Sandy is currently serving as the Designer Genes Board President, and was brought to the organization through the birth of her son, Cristian. Sandy has played many roles in the organization from board member and marketer to cheerleader and advocate for individuals with Down syndrome. She currently serves the Deputy Secretary of State for the State of North Dakota, and she and her husband, Matt, own The Gifted Bean Coffee House, which works to hire and inspire individuals with unique abilities.
Andrea adopted her first child Theo from Ukraine. Her family knew he had Down syndrome and became involved in Designer Genes before he was brought home attending the annual Picnic and Christmas Party. Andrea became involved in 2015 and joined the board for Designer Genes in 2019. She stays as a member of the board due to the amount of knowledge and support it provides her and how having that support prior to bringing her son home was very incredible.
Deb is from Center North Dakota and has a son with Down syndrome who was born in 1992. She was at the first Designer Genes picnic when her son was a child where she met families and felt overwhelmed by the support, but at this time the organization had not yet become what we now know as Designer Genes. She has served on the State ICC 2-3 terms. Deb stays on the board because it is a great group of people that experience a different part of the world.
Karissa's connection to Down Syndrome is Terren, a red-headed, feisty, boy with a very strong personality. He was born in May 2018 and had a prenatal diagnosis. She lives in Bismarck with her husband, Shane and their 10-year-old, son, Tracen (who also has red hair but is much calmer than Terren). Karissa has been working as a licensed addiction counselor since 2014 and will be graduated with her masters in counseling in May 2022.
Heather is an associate professor in the Physical Therapy Program at the University of Mary. She earned her DPT in 2005 from the University of North Dakota. She is a board-certified clinical specialist in pediatric physical therapy. Heather began teaching in 2008 at UMary and has an extensive pediatric physical therapy clinical background. Through her teaching, she is able to share her passion for physical therapy, children of all abilities and their families. She is married to her husband Chris and has three children Conner, Olivia, and Chloe. In her free time she enjoys volunteering, running, reading, outdoor adventures, and being a spectator of her children’s activities.
Rachel is a part of the board through her daughter Emma. She is a smart sassy 6 year old. She was their surprise as they didn’t know until she was born that she had a little extra to bring to the table. To this day she fits the little extra she is full of love and energy. She is determined nothing is going to stop her. Rachel is married to her husband Tony and they have a 9 year old son Joseph who is Emma roll model and his friends have become her family. Rachel is a registered nurse in my spare time .
Michelle Ragan joined Designer Genes and is the mom to 4 and wife to 1 ;). Michelle has been an occupational therapist with the BECEP Early Intervention program since 2004. Michelle applied to be on the board because of her connection with families with young children with Down Syndrome and her passion for helping families in Early Intervention become their child's best advocate. In her spare time, Michelle loves to garden, can the harvest from her garden, read and follow her kids around doing what they love.
While Roxane Romanick has worked the majority of her social work career in the field of developmental disabilities and special education supporting children and families with disabilities, her true education began almost 24 years ago, when she became the mom to her daughter who lives with Down syndrome. She worked in ND’s Early Intervention system as a parent mentor and a consultant to the state Part C Coordinator for 15 years. She served on the State Interagency Coordinating Council as a member, chair, and then staff. In both her personal and professional capacities, Roxane has had experience with direct parent support, program and policy development, advisory involvement, and advocacy at the local, state, and federal level. Roxane is currently on the DEC Family Committee and works as the Executive Director for North Dakota’s Down syndrome association, Designer Genes of ND.
Roxane Romanick has been the Executive Director for Designer Genes of North Dakota, Inc., which is a non-profit that supports individuals with Down syndrome, their families, and professionals that support them for the past 7 years. Prior to that she served as the board president since 2010. She has a master’s degree in social work from the University of North Dakota and is licensed as a Licensed Certified Social Worker in ND.
Tiana is a recent graduate from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and Psychology. She is planning to attend medical school in the Fall of 2024 at ATSU-KCOM to continue her education. Tiana has volunteered with Designer Genes for the past decade and is continuing to serve Designer Genes as the Project Coordinator. Tiana also advocates for and supports individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the community as a Direct Support Professional at HIT Inc.