Scholars

Angelique Aitken, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
aaitken2@utk.edu

Dr. Aitken is a Research Assistant Professor in Special Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville She obtained her Ph.D. in Special Education from Arizona State University in 2018 and completed an IES postdoctoral research fellowship in the Academy for Child and Family Well Being at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her scholarship addresses literacy instruction for students developing their reading and writing skills as well as the educators who support them. Within this field, she has two interconnected lines of inquiry: literacy intervention and motivation.

Darcey Allan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Ohio University
alland@ohio.edu

Darcey Allan is an assistant professor of clinical psychology at Ohio University and a faculty member in the Ohio University Center for Intervention Research in Schools. Her research focuses on (a) early identification of ADHD and (b) developing and evaluating school-based interventions that target early childhood behavior problems in ways that facilitate both behavior change and early school success.

Amy Altszuler, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Florida International University
aaltszul@fiu.edu

Amy Altszuler received a Ph.D. in Clinical Science in Child and Adolescent Psychology from Florida International University (FIU) and is currently a Research Assistant Professor at the Center for Children and Families at FIU. Dr. Altszuler’s research focuses on improving the long-term outcomes of youth diagnosed with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) through the use of behavioral interventions, stimulant medication, and their combination.

Sheila Arens, Ph.D.
Executive Director: Research, Evaluation, and Applied Research / Task 6 Lead
Pacific REL
sarens@mcrel.org

Dr. Arens, Executive Director—Research and Evaluation and Applied Research / Task 6 Lead for Pacific REL, has served as principal investigator on IES-funded studies including a RCT of interventions to improve fluency among language learners and a study to develop and test a framework for teaching science concepts to students with visual impairment. She recently finished serving as PI for an i3 grant to develop and test an identity-based motivation edu-game.

Penny Cantley, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Oklahoma State University
penny.cantley@okstate.edu

Penny Cantley is an assistant professor of Special Education at Oklahoma State University. She earned her doctorate in Special Education from the University of Oklahoma; with an emphasis on self-determination, transition and applied research. Her research focuses on self-determination, transition supports and services for secondary students with disabilities and postsecondary opportunities and outcomes for adults with disabilities.

Jenny Yu-Chen Chan, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
jchan2@wpi.edu

I’m a developmental psychologist conducting research on mathematical thinking and learning. My research examines the mechanisms and the cognitive processes involved in mathematical development. Through my research, I aim to contribute to the efforts in delineating the developmental pathways to mathematical thinking, and inform practices to better support learning and development.

Jilly Chang, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
California State University, Los Angeles
ychang27@calstatela.edu

Ya-Chih Chang is an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and Counseling at California State University, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on social communication interventions with young children with autism and other developmental disabilities, implementation of evidence-based interventions for young children with disabilities in inclusive settings, and community-partnered interventions for culturally and linguistically diverse children and families.

Clayton Cook, Ph.D.
Professor
University of Minnesota
eecrcook@umn.edu

Dr. Clay Cook holds the John and Nancy Peyton Endowed Chair in Child and Adolescent Wellbeing at the University of Minnesota and is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education and Human Development. He has extensive research and practical experiences involving the implementation of multi-tiered frameworks to promote children’s social, emotional, and behavioral wellbeing as the foundation for academic and life success.

Sarah Cox, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Eastern Michigan University
scox21@emich.edu

Sarah Cox is an Assistant Professor at Eastern Michigan University. Sarah is a former inclusive middle school mathematics teacher. Her research focuses on effective interventions to improve mathematical problem-solving skills for students with autism spectrum disorder. Sarah aims to provide insight into the use of evidence-based practices by investigating what strategies work for which students under what conditions.

Robert Dedrick, Ph.D.
Professor
University of South Florida
dedrick@usf.edu

Robert Dedrick is Professor and Coordinator of the Educational Measurement and Research Program at the University of South Florida. He teaches courses in research design and measurement, and is currently Co-PI on a study evaluating interleaved mathematics practice, and a statistical consultant for a study evaluating the academic success and emotional well-being of H.S. students in accelerated curricula.

Mylien Duong, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
Committee for Children
mduong@cfchildren.org

I am a Senior Research Scientist at Committee for Children, a nonprofit organization that develops, tests, and disseminates evidence-based social-emotional learning (SEL) curricula. My research has focused on developing and evaluating interventions that promote youth social-emotional and academic success, with a particular focus on scalable interventions that meet the needs of ethnic minority youth.

Postdoctoral Fellow
University of California, San Francisco
melissa.dvorsky@ucsf.edu

My research focuses on the implementation and evaluation of school interventions for youth with attention and behavior challenges. To date, my work has ranged from elucidating processes pertinent to intervention refinement (e.g., social support, motivation/engagement, parent involvement) to evaluating intervention efficacy. Going forward, I plan to use leverage technology to optimize school interventions for attention and behavior by delivering just-in-time adaptive and SMART intervention designs.

Andria Eisman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Wayne State University
aeisman@wayne.edu

Andria Eisman is an Assistant Professor in Community Health, Division of Kinesiology, Health and Sport Studies at the Wayne State University College of Education. Her work focuses on 1) designing and testing implementation strategies to enhance the public health impact of school-based drug use prevention and mental health promotion interventions, 2) advancing the application of implementation science to promote health equity, and 3) economic evaluation of implementation with a focus on costs and cost-effectiveness of implementation strategies.

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Lauren Epstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor
San Francisco State University
lepstein@sfsu.edu

Dr. Epstein, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is Professor and Chair of the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences at San Francisco State University. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research and clinical interests include school-based issues and bilingual/multicultural language assessment. She supervises a school-based speech-language clinic in a culturally and linguistically diverse, Bay Area public school.

Natalya Gnedko-Berry, Ph.D.
Senior Researcher
American Institutes for Research
ngnedko-berry@air.org

Natalya Gnedko-Berry is a senior researcher at American Institutes for Research. She is an experienced researcher and evaluator who leads a portfolio of federally and privately funded studies that use experimental, quasi-experimental, and descriptive designs. The focus of her work is on educator quality in K-12 , including teacher preparation and effectiveness.

Calonie Gray, Ph.D.
Senior Social Science Research Analyst
Administration for Children and Families
calonie.gray@acf.hhs.gov

Calonie Gray is a Senior Social Science Research Analyst within the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation. She has interests in quantitative methods, adolescent development, substance abuse, and health equity. Prior to her federal service, she worked in private and local government settings conducting applied research and evaluations targeting public health issues, particularly among populations experiencing physical and social vulnerabilities.

Sarah Hansen, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Georgia State University
shansen@gsu.edu

Sarah Hansen, Ph.D is an assistant professor of Special Education at Georgia State University whose research is focused on early social communication skills for children with ASD. She received her Ph.D in Special Education from University of Oregon. Sarah grew up in California, just north of San Francisco. In addition to research and teaching, Sarah enjoys reading, cooking, music, and her cat, Maxx.

Alyssa Henry, Ph.D.
IES Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Virginia
arh2n@virginia.edu

Alyssa Henry is a National Center for Special Education Research Postdoctoral Fellow (funded by the Institute of Education Sciences) at the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Her work examines school-based interventions to concurrently support the social and academic needs of students with autism spectrum disorder.

Shannon Holmes, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Missouri
holmessr@missouri.edu

Shannon Holmes earned her Ph.D. in school psychology from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship through the Institute of Education Sciences Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program in the department of Educational, School & Counseling Psychology. Her areas of interest include the application of implementation science to school psychology, the measurement and promotion of fidelity of implementation, and family-school partnerships.

Madhavi Jayanthi, Ed.D.
Research Director
Instructional Research Group
madhavi@inresg.org

Madhavi Jayanthi is the research director at Instructional Research Group, Los Alamitos, California. Her current research interests include developing effective interventions for students with mathematics difficulties or disabilities at the elementary and middle school level.

Sara Jozwik, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
jozwik@uwm.edu

Sara Jozwik is an Assistant Professor of Teaching and Learning in the Exceptional Education program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She has 20 years of experience in the field of special education and regularly teaches courses on assessment, assistive technology, and literacy. Her research explores practices that promote language and (bi)literacy development for emergent bilingual students with disabilities.

Debbie Kim, Ph.D.
Senior Research Scientist
NORC at the University of Chicago
kim-debbie@norc.org

Dr. Aitken is a Research Assistant Professor in Special Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville She obtained her Ph.D. in Special Education from Arizona State University in 2018 and completed an IES postdoctoral research fellowship in the Academy for Child and Family Well Being at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her scholarship addresses literacy instruction for students developing their reading and writing skills as well as the educators who support them. Within this field, she has two interconnected lines of inquiry: literacy intervention and motivation.

Sarah Krowka, Ph.D.
Research Associate
Instructional Research Group
skkrowka@gmail.com

Sarah Krowka is a Research Associate with Instructional Research Group. Her work as an educator and researcher focuses on exploring and developing instructional methods to support the academic and social outcomes for students who struggle in these areas. She has supported the development and implementation of programmatic research on topics such as mathematics and reading intervention, cognitive characteristics associated with mathematics difficulty, and misconceptions in mathematics.

Sean McCabe, Ph.D.
Professor
University of Michigan
plius@umich.edu

Dr. Aitken is a Research Assistant Professor in Special Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville She obtained her Ph.D. in Special Education from Arizona State University in 2018 and completed an IES postdoctoral research fellowship in the Academy for Child and Family Well Being at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Her scholarship addresses literacy instruction for students developing their reading and writing skills as well as the educators who support them. Within this field, she has two interconnected lines of inquiry: literacy intervention and motivation.

Heather McDaniel, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Virginia
hm8tc@virginia.edu

Heather McDaniel is an Assistant Professor of Education on the research faculty at the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia and affiliate of the Youth-Nex Center. Her research interests are focused on promoting positive social, emotional, behavioral and academic outcomes for youth and families through the implementation of school mental health services and utilization of advanced quantitative methodologies in school-based research.

Kellina (Pyle) Lupas, Ph.D.
Assistant Research Professor
Florida International University
kpyle@fiu.edu

Dr. Lupas (formerly Pyle) is an assistant research professor with the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. Her current focus is on coordinating two federally-funded grants which both examine school-based interventions for children with ADHD. Her research interests include the assessment and treatment of children with challenging behaviors, particularly those with ADHD and autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and school-based applications of behavioral interventions.

Joseph Raiker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Florida International University
jraiker@fiu.edu

Dr. Raiker is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Florida International University. He oversees a treatment program focused on improving behavioral, academic, and social functioning in children with behavior problems. His research is dedicated to refining current approaches to diagnosis and treatment of ADHD and improving understanding of the mechanisms contributing to the disorder across multiple levels of analysis.

Nicole Schatz, Ph.D.
Research Assistant Professor
Florida International University
nschatz@fiu.edu

Nicole Schatz, PhD is a Research Assistant Professor with the Psychology Department and the Center for Children and Families at Florida International University. Dr. Schatz’s program of research focuses on evidenced-based interventions for children and adolescents with ADHD. This work includes an emphasis on behavioral interventions to reduce impairment in academic settings.

Jessica Scott, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor
Georgia State University
jscott96@gsu.edu

Dr. Jessica Scott is an assistant professor in deaf education at Georgia State University. Her primary research interests are in the literacy development of deaf and hard of hearing students who use American Sign Language as their primary mode of communication. She is particularly interested in academic language development and its relationship with reading comprehension for this population.

Chia-Lin Tsai, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
University of Northern Colorado
chialin.tsai@unco.edu

Chia-Lin Tsai is an assistant professor in the Department of Applied Statistics and Research Methods at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research interests include scale development and validation, teacher evaluation, and student success. Her methodology research focused on validity and reliability issues in measurement.

Anna Wallisch, Ph.D.
Postdoctoral Fellow
Juniper Gardens Children’s Project/ University of Kansas
annawallisch@ku.edu

Dr. Anna Wallisch is a postdoctoral fellow at the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project with a clinical background in occupational therapy. Anna recently received a NIH F32 Postdoctoral Training grant to examine challenging eating behaviors in children with ASD. Her research also focuses on understanding the heterogeneity of ASD to inform early identification and treatment response, as well as utilizing technology to increase access to services.

Denise Whitford, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Purdue University
dwhitford@purdue.edu

Dr. Denise K. Whitford is an Associate Professor in the Educational Studies Department, within the College of Education at Purdue University. Prior to entering academia, Dr. Whitford served as a special education middle school and high school teacher in a culturally and linguistically diverse region of California. Dr. Whitford’s primary research focuses on discriminatory discipline and she works to promote the goal of recruiting, training, and retaining educators who can effectively work with children and adolescents from CLD populations.

Content Experts

Connie Kasari, Ph.D.
Professor
University of California, Los Angeles
kasari@gseis.ucla.edu

Dr. Kasari studies the social and communicative abilities of children. Her research aims to develop novel, targeted interventions to improve social and communicative development in children with autism, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Kasari’s current research focuses on infants and toddlers at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), minimally verbal and highly verbal children with ASD, and children with complex neurodevelopmental disorders (Tuberous Sclerosis Complex, Down syndrome). Interventions are mediated through therapists, teachers, paraprofessionals and parents and in community contexts, such as schools and homes. Much of her work focuses on under-represented populations in research (low income and minority children, girls with ASD, minimally verbal children), and she uses sophisticated intervention methodologies, such as sequential multiple assignment randomized trials (SMART designs) and community partnered participatory research methods (CPPR). The goal of this work is to determine the most effective interventions that can be deployed and sustained in the community.

William Pelham Jr., Ph.D.
Distinguished University Professor
Director, Center for Children and Families
Florida International University
wpelham@fiu.edu

Dr. Pelham has focused his research on ADHD in children and adolescents. His interests include treatment, development and evaluation, including behavioral treatments, pharmacotherapy, and the combination of the two. Most recently, Dr. Pelham’s treatment research has concentrated more on dosing and sequencing in behavioral, pharmacological and combined interventions. In addition, Dr. Pelham studies the outcomes in adolescence and adulthood of ADHD children, focusing on multiple domains including substance use. His summer treatment program for ADHD children has been recognized by Divisions 53 and 37 of the APA and by CHADD as a model program, is listed on the SAMHSA NREPP list, and is widely recognized as the state of the art in treatment for children and adolescents with ADHD.

Greg Roberts, Ph.D.
Associate Director, MCPER
The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk
University of Texas at Austin
gregroberts@austin.utexas.edu

Dr. Roberts is Executive Director of the Vaughn Gross Center for Reading and Language Arts, Associate Director of the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk, and Director of the Dropout Prevention Institute. He currently serves on the National Planning Committee for the National Summit for Response to Intervention, as a member of the Board of Directors for the Capital School of Austin, and a member of the American Educational Research Association, American Evaluation Association, and American Psychological Association Society for Research on Educational Excellence. His current research focuses on learning disabilities, dropout prevention, and the impact of course examinations.

Meredith Gunlicks-Stoessel, Ph.D., LP
Associate Professor
University of Minnesota
mgunlick@umn.edu

Dr. Gunlicks-Stoessel is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on understanding how attachment relationships during adolescence can promote healthy emotion regulation and wellbeing or contribute to the development of psychopathology. This work includes the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions for adolescent depression that promote close attachment relationships. She also conducts research on the development of adaptive interventions, which provide clinical guidelines for selecting, combining, and sequencing interventions to personalize the intervention approach.