Jennifer Ulie-Wells, Ph.D.
Dr. Jennifer Ulie-Wells, finished her Ph.D. from Iowa State University in Education with certifications in mental health and social justice. She has been in education for over 20 years as a special educator. In 2013, she founded Please Pass the Love Youth Mental Health Initiative which provides systemic training and support for thousands of educators, schools, and districts across Iowa while hosting the only school mental health conference in the state.
Each year Dr. Ulie-Wells trains thousands of educators, young people, families, and community providers on a variety of school mental health (SMH) topics. She is a professor at Drake University. In 2018, she launched an online school mental health program in collaboration with Drake University and Iowa State Education Association (ISEA). She actively engages in national school mental health capacities including the National School Mental Health State Summit with leaders of federal agencies such as SAMHSA, HHS, HRSA, DOE, DOJ, and the University of Maryland Center for School Mental Health. She is a member of SMH communities of practices and the national Family School Community Alliance with scholars from across the nation.
She has served on a variety of behavioral health related state committees with the Iowa Department of Education and is a Iowa Family Leadership Training Institute Mentor through the University of Iowa, Department of Pediatrics. Her research focuses on racial and marginalized trauma as school mental health, and she has pending publications. She is also a West Des Moines School Board member.
She is passionate about improving the quality of life and educational opportunities for children, families, and educators as well as offer more comprehensive services and supports to school systems. She strives to bridge positive relationships between the educational and mental health communities to more effectively prevent and address mental health issues for our children and adolescents throughout the state of Iowa.
Aside from her determination to fight the stigma of mental wellness and advocating for Iowa’s children, families and schools, her number one priority are her two inspiring children and two puppies. They enjoy traveling together and family game nights. Jen’s other passions are art, music, bicycling and most anything outdoors.
Miya is a student at Drake University working towards a bachelor's degree in Psychology with minors in Human Rights Studies and Japanese. She grew up in rural Iowa where in high school she participated in theater and choir. She became a part of Please Pass the Love through their sub-group Teens for L.O.V.E. In April of 2018, Miya attended the Youth Leadership Summit hosted at Camp Sacajawea. This is an experience she says helped change her life and made her realize what she wants to do with her life.
Miya hopes to undo the mental health stigma in schools all across the world and she wants to make schools a safer place for those who do suffer from mental health issues. This is a topic near and dear to her heart. She also hopes to help elevate the voices of our youth to help them make the changes in their schools. Most of all she wants to be able to share her story and inspire others as they have done for her.
Director of Community Development and Training
Jessica has been in education for 12 years as an English-Language Arts and Reading teacher. She received her undergrad degree from Iowa State University in secondary English education, and she also attained her master’s degree in Differentiated Instruction through Graceland University. As a native from Central Iowa, Jessica has always had a passion for working with youth, especially when it comes to their social-emotional learning and impacting their mental health. This desire to serve youth increased exponentially when she began the role of Student Success Coach at Riverbend Middle School during the 2019-2020 school year. While in that position, she saw firsthand how one trusted adult can impact a child in need and help them to see themselves as a whole human being.
Through working in the public school system for over a decade, Jessica has seen an increase in education and advocacy for our students’ social-emotional learning and student mental health. She is passionate about helping educators and students learn more about how to support their own mental health needs, and therefore, have more to give in supporting others’ needs. Jessica is excited to move her impact from her little corner of small-town Iowa Falls to the state of Iowa, guiding, supporting, and mentoring educators to recognize the importance of student mental health and social emotional learning in their classrooms and schools. Jessica loves to learn, and thoroughly loves new challenges in her professional life.
Jessica lives in Alden with her husband, Lee, and their four children: Kieser, Hattie, Matilda, and Everett. As a family, they love to go camping, go on family bike rides, and have family movie nights in their basement. In her free time, Jessica loves to read, go for walks, and spend time with her family and friends.
Director of Youth Engagement
Emmalee has worked in the social services field for over 14 years and is a founding member of Please Pass the Love. She has a background in providing a wide variety of services including case management, volunteer management, event planning, community outreach, curriculum development, youth programming, and non-profit management. Born and raised in Indianola, Iowa, Emmalee graduated from Simpson College in 2007 with degrees in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Her career expands from working as a counselor with the homeless population in Jacksonville, Florida, to working in Children's Ministry in West Des Moines. Throughout her career, she has launched two successful non-profits that help provide food and necessities for families in Warren County and has served on countless boards and coalitions to enrich the lives of Iowans who are struggling.
Emmalee is very passionate about mental health and has dedicated her career to being a voice for those who don’t always have one. She knows our state must do better and realizes the importance of getting more mental health supports in our schools. She will continue to work mercilessly until that is accomplished. Emmalee sits on various boards and committees and is a dedicated member of her community. She works on a variety of projects for PPTL including youth programming, community outreach and development, event planning, and fundraising.
Emmalee lives in Indianola with her energetic and adoring son, Waylon. When they aren’t spending time with family or traveling, they enjoy spending time outside, going to auctions, going antique shopping, and anything sports related. They enjoy staying active throughout the year with travel sports teams that Waylon is involved in.
Youth Programming Assistant
Born and raised in Iowa, Mikala is a 2019 Simpson College graduate with a degree in chemistry and mathematics and a minor in French.
Mikala is very excited to join us at Please Pass the Love. She views the opportunity as a chance to grow, connect, and learn alongside those around her. She is passionate about mental health awareness and understands the desperate need we have in our communities. She became aware of issues and disparities with mental health education at a young age and did not feel that there were adequate resources for students in her childhood hometown. She hopes organizations like Please Pass the Love can help change that.
Mikala previously served in the Pacific Region in AmeriCorps NCCC and currently works as an AmeriCorps VISTA leader with Volunteer Iowa. She hopes to continue her role as a mentor for people of all ages and plans to work in the field of 1-on-1 instruction. Mikala has recently obtained her certification in teaching English as a foreign language and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TEFL/TESOL).
In her free time, you can find Mikala practicing Brazilian jiu-jitsu, swimming, and exploring new foods, places, hobbies, and languages.
Director of Development
For 20 years Cindy has had the honor of working alongside community members in the nonprofit sector to serve communities. She has raised statewide support for local musicians and brought awareness to the benefits of live music, fundraised for and produced hundreds of live theatre productions and educational programming in multiple states, assisted executives in a nationwide public charity to help end Alzheimer’s disease, and made the arts accessible to those in rural Iowa.
Although Cindy has lived in MN, CT, NY, and PA; IA is and always will be her home. Born and raised in Davenport, Cindy met her husband Jason howling over the fence at her dog and the rest was history. Having recently moved back to IA from PA with their 13-year-old daughter Anna, the Stanbros are happy to be back home.
Over the past two decades Cindy has raised funds for healthcare, the arts, and education; taught ages 4-84 in arts-based programming; graced the stage as an actress in schools across the Midwest to teach students about violence, respect, harassment, drugs, and the environment; worked behind the scenes as a director and stage manager; led two capital campaigns; helped start an after-school program; and founded a 501(c)(3) theatre with her husband Jason. Cindy’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion to help improve her community drives everything she does. In her free time, she enjoys walking, laughing, and sunshine.
Cindy is thrilled to be a part of the mission of Please Pass The Love and help improve the quality of life for young people in Iowa. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it is that we all could use a little more love