Students & Projects

We have a number of fantastic Ph.D. and MA students working on instructional design research.  Below is information about these individuals.  See their accomplishments here and participation a scientific events here.

Current Students and Projects:

Dissertation-level students (i.e., almost-doctors):

Anna Budd is in the Ph.D. program in Psychology (Behavior Analysis concentration) at the Graduate Center, CUNY.  She received her M.A. in Psychology from Queens College, CUNY.  Anna is interested in instructional variables that influence the effectiveness or efficiency of skill aquisition (link).  Anna is currently completing her dissertation, which examines mastery criterion and how components of our criteria affect the speed of acquiring new behaviors and the durability of those behaviors over time.

Kristina Wong is a doctoral student in the Applied Behavior Analysis program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She obtained her M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis form Teachers College, Columbia University and her B.A. in Psychology from Stanford University. Kristina’s research interests include analyzing the various components of mastery criterion within education and finding optimal strategies to help individuals learn novel skills.  Kristina’s first mastery criterion paper was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Behavioral Education!

 

 

Aparna Naresh is a PhD student in the Applied Behavior Analysis program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She obtained her M.A in Applied Behavior Analysis from Teachers College and obtained her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Delhi. Aparna has worked in both school as well as residential settings for over 6 years in the United States and the United Arab Emirates. Aparna’s is working on two different areas of research.  First, she is interested in analyzing the efficacy of error correction procedures within skill acquisition.  Second, she is examining verbal behavior interventions that produce extended effects beyond intervention that include independently initiated speaker behavior.  Aparna’s first paper on verbal behavior was accepted for publication at The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and won her the ABAI’s Verbal Behavior Special Interest Group’s student paper competition!

Before dissertation-level students:

Ji Young Kim is in the Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University in 2019 and her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University Cum Laude with a degree in psychology in 2017.  Ji Young is interested in the translation of behavioral economics research to the design of educational system. For example, the application of delay discounting in a natural environment to investigate individuals’ spending/saving behavior and finding efficient ways to implement instructions and in classwide token economy systems. Ji Young has accrued multiple publications: on the effects of a decision-protocol informed toilet training intervention (link), a review of prompt-fading procedures (link), peer tutoring with preschoolers (link), and a forthcoming paper on listener behavior (accepted to The Analysis of Verbal Behavior).  Ji Young is actively working on systematic reviews and an experiment on behavioral economics and token economies.

Previously, Ji Young worked at the Metacognition Lab (by Dr. Lisa Son) at Barnard College and at the Intercultural Communication Lab (by Dr. Kate Hyeeun Lee) at Ewha Womans University.

Carli Heiman spent summer 2018 creating graphing instruction. Check out her work on this website!

Carli is in the Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis Program at Teachers College, Columbia University.  She completed her Master’s student in the ABA program at Teachers College, Columbia University and her BA in Cognitive Science and Psychology from Johns Hopkins University.  Her previous research experience has been in the field of developmental psychology, the majority of which was conducted at NYU’s Infant Action Lab (Dr. Karen Adolph). Carli plans to work as a behavior analyst to provide therapy to children with developmental disabilities.

 

Rika Ortega is in the Ph.D. program in Psychology (Behavior Analysis concentration) at the Graduate Center, CUNY.  She is interested in how behavior analysts can design interventions to increase positive infant behaviors during tummy time activities (link).  Rika continues this work under the guidance of Dr. Joshua Jessel.

 


Graduates:

Below are graduates who I had the pleasure to work with and who have gone on to do great things:

Faheema Abdool-Ghany is a PhD candidate in the Applied Behavior Analysis program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She obtained her M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis from Teachers College, Columbia University, and an MPH in Biostatistics from Florida International University. She is interested in the areas of Verbal Behavior and Stimulus Equivalence. Currently, she has been working on a project titled, “The Effects of Unidirectional Naming and Bidirectional Naming on the Derived Relational Responding of Untaught Listener and Speaker Topographies.” Her work directly correlates to developing a better understanding of Verbal Behavior in the realm of Stimulus Equivalence. The purpose of the research is to contribute to the understanding of incidental language acquisition and basic relational concepts. Stimulus Equivalence (Sidman, 1994), Relational Frame Theory (Hayes & Barnes- Holmes & Roche, 2002) and the Naming theory (Horne & Lowe, 1996) demonstrate various similarities across incidental language acquisition.

Victoria Verdun grew up in southern Louisiana where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Nicholls State University in 2014. After gaining experience working with children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at a specialized school, Victoria moved to New York City and earned her Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2017 from Teachers College Columbia University. Currently, Victoria is working on her Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis at Teachers College Columbia University. Her current research interests lie in generative teaching practices, specifically in the intersection of behavior technologies and tactics such as observational learning, equivalence-based instruction, and peer tutoring.  Victoria’s first article on the intersection of observational learning and stimulus equivalence instruction was published in the Journal of Behavioral Education.

 

Dr. Rebecca Hotchkiss completed her Masters and PhD degrees in Applied Behavior Analysis at Teachers College, Columbia University.  Her research interests deal with optimizing treatments and she utilized parametric analysis in her dissertation to evaluate how different doses of verbal behavior protocols affect how quickly young children develop new verbal behavior cusps.  Becca is now the Behavior Education Treatment Director at the Evergreen Center in Massachusetts.  Experiment 1 of Becca’s dissertation was recently accepted for publication at The Psychological Record!  We are in the midst of preparing Dr. Hotchkiss’ Experiment 2 for submission to a journal.

 

 

Dr. Sara Silsilah completed her masters and PhD degree at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research interests are investigating the relationship between effective teaching repertoires and student learning. Dr. Silsilah is currently working on a publication manuscript for her research investigating the relationship between teachers’ mastered repertoires and the rate of student learning. She is currently working as an assistant professor in a masters of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at Dar Al-Hekma University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The masters program is the first graduate level program in ABA offered in Saudi Arabia which was established in the Spring of 2019. Dr. Silsilah’s future goals are to disseminate the science of behavior analysis and expand the pool of quality ABA services available in Saudi Arabia.

 

Dr. Samantha Dalfen graduated from the Graduate Center, CUNY Psychology Program (Behavior Analysis concentration).  She conducted research on instructional strategies for college students, specifically, how we can maximize the impact of weekly quizzes (link, link).  Samantha is a co-founder of Branch Out Behavioral Health.

 

 

Dr. Julia Brodsky graduated from the Graduate Center, CUNY Psychology Program (Behavior Analysis concentration).  She conducted a number of studies on equivalence-based instruction (link, link, link).  Julia is an Associate UX Researcher at FactSet Researcher Systems.

 

 

Dr. Mirela Cengher graduated from the Graduate Center, CUNY Psychology Program (Behavior Analysis concentration).  She conducted research on prompting procedures (link, link, link) and verbal behavior (link), to name a few of her research areas/interests.  Check out her ResearchGate page to keep up with her ongoing research.  Mirela is an Assistant Professor in the behavior analysis program (Psychology Department) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

 

Dr. Bryan Tyner graduated from the Graduate Center, CUNY Psychology Program (Behavior Analysis concentration).  He conducted research on graphing instruction (link) and ways to improve task analysis instruction (link).  Click on the links to read Bryan’s publications.  Bryan is a Senior Research Analyst at Kickstarter and an Adjunct Professor in Columbia’s Master of Science program in Applied Analytics.

 

Dr. Kimberly Reyes-Giordano graduated from the Graduate Center, CUNY Psychology Program (Behavior Analysis concentration).  She conducted research on equivalence-based instruction (link, link) and functional analysis of academic skill deficits (link).  Click the links to read Kim’s publications.  Kim consults on school behavior systems, conducted initial assessments for services, conducts trainings for crisis management teams, and supervises behavior technicians and individuals en route to meeting the experience requirements for the Board Certified Behavior Analyst or Licensed Behavior Analyst in New York state.