Our Mission: Back to Work, Back to Life.

R2W Team Members

Liisa Nichols, Office Coordinator and Employment Specialist

Throughout all facets of my life, my goal has been to bring a sense of restoration and renewal to the lives of those I come into contact with. This goal, along with a wealth of practical and diverse work experience, is what brings me to R2W and the clients we assist. My careers include 16 years practicing various Human Resources functions, including extensive staffing and recruiting for an educational corporation in St. Louis area and an international church’s world headquarters in Boston. Bringing hiring managers and job seekers together to find the right fit to mutually bless was always my desire. I also had a 13-year career as a litigation and transactional paralegal for firms in San Diego and Colorado Springs. Each career opened up avenues to serve and assist an extensive client base. Other career roles included facilitating learning opportunities to broad audiences as an educator/instructor/trainer in public, private and vocational schools. I graduated with a BA in sociology and education from Principia College and hold professional certifications in the Human Resources industry.  Much of my volunteer experience has been in serving my church and alumni organization. 

 Nikki DAgostino
Employment Specialist & Assistant Area Coordinator
Punta Gorda, Florida

Nikki DAgostino

Helping those less fortunate than myself is unequivocally the most satisfying and fulfilling experience. Through my efforts to help others, I have acquired innumerable experiences of joy and friendship. I am particularly drawn to aiding the developmentally disabled, physically and mentally disabled, the underprivileged, and the underemployed. As such, at an early age I began volunteering at Wrentham Developmental Center, a state facility in Massachusetts, where I volunteered for over 160 hours of community service directly aiding with recreational activities for developmentally disabled individuals. I attended Suffolk University where I graduated highest distinction with a Bachelor’s degree of Science in clinical psychology. During my college years I worked at Arbour-Fuller Psychiatric Hospital for two years where I worked very closely with dual diagnoses patients (mental illness and co-occurring drug addiction).
I have always enjoyed working with the less fortunate, as it is a job that can be extraordinarily fulfilling. I worked as a Career Specialist for two years at a non-profit organization in Massachusetts where I helped integrate individuals with barriers to employment into the competitive workforce. I have found immense fulfillment in my career, as I have had many wonderful opportunities to aid under-served individuals. Working as an Employment Specialist at Project: Return to Work Inc has given me the opportunity to work with employers to strive for equality and diversity in the workplace, and to implement the new Employment First Initiative that is sweeping the nation.  As I continue to expand my career, it is important for me to learn and utilize new methodologies so that I can be a leader in the mental health, disabilities, and veterans communities. I am always pushing myself to learn new skills and knowledge so that I can be a better leader, organizer and advocate for those less fortunate than myself.


 Jennifer Cohen, Webinar Host

Jennifer Cohen, Instructor


Jennifer Cohen is an instructional designer and adult educator with over twenty years of experience working with a diverse population of learners. Jennifer’s background in technology training includes applications for the office, presentations, and the web.  She holds a master’s degree in learning technology and uses her passion for creative problem solving to help others understand complex concepts.



Greg Holt, Employment Specialist
Draper, Utah

Greg Holt is an Employment Specialist. He started his employment and job training in the early years just out of college as a job coach and clerical unit trainer for a community mental health psycho-social rehabilitation program. With 15 years as a Social Service Worker, he was instrumental in accessing and developing community resources for the benefit of the many of the families he served.  Later, he had the privilege of working several years with the Community Based Health Care/ Community Based Warrior Transition Organization before retirement from over 25 years in the military. From this experience, it was evident to see that employment is one of the most empowering and confidence building factors for the many, from mentally challenged to returning service persons, who are just trying to realize a better way of life.

Carol Sarganis, Career Counselor

Carol Sarganis, Career Counselor

August 2015.  Update.  Carol recently retired.  We are deeply grateful for her long service.  Stay tuned for an article about Carol!

Carol joined R2W in 2006 as an Employment Specialist/Job Coach. Carol works with the Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Ticket-to-Work applicants, veterans, and the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) clients.

Overcoming a lifetime of physical challenges herself, Carol was impressed with R2W’s noble mission of providing assistance to individuals seeking employment. Although the true author is unknown, the quote “Aspire to inspire before you expire” encompasses Carol’s approach to life and work.

Carol attended Salve Regina College earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature and Elementary Education. Carol received a Master of Arts degree at the University of Rhode Island in Education and Reading. She taught Remedial Reading as a Title 1/Chapter 1 Reading Specialist on the elementary level for 28 years.

Throughout the years she has volunteered for numerous charitable organizations, schools, and an Adult Literacy Program to teach English as a second language.

Family, friends, children, and reading are Carol’s favorite personal pursuits.

Carol transitioned from fulltime employment to a volunteer consultant in May 2014.

See this article about Carol:  http://www.return2work.org/2013/r2w-delivers-the-right-level-of-support-to-disabled-job-seekers

Fern Ballou, Executive Secretary





Douglas Jontos, Volunteer Coordinator and Administrative Assistant


I have been a Professional Chef for the past 35 years. I have worked in high end resorts on Sanibel Island Florida and Fine dining Steak houses in Atlanta Georgia. The most fulfilling work I have done is working for veterans. Project: Return To Work seemed like the next step in my career path helping veterans get back to work and get back to life.



Jason Scholte


Jason Scholte is a business operations and international marketing professional. He was the Guest Speaker covering US Veterans at the 2014 International Education Councils annual conference held in London, UK. Jason has a great deal of experience in working with US Veterans and has travelled the country and the world consulting both domestic and even foreign Universities in places like Australia, United Kingdom, Prague, China, Thailand, and even South America on how to work with US Veterans intending overseas study.

 Jason has worked in higher education for more than 10 years and is also a Service-Connected Disabled Veteran having served in the United States Army from 1992 to 2005 on both Active Duty and in the National Guard, he also served in Afghanistan supporting the 1/19th Special Forces from 2003 to 2004. Jason holds an MBA and is currently working as an Rturn2Work Employment Specialist.

Carly Repaci, STEM Intern

Carly Repaci is a college-bound high school senior who has worked in many volunteer and internship programs, including NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), STEM summer camps, and library reading programs. This gives her a diverse background spanning from customer service to computer science.

Montek Thind, STEM Intern

Montek ThindMontek is a Junior at The University of Colorado – Boulder and has volunteered in multiple positions including Office Assistant, Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, and Assistant Technical Support Specialist.  Montek is training to become an Assistant Job Developer now to support James Spencer and Jason Scholte.

Edward Fenwick, STEM Intern

Ed Fenwick, STEM Intern

Ed Fenwick, STEM Intern

Ed Fenwick is a Senior at the Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center, he moved from the United Kingdom in 2009 and has lived in Kalamazoo since then. Ed is participating in the Assistant Job Development Internship as well as the Assistant Technical Support Internship. He is a member of the Gull Lake Area Robotics team and does research at Western Michigan University.

Paige O’Connor, STEM Intern

Paige O’Connor, STEM Intern, Social Media & Website Content

Paige is a high school junior who attends the Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She is participating in the Social Media STEM Internship for Return2Work.  At school she is taking AP Computer Science, and is a member of the symphonic band, as well as the varsity cross country and track teams.


Cameron Taleaghni, STEM Intern

Cameron Taleaghni, Student Intern, Job Developer, Tech Support

2013 STEM Intern Of The Year

Cameron is a high school student in Colorado.  He is  taking college level classes and navigates R2W’s technologies with ease.  He also teaching new volunteers  how to utilize R2W’s complex software systems to achieve unprecedented positive outcomes.



Rhett Sandal, STEM Intern

Rhett Sandal, Student Intern Technical Support

Rhett Sandal is a sophomore at Silver Creek High School in Longmont, Colorado.  He volunteers as an Assistant Job Developer and Assistant Tech Support Specialist for Return2Work.   He is also taking a STEM internship for Mathematical Modeling and Software Engineering at Return2Work (R2W).  He is active in the Robotics and Music field, and likes to help people with their technology problems.



Jordan Cole, STEM Intern

Jordan Cole, Student Intern, Job Developer, Employment Specialist, Military and Veterans Employment Expos (MVEE)


Jordan completed a Student Internship at R2W in 2012.  Jordan is a student at the University of Colorado – Boulder and is double majoring in the College of arts and science with psychology and political science. He was inspired by Project: Return To Work to volunteers as a Job Developer and as an Employment Specialist for Military and Veteran Employment EXPOs (MVEE).


Danielle Ball, STEM Intern

Danielle Ball, Student Intern, and Fran Nixon, Florida Area Coordinator

Danielle is a senior at Charlotte High (2 high schools in Charlotte County).  She has a Florida Bright Scholars Scholarship and has come to R2W under this program.  Danielle expects to got to Florida —University in Pensacola, Florida next fall.  Danielle’s mother, Pam Adelson is the owner of the Smoke House Restaurant in Punta Gorda.  Danielle is volunteering as a Technical Support Specialist/Employment Specialist/Job Developer.

J.T. Birchell, STEM Intern

J.T. Birchell, STEM Intern

J.T. Birchell, STEM Intern

Born and raised in Colorado, J.T. has grown up by surrounding himself with valuable educational experiences. His past achievements have included going to Europe twice to play music and producing short film segments for Douglas County’s television network. He is currently a student at the University of Colorado Boulder working on a bachelor of fine arts in film production and a technology art minor. His contributions to R2W have included filming special events and producing segments for R2W to distribute.  J.T. completed a Student Internship 2010-2013 and works in the film industry now.

Nick Lawton, STEM Intern

University of Colorado, Computer Science


Fran Nixon, Florida Missions Operations Manager (MOM)

Fran Nixon, Florida Area Coordinator

Fran Nixon


Fran Nixon has been involved with R2W from the beginning.  She leads R2W’s long term contract with Florida’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) providing vocational rehabilitation services to severely disabled people. See also coordinates volunteers and coaches student interns in Florida.   See “A Mothers Love” on our News page.