The Tail Wags & Book Bags team is devoted to creating opportunities for students to bond with highly trained dogs, allowing them to engage with increased resilience when challenged at school. We are hard working professionals with warm hearts who care deeply about the educational, social and emotional well being of children. We're also big dog lovers!
Bingo and Karma were raised and trained by service dog organizations, Susquehanna Service Dogs and Canine Companions for Independence. They know 50+ tasks and are integrated into goal-specific lesson plans for students.
Bingo & Karma
Dr. Tracy Geist has been a Social Worker with the Capital Area Intermediate Unit (CAIU) since 2002. She is the Founder and Coordinator of the CAIU Therapy Dog Program. Tracy is an expert in the field of animal assisted canine therapy and has presented at the National Conference on Advancing School Mental Health and the Animal Assisted Interventions International Conference. In 2013, Tracy completed her PhD at Widener University and has taught as an adjunct Professor for Messiah University, Towson University, and Widener University.
Prior to joining the CAIU, she worked as a Supervisor for the Children's Case Management Unit, Director of the Dauphin County Student Assistance Program, and as a Family Based Therapist for Keystone Children and Family Services. It was at Keystone that she first began to use therapy dogs through their Susquehanna Service Dogs program. Her knowledge and experience contribute to her role on our advisory board. Tracy is an accomplished musician who also enjoys fishing, snowboarding, hiking, and traveling with her husband and dogs in their restored Volkswagen Westfalia van.
Tracy Geist, PhD
Raymond Quianzon currently serves on the Tail Wags & Book Bags Board of Directors and has been involved with the organization since its inception. As an attorney and Certified Public Accountant, Raymond advises the organization on charting its financial path and developing strategic operational plans.
Raymond is admitted to the United States Supreme Court and several federal circuit, district and bankruptcy courts. He is also licensed as a CPA in Maryland and practices before the U.S. Tax Court.Raymond currently sits on the board of directors of numerous nonprofit organizations and has served on charitable boards for more than a quarter century. He actively volunteers and works with various causes nationwide and internationally including efforts in the Sudan, the Middle East, and Asia.
Karin Hemphill is the Founder and Executive Director of Tail Wags & Book Bags. She manages the daily operations of the organization and provides direct services to schools. Karin is currently the Facility Dog Coordinator at The Lab School of Washington. She has been certified as a Canine Handler by Canine Companions for Independence and Susquehanna Service Dogs, Assistance Dogs International (ADI) accredited organizations.
Holding Master's Degrees in both Education and Human Development, Karin collaborates with teachers, occupational and speech therapists, reading specialists, and social workers to design student sessions, incorporating assistance dog skills with individual and group goals.
For twenty years prior to founding Tail Wags & Book Bags, Karin was the President of Fit as a Fiddle, Inc. This wellness consulting practice assisted clients in establishing and achieving individualized behavioral health goals to optimize well being. Fit as a Fiddle, Inc, provided educational services to adults and children in medical centers, schools, community organizations and corporations.
Karin Hemphill, MEd, MA
Giles Jackson, PhD, is the Director of the Institute for Business, Sustainability & Society and Associate Professor in the School of Business at Shenandoah University. As a senior faculty member, Dr. Jackson teaches entrepreneurship, business strategy, advanced management theory, marketing, and directs the business school’s internship program. A passionate advocate of experiential learning, he has led consulting projects with hundreds of companies and nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Jackson received his doctorate from Virginia Tech in 1994, and wrote among the first doctoral dissertations on business and sustainability. He recently published an extensive survey on ecotourism (Oxford University Press). An AACSB-designated 'Practicing Academic,' he has held executive positions in the wind energy and manufacturing sectors. Giles serves on the advisory board for Tail Wags & Book Bags. In his leisure time, he enjoys sharing quality time with his wife and children, traveling and enjoying the outdoors.
Giles Jackson, PhD
Zizhan attends Harvard University as an International Relations graduate student. She earned a dual undergraduate degree from American University in International Studies and Environmental Science. Zizhan is a Fulbright Scholar. She has been instrumental in broadening the scope of the organization with regard to marketing and fundraising. Her professional skills, passion for helping children and love for dogs make her a perfect fit for Tail Wags & Book Bags.
Zizhan Luo, BA, BS
Melina Efigenio contributes to Tail Wags and Book Bags by assisting with social media, fundraising, marketing, and communications. She is a student at the University of Pittsburgh, studying political science with a minor in education. Melina has worked as a STEM Camp Teacher in Loudoun County, VA, and loves helping her students feel excited about learning!
Sadija has served nonprofit and community-based organizations for more than twenty years. She earned a Master of Business Administration in Management from Strayer University in Philadelphia, PA, in 2009. Sadija serves as Executive Director for Sinai House, a Washington, DC, nonprofit that enables families to move from homelessness to independence by providing safe, affordable housing and comprehensive social services.
In 2017, Sadija founded the nonprofit, Stillborn And Infant Loss Support (SAILS). SAILS is dedicated to raising awareness and providing support for families affected by stillbirth. As Executive Director of both organizations, she has developed expertise in program development, strategic planning, staff management, marketing, and public relations. Her commitment to improving quality of life for others and wealth of experience combine to make her a valuable advisory board member. Sadija spends her free time reading, exercising and enjoying the outdoors with her family.
Sadija A. Smiley, MBA
Nirmi assists Tail Wags & Book Bags with a wide variety of projects including the annual donation campaign, photography shoots, correspondence, and social media. She attends Stone Bridge High School and the Academy of Sciences. Nirmi has previous experience working with children with learning differences and is a dog lover!