Meet the Board
Andresa De Souza
Dr. Andresa De Souza is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri – St. Louis. She received a Master’s in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale under the supervision of Dr. Ruth Anne Rehfeldt and a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Nebraska Medical Center under the supervision of Dr. Wayne Fisher. She completed her Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Marcus Autism Center and Emory University in Atlanta, GA. During her studies, Dr. De Souza gained valuable experience in early-intervention applications for children with autism, the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior, and the autism diagnostic criteria. She has provided supervision for behavior analysts and worked as a consultant for international sites. Dr. De Souza published several peer-reviewed articles on applications of Skinner’s verbal behavior within the framework of an autism diagnosis, and currently serves on the editorial board of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior. Her research focuses on strategies for teaching verbal behavior, the arrangement of conditions that can facilitate the emergence of novel language and decrease restricted stimulus control, and caregiver training. Dr. De Souza earned the 2017 VB-SIG Student Paper Award.
Dr. Danielle LaFrance is the Regional Clinical Director for the West at Elemy, a tech-forward, innovative company providing behavior-analytic intervention services to individuals diagnosed with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. Her professional interests include evidence-based practices, verbal behavior, generative programming, discrimination, and staff training. She provides ongoing professional development, support, andoversight to both the staff she supervises, as well as graduate student interns. She is committed to the science of behavior analysis and has demonstrated this through her various research and scholarly activities, which include publications, participation in the peer-review process, active attendance and presentations at professional conferences both in the United States and abroad, service to the Behavior Analyst Certification Board®, and mostrecently, completion of a doctorate degree in applied behavior analysis. She is also the Clinical Research Coordinator for the Verbal Behavior Research Lab at California State University, Sacramento. She is the past Editorial Assistant for the Analysis of Verbal Behavior, the current Editorial Assistant for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, an Editorial Board member for the Analysis of Verbal Behavior, and a guest reviewer for several behavior-analytic journals. She was also recognized with the 2017 Inaugural Clinical Supervisor in Verbal Behavior Award and the 2020 Student Paper Award from the Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI).
Dr. Samantha Bergmann is currently an assistant professor in the Department of
Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. She co-directs the Training and
Research: Autism Intervention Laboratory housed in the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism
Center and co-directs a peer-mentoring program in Housing and Residential Life
called UNT Collaborative Action for the Neurodiverse. Her research interests include
applied and translational questions related to instructional efficacy and
efficiency, procedural fidelity, stimulus control, and verbal behavior. Dr. Bergmann
serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Applied Behavior
Analysis and Behavior Analysis in Practice and is an Associate Editor for The Analysis
of Verbal Behavior. Dr. Bergmann has presented at state, regional, and national
conferences and has published research in multiple peer-reviewed journals including
the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of the Experimental Analysis of
Behavior, and The Analysis of Verbal Behavior.
Dr. Hanson is a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst and holds a B.S. degree in psychology from Central Michigan University, an M.A. degree in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University, and a Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Endicott College. Dr. Hanson previously worked as a practitioner in the field of ABA for approximately 15 years and served as an adjunct faculty member teaching graduate-level ABA coursework for approximately 10 years. Research and Clinical Interests: Her applied areas of interest include comorbid diagnoses, functional behavior assessment and analysis, and severe maladaptive behavior. She currently holds a faculty position as an assistant professor with Lindenwood University and is a research associate with the Verbal Behavior Research Laboratory at California State University, Sacramento. Her research interests include stimulus control, stimulus equivalence, verbal behavior, and bidirectional naming.
Dr. Meral Koldas completed her Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis at Queen's University Belfast, where her research focused on VB training for practitioners working with individuals with autism, utilizing asynchronous and telehealth modalities. Following her Ph.D., Dr. Koldas worked as a research fellow at QUB alongside Dr. Katerina Dounavi. Currently, she holds a post-doctoral position at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Munroe-Meyer Institute, working with Dr. Alice Shillingsburg. Dr. Koldas is the recipient of the 2022 Advancement of Behavior Analysis (SABA) international development grant, focusing on implementing VB approaches by special education teachers in public school settings in Turkiye. She has also been awarded the SABA Senior Student Presenter Grant for ABAI's 48th and 49th Annual Conventions in 2022 and 2023. Additionally, she serves as a board member for both the Advancement of Behavior Analysis International and the International Behavior Analysis Organization. With nearly 15 years of experience working with individuals with autism in Turkiye, North Wales, Northern Ireland, and the USA, and having trained practitioners in over 12 countries worldwide, her primary focus is promoting knowledge sharing and dissemination within the group, as well as increasing international activities and events, particularly in underserved areas and countries. She aims to organize international webinars and collaborate with professionals and organizations to advance VB research and knowledge.
Dr. Angelica Aguirre received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale under the advisement of Dr. Ruth Anne Rehfeldt. From 2015-2017, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Trumpet Behavioral Health under the advisement of Dr. Amber Valentino and Dr. Linda LeBlanc. Currently, Dr. Aguirre is an assistant professor at Minnesota State University, Mankato within the Clinical Psychology MA program. She is the President for the Minnesota Northland Association for Behavior Analysis. Her main area of research is designing and implementing empirical, evidenced-based language and social skills interventions for people with and without disabilities. Since 2009, she has focused on evaluating basic and complex verbal behavior, private events (i.e., thinking and problem-solving strategies), derived relational responding, social skills, and bullying interventions.
Videsha Marya is the Director of Practicum and Immersion Experiences and an Adjunct Professor at Endicott College. She received her doctoral degree in ABA from Endicott College under the advisement of Dr. Alice Shillingsburg. Videsha has provided behavior analytic services to children with autism since 2011. Over the course of her professional experience, Videsha has gained national and international experience in the field of behavior analysis. Within the US, she has worked in autism clinics in Oklahoma, Colorado, Houston, and Georgia. She has presented poster and oral presentations at regional and national conferences as well as co-authored several peer-reviewed papers and book chapters. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Endicott Academic Excellence Award and research awards through two Special Interest Groups from ABAI. Her research interests include verbal behavior, ethical behavior, international dissemination, and evaluating effective and efficient teaching practices.
Research Competition Coordinator
Dr. Adrienne Jennings received her B.S. in psychology from Texas Christian University, M.A. in psychology (with an emphasis in applied behavior analysis) from California State University Sacramento (CSUS), and her Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Caldwell University. She is a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst and has over 10 years of experience in clinical settings. Currently, Dr. Jennings is an adjunct instructor at Manhattanville College. Her research interests include the role of verbal behavior in learning, emergent verbal behavior, and strategies to increase teaching efficiency. Additionally, Dr. Jennings is interested in incorporating data science to research in behavior analysis.
Professional Awards Coordinator
Dr. Lesley Shawler is an Assistant Professor in the Behavior Analysis and Therapy program at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and earned her Ph.D. from the Institute of Applied Behavior Studies - Endicott College in 2019 under the advisement of Dr. Caio Miguel. She completed a two year postdoctoral fellowship at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Neurobehavioral Unit and Clinical Outcomes department. Dr. Shawler has experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses across the lifespan and in a myriad of settings. Her main expertise includes the assessment and treatment of challenging behavior and teaching verbal behavior to individuals with Autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.Research and Clinical Interests: Dr. Shawler's primary clinical and research interests include the functional analysis and treatment of severe challenging behavior exhibited by individuals with and without developmental disabilities. Specifically, she is most interested in improving methods to program and test for treatment generalization, as well as identifying the variables that impact caregiver adherence to treatment. Dr. Shawler also is passionate about exploring conceptual questions within experimental and applied behavior analysis, verbal behavior, and single-case research methodology, and is interested in systematically examining these areas within her research.
Ji Young Kim
Dr. Ji Young Kim is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Penn State Harrisburg and a doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Dr. Kim earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University, and her B.A. in Psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University. As a doctoral student, Dr. Kim worked as a full-time teacher in an inclusion classroom at a public school and has over 5 years of experience in K-5 education working with individuals with and without disabilities and their families. She has published in peer-reviewed journals, and her work has been recognized through numerous awards and grants including the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 25 SABA Applied Behavior Analysis Dissertation Award, New York State Association for Behavior Analysis (NYSABA) research award for two consecutive years, and the Sidney W. and Janet R. Bijou Grant. Dr. Kim is interested in understanding decision-making and developing effective procedures to enhance learning for individuals with and without developmental disabilities. Her research focuses on the application of behavioral economics concepts to education and other socially significant behaviors. Dr. Kim is also passionate about exploring the intersection between verbal behavior and decision-making behavior.
Grant Competition Coordinator
Ciobha A. McKeown
Dr. Ciobha McKeown
Student Group Liason