Christy received a B.A. in humanities from Trinity University, where she played college tennis and was a two-time All-American doubles player. She received a M.Ed. in special education at the University of Texas at Austin, specializing in learning disabilities and behavioral disorders. She is particularly interested in research in the area of reading interventions.
CHRISTY AUSTINUniversity of Texas at Austin
KRISTI BAKERSouthern Methodist University
Gina’s current research focus is two-fold. Focused on reading comprehension, she works on systematically intensifying interventions as well as preparing and supporting teachers who teach literacy to students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Aside from being a student, Gina enjoys spending family time with her husband Erik, and charming and rambunctious toddler, Anden.
GINA BRAUNUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
After college, Britta spent 6 years teaching junior high special education in Iowa City, Iowa. As a teacher, Britta was privileged to work with students with learning disabilities and emotional & behavioral disorders. In her most recent year of teaching, she took on the leadership role of Instructional Design Strategist, working in a collaborative coaching relationship with both general and special education teachers. In this role, Britta helped develop and provide a variety of personal professional development and supported teachers to use data to drive instructional decisions focused on increasing student achievement. Britta also served on many building and district level leadership teams as well as coached junior high volleyball and track & field. Britta enjoys spending time with her family, playing sports, being outdoors, reading, crafting, and spending time with her husband, Jace.
BRITTA BRESINAUniversity of Minnesota
CHRISTERRALYN BROWNUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
CARLIN CONNERSouthern Methodist University
In her spare time, Lisa enjoys cooking, running, yoga, biking and visiting her family in St. Louis.
LISA DIDIONUniversity of Texas at Austin
After graduating, Rachel worked as an elementary special education teacher in inclusion and resource settings. During her time as a teacher, Rachel collaborated with other special education teachers in her district to support their implementation of various academic interventions. She also worked at the district level as an instructional coach for special education teachers at the elementary and middle school level. In this role, she designed and provided teacher trainings and in classroom support focused on reading intervention. Most recently, Rachel served at Vanderbilt University as a project coordinator for a reading intervention research project under Dr. Jeanne Wanzek.
In her spare time, Rachel enjoys running, trying new recipes, and teaching her dog, Gus, new tricks.
RACHEL DONEGANVanderbilt University
Upon graduating, Samantha worked as a fourth grade teacher in New Hampshire for 3 years. While in this position, she served as a representative on the Literacy Committee, Technology Committee, and the Performance Assessment team. In the summer, she worked as an extended school year teacher, providing small group literacy and mathematics interventions for incoming fourth graders and individual phonics interventions for the primary grades. Samantha is particularly interested in the intersection point of academic and behavioral interventions in order to help students with the most intensive needs grow as learners, especially in developing literacy skills.
Samantha enjoys staying active and trying new things. She trains Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and is an avid hiker and skier. She also loves curling up with a hot tea and great book.
SAMANTHA GESELVanderbilt University
MARIA LEMLER HUGH
MARIA LEMLER HUGHUniversity of Minnesota
Skip obtained his Master’s in Education from National-Louis University and his B.S. in Aviation from the University of Dubuque.
SKIP KUMMUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
During her time in the classroom, Rachel also completed the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (LEND) program through Virginia Commonwealth University. While in the LEND program, she presented a poster on specific academic interventions in the classroom for children with Autism using observational learning strategies. Rachel received her M.Ed. in Special Education from Virginia Commonwealth University and her B.S. in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University.
RACHEL KUNEMUNDVirginia Commonwealth University
Upon graduating with her bachelor’s degree and teaching certification in 2009, Katherine taught a self-contained high school classroom for students with autism and emotional and behavioral disorders for 3 years. Katherine then began working as a Graduate Research Assistant at Texas State University’s autism clinic while completing her master’s degree. Katherine has designed and implemented individualized educational and behavioral programs for children with autism in clinic, home, and school settings. She has provided training to clinicians, teachers, and parents in the implementation of applied behavior analytic techniques. Katherine has also published research related to improving academic and safety skills for individuals with autism and presented at national and international conferences for special education. Katherine’s primary research interests include interventions designed to improve the communication and academic skills of children with autism while evaluating collateral, or untargeted, changes in additional behaviors.
KATHERINE LEDBETTER-CHOUniversity of Texas at Austin
Kaitlin enjoys spending time with her husband, Justin, daughter, Maura (8), and son, Will (6).
KAITLIN LEONARDUniversity of Connecticut
Caitlyn holds both a Bachelor’s in Elementary/Special Education and a Master’s of Education in Special Education from Vanderbilt University. Caitlyn is now following her passion of increasing research and teacher preparedness for supporting students with challenging behavior in the classroom as she pursues a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University. Her research interests center around increasing teacher use of data-based decision-making in the context of behavioral interventions. More specifically, she is interested in measuring student characteristics (e.g., function of behavior) to more efficiently and effectively inform the selection and/or adaptation of Tier 2 behavioral interventions. Beyond academics, Caitlyn enjoys running, cooking new recipes, and traveling back to Rhode Island to spend time with her family.
CAITLYN MAJEIKAVanderbilt University
Prior to beginning the doctoral program, Brittany began her teaching career as an Intensive Academics teacher and Inclusion Specialist at a Title 1 school in Southwest Florida. During this time, she worked with children with severe academic and behavioral challenges in self-contained and inclusive settings. After relocating to middle Tennessee, Brittany worked as a Resource Teacher and Response to Intervention (RtI) Coordinator at the school-wide level at a rural school outside of Nashville. In this role, she was responsible for providing individualized interventions in reading and math in the general education setting. Her time spent working in the RtI field prompted her to pursue her Ph.D. to study the Response to Intervention process and research more intensive interventions for students with math disabilities.
In her free time, Brittany enjoys traveling, reading, crafting, and spending time with her husband, Tom, and daughter, Sadie!
BRITTANYLEE MARTINVanderbilt University
From 2009-2015, Amanda worked as a Research Scientist in the Biology Department at the University of Texas at San Antonio under Dr. Nicole Wicha. She worked on a project that utilized Event-Related Potentials (ERPs) to examine arithmetic processing in bilinguals. In conjunction with Dr. Wicha’s lab, she headed involvement in the Woodlawn Elementary Science Night, a program designed to get elementary students interested in science, and the Expand Your Horizons Conference, a yearly workshop designed to provide middle school aged girls with role-models for career fields in science. In her free time, Amanda enjoys reading and spending time with her family.
AMANDA MARTINEZ-LINCOLNUniversity of Texas at Austin
VERONICA MELLADO DE LA CRUZ
Since becoming a doctoral student in fall 2015, Veronica has been working under the direction of her advisor, Stephanie Al Otaiba. Experiences include work on a project exploring early literacy curriculum based assessments used to identify children at risk for future reading difficulties. In addition to data collection and project support, Veronica conducted analyses to compare the relative utility of assessing growth on English and Spanish language versions for emerging bilingual kindergarteners. Her efforts honed an interest in investigating assessment at the intersection of bilingualism and high-incidence disabilities (i.e., LD, EBD). Such work is critical to extending evidence-based practices in data-based instruction to dual language learners.
Veronica looks forward to opportunities to explore a secondary interest in behavioral and psychosocial aspects of learning. A Mindset Study exploring mindset training paired with intensive reading intervention beginning fall 2017 promises to provide relevant experience.
Veronica is bilingual (Spanish-English) and enjoys exploring literary works in her native language from time to time. A native of Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico, she is a long time Texan and currently resides with her family in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.
VERONICA MELLADO DE LA CRUZSouthern Methodist University
Brittany enjoys traveling, reading, and running, and as a new Minnesotan she is learning to cross-country ski. She coached Girls on the Run and volunteered with Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
BRITTANY PENNINGTONUniversity of Minnesota
Beth has a Master of Science in Special Education from Radford University in Radford, Virginia and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She is excited to further her expertise and develop new skills in early childhood and behavioral intervention through the pursuit of a Ph.D. in Special Education at Vanderbilt University. When time allows, Beth may be found hiking with her dog, practicing yoga, or cooking a vegetarian feast.
BETH POKORSKIVanderbilt University
KATHERINE SARGENTVanderbilt University
Brittany received her B.A. in Political Science with a concentration in Legal Studies from Virginia Tech. She earned her M.Ed. in Special Education from Virginia Commonwealth University. In the spring of 2014, Brittany represented VCU and presented at the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) Poster Presentation Session. She is now a member of the SEALS II program, which seeks to develop and implement a professional development and consultation model to support teachers in their efforts to promote students’ adjustment across the middle school years. Her focus will include the development of protocols for intensifying interventions for students with significant academic and behavioral difficulties.
BRITTANY STERRETTVirginia Commonwealth University
Jennifer holds a Bachelors of Arts in Education and Theatre from Saint Louis University and a Masters of Education in Special Education from Southern Methodist University. Prior to teaching in the school setting, she worked as an educational intern with the Shakespeare Festival of St. Louis and Nashville Children’s Theatre. Out of the classroom, Jennifer can be found singing, seeing live theatre, training for her next race, and volunteering as a member of the family selection committee for Habitat for Humanity- South Collin County.
JENNIFER STEWARTSouthern Methodist University
ALYSSA VAN CAMP
ALYSSA VAN CAMPVanderbilt University
Outside of the school setting, Samantha has worked in therapeutic recreation settings, coached Special Olympics, assisted adults with disabilities living in group homes, run weekend structured weekend social groups for children with autism, and implemented in-home Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy. She also enjoys yoga, biking, hiking, and food.
SAMANTHA WALTEUniversity of Illinois at Chicago
Outside of work, Tori enjoys reading, hiking with her dog, and attending theater and other arts events.
VICTORIA WHALEYUniversity of Connecticut
Sarah is pursuing her doctoral studies in Educational Psychology (Special Education) at the University of Connecticut. She plans to focus her work on behavior supports at the secondary level.
SARAH WILKINSONUniversity of Connecticut
Originally from Indiana, JESSICA WRIGHT earned a Bachelor’s in Science in Special Education and her Master’s of Education in School Administration and Supervision at Indiana State University. In Indiana, Jessica taught students with special needs grades Pre K-12 in a variety of settings, writing individualized education plans, tracking, writing, and facilitating behavior plans, and differentiating instruction. Jessica also played the role of department chair for her middle school and served as the committee chair for Positive Behavior Intervention Strategies (PBIS) and Response to Intervention(RTI). She served on a goals committee, which was instrumental in self auditing the Individual Education Plan goals to ensure they were in compliance with the state and government criteria.
After moving to Virginia, Jessica collaboratively taught special education, general education, and then moved into an administrative role in a public middle school. While teaching, Jessica was a mentor to other special education teachers about progress monitoring and data collection. She also served as a consultant to general education teachers about differentiation and trait writing. As an administrator, Jessica was a liaison for Project SEALS. She also was instrumental in initiating the PBIS program at her middle school working to increase positive student/ teacher interaction and decreased office discipline referrals.
Jessica is pursuing her Ph.D in the department of Special Education and Disability Policy at Virginia Commonwealth University. She intends on focusing her research on the successful application of a tiered intervention system in the conjoined area of academics and social/ emotional behaviors.
JESSICA WRIGHTVirginia Commonwealth University
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