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DANIELLE LAFRANCE, PhD, BCBA-D

Chair

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, and
oversight 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 most
recently, 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).

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KATHRYN GLODOWSKI, PhD, BCBA-D

Treasurer

Dr. Kathryn Glodowski is a doctoral-level BCBA with over 10 years' experience providing behavioral therapy to individuals with various disabilities across the lifespan in home, clinic, school, and community settings. Dr. Glodowski also has over 5 years' teaching undergraduate and graduate-level courses in behavior analysis. Her research interests span a variety of topics including skill acquisition for early learners, bidirectionality between individuals, clinical decision making, and teaching behavior analysis.

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ROBBIE HANSON, PhD, BCBA-D

Secretary

Biography: 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. 
Goals for the position during their term: Her goals would be to expand the responsibilities of the secretary position while continuing to support and disseminate the work of the VB SIG and verbal behavior research in general.

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ADRIENNE JENNINGS, PhD, BCBA-D

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.

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ANGELICA AGUIRRE, PhD, BCBA-D

Newsletter Editor

Biography and Research Interests: 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.
Goals for the position during their term: She wants to continue to find new and exciting ways to highlight the awesome work that verbal behavior researchers, clinicians, and students are conducting in our field.

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STEPHANIE KEESEY-PHELAN, PhD, BCBA-D

Grant Competition Coordinator

Biography and Research Interests: Dr. Stephanie Keesey-Phelan received her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Behavior Analysis from Simmons University. Her research interests are in complex verbal behavior specifically as it relates to recalling past events and in animal behavior and training. Dr. Keesey-Phelan is also a co-owner of The Dog Behavior Institute and is working to develop a research program related to the verbal behavior of animals. 
Goals for the position during their term: She is looking forward to continuing in the work of past Grant Competition Coordinators. As a VB SIG member, she was fortunate enough to be the recipient of a student grant and as a result was able to complete a research project that led to the development of subsequent projects in complex verbal behavior and memory. She knows firsthand how encouraging it is as a young researcher to have the support of a group like the VB SIG behind you and am thrilled to help facilitate that experience for future researchers.

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MIRELA CENGHER, PhD, BCBA-D

Membership Coordinator

Biography: Dr. Mirela Cengher is an Assistant Professor in Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2019), and she received her doctorate in Psychology from The Graduate Center, City University of New York (2017). Dr. Cengher has over 15 years of research and clinical experience with individuals with developmental disabilities. Her primary research interest is at the intersection of verbal behavior and stimulus control—specifically, in her research, she evaluates variables that affect the acquisition of verbal behavior and the development of emergent relations. Dr. Cengher serves as a guest associate editor for The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, is an editorial board member of several scientific journals (e.g., Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis), and serves as a guest reviewer for others (e.g., Behavior Analysis in Practice).
Goals for the position during their term: Mirela aims to increase the number of benefits for members, especially student members of the VB SIG, and consequently, increase the number of VB SIG members.

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LESLIE SHAWLER, PhD, BCBA-D

Professional Awards Coordinator

Biography: 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.
Goals for position during their term: Her goals for her role are to increase awareness for awards each year, promote VB-SIG to her students as well as interests in verbal behavior research.

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VIDESHA MARYA, PhD, BCBA-D

Website Coordinator

Biography: Dr. Videsha Marya is an Adjunct Professor at Endicott College and a Senior BCBA at Village Autism Center, GA. She received her Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Endicott College under the advisement of Dr. Alice Shillingsburg. Videsha has worked with children with autism and developmental disabilities since 2002 and has provided ABA intervention services to children since 2011. She has presented both poster and oral presentations at regional and national conferences, co-authored a number of peer-reviewed papers, and worked on numerous other research projects. She has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Endicott Academic Excellence Award and research awards through two Special Interest Groups from ABAI.
Research and Clinical Interests: Verbal behavior, Evidence-based intervention, Instructional efficiency, Ethical practices, and use of speech-generating devices to promote language in children with autism
Goals for the position during their term: Videsha aims to manage and coordinate the VB-SIGs website and Facebook page to facilitate the SIGs dissemination and outreach efforts.

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ANDRESA DESOUSA, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Dissemination Coordinator

Biography: 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.

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LANDON COWAN, M.A., BCBA

Student Group Liaison

Biography: Landon Cowan is a second-year doctoral student under the supervision of Dr. Tiffany Kodak at Marquette University. He began his behavior-analytic training under the supervision of Dr. Karen Toussaint at the University of North Texas. He received his M.A. in Behavior Analysis from the University of Houston-Clear Lake where he received clinical training from Dr. Sarah Lechago, and completed his thesis under the supervision of Dr. Dorothea Lerman.
Research and Clinical Interests: Professional skills training for current and future BCBAs, clinical problem solving for client barriers to learning.
Goals for the position during their term: Landon hopes to expand the membership of the VB SIG Student Group to include more diverse training experiences as well as students from international training programs. He also hope to establish a Student-Group led series of panels and events for the VB SIG at large.