University to complete a second Masters degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, with an emphasis in autism and organizational behavior management. She has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst since 2017 and has provided services to clients in the home, clinic and school settings. Rita is passionate about the science, as well as the clinical and practical application of ABA in everyday life. Her favorite part of the job is watching a child demonstrate a new skill for the first time!

Melanie Gonzalez, RBT Lead

Melanie graduated from the Metropolitan University in Caracas, Venezuela, and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst. She is currently working on earning her master’s degree. She has worked with children and adults from different backgrounds in one-to-one and group settings.

Her most recent work was as a neurofeedback therapist mainly with children within the Autism Spectrum Disorder, ADHD, ADD, and adults with anxiety, depression, and other disorders.

Melanie is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and loves working with children. Her purpose is to help children and their families reach key goals and conquer the child’s potential.

Gabriela Paolini, RBT Lead

Gabriela graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She has 4 years of experience working in ABA. Working with children, specifically diagnosed with ASD has always been her passion. Gabriela interned at the University of Miami IBIS clinic where her love for early intervention began and was part of their research team. She then moved on to work in the field, specifically in school and home settings where she has worked with children in all age ranges (18 months to 17). Gabriela is fully bilingual in both English and Spanish and plans to pursue her Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. She is very excited to be part of such a wonderful team and make a difference in each of her clients’ daily lives!

Natalia Manrique, RBT Lead

Natalia graduated from Florida International University where she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Natalia recently graduated and is now working on obtaining her RBT certification and further her education in the ABA field. Natalia loves to work with kids and had the opportunity to work with kids before. She is fully bilingual in English and Spanish. Natalia feels very passionate about ABA and has a high motivation to work with children and their families, to achieve all goals.

Francesca Lamare, BA

Francesca is currently attending Florida International University studying psychology. She has always had an interest in kids and their development. She has worked with kids of all ages for many years and I enjoy it! Francesca wants to pursue BCaBA certification and continue her track to complete her BCBA. She loves the field of ABA and want to continue to grow.

Joyce Bencomo, RBT

Joyce found her passion for educating and helping kids by acquiring a Florida Child Development Associate Equivalent Credential (CDAE) and since then have been working with children for more than 18 years. She has experience as a teacher with typically developing children, as well as various other disabilities working hand in hand with parents, caregivers and other related children specialists. She has always loved kids and is very passionate about making a difference in the lives of children and families, what leads her to continue her career as she works towards her RBT certification. She is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and is devoted to being part of your child’s journey towards fulfilling their potential.

Rain, RBT

Rain is currently attending Florida International University where she will be obtaining her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Minor in Criminal Justice. She is a Registered Behavior Technician. Rain is fully bilingual in English and Spanish and has a tremendous passion for helping each child reach their highest potential. She loves working with children and seeing them acquire new skills. Her end goal is to obtain a Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and become certified as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

Gabriela Bigott, RBT

Gabriela graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and earned a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from Nova Southeastern University. While working at the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development, she developed and conducted a social skills curriculum for children with autism and other developmental disorders that optimized the school’s methodology, which was then incorporated as their official lesson plan to better assist the education of their students. She also co-facilitated support groups for families with children diagnosed with ASD. Gabriela has a passion for early intervention and parent training. Her fluency in both English and Spanish allows her to work with more children and families. By empowering her patients with the right set of tools, both the families and children are able to embrace independent and fulfilling lives.

Gisselle Rodriguez , RBT

Giselle has always had a love for working with children and aiding in their development. She completed her Child Development Associate (CDA) and has been working with children ages 18 months to 6 years old for the last 7 years. She has experience working with typically developing children as well as children with ASD and has a passion for helping them develop every day and learn new skills. She is bilingual in English and Spanish and hopes to make a difference every day with her role in ABA. Giselle is currently working towards furthering her education in this field.

Sandra Valencia, BA

My name is Sandra Valencia, I graduated as an interior designer from American Intercontinental University (Weston, Fl). My life path totally changed when my son was diagnosed with autism at the age of three. Since then I dedicated my life to take my son forward and to his full potential. He is now 12 and he has come a long way, we have overcome many obstacles together for him to be where he is right now. Our success is mainly thanks to ABA therapy, He has been receiving behavior therapy for 6 years, I’ve been so involved and learned so much from it that I was able to help my son and other kids at the same time. I became an active autism Mom, I got myself connected in everything that would help my son interact with other kids and learn. He is part of Special Olympics and we are also part of a foundation called Autism & Music for the past 5 years. We spread autism awareness and help enhance the life quality of people with autism through music interaction. This has been an awesome and crucial adventure in our life. I’ve also worked as a shadow at different schools with kids with autism. I found my passion and my mission in life through my journey with my son, which is to help parents and their kids have a successful journey as well, to help the kids be as independent as possible, to help them achieve their full potential but most importantly, to be happy. This is the reason I’m working as a Behavior Therapist with this great company, so we can join forces and knowledge to make the world aware and better for our kids.

Anita Gonzalez, RBT

Anita graduated from Nova Southeastern University with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services and obtained her certification as a Registered Behavior Technician in March of 2018.Her future plans are to become a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) and obtain her Master’s degree. Her passion to become an RBT comes from seeing the progress and change children make while receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services. Anita’s goal is to provide the best-individualized behavioral service possible to children and their families.

Melanie Conteras, RBT

Melanie is currently attending Florida International University studying psychology. Throughout her teaching career, she has always had a passion for working with children and being part of their growth and development. Melanie has a creative mindset and a can-do attitude. She is always a positive thinker and is always up for new challenges. Melanie’s end goal is to achieve the BCBA certification and with love and commitment, she will strive to make a difference in every child’s life.

Katherina Hurt, RBT

Katherina Hurt holds a Summa Cum Laude Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education with a Mayor in Learning Difficulties and a Minor in Mental Disabilities. She has 23 years of experience, which combines a prolific academic and counseling activity with children and adolescents with special needs and their families, in her native country, Venezuela, and for the last 9 years as a Lead Teacher in a private school in the State of Florida. Katherina has developed, over the course of her career, a passion for children with special challenges, especially with autism, which motivated her to recently obtain her RBT license as the next step in her professional growth. She is delighted to be part of the Evolving Minds Together team, surrounded by professionals with dedication and passion for their work, and from whose experience every day she treasures new learning.

Justin McKinley, RBT

Justin graduated from FIU in 2020 with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology with a focus in ABA along with a minor in Philosophy. He found out about ABA while at FIU and instantly fell in love with the science and practical and applicable nature of ABA. He is currently working on obtaining his RBT and soon after hopes to obtain his BCaBA. Justin finds his work quite fulfilling as he helps those acquire new and more functional skills.

Luisa F. Perez, RBT

Luisa graduated from Florida International University where she obtained her Bachelor in Biology with a minor in Psychology. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, Luisa obtained a master’s in Special Needs Education in which she got involved in Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA). Recently, she finished her course as a Register Behavior Technician (RBT) and obtained her certification in May 2020. Luisa is bilingual in both English and Spanish; she is working towards furthering her education by completing her master’s degree as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Luisa is very motivated and is excited about beginning her new path as a Registered Behavior Technician. Luisa is excited to be part of a great team and is ready to make a difference in children’s lives.

Sofia Baylac, RBT

Sofia graduated from Broward College with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. Sofia always had a passion for helping others and when the ABA field found her she has pursued it since then. Sofia has been an RBT since 2018 and is planning on expanding in the ABA field by getting her Master’s degree and become a BCBA. Her experience ranges from helping clients ages 23 months to 12 years old and has worked in a vast variety of settings such as giving at-home therapy, private and public schools, aftercare centers, preschools, and therapy centers. She is passionate and committed to her clients and their progress is her main priority. Her goal is to help change and improve her clients’ and families’ lives through ABA, dedication, and love.

Victoria Garcia, RBT

Victoria graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She obtained her certification as a Registered Behavior Technician in May of 2019 and has been working in the field of ABA ever since. She is currently working towards her Master’s degree in Behavior Analysis to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in the future. She is bilingual in both English as well as Spanish. Victoria has worked in a school setting with children between the ages of 4-13 since 2018 and has a passion for helping children reach their full potential. She can’t wait to continue to work in the field of ABA and further her knowledge every day!