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Our Team

Marina Velez is a doctoral student in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Her primary research interests involve the promotion of social emotional competence in young children. She recently conducted meta-analysis to identify evidence-based strategies to promote peer-related social skills in young children with and at risk for disabilities. Favorite children’s book: Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses Favorite game/toy: Catan with my son Where did you grow up? small town Arkansas What was your favorite subject in school? Math When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? The first female President of the United States

 

Claire Winchester is a doctoral student in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She is currently working on a research project analyzing the effects of antecedent physical exercise as an intervention for preschoolers with challenging behaviors and low rates of engagement during circle time. Favorite children’s book: Elephant and Piggie series by Mo Willems Favorite game/toy: I loved reading and playing any board game. Where did you grow up? North central Texas What was your favorite subject in school? Reading When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher or pet store owner

 

Brandy Locchetta is a doctoral student in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Before coming back to Vanderbilt, she worked at the state level in GA to increase access to high-quality childcare for children with disabilities and challenging behavior. What is your favorite children’s book? The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle What is your favorite game/toy? Jeopardy Where did you grow up? Lawrenceville, GA What was your favorite subject in school? Science or English When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher or a pediatrician What was the most exciting thing you did or look forward to doing in graduate school? I am excited to continue learning and growing my skills as a researcher.

 

Mollie Todt is a doctoral student in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She is currently working on a research project analyzing the use of progressive time delay and contingent reinforcement to teach peer imitation to preschoolers with disabilities during play activities. Favorite children’s book: Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep Favorite game/toy: Blocks! All the possibilities Where did you grow up? New Jersey What was your favorite subject in school? Biology When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Veterinarian

 

Jen Bancroft is a Speech and Language Pathologist, now pursuing her doctorate degree in Early Childhood Special Education, with a minor in Behavior Analysis. Her research interests include: (a) the development of play skills and social competence in children with developmental disabilities and (b) increasing collaboration between teachers and related services providers to improve the delivery of services for children with disabilities. She is currently working on a research project using the system of least prompts paired with verbal models to increase pretend play in children with developmental disabilities. Favorite children’s book: Silly Doggy Favorite game/toy: Hide and Seek Where did you grow up? Southern California What was your favorite subject in school? Math When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A sign language teacher

 

Erin Sweeney is a doctoral student in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Before returning to Vanderbilt, she worked at Little Leaves Behavioral Services as the lead Behavior Specialist for the first center-based ABA program in the Baltimore area. Prior to moving back to Baltimore, she worked for Williamson County Schools in Tennessee as an early childhood special education teacher in an inclusive classroom. Favorite children’s book: The Very Hungry Caterpillar Favorite game/toy: The Skip-It! Where did you grow up? Baltimore, MD What was your favorite subject in school? Lunch 🙂 and psychology When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  A professional dancer What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? Getting to participate in exciting, hands-on research and running a half marathon for the first time. Also, ML Hemmeter told me I was the first person to ever defend an ECSE Master’s thesis with blue hair.

 

Gabriela Robinson is a Child Studies graduate student with an Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. She is most excited about working with a research team that is generating and using information to help children and their families. Favorite children’s book: Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes Favorite game/toy: anything related to Scooby-Doo, whether it is a stuffed animal, a board game, or a video game Where did you grow up? San Antonio, Texas What was your favorite subject in school? Chemistry and Calculus When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A lawyer

 

Lauren Schulte is a master’s student in the Early Childhood Special Education Program and she is also doing the Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. She is very excited to work with an awesome lab team and learn from leaders in the field of special education! Favorite children’s book: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss Favorite game/toy: Trouble (board game) & a kitchen set Where did you grow up? Chicago suburb  What was your favorite subject in school? Social Studies When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A paleontologist

 

Emma Skiba is a master’s student in the Early Childhood Special Education Program with the Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. After completing her bachelor’s degree in psychology and working as an RBT for two years, she is excited to work with people who are just as passionate about helping all children learn, grow, and thrive. Favorite children’s book: Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae Favorite game/toy: Play-Doh Where did you grow up? Ocala, Florida  What was your favorite subject in school? English When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A ballerina

 

Caroline Baum is a master’s student in the Early Childhood Special Education program with the Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. She is really looking forward to working with children with disabilities and their families. Favorite children’s book: Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans Favorite game/toy: Backgammon or any board game Where did you grow up? Atlanta, GA  What was your favorite subject in school? Math When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A singer-songwriter

 

D’Anna Hasik is a master’s student in the Early Childhood Special Education program with the Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. She is looking forward to having professors who are very hands on and direct with their students’ experiences. She looks forward to the connections and resources that she will have access to through the program. Favorite children’s book: Whoopsie Poopsie by Jordan Cera Favorite game/toy: Connect Four Where did you grow up? Waynesville, MO What was your favorite subject in school? Any and all things Psychology in relation to education When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher; now here I am!

 

Madeline Marchetti is a master’s student in the Early Childhood Special Education program with the Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. She is most looking forward to meeting so many people who have similar interests in special education. Favorite children’s book: In My Heart by Jo Witek Favorite game/toy: Puzzles! Where did you grow up? Nashville, TN What was your favorite subject in school? Psychology When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A ballerina or a veterinarian

 

Megan Williams is a master’s student in the Early Childhood Special Education program with the Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. She is most looking forward to learning more about the research side of special education and working with leaders in the field. Favorite children’s book: From Head to Toe by Eric Carle Favorite game/toy: Kinetic sand or Play-Doh Where did you grow up? Columbia, SC What was your favorite subject in school? History When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher or a nurse

 

Baylee Webb is a master’s student in the Early Childhood Special Education program with the Applied Behavior Analysis add-on. She is most looking forward to the connections she will make with fellow students and the kids and parents she meets along the way. Favorite children’s book: Curious George Favorite game/toy: Yahtzee Where did you grow up? Lebanon, TN What was your favorite subject in school? English When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher

 

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 Students who Graduated 

Kelly Willard has a bachelor’s degree in Child Studies and completed her Master program in Early Childhood Special Education in 2020. Her thesis focused on using functional communication training with lag schedules of reinforcement, to teach young children with disabilities to appropriately make requests in multiple modalities.

 

Gabrielle Trimlett has a bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and completed her Master program in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University in 2020. While in the program, she completed a research project analyzing the effects of a system of least prompts procedure, peer modeling, and contingent reinforcement to increase the complexity of board game play, and to increase the duration and complexity of social communication related to board game play in children with developmental disabilities. Favorite children’s book: Where the Wild Things Are Favorite game/toy: Clue, kitchen set Where did you grow up? Warwick, NY What was your favorite subject in school? English When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Veterinarian

 

Janice Chen completed her Master program in Special Education at Vanderbilt in 2020.  She participated on a project using a system of least prompts to increase the diversity of play of young children with moderate and severe disabilities.

 

Yuxin Tang completed her Master program in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University in 2020. She recently completed a research project analyzing the effects of email feedback on teacher’s use of emotion words in their classrooms and their influence on children’s social emotional competency. Favorite children’s book: Journey To The West (西游记) Favorite game/toy: Hide and Seek Where did you grow up? China What was your favorite subject in school? Math When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Teacher

 

John Wright completed his doctoral studies at Vanderbilt in 2019. He is a faculty member at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. His primary area of interest involves academic support and interventions for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). In particular, he focuses on supporting STEM participation for kids with ASD and ID. Favorite children’s book: Yesterday I Had the Blues Favorite game/toy: Clue & Mousetrap Where did you grow up? Johnston City, IL What was your favorite subject in school? Math When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Architect

 

Beth Pokorski completed her doctoral studies at Vanderbilt in 2019. She is Post-doctoral researcher with the Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) initiative at the University of Virginia. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with expertise in intensive intervention for young children with moderate to severe developmental delays or disabilities. Her research interests center around supporting the behavioral and pre-academic functioning of this population through developmentally appropriate, evidenced-based intervention and supporting families and practitioners in acquiring the necessary skills to be agents of positive change. Her dissertation focused on using Functional Communication Training with lag reinforcement to teach appropriate, variable requesting to replace challenging behavior. Favorite children’s book: Ten Red Apples by Pat Hutchins Favorite game/toy: Foursquare Where did you grow up? Connecticut What was your favorite subject in school? Science When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Veterinarian

 

Emily Eames completed her master program in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She is working as Preschool Special Education Teacher at the Franziska Racker Centers in Ithaca, NY. She worked on a research project analyzing the effects of different play materials on preschoolers’ complexity of play behaviors, social play behaviors, and engagement in play. Favorite children’s book: The Velveteen Rabbit Favorite game/toy: Baby dolls Where did you grow up? Central New York What was your favorite subject in school? History/Social Studies When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Figure skater

 

Lauren Gomez completed her Master program in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University in 2019.  She is currently working as a clinician at Behavioral Health Kansas City. She completed a research project analyzing the effects of email performance-based feedback on teacher’s use of play expansions in their classrooms, and the impact that it has on children’s play behaviors. The outcomes were promising in that all four teachers increased their use of play expansions after receiving email feedback; however, outcomes for children were mixed. We look forward to replicating this study in the upcoming years.

 

Ana Paula Martinez completed her master program in Early Childhood Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She recently completed a research project analyzing the effects of email performance-based feedback on preservice teacher’s use of promoting social interactions in their classrooms, and the impact it has on children’s social interactions between typically developing children and children with disabilities. Her results were positive in that teachers increased their use of statements that promote social interactions after receiving performance-based feedback and children increased their social interactions. We are working on submitting this study for publication and look forward to replicating in the Barton lab in the upcoming years! Also, Paula received the 2019 Distinguished Service in Special Education Award from the Early Childhood Special Education program.

 

Maddisen Domingo is working as a lead teacher in a classroom for preschool children with disabilities in Maui. Maddisen worked on multiple projects during her graduate program and worked as a project coordinator for the FBSApp grant post-graduation. Her thesis focused on increasing social communication between children with disabilities and their peers during mealtimes.

 

Rachel Nicole Francis is a first grade special education teacher in a full inclusion setting. What is your favorite children’s book? “The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!” by Mo Willems What is your favorite game/toy? Board games! Specifically Clue and Sorry Where did you grow up? A small town in East Texas. What was your favorite subject in school? Reading When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A rockstar, but she wanted to be a teacher too…just in case the rockstar gig didn’t work out. What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school?  Being apart of a research lab was very exciting! It was exciting to have opportunities to conduct and present research!! I miss it! Also, I met some of the best people in grad school and now some of them are my best friends. They made my experience in Nashville/grad school exciting and enjoyable. We would embark on spontaneous outings, which always led to great food!

 

Ethan Lin is currently a Clinician/BCBA at Trumpet Behavioral Health in San Jose, California working with families who have children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.  Favorite children’s book: Oh the places you’ll go! Favorite game/toy: Legos or anything building related!  Where did you grow up? Cupertino, California What was your favorite subject in school? Psychology When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Construction Worker or a Marine Biologist What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? I would sometimes get the chance to eat Nashville Hot Chicken! Prince’s is still #1 in my books!

 

Becca Murray is a BCBA in the Maryland/DC area and work for a small, early intervention-focused company called The Language and Behavior Center. Favorite children’s book: The Frog and Toad books Favorite game/toy: Themed playdoh sets  Where did you grow up? Wilmington, DE What was your favorite subject in school? Science When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? I went through so many phases. When I was little I really wanted to be a flight attendant. What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? I got to work extensively with one child throughout my two years and saw her make a ton of progress 🙂 I also got to be a part of a new preschool program assessment, during which I was exposed to tons of variations in preschool practices, for better or for worse!

 

Celia O’Flaherty now works for Kingdom Autism and Behavioral Health in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. She splits her time between consulting various schools in the rural areas of Vermont and New Hampshire, and managing a caseload of children with autism at the center in St. Johnsbury. She is lucky to work with a dedicated, knowledgeable team who opened the first autism center in the area, so various families now have access ABA services that were not available before! Favorite children’s book: Dear Girl Favorite game/toy: Sand, buckets, and shovels Where did you grow up? Kansas City, Missouri What was your favorite subject in school? Sociology & Psychology When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A teacher, of course! And, for a short time, I was inspired by a great science teacher to have the lofty goal of being a geneticist. This was short-lived. What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? Formally, the most exciting part of my graduate experience was the exposure to all sorts of preschool, clinic, and special education models through research projects and internships. There was no better way to become a well-rounded behavior analyst than this! Informally, the most exciting part of grad school was scoring BOXES of pizza after each Barton Lab potluck. A poor grad school student’s DREAM!

 

Stephanie Gossett is the now the Senior BCBA at Access Family Services Asheville Office. What is your favorite children’s book? I’ll Love you Forever What is your favorite game/toy? Board games Where did you grow up? Asheville, NC What was your favorite subject in school?  English an History  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? As a kid I wanted to be a seamstress. What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? The most exciting thing I did in grad school was participating in now published studies.

 

Jia Qiu is currently a full-time special education teacher and part-time BCBA. What is your favorite children’s book? The Little Princess What is your favorite game/toy?  Ticket to ride Where did you grow up? Chongqing, China What was your favorite subject in school?  Biology  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A gourmet chef What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? white water rafting, attending Tennessee ABA Annual Conference

 

Gounah Choi received her master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education with emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis at Vanderbilt in 2016. She is currently a first year doctoral student in Special Education at the University of Washington. Her current research interests include caregiver-implemented interventions and culturally responsive interventions for young children with disabilities and families. Favorite children’s book: An Elephant and Piggie series Favorite game/toy:Play-Doh and Penguins on Ice Where did you grow up? Ansan, a suburban city in Korea What was your favorite subject in school? English (as a second language) and Korean literature  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? Humanitarian aid workers What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? Using behavioral strategies to help kids communicate!

 

Evelyn Mauldin is a practicing BCBA for a Nashville Autism Services. NAS is a small, nonprofit organization where she supervises other BCBAs and trains parents and teachers in the home, school, and community settings. In her free time she enjoys reading and working on her vegetable garden with her husband.  What is your favorite children’s book? – The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry, and The Big Hungry Bear by Don and Audrey Wood; Wave by Suzy Lee  What is your favorite game/toy? Anything that makes my clients laugh – I love being a reinforcer for them!!  Where did you grow up? Mississippi Gulf Coast What was your favorite subject in school? English!  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? A veterinarian  What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? Conducting my thesis and student teaching.

 

Monica Rigor is a Clinical Quality Manager at ACES Comprehensive Education Services based in San Jose, Ca. She supports a team of masters level supervisors and BCBAs, and supervises in-home ABA programs for clients ages 2-22 along the central coast. What is your favorite children’s book?  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day What is your favorite game/toy? Spot It  Where did you grow up?  Santa Cruz, CA What was your favorite subject in school?  Science  When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?  An archaeologist  What was the most exciting thing you did in graduate school? Seeing how strategies learned in classes translated to the classroom setting and were successful in helping children learn.