Staff | Institute on Community Integration (ICI) We are a federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), part of a national network of similar programs in major universities and teaching hospitals across the country. en-us 2018 Regents of the University of Minnesota (Publications Office) (ICI Web Team) Fri, 12 Jan 2018 14:58:36 CST 1440 Developmental Disabilities Susan R Saunders

Susan brings to her fellowship year a passion for service to individuals with disabilities and a commitment to pursuing systemic change resulting in a thriving community for all. She has worked with children and young adults with disabilities in K-12 settings as an English teacher and librarian. Susan is a mom of two sons, one with down syndrome and one with autism, which has provided a wealth of experience from a parental point of view. At the close of her fellowship year, Susan hopes to work for a disability focused organization providing resources and training. She holds a B.S. in English and a M.S. in Library Science.

2017-10-30T16:06:00-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 16:06:00 CST
Mollika A Sajady

Molly Sajady is a first year fellow in Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. She completed her Pediatric residency at the University of Minnesota with a focus on global health and child development. She attended medical school and completed a Masters of Public Health degree at Des Moines University. She also received a B.A. in Child Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2009. Her current areas of research interest include: developmental screening, environmental exposures, and promoting resilience in high-risk populations, as well as investigating the academic and behavioral outcomes of nature-based learning and mindfulness. Molly is also a first year fellow in the MNLEND (Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) Program. As a LEND fellow, Molly is interested in strengthening her advocacy skills for children with disabilities and to become familiar with services and interventions within the community that will better serve her patients and families in the future.

2017-10-30T16:05:08-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 16:05:08 CST
Elizabeth A Pittman

Elizabeth is a second year graduate student in the Speech-Language Pathology program. Prior to entering graduate school, Elizabeth worked with children who had various neurodevelopmental disorders in schools, centers, and homes. This included an elementary special education classroom with St. Paul Public schools and providing applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to children with autism in both Michigan and Minnesota. She received her bachelors degree in Human Development and Social Relations from Kalamazoo College in 2010. Elizabeth's interests relate to understanding how children with neurodevelopmental disorders learn best and how to teach communication and language skills to decrease problematic behaviors and encourage independence.

2017-10-30T16:03:13-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 16:03:13 CST
Elise C Niedermeier

Elise (she/her) has a dual master's in Social Work and Public Health from the University of Minnesota Twin Cities and is a Certified ADA Coordinator through the University of Missouri and the Great Plains ADA Center. She has over ten years of experience working at the intersections of disability, gender and racial justice and is currently the ADA Coordinator and a Community Outreach and Access Coordinator for the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) where she leads the implementation of MPRB's ADA Transition Plan and ADA Action Plan and works across departments to look at how race, gender, and ability impact the ways people interact with the Minneapolis parks. As a LEND Community Fellow, Elise is excited to learn more about NDDs while also building interdisciplinary professional and community connections that will inform the future development of MPRB programs, built space and policy to better serve children with NDDs and their families and to support them in accessing health and wellness opportunities in the Minneapolis Parks.

2017-10-30T15:59:50-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:59:50 CST
Emily L Mentz

Emily Mentz is a Master's student in Speech-Language Pathology at the University of Minnesota- Twin Cities, as well as a pre-doctoral MN LEND fellow. She is currently involved in research with Dr. Sheri Stronach, looking at public knowledge and perceptions of Autism Spectrum Disorder among U of M students. She intends to work in a school setting as an SLP, and with her LEND experience, work with children with intellectual and developmental disabilities with limited language abilities.

2017-10-30T15:58:44-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:58:44 CST
Katherine E Holzer

Kate is a second year graduate student in the Genetic Counseling program at the University of Minnesota. She received her B.A. in biology from the College of St. Benedict in 2011. Before graduate school, she volunteered as a counselor at a crisis pregnancy center, as a Resource Counseling Advocate at a domestic violence shelter, and as a coach with Special Olympics. She continues to volunteer at events supporting families experiencing neurodevelopmental disabilities. As a LEND fellow, Kate is excited to meet families in the community, learn from an interdisciplinary team, and develop her leadership skills to better support and advocate for individuals and families experiencing neurodevelopmental disabilities.

2017-10-30T15:53:29-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:53:29 CST
Jaclyn A Gunderson

Jaclyn Gunderson received her BA in Psychology from Winona State University in 2008 and continued on to complete her MA in Counseling and Psychological Services from St. Mary's University of Minnesota in 2012. Jaclyn is currently enrolled as a PhD student in Educational Psychology at the University of Minnesota. She is passionate about working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and hopes to continue research related to early intervention practices for ASD.

2017-10-30T15:51:33-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:51:33 CST
Nancy M Gonzalez

Nancy Gonzalez is a 2017-18 MNLEND Community Fellow and a 2017-18 AUCD Trainee Liaison. She is also a mother of a 22-year old young man with autism. Nancy and her son serve as self-advocates on the advisory board of the Minnesota-Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (MN-ADDM) Network. Nancy worked at Lionsgate Academy (LGA) for 5 years as a paraprofessional and served in various capacities and levels. LGA is a public charter school serving students on the autism spectrum in middle school, high school and also transitional programing. Nancy Gonzalez holds a Master of Science in Management from Troy State University, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations specializing in the area of Intercultural Communications from the University of Minnesota.

Through her fellowship experience, Nancy is taking this opportunity to explore and expand her knowledge of serving children with neurodevelopmental disabilities in the area of positive behavior intervention systems, person-center care and family-centered care, cultural competency, and working with community systems. Nancy is especially interested in working with children and families that are of Spanish speaking and Native American populations. Nancy and her family participated in the Spanish-speaking part of the autism awareness video by the Institute on Community Integration. In addition, Nancy's is working on the Family Voices Project 2.0 which is a joint project with MNLEND and Minneapolis Early Childhood Screening/Education that focuses on the needs of minority children identified with ASD and their family through culturally sensitive mapping in order to reduce the time they receive services and intervention.

2017-10-30T15:49:40-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:49:40 CST
Rebecca J Davis

Rebecca is currently a LEND predoctoral fellow as well as a second year graduate student studying speech-language pathology. Her interests lie in working with individuals across the entire lifespan with neurodevelopmental and related disabilities. Regarding furthering her leadership skills, she continues to learn how to effectively advocate for minority groups who are less likely to receive quality health services.

2017-10-30T15:44:32-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:44:32 CST
Pang Chaxiong

As a sibling of a brother with autism from a Hmong immigrant family, Pang's research interest surrounds the intersection of culture and autism, particularly how culture influences autism diagnoses, treatment decisions, and access to resources. Pang has a passion for promoting early identification and intervention in families from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

As a LEND fellow, Pang is working with Minnesota Learn the Signs Act Early to promote early identification and intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder from diverse communities. Pang is especially interested in working alongside the Hmong and Somali communities in Minnesota.

Outside of LEND, Pang is conducting a survey to examine parent perceptions regarding causes and treatments of autism. She is also a graduate research assistant on a project looking at Hmong language development to develop a survey that can gauge the early literacy and language of Hmong preschool-aged children.

Pang received her BA in Psychology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Currently, she is a graduate student pursuing her Masters and Ph.D. in Special Education.

2017-10-30T15:38:47-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:38:47 CST
Bridget A Hughes-Binstock

Bridget Binstock has been an educator for the past 25 years. She has worked both in traditional classrooms as well as online interactive classrooms. For the past 15 plus years, she has been working in the educational publishing space developing digital science curriculum. She has a special needs son, Nathan, who is her inspiration for curriculum development and the catalyst for her participation in the LEND program. As a Fellow, she hopes to learn how neurodevelopmental disabilities should inform how curriculum is developed and what policies at the state and national level impact how schools currently teach those students with these disabilities.

2017-10-30T15:27:04-05:00 - Mon, 30 Oct 2017 15:27:04 CST
Megan Sanders

Megan is a graduate research assistant for the Institute on Community Integration at the University of MN. She is pursuing a Master's degree in Social Work.

2017-10-04T13:18:42-05:00 - Wed, 04 Oct 2017 13:18:42 CST
Satlaj S Dighe

Satlaj Dighe, PhD student at OLPD, is currently a member of Systems Improvement Group (SIG) at ICI. Satlaj has worked with other University of Minnesota centers such as - Powell Center for Women's Health and Upper Midwest Center for Agricultural Health and Safety (UMASH) as evaluation coordinator. She has also worked on evaluations and program planning of several non-profit groups in the twin cities area. Satlaj has completed her Master degree in maternal and child health from University of Minnesota's School of Public Health. Prior joining University of Minnesota, Satlaj worked with public health and global development organizations in India, Laos and Cambodia.

2017-09-05T15:16:34-05:00 - Tue, 05 Sep 2017 15:16:34 CST
Nicole M Weber

I am currently a PhD student in the School Psychology program. I graduated from Wayne State University with my Masters in School and Community Psychology and worked as a school psychologist in both public school and residential treatment settings in the Detroit Metro area. I have returned to school to pursue my research interests in the area of data-based decision making with respect to the implementation of math interventions. I currently work as a Graduate Research Assistant on the RRTCOM project at ICI.

2017-09-05T14:49:20-05:00 - Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:49:20 CST
Janet M Stewart

Janet Stewart is a graduate research assistant for the Improving Instruction project at the National Center on Educational Outcomes. She is pursuing a Master's degree in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program.

2017-09-05T14:45:45-05:00 - Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:45:45 CST
Anastasia M Press

Anastasia Press is a Graduate Research Assistant working in the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). Currently she is writing a review of the literature on measuring English learner proficiency (ELP) growth of English learners (ELs) with disabilities in the K-12 education system. Anastasia is in the Counseling and Student Personnel Psychology master's program with the aim of becoming a middle school counselor.

2017-09-05T14:40:59-05:00 - Tue, 05 Sep 2017 14:40:59 CST
Kristi Rudelius-Palmer

Kristi Rudelius-Palmer is a Human Rights Education Senior Fellow at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) at the University of Minnesota. She is also pursuing her Ph.D. in the Leadership for Intercultural and International Education Program in CEHD. She is working to integrate her human rights education research, publications, online training tools, course development, and community networks into the ICI and CEHD work. She also collaborates with human rights advocates, educators, and young people to create innovative programs and models of human rights teaching, dialogue, civic engagement, and reflection in classrooms and communities throughout Minnesota, the United States, and globally. In addition, Ms. Rudelius-Palmer continues to direct the Human Rights Education Resource Center and is a human rights education consultant.

Ms. Rudelius-Palmer has coordinated and edited the Human Rights Education Series, published by the Human Rights Education Resource Center, and written articles on human rights education and training. In addition to teaching courses on human rights education, rule of law, and leadership at universities, primary and secondary schools, and community-education settings, Ms. Rudelius-Palmer presents at numerous international, national, regional, and local conferences. She received the first Edward O'Brien Award for Human Rights Education from Human Rights Educators USA in 2015 and was awarded the University of Minnesota Outstanding Community Service Award in 2003.

Ms. Rudelius-Palmer served as Co-Director of the University of Minnesota Human Rights Center from 1989-2016, and as an Adjunct Professor of Law and director of the Humphrey Fellowship Program at the University of Minnesota Law School from 2003-2016. Ms. Rudelius-Palmer earned her B.A. in economics and French from Lawrence University and her M.A. in education policy and administration with a focus on comparative international development education from the University of Minnesota. She has specialized in the field of human rights education and training since 1986.

2017-06-20T14:37:20-05:00 - Tue, 20 Jun 2017 14:37:20 CST
Ann C Romine

Ms. Romine provides training nationally on the implementation of Check & Connect for schools and community-based organizations. She also provides mentor training and follow-up training around fidelity and implementation for sites already implementing Check & Connect. As a national trainer, she assesses the needs of sites and customizes training to meet those needs. She is driven to build connections for students and families across schools and communities.

Before working at ICI, Ms. Romine served as a program specialist and national trainer for an evidence-based family engagement program, Families and Schools Together (FAST). She has trained collaborative teams of teachers, parents and community-based professionals for more than a decade. Ms. Romine has worked extensively throughout the School District of Philadelphia implementing and developing FAST to scale. She attended the University of Wisconsin - Madison and received her Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Studies and Elementary Education.

2017-06-13T11:08:27-05:00 - Tue, 13 Jun 2017 11:08:27 CST
Courtney B Higginbotham

Courtney Higginbotham, M.P.H, is a Community Abstractor for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) project at the Institute of Community Integration (ICI). She received her Bachelors of Science from University of Connecticut and Master of Public Health degree from George Washington University. Her graduate research mainly focused on HIV/AIDS research and treatment adherence.

2017-04-19T12:16:37-05:00 - Wed, 19 Apr 2017 12:16:37 CST
Amy Gunty

Amy Gunty is a researcher in the Institute on Community Integration and a first-year doctoral student in the Department of Family Social Science. She has worked with children and families for almost 20 years, 13 of which she has spent supporting children with developmental disabilities or emotional and behavioral disorders and their families. During this time, she has fulfilled many roles, including: preschool teacher, direct support professional, case manager, individual and family therapist, and day treatment clinician.

She has worked in research for eight years, focusing on a variety of topics that all center around recognizing and enhancing the strengths and resilience that are inherent in all people. This has included work around the relationship between family dynamics and the development of adaptive and maladaptive thinking styles, the experience of posttraumatic growth (wherein people report having grown as the result of a trauma), the unique experiences and context of military families, and supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to be fully and meaningfully integrated into their communities.

Her current work at the Institute on Community Integration focuses primarily on supporting meaningful competitive, integrated employment for people with IDD. This work aims to recognize the talents, strengths, and interests of people with IDD and provide avenues through which people with IDD can use those talents, strengths, and interests to meaningfully contribute to their communities through valued social roles.

2017-03-13T09:51:33-05:00 - Mon, 13 Mar 2017 09:51:33 CST
Darrell Peterson

Darrell Peterson, Ph. D., is an Educational Program Specialist involved with several projects at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). His focus is the development and implementation of professional development on topics related to the inclusion of students with disabilities, ELs, and ELs with disabilities in assessments and instruction, primarily in the form of online training modules for parents and educators. Darrell has over 20 years of professional experience designing and developing professional development for online delivery. His primary area of interest is in the use of instructional technology to enhance the educational achievement of individuals with disabilities. Dr. Peterson holds a PhD in Learning Technologies from the University of Minnesota.

2017-03-09T14:34:45-06:00 - Thu, 09 Mar 2017 14:34:45 CST
Sarah L Hollerich

Sarah supports the Institute on Community Integration through graphic and multimedia work. She has designed for higher education institutions and local government organizations since 2010. Sarah holds degrees in Studio Art and Urban and Regional Planning.

2016-10-31T14:07:17-05:00 - Mon, 31 Oct 2016 14:07:17 CST
Sandra L Pettingell

Sandra Pettingell, PhD, is a Research Associate in the College of Education and Human Development. She contributes statistical and research methodology consultation to numerous research studies, providing support in instrument development, data management, statistical analysis, and interpretation of findings. She also helps conduct complex quantitative analytic methods including mediation analyses, growth curves, and multi-level modeling. With 5 years experience developing and standardizing educational and achievement tests and over 20 years as a Research Associate, she specializes in large-scale, multi-wave longitudinal data sets. She spent 19 years in the schools of Adolescent Medicine and Nursing where her research focus was examining risk and protective factors for multiple health outcomes. She has worked in the College of Education and Human Development for 3 years where her focus includes health care coordination, residence, services and employment for various groups of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She also provides consultation to students working on their masters and doctoral theses.

2016-10-24T15:21:33-05:00 - Mon, 24 Oct 2016 15:21:33 CST
Sherry Gray

Sherry Gray directs the Humphrey School's international projects, including the International Fellows and Scholars Program ( Since 2008, other major projects have included establishing the GPA capstone course, helping establish the Master of Development Practice degree program (MDP and creating and editing the Humphrey School's global affairs news site, Global Notes (

Gray previously served as a program consultant to the Ford Foundation (Vietnam), Executive Director of WIIS (Women in International Security), Program Officer at the Stanley Foundation (projects with China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Vietnam), and Executive Director of the Program for International Studies based at the National Academy of Science (projects with China, Mongolia, and Vietnam). She has taught international and comparative politics at Providence and Macalester colleges and at the universities of Louisville, Minnesota, Wisconsin--River Falls and Port Harcourt (Nigeria).

Inspired by members of her family living with disabilities (sister, uncle, cousins), Dr. Gray has been an advocate for disability issues and has volunteered for a number of Minnesota-based organizations, served on a state review commission and written publicly about her family.

Gray has a B.A. from the University of Colorado and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She studied Chinese at Liaoning University and the University of Kansas.

2016-10-13T14:49:38-05:00 - Thu, 13 Oct 2016 14:49:38 CST
Megan R Gunnar PhD

Megan Gunnar received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology at Stanford University and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship in stress neurobiology at Stanford Medical School. In 1979 she came to the U of M as an Assistant Professor moving through the ranks to Full Professor by 1990. Professor Gunnar has spent her career studying how stress affects human brain and behavioral development and the processes that help children regulate stress. She is the recipient of lifetime achievement awards from the American Psychological Association, Division 7 Developmental Psychology, and the Society for Research in Child Development and a lifetime mentor award from the Association for Psychological Science. Nationally she is a member of the Harvard National Scientific Council on the Developing Child that translates developmental science into language that communicates with policy makers. Internationally she is a member of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research's Program on Child and Brain Development, a group working on how early experiences 'gets under the skin' to influence lifelong health and well-being. In addition, she chairs the Research Advisory Council for the Minnesota Children's Museum and is a consultant on stress and development for the Greater Minneapolis Crisis Nursery.

2016-10-03T09:45:10-05:00 - Mon, 03 Oct 2016 09:45:10 CST
Jessica L Baltzley

Jessica has been employed at the University of Minnesota since 2008. She spent seven years working as an academic advisor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and then moved to CEHD to work for the Institute for Translational Research in Children's Mental Health in 2015.

In August of 2016, she moved over to The Institute on Community Integration and is working for the Research and Training Center on Community Living. You can find her in 204 Pattee. Feel free to stop by and say hello!

2016-08-18T09:16:05-05:00 - Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:16:05 CST
Heidi Eschenbacher

Heidi J. Eschenbacher, PhD, is a researcher interested in patterns of social and societal change. Dr. Eschenbacher earned her doctorate in Organizational Leadership, Policy and Development (OLPD) from the University of Minnesota, an M.A. in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, and a double B.A. from University of Minnesota. She has worked on educational system improvement projects in Zambia, South Sudan and Uganda, youth livelihood and gender equity evaluations in East Africa and Bangladesh, food aid in Cambodia and Swaziland, and with immigrant groups the in the United States. Her ongoing interest in her varied work is to explore how people, particularly those who have historically been marginalized, can use research to inform policy, practice, and social change. She enjoys the intricate details of both qualitative and quantitative data, often finding herself emersed in spreadsheets or text.

At ICI Dr. Eschenbacher contributes to studies about Intellectual and Development Disabilities as well as Autism. In all work, she aims to collaboratively transform data into information for policy and practice.

2016-07-13T12:40:30-05:00 - Wed, 13 Jul 2016 12:40:30 CST
Brian R Peterson

Brian assists the technical trainers and research staff of RTC with finance operations, procuring goods & services, shipping, and printing needs.

Brian grew up in southern Minnesota then studied Computer Science, English, and Japanese language at the U of M before graduating in 2003. Later he worked within the College of Education and Human Development on a 40-year longitudinal investigation of psychology and physical health.

2016-07-13T11:27:37-05:00 - Wed, 13 Jul 2016 11:27:37 CST
Jody Hofer Van Ness

Ms. Van Ness provides writing, consultation, and coordination support for new courses in the College of Direct Support, drawing on a varied background in writing, editing, teaching, and educational consulting. Her personal and professional experiences provide a strong foundation of knowledge on person centered practices and self direction.

Ms. Van Ness holds a master's degree in education and administration, with an emphasis on autism and other neurobehavioral disorders. She also earned an autism certificate and is mother to an adult son living with autism. Besides developing and serving as the CEO of Eye Box Tools, her professional foundation includes 15 years of classroom teaching and non-profit work. She was also the first Executive Director of Lionsgate Academy, a Minnesota charter school serving students with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, Ms. Van Ness has 10 years of work experience in the mental health field and served as a psychoeducational consultant at Fraser, where she trained and coached families and professionals.

2016-07-11T15:59:25-05:00 - Mon, 11 Jul 2016 15:59:25 CST
Joseph Angaran

Joseph Angaran, M.A. is a program specialist and national/international trainer for Check & Connect at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI), University of Minnesota. Mr. Angaran provides training on the implementation of Check & Connect for schools and community-based organizations. He also provides follow-up training in the form of fidelity of implementation workshops for sites already implementing Check & Connect. As a national/international trainer, he assesses the needs of sites and customizes training to meet those needs.

Prior to his work at ICI, Mr. Angaran began his teaching career in the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan (MN) public schools as an elementary teacher. Most recently, he supported both special education and general education staff ranging from early childhood to high school. Trained in Cognitive Coaching, Mr. Angaran conducted observations and conversations with educators about their practices and worked to build the capacity of all to be self-directed and reflective. Mr. Angaran's undergraduate degree is from the University of Northern Iowa in Elementary Education. His graduate degree is from the University of St. Thomas in Educational Leadership and Administration. In addition, he currently holds an administrative license in Minnesota and a Professional Train-the-Trainer certificate from the University of Minnesota.

Mr, Angaran may be reached at 612-626-0335 or

2016-06-01T15:03:23-05:00 - Wed, 01 Jun 2016 15:03:23 CST
Ryan Ferguson

Ryan is an Abstractor for the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) project at the Institute of Community Integration (ICI). He is passionate about improving the lives of people with disabilities by contributing to national datasets used in planning and shaping policy.

2016-06-01T14:34:12-05:00 - Wed, 01 Jun 2016 14:34:12 CST
Erik D Larson

As a graduate research assistant at the National Center on Educational Outcomes, Erik focuses on the DIAMOND (Data Informed Accessibility - Making Optimal Needs-based Decisions) grant, which aims to create guidelines for educators to follow when selecting test accommodations for students. His primary duties include writing reports, researching state testing policies, and learning about teacher and student perspectives through interviews and surveys. Erik studies Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and teaches in the Minnesota English Language Program (MELP).

2016-03-24T15:04:00-05:00 - Thu, 24 Mar 2016 15:04:00 CST
James Houseworth

James Houseworth, Ph.D, began his career in Education and Human Development as a high school teacher in Chicago, IL. His dissertation work focused on how basic numerical ability (particularly understanding fraction, decimals, and percents) influences decision making in an inherently uncertain world.

James is versed in statistical analysis to detect group differences, trends over time, how individual differences influences outcomes, and how factors relate to influence and create more complicated sets of skills and outcomes.

HIs primary work at ICI is focused on assessing outcomes for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), particularly outcomes related to maximizing individual choice and community inclusion.

He is currently developing research to find ways to increase the understanding of and involvement in medical decision-making that includes risk for individuals with IDD. This work largely revolves around identifying best practices (e.g. visual representations) to convey risk information to individuals with IDD.

2016-01-21T16:37:50-06:00 - Thu, 21 Jan 2016 16:37:50 CST
Jessica J Simacek

Jessica Simacek was a MN LEND post-doctoral Fellow. Her Ph.D is in Educational Psychology, Special Education with a minor in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of Minnesota. She also earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Minnesota. During her doctoral program, Ms. Simacek worked in the Minneapolis Public Schools on implementation of multi-tiered systems of support, served as key personnel in the development and oversight of the Telepresence Behavior Laboratory, taught courses on classroom management and applied behavior analytic problem solving, and conducted studies in the areas of telehealth and communication intervention in autism and Rett syndrome. She has over 10 years clinical experience in early intensive behavioral therapy for children with autism and related neurodevelopmental disabilities, spanning home, center, and school-based settings.

Ms. Simacek's primary research interests include:

  1. Communication intervention for children and adults with severe disabilities.
  2. Functional analysis and intervention for challenging behavior.
  3. The use of telehealth as a service delivery mechanism for communication and challenging behavior interventions for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families.
2015-09-15T16:23:25-05:00 - Tue, 15 Sep 2015 16:23:25 CST
Kelly J Ortenblad

Kelly Ortenblad is a second year graduate student completing a master's degree in social work (MSW) with a concentration in health disability and aging and clinical mental health. She is specializing in international social work. Her most recent trip was to Ghana evaluating various programs that focus on disability outreach and transition.

Kelly is also working towards completing the graduate certificate in Disability Policy and Services through ICI and a graduate certificate in Aging Studies through the School of Public Health. Her undergraduate degree is in psychology from Metropolitan State University with a focus on adult development. Prior to starting the MSW program, Kelly spent over 8 years working in training and development, creating and implementing training programs for employees and volunteers in both a for-profit and nonprofit setting.

2015-09-15T14:24:15-05:00 - Tue, 15 Sep 2015 14:24:15 CST
Tony P Baisley

With more than 20 years' experience as a writer, a strategic planner and media consultant, Mr. Baisley has an accomplished background in marketing, public relations, events and client relations.

Baisley brings a diverse perspective and work history in strategic communications, with experience in healthcare, consumer brand marketing, non-profit development, social media strategy, event promotions, as well as magazine content development and publishing. With experience working for public relations and advertising agencies, he has worked on the account side as a strategist and media relations expert, as well as having been "the client" managing firms to assist in accomplishing goals such as increased visibility and building brand awareness among specific audiences.

Baisley has a strong history at the University of Minnesota. He is the former director of events for the University of Minnesota Foundation and has led communication teams at both the Center for Spirituality & Healing as well as the School of Nursing. Among his many duties at ICI, Baisley has co-created the Institute's website and the annual reports for 2015-2016 and 2014-2015.

2015-08-18T16:02:42-05:00 - Tue, 18 Aug 2015 16:02:42 CST
Claire E Benway

Claire earned a Master's degree in Theatre Education from Emerson College in Boston Massachusetts, where she focused on alternative learning styles and settings. She has 10 years of experience providing quality services to people with disabilities and mental health related needs in residential, vocational and clinical settings. As a Project Coordinator, Claire provides technical assistance, training and development support within the direct support profession. She authors content and provides quality assurance for on-line curricula in DirectCourse at the Institute on Community Integration.

2015-05-26T16:44:18-05:00 - Tue, 26 May 2015 16:44:18 CST
Macdonald M Metzger

Macdonald M. Metzger, M.S. is DirectCourse Quality Coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration, Research and Training Center on Community Living, University of Minnesota. He provides quality assurance for the on-line College on Direct Support curricula. He supports the DirectCourse writing team to clarify roles and responsibilities; ensures that resources and structures are in place, authors are meeting their deadlines, and keeps a calendar of content development. He also serves as a writer and reviewer of College of Direct Support materials.

Macdonald has a Master's degree in Human Services, with a specialization in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. He has over five years of hands on experience providing quality services and supports to people with disabilities in residential, vocational, and community settings. His personal connection to people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, underscored by the memory of his elder brother Amagashie, can be seen in every aspect of the passion, willingness and commitment he has shown towards advocating for programs and services that promote the quality of life for people with disability.

He has over ten years of work experience as a multi-media journalist. Previous employers include, Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, MN Department of Human Services/MSOCS, Catholic Charities New York City, and the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL Radio) as a Broadcast Journalist.

Macdonald has also consulted and volunteered for various local and international nonprofit organizations including the International Center for Transitional Justice (New York/Liberia Program), Afrobeat Radio (WBAI 99.5 FM New York), and KFAI 90.3 FM (Minneapolis).

2015-04-27T10:02:13-05:00 - Mon, 27 Apr 2015 10:02:13 CST
Susan Madden

Susan Madden, M.Ed., RHIT, serves as the Lead Abstractor on the MN-ADDM project, part of the CDC's Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (ADDM). The ADDM Network goals include describing the population of children with ASD, comparing ASD in different areas of the country, identifying changes in ASD occurrence over time, and understanding the impact of ASD and related conditions in US communities. Ms. Madden brings extensive experience in education and health information management, including her previous experience as an abstractor for the Minneapolis Somali Autism Prevalence Project. In addition to serving as a lead in data abstraction, her duties include training and quality assurance activities.

2015-03-18T16:13:49-05:00 - Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:13:49 CST
Rebecca Dosch Brown

Rebecca Dosch Brown serves as the MNLEND (Minnesota Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) Program and Data Coordinator, under an Education Specialist 2 title. MNLEND is a year-long interdisciplinary leadership training program spanning 18+ disciplines and is funded by the Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. She provides MNLEND its day-to-day and big picture operational, technical, reportorial, financial, and editorial management, execution, and coordination.

Rebecca also contributes to other Institute on Community Integration (ICI) community and research-based projects located in the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL) as an editor, author, and committee member of the ICI's Changing Landscapes (art shows). Her work background spans teaching, research, advising, editing, and writing in the areas of disability history, societal inclusion, culturally-responsive education, indigenous rights, secondary and post-secondary education, creative thinking skills, the visual arts, literature, creative writing, and grassroots community organizing. She is currently a PhD candidate in the University of Minnesota Hubert H. Humphrey School in Public Affairs.

2015-01-21T15:35:27-06:00 - Wed, 21 Jan 2015 15:35:27 CST
G. Victoria Naomi

G. Victoria Naomi has wide and rich experience in the field of special education. Her research interests include inclusive education and the development of indigenous devices and techniques for the education and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.

2014-08-21T16:13:08-05:00 - Thu, 21 Aug 2014 16:13:08 CST
Rachel L Freeman

Rachel Freeman is the Director of State Initiatives for the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Freeman has been actively involved in positive behavior support (PBS), statewide technical assistance systems for evidence-based practices, evaluation design and implementation, and person-centered practices for over 25 years. She conducts research and provides consultation and technical assistance at the state, regional, and local levels to teams implementing PBS and other practices within intellectual and developmental disability organizations, education, juvenile justice, and mental health systems. Dr. Freeman has served as both a full and ex-officio member of the board of directors for the Association for Positive Behavior Support for over ten years and as president for three years. Her research interests include implementation factors associated with research to practice, PBS, physiological and biochemical factors related to problem behavior, online instructional systems, and interagency systems change.

2014-08-15T16:07:16-05:00 - Fri, 15 Aug 2014 16:07:16 CST
Jana A Hallas

Jana Hallas Ferguson, M.Ed. is a Project Coordinator for the Institute on Community Integration for the University of Minnesota, where she provides training and technical assistance to districts on programs around the country on Check & Connect. Prior to working at the University, Mrs. Ferguson taught special education for ten years in Cy-Fair ISD in Houston, Texas. She trained district personnel on creating meaningful, Standards-Based goals and objectives to ensure student success throughout high school and into post-secondary life. Additionally, she created and conducted annual school-wide training on collecting data on student progress on academic and behavioral IEPs, facilitated data collection for each grading term, and provided technical assistance and support for individual teachers when needed. Mrs. Ferguson assisted personnel in implementing IEP programming in the general and special education classrooms as well as served as a facilitator in parent/teacher communication to ensure the needs of students were met for all students with disabilities throughout the campus. Mrs. Ferguson has a Master's Degree in Education with an emphasis in Low Incidence Disabilities from Texas A&M University. Her undergraduate degree was completed at Coe College, where she double-majored in secondary education and history.

2014-06-27T15:53:16-05:00 - Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:53:16 CST
Merrie L Haskins

Merrie Haskins, MS, LPCC is a Project Coordinator in the Research and Training Center on Community Living, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota.

Merrie earned a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from the University of Wisconsin-Stout. She has over ten years of experience providing quality services to people with disabilities in community settings. As a Project Coordinator, Merrie provides training and technical assistance to organizations around positive supports and person centered practices. She also authors and provides quality assurance for on-line curricula in DirectCourse at the Institute on Community Integration.

2014-01-08T22:00:22-06:00 - Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:00:22 CST
Thomas Engsig

Thomas Engsig is a PhD Fellow and Assistant Professor in educational psychology and special education at UC College of Education, and Aalborg University, Denmark. Thomas Engsig's research interest is inclusive and supportive education in the Danish public school system. Through Mixed Methods research Thomas Engsig is investigating the correlations between inclusive and supportive practices, and the student's learning outcome, possibilities of participation, and subjective experience of being included.

While visiting ICI, University of Minnesota, Thomas Engsig is, in collaboration with Dr. Christopher Johnstone, interested in a comparative perspective on inclusive education in Denmark and the US.

2013-09-23T09:58:55-05:00 - Mon, 23 Sep 2013 09:58:55 CST
Aida Miles

Aida Miles is a Registered Dietitian with over 20 years of experience in pediatric nutrition. Prior to moving to Minnesota in 2008, Aida worked for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta and the Marcus Autism Center. Aida is currently the Director of the Coordinated Masters Program in Public Health Nutrition at the University of Minnesota and a consultant for Clinic 4 Kidz, which serves children with feeding disorders. Aida has a passion for working with families of children with nutrition problems, from obesity to feeding difficulties. She has been an invited speaker, both locally and nationally, on topics related to childhood obesity, client-centered-counseling and feeding challenges in Autism Spectrum Disorders.

Aida received a Masters of Medical Science from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Bachelor in Dietetics from Whittier College in California. She is currently enrolled in a doctoral program in Educational Leadership/Higher Education at Bethel University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

2013-03-04T14:32:59-06:00 - Mon, 04 Mar 2013 14:32:59 CST
Lizbeth H Finestack

Dr. Finestack's long-term research goals aim to identify efficient and effective language interventions for children and adolescents with significant language impairment. In pursuit of fulfilling this goal, her research program involves three distinct foci: (a) gaining a better understanding of the cognitive and language abilities of children and adolescents with differing developmental disabilities; (b) examining the impact of these profiles on language intervention outcomes; and (c) enhancing language intervention procedures for children with language impairment.

2013-03-04T14:22:35-06:00 - Mon, 04 Mar 2013 14:22:35 CST
Eileen A Klemm

Eileen Klemm, M.A., has been working at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration (ICI) since November 2012. She is the Project Coordinator for the Check & Connect project providing leadership and support in the overall development and training of the Check & Connect model. She provides on-site training to small and large groups of teachers and administrators in school districts and others on the Check & Connect model. She also assesses the needs of sites and customizes training to meet those needs.

Prior to her work at ICI, Ms. Klemm was a special education compliance specialist with the Minnesota Department of Education and a Speech-Language Pathologist in both urban and suburban public schools. She provided training on federal regulations and Minnesota rules and statutes regarding the implementation of special education programs and she monitored individual school districts throughout the state. She worked directly with students with a wide range of disabilities in her role as a speech-language pathologist. She also worked as a peer leader with both special education and general education staff ranging from early childhood providers to high school teachers and parent educators. In this capacity, she provided job embedded professional development including cognitive coaching for reflective practice preceding and following staff observations.

2012-11-16T15:10:00-06:00 - Fri, 16 Nov 2012 15:10:00 CST
Jamie S Stang

Dr. Jamie Stang, PhD, MPH, RDN is an Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health. She also serves on the graduate faculties of Maternal and Child Health, Nutrition Science, and Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota. Jamie is the Director of the Leadership Education and Training Program in Maternal and Child Health Nutrition and the Maternal and Child Health Center for Excellence; both of these training centers are funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau. Dr Stang is very committed to increasing diversity among nutrition professionals; she currently serves on the University of Minnesota Diversity and Equity Advisory Leadership Team as well as the Program in Health Disparities Research, and is a member of the Seeds of Native Health national program planning committee.

Dr Stang has been an active member of the Academy for many years, serving as newsletter editor, Chair, and advisor for multiple DPGs, and serving on the Commission on Dietetic Registration, the Council on Future Practice, the Nominating Committee, the Public Health Committee and most recently on the Honors Committee. She is also very active with the Association of State Public Health Nutritionists, currently serving as the Chair of the MCH Nutrition Council and as a member of the ASPHN Executive Board.

In her spare time Jamie is a master gardener who is passionate about improving food access in under-resourced communities and is active in wildlife habitat restoration, especially native habitat for ducks, bees and butterflies.

2012-10-25T15:13:34-05:00 - Thu, 25 Oct 2012 15:13:34 CST
Toben Nelson

Toben Nelson received his Sc.D. in public health from Harvard University and an M.S. in kinesiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has research interests in health policy, organizational change, health behavior during developmental transitions, influence of sports participation on health, social determinants of health, program evaluation, prevention of alcohol attributable harm, physical activity promotion, obesity prevention, and motor vehicle safety.

2012-10-25T14:26:16-05:00 - Thu, 25 Oct 2012 14:26:16 CST
Anab A Gulaid

Anab A. Gulaid has worked in public health policy and prevention, nonprofit management, program development, qualitative research, and community building since the 1990s. She has a proven knowledge of building trusting relationships with diverse populations and cultures. In Anab's current position at the University of Minnesota, she is involved in number of research and training projects that call for the collaboration of community providers, and advocates of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She works in autism spectrum disorder early intervention, Person-Centered Thinking and Planning, and community outreach through engagement. Anab was the founder and Executive Director of Eftin, a non-profit community-based organization and founding member of the Somali Health Coalition of Minnesota. She is a member of the Minnesota Department of Health Somali Public Health Advisors and is an advisory member of the Health Disparities Education and Career Development Program. Anab has an Environmental Health degree (B.A.Sc.) from Ryerson University and a Masters of Public Affairs (MPA) from University of Minnesota's Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She was awarded a Bush Leadership Fellowship (2009-2010).

2012-10-22T15:15:43-05:00 - Mon, 22 Oct 2012 15:15:43 CST
Barbara A Kleist

Barb Kleist manages outreach, training and technical assistance at the University of Minnesota Institute on Community Integration's Research and Training Center on Community Living. She works on state and federal projects focusing on improving community services for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her current projects involve training, technical assistance and state policy development in person centered thinking/planning, positive behavior supports, community living. Barb is certified as a Person Centered Thinking Trainer and is trained in ToP participatory facilitation methods. Additionally, she is Family Faculty for the MN LEND Families as Teachers program. Barb has served on several state policy committees including the Rule 40 Advisory Committee charged with developing recommendations for the modernization of the rule. She is a member of the Association of Positive Behavior Supports' Home and Community Network, the MNPBS Network, the Arc and the American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD). She is a licensed attorney and a member of both the Minnesota State Bar and the Hennepin County Bar Association with more than 30 years' experience working to improve community living and the quality of life for people with disabilities. As a trained mediator and facilitator Barb has experience representing self-advocates or family members in guardianship and administrative proceedings, mediating disputes, evaluating services and providing training for community services staff, families and self-advocates on a variety of topics.

2012-10-22T15:10:45-05:00 - Mon, 22 Oct 2012 15:10:45 CST
Lynda L Anderson

Ms. Anderson, MA, MPH is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Minnesota focusing on health disparities for individuals with ASD/IDD. Her professional expertise stems from work in the field as a county senior social worker coordinating supports for adults and children with ASD/IDD and as a program director for residential supports for this population. In these roles, she was able to see firsthand the challenges individuals with ASD/IDD and their families faced ingetting appropriate, quality health care. Her research experience has included analyses of large data sets such as the National Health Interview Survey along with population-specific data sets such as the National Core Indicators family surveys. Ms. Anderson also has experience in qualitative research methods that promote the inclusion of under-represented groups in research, such as photo narrative.

2010-10-02T02:00:06-05:00 - Sat, 02 Oct 2010 02:00:06 CST
Roger Stancliffe

Roger Stancliffe is Professor of Intellectual Disability at The University of Sydney, Faculty of Health Sciences and leads the Disability Services stream at the University of Sydney's Centre for Disability Research and Policy. Previously, he was a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Developmental Disability Studies (1997-2007) in Sydney, Australia, and a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, USA.

His research interests include choice, self-determination, community living, retirement and community participation, Active Support, physical activity, individual planning, deinstitutionalization, and cost effectiveness of services. He has published over 120 research articles and chapters.

His most recent book is Costs and Outcomes of Community Services for People with Intellectual Disabilities (2005). He was editor of the Journal of Intellectual & Developmental Disability from 2003 to 2008 and is a consulting editor to six international research journals on intellectual disability.

He is a regular presenter at national and international conferences on intellectual disability. He is a Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability (IASSID), and is the recipient of the 2011 AAIDD Research Award.

In 2010, with colleagues from the University of Minnesota, he was awarded the NARRTC (formerly National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers) Best Paper Award for the most outstanding research paper published in 2009 by researchers from the 38 RRTCs in universities across the United States.

2010-08-23T10:25:15-05:00 - Mon, 23 Aug 2010 10:25:15 CST
Vicki D Gaylord

Ms. Gaylord oversees the work of the ICI Publications Office in distributing a wide range of ICI-developed print and electronic media resources for service providers, educators, policymakers, advocacy organizations, researchers, families, persons with disabilities, and others (see for the catalog of ICI publications). In addition, she coordinates the work of the office in providing in-house assistance to ICI staff in developing and publishing their resources, and is the managing editor of the newsletter "Impact."

2009-10-16T15:50:57-05:00 - Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:50:57 CST
Xueqin Qian

I have seven years of research experience in the field of autism and intellectual disabilities. I am interested in developing effective interventions that help students with disabilities transition to employment and postsecondary education. I taught in China for three years as a general education teacher and one year as a special education teacher. Currently, I am obtaining my special education teaching license from Bethel University. I am familiar with R, Mplus, SPSS, and SAS, Tableau, and Nvivo.

2009-10-16T15:50:51-05:00 - Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:50:51 CST
Beth Nelson

Ms. Nelson is the Assistant Director for Human Resources and Administration and manages a broad range of administrative, human resource, and organizational development activities for the Institute. Beth works closely with ICI key personnel by providing consulting and advising expertise in areas such as recruitment and hiring, orientation, training and development, job description development/classification, policy and compliance, leave management, supervision, employee and labor relations, and performance management. Beth also serves as the Center Administrator and is responsible for supervising and managing ICI's core administrative team in which she manages and provides oversight to functions such as Payroll, Finance/Accounting, Human Resource and Information Management Systems, Space, Building Safety, and Facilities Management.

Beth has more than 30 years of experience at the University of Minnesota as well as extensive experience in supervision and management, strategic planning, business systems management, organizational development, adult learning methods, conflict resolution and performance management and improvement systems.

Beth holds a Bachelors degree in Business Education from Augustana College, Sioux Falls, SD and a Masters degree in Human Resource Development from the University of Minnesota. She also holds Professional Certification in HRD and Adult Education. In 2013, Beth completed the Basic Certificate in Equity & Diversity through the University's Office of Equity & Diversity, and in 2016, she completed ICI's Graduate Certificate Program in Disability Policy and Services.

2009-10-16T15:50:50-05:00 - Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:50:50 CST
Libby J Hallas-Muchow

Libby is an Education Specialist 2 at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI). She completed a BA in English, and an MS in Security Technologies at the University of Minnesota. In her role at the ICI, she manages the CDC-funded Minnesota-Autism and Developmental Disability Monitoring (ADDM) Network project, which identifies the prevalence of autism for children in Minnesota, as well as contributes to national ASD prevalence estimates. She finds contributing to national datasets that improve the lives of people with disabilities fulfilling.

2009-10-16T15:50:40-05:00 - Fri, 16 Oct 2009 15:50:40 CST
Amy Kurowski-Moen

In addition to being the Center's payroll contact, Amy is the primary assistant to the Director, and also the Assistant to the Director in HR and Administration. She supports the overall activities of the Director, and supports HR activities (hiring, benefits, orientation) to the Assistant Director. Amy also provides backup support to the Front Office, Accountants, and other administrative core functions as needed.

2009-09-23T09:40:21-05:00 - Wed, 23 Sep 2009 09:40:21 CST
Mark R Olson

Mark received a Bachelor of Arts in elementary education with a minor in music from the University of Minnesota, Morris. He currently holds the position of Project Coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration where he writes curriculum and provides training to people who provide direct support. Certified as a Person Centered Thinking Trainer he provides individuals and organizations guidance on becoming more person-centered in their approach. Throughout his career, he has provided service to people with disabilities in recreation and inclusion, residential and daily living skills, vocational skills, and advocacy. In addition, he has worked in frontline management in the non-profit industry. His key policy interests include health care, disability, education, workforce recognition and development, civic engagement, human rights and the environment. He is past Chair of the Minnesota State Advocacy Committee for the American Heart Association. He is past president of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals. Over the past 30 years, much of his energy has been directed at making sure the frontline direct support professional has the tools needed to make the greatest impact on the lives of the people they support.

2009-09-18T16:34:53-05:00 - Fri, 18 Sep 2009 16:34:53 CST
Kelly Nye-Lengerman LGSW

Kelly Nye-Lengerman, PhD, is a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration (ICI). Kelly's work is focused on making public policies and systems work for people through research, training, technical assistance and advocacy. Her work supports the full inclusion of individuals with disabilities in community life. Kelly's projects include Promoting Readiness in Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) TA Center, Think Work, Learn the Signs Act Early (LTSAE) initiatives, and the College of Direct Support (CDS). She is also involved in a number of other community and research projects as part of the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL). Kelly speaks nationally at conferences and events promoting a vision of inclusion and community for all citizens.

Kelly has extensive experience in program and workforce development, employment services and supports, and program evaluation. Kelly has broad range of professional experience working for disability provider organizations in both community and facility based employment programs. Her interests include inclusive employment practices and policy, interdisciplinary collaborations, early screening and identification disabilities, poverty, and Autism. Kelly is the President of MN Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) and involved with the MN Employment First Coalition, and MN Employment Learning Community. She is also a licensed graduate social worker (LGSW) in Minnesota.

Kelly received her PhD and MSW from the University of Minnesota's School of Social Work. Her dissertation focused on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) service usage and employment outcomes for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Kelly is a graduate of the National Leadership Consortium on Developmental Disabilities. In 2016, Kelly was the recipient of the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) young professional award and APSE's "Got Mike" Educational Leadership Award.

2009-08-27T17:27:52-05:00 - Thu, 27 Aug 2009 17:27:52 CST
Yi-Chen Wu

Dr. Wu is an experienced psychometrician and the statistical expert for the National Center on Educational Outcomes. She has been working with large-scale assessment data since 2000. She has also had experience on analyzing state-wide assessment datasets and different types of datasets. She has used the analyses of regression model and MANOVA on various projects and presented at national conferences. She has authored more than 40 publications, including 18 journal articles, 22 technical reports, and made more than 40 conference presentations on the topic of reading and psychometric areas. Dr. Wu holds a PhD on Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

2009-08-26T11:19:19-05:00 - Wed, 26 Aug 2009 11:19:19 CST
Jeffrey A Nurick

Jeffrey Nurick, BA, is a project specialist at the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration. Jeffrey is a well-known self-advocate who regularly presents, consults, and supports the employment-related research and dissemination activities at the RTC/CL. Jeffrey can often be found presenting to organizational and state leadership, as well as guest lecturing at the University of Minnesota, about the employment movement and his experiences in the employment support system. He regularly also brings his message to self-advocates of all ages and their family members. Jeffrey is a board member of the Minnesota Association for People Supporting Employment First. He has worked at the National Organization on Disabilities, interned in the White House during the Clinton administration, and completed an assignment with AmeriCorps.

2009-08-20T14:26:28-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 14:26:28 CST
Renata Ticha

Renáta Tichá, Ph.D, has received a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Minnesota in Educational Psychology, with an emphasis in special education programs. She works as a Research Associate at the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. She has extensive experience in the development and implementation of assessment and intervention materials for children, youth, and adults with different types of disabilities. She also conducts research, training, and technical assistance in this area. Dr. Tichá is co-Principal Investigator on two international projects involving children and youth with and without disabilities: the Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative, funded by the United States-India Educational Foundation; and Assessments of Students with Significant Disabilities: A Russia-U.S. Partnership (UPP), funded by the Eurasia Foundation. Dr. Tichá is also co-editor of The Journal of the International Association of Special Education.

2009-08-20T14:02:31-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 14:02:31 CST
Kristin Dean

Kristin Dean, M.S. is an Information Technology Manager at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI).

Kristin has more than 25 years experience providing quality services to people with disabilities in a variety of settings. Her responsibilities at the ICI include directing all aspects of the Institute's technology initiatives. It was her unique experience in both technology and a rich history in the fields of direct support and frontline supervision that brought her to ICI in 2001.

Prior to arriving at ICI, Kristin started her first job as a frontline supervisor working in a progressive agency whose primary purpose was providing residential and semi-independent living services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In this role, she was responsible for implementing the agency mission to partner with people with disabilities and communities to bring about self-directed and enriched lives. It was this work experience, where direct support was already considered a profession, which would shape the direction of the rest of her career to date.

After graduate school, she worked with people with a variety of disabilities including individuals with psychiatric disabilities, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, physical disabilities, criminal offenders and children with emotional and behavior issues.

In her role at the Institute on Community Integration, the primary focus of her work is in the area of technology services and using technology to effectively communicate the work done at ICI and the RTC/CL as well as to impact best practices in the direct support workforce. Current technology interests include the use of data visualization to communicate complex research concepts to a wide variety of audiences.

2009-08-20T13:39:59-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:39:59 CST
Nancy J McCulloh

Nancy McCulloh, MS

Project Coordinator

Nancy earned a B.S. in Special Education and a Master's in Information Media - Human Resource Development and Training with a major emphasis in Instructional Design. She has over forty years of experience providing quality supports to people with disabilities in community settings as a Direct Support Professional, supervisor and manager. She is a trainer and educator in the areas of business management, personnel supervision, human resource practices, training, and direct support workforce development. She has a passion for the use of instructional design and technology in the creation of competency based training programs that support Direct Support Professionals and Frontline Supervisors in the ongoing development their skills and competencies to provide support. She is committed to research informed best practices that are applicable across disabilities services and supports. As the DirectCourse Director of Statewide implementation, she provides technical consultation to providers on the full utilization of DirectCourse as a training resource for direct support worker professional development, meeting DHS training requirements, development of competency based training programs, and the development of career ladders, as well as credentialing programs.

2009-08-20T13:39:14-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:39:14 CST
Susan N ONell

Susan has a variety of personal and professional experiences that bring passion and knowledge to her work at ICI. Susan spent the first part of her career in direct support to people living with autism and intellectual disabilities. During this time she worked as a peer mentor and trainer, a frontline supervisor, and helped develop self-managed teams. She is also a community advocate for people living with serious mental illnesses and their families. Since coming to ICI in 1995, she has used her experiences to support system change in organizations and communities primarily through customized development and delivery of high quality training and technical assistance.

2009-08-20T13:35:58-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:35:58 CST
Connie J Burkhart

Connie is an award winning graphic designer that is responsible for creating and maintaining the visual identities for several activities at ICI in various media. She has worked in higher education settings since 1987 and has been at ICI since 1997. During her time at ICI, Connie has been honored with several awards from the U of M Communicators Forum: 2002 for poster design; 2003, for e-newsletters and Web design; 2004 for poster design; 2007 for best in multi-media. Prior to coming to the University of Minnesota, she worked for North Dakota State University Extension Communication in Fargo, North Dakota as a graphic designer and photographer. She has a B.S. from North Dakota State University, Fargo in interior design.

2009-08-20T13:11:17-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:11:17 CST
Christopher Rogers

Christopher Rogers is a Research Fellow involved with several projects at NCEO. Prior to joining NCEO, Chris worked in the Regional Resource and Federal Centers Network providing information and technical assistance to state departments of special education. Chris has over ten years of practical experience as a community mental health generalist and then a child mental health specialist serving children and youth with mental health challenges both in schools and in the community. At NCEO, Chris is currently interested in accessible science assessments and opportunities for accommodations and universal design in technology-enhanced assessments. Chris is most curious about the intersection of ethnocultural difference and emotional-behavioral disability, and has published and presented on these topics.

2009-08-20T13:09:40-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:09:40 CST
Michael L Moore

Michael Moore, serves as the Communications Director for the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), and is an award-winning writer who has published articles, essays, and stories in local and nationally published newspapers, magazines, literary journals, and books. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at Hamline University and is the recipient of a Minnesota State Arts Board Artist Fellowship. Michael oversees NCEO's publishing efforts, websites, and media relations.

2009-08-20T13:06:52-05:00 - Thu, 20 Aug 2009 13:06:52 CST
Michael N Sharpe

Dr. Sharpe served as Principal Investigator and Director of the North Central Regional Resource Center (NCRRC). In this role, Dr. Sharpe assumed primary responsibility for the conceptualization, planning, and implementation of NCRRC project activities, including budgetary and personnel management. As Director, Dr. Sharpe authored or oversaw the development of such tools, products, and services as the Thinking Through Improvement: Tools and Strategies to Guide Improvement Efforts (IT-Kit), APR Checklists for Parts B and C, Evaluating Improvement Activities, Overview of Sampling Concepts for the SPP/APR, Reporting to the Public: IDEA 2004 Requirements, and The Determinations Process: Discussion and Concept Paper, and a number of other deliverables aimed at helping States to meet the requirements of IDEA. Throughout the years, Dr. Sharpe has worked and collaborated with entities within the OSEP-funded Technical Assistance and Dissemination (TA&D) Network and beyond, e.g., Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), University of Hawaii-Manoa, University of Guam--CEDDERS, others.

As a result of his research in such areas as large-scale assessments, transition and customized employment, general and special education collaboration, students with disabilities at the postsecondary level, he has acquired a diverse range of experiences. In his role as Research Associate, Dr. Sharpe published a number of articles in refereed journals on a variety of topics, including the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation Exceptional Children, Journal of American Rehabilitation, Journal of Special Education Leadership, Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness, and Remedial and Special Education. In addition to journal articles, Dr. Sharpe has also served as primary author and editorial advisor for numerous manuals and technical reports involving various special education issues, including Reducing Bias in the Assessment of American Indian and African American Children and Youth in Special Education Programs, issues involving "consideration" of assistive technology for special educators, and describing the role of the School Social Worker in contemporary special education programs in Minnesota, and others.

In addition to his experiences as a researcher, Dr. Sharpe accumulated a significant amount of field experience working with teachers, students, and their families as a school psychologist for more than 20 years. These years still influence Dr. Sharpe's perspectives about special education issues. Dr. Sharpe's main areas of interest have always been focused on applied research and development activities that lead to solving "everyday" practical problems faced by educators at the local and State level. Based on his extensive experience working in the public schools, Dr. Sharpe strongly believes that systems change can only be achieved when everybody--teachers at the "street level," administrators at the State level, and staff at the Department of Education, work collaboratively toward a common mission that is manifested by the measurable improvement in the academic and functional results for infants, toddlers, and children with disabilities and their families.

2009-08-19T17:36:35-05:00 - Wed, 19 Aug 2009 17:36:35 CST
Kristin K Liu

Kristin Kline Liu, Ph.D., is a Senior Research Associate at the National Center on Educational Outcomes and the Co-Principal Investigator of the TIES Center (Increasing Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities). In this role she addresses policies and practices that support inclusive learning environments for students with significant cognitive disabilities. She is also the Co-Principal Investigator for the Improving Instruction of English Learners Through Accessibility Decision Making project. The Improving Instruction project will design an online learning module to improve West Virginia teachers' understanding and use of accessibility features and accommodations for English learners. Kristi has a Ph.D. in Second Languages and Cultures Education from the University of Minnesota. Her research and technical assistance focuses on improving academic expectations and outcomes of students from special populations, including English learners, students with disabilities, and, her particular area of expertise, English learners with disabilities. Her work also addresses the inclusion of students with special needs in accountability assessments at the local and state levels.

2009-08-18T10:48:29-05:00 - Tue, 18 Aug 2009 10:48:29 CST
Melissa J Critchley

As the Office Manager for Check & Connect, Melissa Critchley manages the Check & Connect office and program. She serves as point contact for information and assistance in implementing the Check & Connect Student Engagement Model in school settings. Melissa assists sites in determining plans for training that meet the needs of the site.

Melissa has worked for the Institute on Community Integration for over a decade, first working for NCEO as a Student Office Assistant from 1998-2001 and returning in 2006 to become their Travel and Event Coordinator/Staff Artist.

She is the 2001 and 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Service Award and a 2008 recipient of the Excellence and Community Building Award for her collaboration on the Changing Landscapes Visiting Artists with Disabilities Project. Melissa is also a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Melissa received a BA in Studio Art and Art History from the University of Minnesota and continues to utilize her creative skills inside and outside of ICI. During the summer of 2008 she completed a graduate level certificate in Disability Policy and Services. Her education continued with the completion of her Interdisciplinary Master's degree in 2012, with minors in Prevention Science and Therapeutic Healing Practices. In December of 2014, she added a Certificate in Equity and Diversity to her education experience; and is now perusing a Business Management degree.

2009-08-17T15:04:38-05:00 - Mon, 17 Aug 2009 15:04:38 CST
Jerry W Smith

Jerry Smith is a filmmaker and media director specializing in documentary and educational programs supporting people with developmental and other disabilities. At the Institute on Community Integration Jerry has directed dozens of award-winning films for broadcast, DVD, and web delivery. He also manages a number of web-based multimedia projects, including Self-Advocacy Online, a web portal for self-advocates funded by the MacArthur Foundation that provides accessible, media-rich content and social networking features, and Leadership in the History of the Developmental Disabilities Movement, a wiki-based, multi-media site delivering presentations on key leaders and collecting and sharing historical content from site visitors. Jerry has an MBA in Marketing from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management.

2009-07-09T13:21:49-05:00 - Thu, 09 Jul 2009 13:21:49 CST
Angela N Amado

Angela Novak Amado works to support communities to be fully inclusive of all people. She has conducted training about friendships between people with developmental disabilities and ordinary community members in more than 30 states, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia and Israel. She also conducts training in person-centered planning and person-centered agency and system design.

2009-07-07T13:29:08-05:00 - Tue, 07 Jul 2009 13:29:08 CST
Thomas J Donaghy

Thomas J Donaghy is Associate Editor in the Publications Office at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI). In this position, he edits and lays out ICI publications (both print and electronic), provides editorial support to the Institute's projects and centers, and posts on ICI's Facebook page and on the College news blog. He maintains content of multiple sections of ICI's Web site; is editor of the Institute's monthly newsletter, FYI; and managing editor of the Journal of the International Association of Special Education. He has an M.A. in Strategic Communication from the University of Minnesota.

2009-07-02T17:19:44-05:00 - Thu, 02 Jul 2009 17:19:44 CST
Megan Dushin

Ms. Dushin has been with the Institute since 1994 developing print, web, and email communications. She is currently meeting the Transition Program Area's technology and communications needs by developing/editing websites, writing e-newsletters, managing customer relations databases, designing materials, and maximizing social media. Ms. Dushin is skilled in graphics, writing/editing, and accessible Web/email design, as well as business analysis, database management, and project management.

In addition, Ms. Dushin collaborates with colleagues in an ongoing arts initiative to bring artwork from the community of artists with disabilities into the Institute's workplace.

2009-07-02T13:50:49-05:00 - Thu, 02 Jul 2009 13:50:49 CST
Sheryl A Larson

Sheryl A. Larson, PhD, began providing services to persons with disabilities in 1981. She has been a residential counselor, behavior analyst, program evaluator, consultant, personal advocate and researcher. Dr. Larson earned a B.A. in Psychology and Elementary Education from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Sherri is the Director of the Residential Information Systems Project, and Research Director at the Research and Training Center on Community Living (U of M) where she has worked since 1988. Dr. Larson directs research projects on long-term supports and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Among her 48 grant funded projects are evaluation studies, survey and intervention research, secondary analysis of large data sets and research synthesis on long-term supports and services, access to health care, disability statistics, and disability services.

Sherri has authored or coauthored more than 130 books, book chapters, Journal articles and technical reports, and other products. She is a fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disabilities (IASSID). She serves as a reviewer for several professional journals and on grant review panels for several federal agencies.

2009-07-02T13:25:00-05:00 - Thu, 02 Jul 2009 13:25:00 CST
Sheryl Lazarus

Sheryl Lazarus, Ph.D. is a senior research associate at the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO), and is the co-principal investigator for the National Assessment Center. In this position she addresses policy issues related to the inclusion of students with disabilities and English learners (ELs) in assessments. She holds a Minnesota K-12 principal's license. Her research and technical assistance priorities include: comprehensive assessment systems, student participation, accommodations, balancing test security and accessibility, alternate assessments, technology, and teacher effectiveness. Dr. Lazarus also has expertise in formative assessment, school accountability, research design (including cost analyses), data-driven decision-making, rural education, and the economics of education. Dr. Lazarus has conducted research and done consulting in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. She has published extensively, including papers in peer-reviewed journals in both the fields of education and economics.

2009-06-30T11:33:28-05:00 - Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:33:28 CST
Brian H Abery

Brian Abery, Ph.D, is the Coordinator of School-Age Services at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) and an adjunct faculty member within the Institute on Child Development and School Psychology Programs at the University of Minnesota. He has been Principal Investigator of numerous projects designed to enhance the educational outcomes, social inclusion, and self-determination of persons with disabilities both at a national and international level. His international work includes implementation of the Response to Intervention framework in India and the implementation of Inclusive Service Learning in Costa Rica. Dr. Abery holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Psychology and has an extensive background in research, assessment, program development, and evaluation related to children, youth, and adults with disabilities.

2009-06-30T11:16:31-05:00 - Tue, 30 Jun 2009 11:16:31 CST
Christopher J Johnstone

Christopher Johnstone is an Assistant Professor of Comparative and International Development Education. In his research he explores operationalizations of inclusiveness as they relate to both international development, education, and campus internationalization. He has worked on education or development-related projects on every continent except Antarctica, but has primarily focused his research in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. His current projects include studies of livelihoods (Kenya and Tanzania), disability identity (India), and equity issues in internationalization (University of Minnesota).

2009-06-25T13:58:50-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 13:58:50 CST
Amy S Hewitt

Amy Hewitt, PhD has an extensive background and work history in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 30+ years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families. At the University of Minnesota, she is the Director of the MNLEND program, MNADDM and the Research and Training Center on Community Living. She directs several federal and state research, evaluation and demonstration projects in the area of community long term services and supports for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. She currently has research projects that focus on community living, autism, outcome measurement, direct support workforce development, person centered planning/thinking and positive behavior support. She has authored and co-authored numerous journal articles, curriculum, technical reports, and she co-authored a book entitled, Staff Recruitment, Retention and Training and a soon-to-be-published book called, Community for All: Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Hewitt is on the editorial board of Inclusion and an associate editor of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, both journals of the AAIDD. She is a Past President of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and is the Treasurer of the Board of Directors for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and she is a board member of Arc Minnesota. Dr. Hewitt earned a BS in political science and psychology at Indiana University; a Master's degree in social work at Indiana University; and a PhD in social work at the University of Minnesota.

2009-06-25T13:48:18-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 13:48:18 CST
Christopher L Watson PhD

Christopher Watson, Ph.D., IMH-E® (IV), is Co-Director of the Center for Early Education and Development (CEED) at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Dr. Watson's work focuses on infant and early childhood development, with an emphasis on early intervention, social emotional development, challenging behavior and mental health. Dr. Watson holds Level 4 Endorsement in Infant Mental Health (IMH-E® [IV]) from the Minnesota Association for Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and is a certified Program for Infant Toddler Care (PITC) trainer. His recent research focuses on reflective supervision as ongoing professional development, including a new initiative being implemented for home visitors and their supervisors by the Minnesota Department of Health through a federal Maternal and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) grant. Dr. Watson's two recent publications with Shelley Neilsen Gatti for Young Exceptional Children and Infants and Young Children explore the use of reflective supervision in early intervention. He has headed numerous professional development projects and co-authored training-of-trainer curricula, including Talking Reasonably and Responsibly About Brain Development, PITC as a Curriculum, and Core Competencies for Infant-Toddler Caregivers. Dr. Watson directs the Minnesota Higher Education Consortium composed of faculty from early childhood special education licensure programs in public and private Minnesota universities. Prior to his work at the University of Minnesota, Mr. Watson was director of the California Education Innovation Institute, a statewide training program for educators and administrators based at California State University Sacramento.

2009-06-25T11:57:25-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:57:25 CST
Maureen E Hawes

Dr. Maureen Hawes has successfully managed and implemented numerous evaluations, research projects, and technical assistance initiatives designed to improve programs and outcomes for students with disabilities. As Co-Principal Investigator and Director of the former North Central Regional Resource Center and a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Hawes has been responsible for the oversight and management of numerous staff, large budgets and complex evaluations and technical assistance initiatives. She served as Program Coordinator for the Regional Resource Center Program which consists of six regional technical assistance centers providing services to State Education Agencies and Lead Agencies in the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Dr. Hawes has spent over 15 years as a technical assistance provider, delivering high quality technical assistance to numerous state agencies and entities on topics including general supervision and monitoring, evaluation, systems change, evidence-based practices, data analysis and use, and leadership. Dr. Hawes has authored a number of tools and products developed to support both State and local level implementation of IDEA as well as to support State work on the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR). She has presented at numerous state, national and international conferences on topics including evaluating state initiatives to assess efficacy and relevance, using data and technology strategies to improve outcomes for students with visual impairments, expanding and improving collaborative technical assistance, and developing quality performance measures. Her professional areas of interest include evaluation, performance measurement, general and special education collaboration, systems change, program policy development and implementation, and cultural and linguistic issues for children with disabilities.

2009-06-25T11:32:42-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:32:42 CST
David R Johnson PhD

David R. Johnson, Ph.D., is Director of the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) and an Emma Birkmaier Professor of Educational Leadership in the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. Dr. Johnson's faculty appointment is in the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development where he conducts research, teaches courses, and advises graduate students in evaluation studies and research methods. He has also been Principal Investigator of numerous research, training, and demonstration projects. His research interests include investigations of postschool outcomes, school completion, state systems change, cost-benefit analysis, and other policy-related research. Dr. Johnson has published more than 100 book chapters, journal articles, research monographs, technical reports, and products on topics concerning secondary education, special education, interagency collaboration, and other themes related to his research interests. His research and evaluation results have been used by U.S. Congressional committees, state legislatures, state education agencies, and other organizations.

2009-06-25T11:30:37-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 11:30:37 CST
Martha L Thurlow

Martha Thurlow is the Director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes. In this position, she addresses the implications of contemporary U.S. policy and practice for students with disabilities and English Language Learners, including national and statewide assessment policies and practices, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements. Dr. Thurlow has conducted research for the past 35 years in a variety of areas, including assessment and decision making, learning disabilities, early childhood education, dropout prevention, effective classroom instruction, and integration of students with disabilities in general education settings.

Dr. Thurlow has published extensively on all of these topics, authoring numerous books and book chapters, and publishing more than 200 articles and reports. In 2003, she completed her 8-year term as co-Editor of Exceptional Children, the research journal of the Council for Exceptional Children, and is currently associate editor for numerous journals.

2009-06-25T10:07:40-05:00 - Thu, 25 Jun 2009 10:07:40 CST