DOCTRID-MSU Hegarty Fellows
I received my PhD in Special Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), my M.S. in Communicative Disorders at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and my B.A. in Speech and Hearing Sciences at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. I have 10 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist working in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) primarily with students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities (ASD/ID). As a Hegarty Fellow, I will be working in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University with Drs. Marisa Fisher and Connie Sung and in the School of Psychology at the National University of Ireland, Galway with Dr. Geraldine Leader.
My research agenda is grounded in my career as a speech-language pathologist in CPS. Students with ASD/ID continue to face low expectations and limited interventions that hinder post-school success. Furthermore, these students remain segregated from their peers in educational and employment settings, which potentially hampers their development of skills and limits opportunities to build and maintain peer friendships. My research focuses on evaluating the impact of peer-mediated interventions on the vocational and social skills of students with ASD/ID and their peers in inclusive work-based learning settings before they graduate from high school. During my time as a Hegarty Fellow, I plan to expand this line of research by analyzing the perceptions of employers, peers, and students with ASD/ID about employment expectations, the experience of working together, and how peer relationships develop in an inclusive work environment.