Current PhD Students
Faculty Mentor: Sharon Cermak EdD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Research Lab: Sensory Adapted Dental Environments Lab
Year of Entry: 2016
Master of Arts (MA)
in Occupational Therapy
2016 | University of Southern California
Master of Education (MEd)
in Policy, Planning & Administration
2008 | Boston University
Bachelor of Arts (BA)
in Psychology; Religious Studies (double major)
2003 | Arizona State University
I am currently a PhD student helping to administer this federally funded study which aims to reduce stress during dental visits for children with Autism through environmental adaptations. In my role as a graduate research assistant I work with children diagnosed with Autism and their families to carry out study related activities including consenting, diagnosis verification [Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS-2)] and set up and data collection during the intervention. In addition, I am also one of the members of the team that is responsible for coding our primary outcome measure.
I am also incredibly interested in aiding underserved populations and improving patient-provider interactions. As such, I have sought out opportunities to continue to strengthen the cultural responsiveness of Occupational Therapy practitioners by providing trainings to students and entry-level clinicians at national conferences and as a guest lecturer for entry level occupational therapy educational programs. I hope to continue this in some capacity in the future as my own research interests include serving individuals with autism, addressing health disparities and improving patient-provider relationships.