Melissa Rosenberg – Executive Director

Melissa joined the HCAS staff in December 2016, a nonprofit specialist with over 15 years of experience in grant writing, fundraising, community outreach and arts management.  She works with the HCAS Board of Directors, volunteers and community partners to move the organization forward and offer additional opportunities for meaningful employment, independent living, friendships, arts experiences, social interactions, respect, inclusion and acceptance for individuals on the spectrum.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Association of Community Services, Columbia Center for Theatrical Arts and the Howard County Local Children’s Board.  She is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Howard County.

Melissa received an undergraduate degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in Nonprofit Management from the University of Maryland University College. She is a 2013 graduate of Leadership Howard County.  Melissa and husband, Jim, live in Silver Spring.  They have two grown children and a nephew with autism.

“It is an honor and a privilege to work each day within the autism community to support and uplift these amazing individuals, family members and professionals who reside in our community.”

Susanne Mason  – Resource Manager & Event Coordinator

Susanne joined the HCAS staff in June 2019 and ensures the smooth operation of HCAS’ day-to-day activities including volunteer coordination, fundraising and program management, information and referral, event support and member services.  Previously Susanne worked with organizations affiliated with the Oakland Mills Interfaith Center, serving on the marketing teams for The Meeting House, The Meeting House Gallery, and Columbia United Christian Church, developing websites and designing promotional materials. Prior to her non-profit endeavors, Susanne had the privilege of conducting neurophysiology research at the University of Maryland Baltimore and serving as adjunct faculty in the Health Sciences division at Howard Community College. Susanne has been a Columbia resident for more than 25 years by way of Australia and Michigan. She lives with her husband, her teen son who is on the autism spectrum, and a precocious teen golden doodle.

Beth Benevides, Special Education Consultant

Beth is a longtime policy and educational advocate for individuals and families affected by autism and related disabilities.  She serves as a consultant for HCAS, providing 1:1 special education consultation to parents of children with any disability in Howard County as part of our annual Community Service Partnership (CSP) Grant through the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services.  She is a Past President of HCAS and is Associate Director of Autism Programs at the Hussman Foundation.  Beth serves on a number of statewide workgroups devoted to programs, education, civil rights and policy affecting those with autism.  She is an advisory member of the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute, an appointed member of the Maryland Department of Disabilities Ethan Saylor Alliance for Self-Advocates steering committee; and co-chair of the commission for Transitioning Students with Disabilities in Howard county.  She is a certified special education advocate and member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA)  Beth is mom to a 21-year-old son with autism.

Dana Riley, Bookkeeper

Dana provides general bookkeeping services for HCAS that include everything from payroll, financial reports and budget preparation, to coordinating the tax preparation and financial reviews.

Sara Sommerville, Special Education News Center

Sara manages and oversees the HCAS Special Education News Center Website as part of our annual Community Service Partnership (CSP) Grant through the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services.  She coordinates and posts articles on the site in partnership with HCAS and HCPSS Department of Special Education.  Sara lives in Howard County and is the parent of a teenage son with ASD.

Michael Stromberg, Family Navigator

Michael provides support for HCAS families most in need and helps to “navigate” them to appropriate services – food, shelter, utilities, medical assistance and more– as part of our annual Community Service Partnership (CSP) Grant through the Howard County Department of Community Resources and Services.

He is a clinical social worker currently working for Kennedy Krieger at Central High School, a high school program for students with autism in Prince George’s County.  Michael has over 10 years of experience working and volunteering in various capacities with children and young adults with autism as well as their families. Michael received his undergraduate degree from the University of Maryland in 2007 and has dual masters degrees from the University of Maryland School of Social Work and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2014. Raised in Columbia, he currently lives in Silver Spring with his wife and two daughters. He has a family member with autism.

Paul Leisawitz, Intern (Summer 2020)

Ching-Lin Huang, Intern (2019-20)