Providing Support
Promoting Awareness
Advocating for Change

Board of Directors

President: Patrick Boxall

Vice-President: Donald M. Barrick

Treasurer: James W. Curran, III

Secretary: Jennifer May

Immediate Past President: Theresa Ballinger


Theresa Ballinger

theresa_ballingerTheresa is a longtime member of HCAS. She is a CPA and MBA and brings accounting and auditing expertise to the Board’s finance committee. Theresa also helps the public relations committee with autism awareness activities. Theresa and her husband reside in Ellicott City with two sons. Her oldest is on the spectrum and currently attends Wilde Lake High School.

I believe it “takes a village” to raise a child and prepare them for life. This is especially important for children on the autism spectrum. What better place to garner that support than at the Howard County Autism Society where you can benefit from its collective past experiences and expertise; and, help others that may also be traveling on this journey.

Donald M. Barrick

Having done business in and around Howard County for more than 20 years, Don is well aware of the resources available in the area for the HCAS constituency.  He has been involved in Commercial Real Estate and Business Brokerage throughout that time, but his previous experience was in Health Care Management and Marketing. Don is attempting to bring all of that experience together in an effort to contribute in an aggressive manner, for the benefit of HCAS. 

My reason for becoming active with HCAS can be summed up by the words of American Philosopher, William James:  ‘Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does. 

Patrick Boxall

patrick_boxallOriginally from the United Kingdom, Patrick has lived in the United States since 1985 and Howard County since 1997. Patrick’s two youngest sons are both on the spectrum and currently attend Glenelg High School. Patrick is VP & COO at KRA Corporation, a workforce development services firm based in Fulton. Patrick has been a board member since 2007. He currently serves as Chair of the Governance Committee.

I agreed to serve on the Board because I thought I could add value to theBoard’s activities, at the time in the area of overall organizational development and management. HCAS was and is important to me personally due to my two sons who have autism.

Alisa Kobrinetz Chernack

Alisa lives in Howard County and is a mother of two boys, one who has autism. She currently has a law firm located in Ellicott City, which concentrates in areas relating to the elderly and individuals with disabilities. She sought to serve on the HCAS Board to help families “navigate the maze” as Howard County children age out of the public school system. She has been a member of the HCAS for many years and looks forward to continuing her involvement as a board member.

I joined the HCAS board to help support the community members who share similar issues in raising children with autism. I am interested in providing more options for housing and awareness for community health providers as to how the meet the needs of our children with disabilities.

James W. Curran, III

Jim is a Certified Financial Planner who, with his partner, Monty Knittle, has a focus on Special Needs Financial Planning.  While he does not have a child with autism, he served as a trustee for a close friend’s Special Needs Trust.  He is also currently a board member of Make Studio, an art studio for adults and individuals in transition with autism.  Jim lives in Lutherville with his wife, Andi.  They have three grown children and two grandsons.

Having worked with families impacted by autism for over seven years, I’ve come to have a great admiration for them given the unique challenges they face.  My hope is with my background and experience, I can contribute to the wonderful work Howard County Autism Society is doing to enrich the individual families of our community.

Katie Gandy

Bio and photo coming soon! 

Nora Hart

nora_hartNora is the mother of a son named Danny who has autism. As a member of the Howard County Autism Society, Nora has become familiar with the organization’s mission and her family has enjoyed participating in HCAS events. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mother, her work experience was as a fundraising and development professional for non-profit organizations. During her career, she worked at a teaching hospital, a think tank, and a historic home. Nora grew up in Montclair, New Jersey.

From my first monthly support group meeting, HCAS has provided support, education and understanding for not only me but my entire family. As a parent of a child with Autism, HCAS has helped me to advocate more effectively for my son. Serving on the HCAS board has empowered me to help not only my son but also other people with Autism.

Jennifer May

jenn_mayJennifer was raised in Howard County and now lives in Highland with her husband and two sons. Her older son is on the spectrum. She is a CPA and healthcare consultant. Jennifer enjoys travel, running and hiking, cooking and photography. She likes to attend Orioles, Ravens and UMD basketball games with her family.

HCAS fills a need for me as a parent to find acceptance and support. Raising a child on the spectrum is a challenge and sometimes you need to share and learn from others who truly understand. As a member of the HCAS board, I want to ensure that all parents have a nurturing environment available when they need it.

Erik Kristopher Myers

Erik Kristopher Myers is a filmmaker based out of Baltimore, MD, and an accomplished writer and film theorist. His first feature film, ROULETTE, is an award-winning thriller that was released in 2013. His follow-up, the faux-documentary horror film, BUTTERFLY KISSES, is currently touring the festival circuit, and is due to be released in the fall of 2018. In addition, Myers has been a popular online writer on the subjects of film and genre theory for over a decade.
Following his son’s diagnosis in 2014, Myers became actively involved in the autism community. He has mentored filmmakers on the spectrum, guiding them toward realizing their vision for receptive and inspired audiences. He has also been a volunteer for HCAS since 2015, MC-ing the 2017 One Step Closer Walk & 5K, and directing the 25th anniversary video retrospective.

Matthew Plantz

Hey, my name is Matthew Plantz. I’ve lived with autism for 36 years. I am currently living in a home supported by The Arc of Howard County. I have had the pleasure of serving on the Community Advisory Committee for Kennedy Krieger, the Commission for Disability Issus of Howard County (serving as chair for two years), and currently serve on the Board of Directors for People on the Go. I am honored to be on this board look forward to working with you the other members.

Sabina Sambat

sabina_sambatSabina lives in West Friendship with her husband and 2 boys, the older of which is on the spectrum. Trained at Johns Hopkins where she received her masters degree as a nurse practitioner, Sabina has taken a break from practice to advocate for her son and volunteer at his elementary school on a regular basis. She looks forward to continuing to work with the gala planning committee and further promoting HCAS.

The society is important to me as it provides a connection between parents (and families) in the same boat as I. It’s not just an emotional support, but it’s the sharing of information and the interest in helping each other. I so appreciate other parents who tell me what helped and what didn’t, what to pursue and what to push aside. I know I am that person too, and love that we can be a resource to one another.

Mia Williams

Mia Williams is the mother of two sons, the oldest of whom is on the spectrum and is in high school. Mia works as an administrator in the Budget office of Howard County Government. She has served on the Parent Panel of Towson University’s Autism Education Series, as the Parent Liaison for Special Needs students at her son’s school, and is a strong advocate for her son. She became involved with HCAS through its Yoga Classes and Transition Symposium, then served as a volunteer on the Walk/5K Run Committee in 2017. Mia resides in Baltimore County and is very excited to serve on the board.

I look forward to improving the opportunities, rights and futures of individuals on the spectrum. I also look forward to connecting with other parents in the autism community to work with them in achieving the ever changing goals for our children.

Lisa Wilson

Lisa Wilson, RDH, MS Clinical Dental Hygienist originally hails from just outside the Boston area. She and her husband Stephen live in Fulton, Maryland and have two children. Their youngest son who is on the spectrum. Lisa is an avid runner and enjoys her career as a clinical dental hygienist at the University of Maryland. Lisa looks forward to increasing the community presence for the organization and creating meaningful opportunities for the youngest of our members. ”

Autism is my marathon; long and challenging. It allows you to reach deep inside and find the spaces that are uncomfortable and unfamiliar. It provides the opportunity of overcome and achieve. As with any race…. you plan, prepare, and pray for the best. Knowing all the while that it’s all about the journey.