Making a difference in the lives of people at the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment at the University of Missouri

Thompson Center opens new therapy clinic

On January 12, the Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopment hosted a Grand Opening for the new therapy clinic! Truman and the Mizzou Cheerleaders made an appearance and remarks were made by MU President Mun Choi, Dr. Rick Barohn, Dr. Stephen Sheinkopf, Ron Ashworth, and Ana Compain-Romero.

The event drew news coverage from KOMU, KRCG, the Columbia Missourian, and the Columbia Daily Tribune.

MU President Mun Choi spoke about the research and academic impact provided by this new clinic.


Truman and Mizzou Cheer welcomed guests into the new space.

MU leaders, families, community members, and Chamber Ambassadors learned how the space will serve many more patients. Guests toured the clinic to see the new therapy services offered.

Dr. Stephen Sheinkopf, Executive Director of the Thompson Center, and Ron Ashworth, President of the Thompson Foundation, capped off the event with a ribbon cutting.

1024 683 Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment

Myles Hinkel

Executive Director

Myles Hinkel began as Executive Director in June 2020. Myles leads the foundation’s three-pillar mission; fundraising, awareness, and advancing public policy. Prior to this, Myles was Director of Advancement for Gift Planning & Regional covering the West Coast for The University of Missouri. This was Myles’ second time with MU Advancement. He previously worked in the College of Arts & Science before taking advancement positions at Columbia College and the Missouri United Methodist Foundation. Myles, his wife Lora, and their two boys have been involved in the Thompson Center and the Thompson Foundation since their inceptions.

Katie Lentz

Director of Donor Relations

Katie Lentz oversees donor stewardship and marketing for the Thompson Foundation for Autism & Neurodevelopment. Prior to joining the Thompson Foundation in 2020, she worked for Major League Baseball’s nonprofit, the Baseball Assistance Team. Originally from Quincy, Illinois, Katie is a graduate of Tulane University and has lived in Louisiana, Florida, New York, and now Missouri. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, singing, and playing violin.

Melissa Eston

Office Manager

Melissa Eston began her role as Office Manager in August of 2022. In her role, Melissa receives and processes donations, assists in event planning, and manages accounts receivable and payable. Melissa most recently worked in Healthcare Advancement at the University of Missouri. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Strategic Communications associate in University Relations at the University of Missouri System. Her first experience working with non-profits was at Columbia College, where she served as a Coordinator for the Advancement division. Melissa is a Columbia College graduate with a BA in History. She lives with her husband, Chris, in Fulton. Melissa’s favorite part of working at the Thompson Foundation is seeing the tangible, positive impact its advocacy work has on the Thompson Center and the families it serves.