Abby Ampuja, Ph.D.,is an educator, mentor, and coach. She began her career as an elementary school teacher, where she developed a passion for SEL (social emotional learning) and teaching resiliency tools to her students and their families. While earning her doctorate in Special Education from UNC-Chapel Hill, Abby opened a learning center in Raleigh, NC, with a focus on SEL and resiliency: The Empowered Learner (https://empowered-learner.com/). Abby’s journey then led her to become a Law of Attraction Life Coach with Christy Whitman’s Quantum Success Academy. Abby is passionate about helping both children and adults fulfill their highest potential. Her approach is strengths-based, resiliency-focused, and focused on visioning and building toward a powerful future.
Abby was born in White Plains, NY. She spent her formative years in Danbury, CT and moved to Wilbraham, MA at the age of 5. Abby's childhood in New England afforded her lots of time in nature (her beloved "White Cedar Swamp") and to explore her interests in creativity and writing. In middle school, Abby moved to Buffalo, NY. While here, she appreciated the close proximity to Canada, Niagara Falls, and the local ski resorts. During high school, Abby participated in an exchange program in Himi, Japan, where she experienced different approaches to teaching and learning--and a beautiful blend of traditional and modern cultures. 1997 took Abby to Mount Holyoke College (back in Western MA), where she spent her free time hiking in the Pioneer Valley and honing her yoga practice. In 1999, Abby studied at the University of Strasbourg in France--an experience that expanded her perspective and allowed her to develop fluency in French. In 2001, Abby moved to Raleigh, NC to pursue her teaching career. Although her work has evolved, Abby's passion for inspiring and supporting others to thrive has remained constant.
Abby is a trained Community Resiliency Model (CRM) facilitator. She also had the privilege of completing an internship at The Resiliency Collaborative (TRC) in Raleigh, NC, which provided her many opportunities to learn more about resiliency firsthand. CRM teaches a set of wellness skills to help individuals: (a) regulate their nervous systems in the face of traumatic or stressful circumstances; and (b) bounce back and THRIVE in the face of life's challenges. Abby is passionate about teaching CRM to adults and children alike, and she personally practices the CRM skills on a regular basis in her own life.
Abby is the owner and founder of The Empowered Learner, a Social Emotional Learning (SEL) center that was created to support individuals with exceptionalities and those who care for/work with them (https://empowered-learner.com/). Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. Here is a brief synopsis of how Abby was guided to create The Empowered Learner: "I noticed that many of my students came to me with limited educational or academic resilience. When faced with a challenging, unfamiliar, or seemingly difficult task, they would often "abandon ship"--in whatever way that manifested for them (checking out mentally, tearing up their writing journal, running out of the classroom and building, etc.) As a beginning teacher, I was not very well equipped to deal with these kiddos, and sometimes I even tried to politely ignore them so we could "progress through the curriculum.” However, as I worked in different schools and under different leadership, I learned about SEL (social emotional learning) and growth mindset. I found that, for my students, working on these two things had the potential to create TREMENDOUS change in a student's attitude toward learning and academic performance. I wanted to create a space where this was a focus so that I could help more students to have the basic groundwork in place to be successful in school and life."