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Special Education Faculty & Staff

Emily Bouck
Ph.D., Michigan State University
ecb@msu.edu
Emily Bouck’s research focuses on improving outcomes of secondary students with high- incidence disabilities through advances in two strands of scholarship: standard academic curricula (i.e., mathematics) and functional curricula. Within these strands is a focus on how technology can support students with disabilities in accessing and achieving in both curricula, and translating success to post-school experiences.
Matthew Brodhead
Ph.D., Utah State University
mtb@msu.edu
Matthew T. Brodhead is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst whose research examines behavioral determinants of response variability, choice and independent social skills in children with autism. He is also interested in research and conceptual issues relating to the ethical and professional behavior of practicing behavior analysts. He is on the editorial boards of The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and the Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Through workshops and consultation, he has established multiple school-based programs for children with autism, and he has provided training to teachers, related service providers and behavior analysts throughout the United States.
Eunsoo Cho
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
escho@msu.edu
Eunsoo Cho’s research focuses on statistical modeling of reading development in students with or at-risk for having learning disabilities, including students from language minority backgrounds. Her research has two strands: First, she is interested in developing and validating assessment methods to accurately identify students with learning disabilities within a multitiered support system, such as response to intervention (RTI). Second, her research focuses on understanding psychological and motivational processes involved in learning. She intends to develop a motivation intervention that can be combined with reading instruction for students with persistent reading difficulties. One of her co-authored articles in Reading Research Quarterly received the 2015 Albert J. Harris Award from the International Literacy Association. In 2016, she received the Samuel Kirk Award for best research article from the Division of Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children. She is also a faculty affiliate in the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology (EPET) program.
Carol Sue Englert
Ph.D., Indiana University
carolsue@msu.edu
Carol Sue Englert is a professor of special education. Her research interests include literacy instruction for students at risk for school failure with a specific focus on the examination of discourse in literacy events. Her more recent work involves a collaborative research project with special education teachers to design, implement, and integrate a literacy curriculum emphasizing the role of oral and written language in a discourse community.
Summer Ferreri
Ph.D., Ohio State University
sferreri@msu.edu
Summer Ferreri is an associate professor of special education. Her primary research focus is on the development, implementation and evaluation of effective interventions to increase academic success and decrease disruptive behaviors for students with severe disabilities. More specifically, her research utilizes the concepts and principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and single-subject research methods to investigate efficacious interventions for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She has conducted research with children with special needs to determine the most effective and least intrusive methods to decrease disruptive, self-injurious, self-stimulatory, pica, and aggressive behavior. She has conducted research on behavioral assessments of impulsivity in relation to dimensions of reinforcement, temporal discounting, reinforcement schedules, and conditioned and terminal reinforcers with children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Marisa Fisher
Ph.D., Vanderbilt University
fishermh@msu.edu
Marisa Fisher is an assistant professor of special education, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D) and the co-director of Spartan Project SEARCH. Her research focuses on understanding and decreasing social vulnerability of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and supporting the social acceptance of individuals with IDD in the community. She is specifically interested in measuring the various types of victimization experienced by individuals with IDD and on designing interventions to decrease vulnerability. She has studied victimization in the form of child abuse, bullying, stranger danger, and exploitation across the lifespan. She uses the principles of applied behavior analysis and single subject research methods to design interventions to teach self-protection to individuals with IDD.

As the co-director of Spartan Project SEARCH, Dr. Fisher and her students provide support to high school students with IDD who are transitioning from school to work as they participate in internship experiences across the university. Dr. Fisher’s research specific to Spartan Project SEARCH examines behavioral supports necessary to promote success in the work and community environment, the outcomes of participating students, and the impact of the program of attitudes toward and acceptance of individuals with IDD in the workplace

Dr. Fisher is the PI on a project funded by the Institute of Education Sciences’ Early Career Development and Mentoring in Special Education Program. This study is designed to better understand the risk factors and consequences of bullying for middle school students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and intellectual disability (ID). Specifically, she is conducting a longitudinal investigation to determine the risk factors (e.g., loneliness, poor social skills, internalizing and externalizing problems) and academic, emotional, and behavioral consequences of bullying for youth with ASD and how these risk factors and outcomes compare to youth with ID and students without disabilities.
Kate LaLonde
Ph.D., Western Michigan University
lalond18@msu.edu
Kate LaLonde is an assistant professor of special education, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral (BCBA-D) and the Clinical Director of the Early Learning Institute. Her research focuses on using behavior analysis to solve socially significant problems. She spent time in Tanzania as a researcher at APOPO (https://www.apopo.org/en/), an NGO using operant conditioning procedures to teach giant African pouched rats to detect landmines and tuberculosis. Her research also focuses on problems often observed in individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. Specifically she is interested in increasing vocal speech, complex social skills and physical activity in children and adults. She has also published in other areas including natural environment teaching and behavioral gerontology.
Gabrielle Lee
Ph.D., Columbia University Teachers College
gtlee@msu.edu
Gabrielle Lee is a behavior analyst and clinical psychologist and has extensive experiences working with individuals with autism and developmental disabilities and their families in applied settings. Currently, she is conducting collaborative research with universities in Asia to develop and examine the effectiveness of social-emotion skills training for children with autism, including joint attention, symbolic play, theory- of-mind and emotion regulation.
Troy Mariage
Ph.D., Michigan State University
mariaget@msu.edu
Troy Mariage is an associate professor of special education. His research interests are in the areas of literacy instruction for students with mild disabilities in elementary classrooms. He has conducted work in early reading instruction, writing instruction, and cognitive strategy instruction that leads to self-regulated learning. More recently, he has extended his work by seeking to understand how to create schools as learning organizations that create the capacity for continuous learning and improvement. Currently, he is conducting a study to explore how teachers can provide concurrent academic and social support for students with significant learning and behavioral difficulties.
Cynthia Okolo
Ph.D. Indiana University
okolo@msu.edu
Cynthia Okolo is a professor of special education. Her research focuses on improving academic outcomes for students with disabilities through the integration of technology into the classroom. She also studies how Universal Design for Learning (UDL)-aligned instructional practices can improve learning and behavior. Her current projects involve the development of literacy tools and strategies for using digital reading materials and teacher preparation for the implementation of UDL. Most of her work has been conducted in middle and high schools and in diverse classrooms that include students with and without disabilities. She is Past President and Professional Development Co-Chair of the Technology and Media Division of the Council for Exceptional Children.
Joshua Plavnick
Ph.D., Michigan State University
plavnick@msu.edu
Joshua Plavnick is an associate professor of special education, and director of the Early Learning Institute, which he founded in 2014. His research interests involve the development and implementation of community-based interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder, automated measurement of human behavior, applications of technology to behavior analytic interventions, and training educational service providers to administer behavior analytic interventions.
Gary Troia
Ph.D., University of Maryland
gtroia@msu.edu
Gary Troia is an associate professor of special education. His research interests include the connections between oral language and literacy in typical and atypical learners, writing assessment and instruction, and teacher professional development in literacy. His recent work involves examining alignment between states' content standards and assessment frameworks in writing and how alignment between these influences writing outcomes and enables students to meet postsecondary writing expectations. He also is examining predictors of writing quality within a multi-level linguistic framework to help researchers and educators develop better measurement tools for writing.
Adrea Truckenmiller
Ph.D., Syracuse University
atruck@msu.edu
Adrea Truckenmiller’s research interests broadly include adolescent literacy, writing assessment and data-based decision-making for instruction. Her previous funded projects explored the relation between important component skills of literacy and processes for identifying all students' instructional needs. Currently, Truckenmiller is investigating the feedback loop between writing instruction and formative assessment of writing.

Program Staff

felmlee Internship Coordinator
Lisa Plascencia
Phone: 517-353-5401
337 Erickson Hall
lisaplas@msu.edu
Minnema MA Program Coordinator
Erin Hamilton
517-432-0418
342 Erickson Hall
erinhami@msu.edu
davis Graduate Program Secretary
Missy Davis
517-355-1837
335 Erickson Hall
davisme@msu.edu
Jane Love Undergraduate Program Secretary
517-353-1842
335 Erickson Hall
sped@msu.edu
Kathryn Colaluca Applied Behavior Program Coordinator
Kathryn Colaluca
517-432-0418
335 Ericksonl
kathryn@msu.edu

Undergraduate Academic Advising

Janet Chegwidden

Degrees: BS Secondary Education French/English, MA Education/Reading Specialist

Phone: (517) 353-9685
Email: chegwid1@msu.edu

Michael Zaborowski Jr.

Michael Zaborowski Degrees: BA Political Science, BA Interdisciplinary Studies, MA Student Affairs Administration

Phone: 517-355-1827
Email: zaborow3@msu.edu