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Alvin V. Baird Attention and Learning Disabilities Center


PHOTO: Barry Parsonson

Dr. Barry Parsonson is a Fellow and past President of the New Zealand Psychological Society, and former chair of the NZ Psychologists Board. At the University of Waikato, NZ, he was Chair of the Psychology Department and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences. He was educated at the University of Canterburyand the University of Kansas. Dr. Parsonson was a co-recipient (with his wife, Dr JaneMary Castelfranc-Allen) of the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis 2014 Award for International Dissemination of Behavior Analysis.

PHOTO: Mariel Smith Cannady
  • Mariel Smith Cannady
  • JMU ‘16

Dr. Mariel Smith Cannady graduated from the Combined-Integrated Clinical/School Psychology doctoral program in August 2016. She completed her doctoral internship at the Texas Child Study Center, a collaboration between Dell Children’s Medical Center and The University of Texas at Austin. Her postdoctoral training was completed at the Austin Psychology & Assessment Center. She is currently a licensed psychologist at ABA Connect in Austin, TX and is also a Texas licensed specialist in school psychology.

PHOTO: Anna Cruise
  • Anna Cruise
  • JMU '16

Anna Cruise graduated in 2016 with a Masters of Arts degree from the Psychological Sciences program, with a concentration in Behavior Analysis. Licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Anna is working as a Behavior Analyst at Spectrum Transformation Group in Richmond, VA. Alongside the Spectrum team, Anna provides intensive in-home ABA service to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Anna is a member of the Virginia Association for Behavior Analysis and continues to pursue her interests in early childhood intervention and applied research in the field of behavior analysis.

PHOTO: Thomas Rigg
  • Thomas Rigg
  • JMU '16

Thomas Rigg graduated from JMU's Psychological Sciences—Behavior Analysis Program in 2016 and he was certified as a BCBA in December of 2016. Tom currently works at Little Keswick School, a therapeutic boarding school for boys with emotional, learning, and developmental challenges, as the assistant residential coordinator in Charlottesville, VA. At Little Keswick, Tom works to develop program wide and student specific programming for students to help them excel in their residential life. This includes individual behavior plans, group incentives, and training staff in behaviorally sound interventions that promote evidence based approaches.

PHOTO: Robyn Starry
  • Robyn Starry
  • JMU '16

Robyn Starry graduated in 2016 from the Psychological Sciences M.A. program with a concentration in Behavior Analysis. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is licensed in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She currently works as a behavior analyst at Augusta County Public Schools consulting and collaborating with special education staff and other related service providers. Her role consists of providing general behavior support to classroom staff, completing functional behavior assessments, writing behavior interventions plans, supervising RBTs, and coaching CLM in exceptional learner classrooms.

PHOTO: Michelle Witt
  • Michelle Witt
  • JMU '16

Michelle Witt graduated in 2016 from James Madison University with an M.A. in Psychological Sciences and a Concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. She also has a Master's of Arts in Liberal Studies degree with a Concentration in Humanities from Hollins University. Michelle is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is also a Certified Brain Injury Specialist Trainer and has nearly 20 years' experience working in the field of brain injury rehabilitation in positions ranging from a Recreational Therapy Aide to Program Director. For the past 10 years, Michelle served as the Executive Director of Crossroads to Brain Injury Recovery, a small non-profit that provides community-based services for persons affected by brain injury in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She is currently engaged in consulting work with the organization and building a private ABA practice. Michelle lives in Harrisonburg with her husband, Greg, and their two sons, Adam and Griffin.

PHOTO: Ana Barkaia
  • Ana Barkaia
  • JMU '15

Ana Barkaia graduated from James Madison University in 2015 and obtained a master's degree in Psychological Sciences-Behavior Analysis. After graduation, Ana passed the BCBA exam and went to Georgia (the country) where she and her Georgian and New Zealand colleagues established an organization called Applied Psychology and Research Center-APR. The goal of this organization is to provide evidence based services to children in need. They also provide trainings in different areas; Ana conducts trainings in ABA. Recently they finished working on a book that was created for parents and people working with children. It provides recommendations on behavior management strategies. Beside this, Ana works in different autism centers in Tbilisi (Capital of Georgia) and in different regions of western Georgia (in Zugdidi and in Kutaisi where the need of ABA services is strong) as a supervisor and a consultant.

PHOTO: Liz Simons
  • Liz Simons
  • JMU '14

Liz Simons graduated from JMU with a Master's Degree in Psychology. She is now a BCBA and Program Director at The Aurora School, a non-profit special education school. She works with students ages 5-15 teaching communication, decreasing behaviors that create barriers for the students, and teaching them to be as independent as possible. She supervises BCBA candidates and loves facilitating a culture of professional development on her team. She has developed an interest in assistive technology, and continues to pursue higher education in this field as it relates to the population she serves. She has also continued to learn more and more about the sophisticated process of special education in Virginia. She genuinely enjoys the work that she is able to do, and is so grateful to the incredible education and practicum experiences she had while at JMU.

PHOTO: Heather White
  • Heather White
  • JMU '14

Heather White graduated from the Psychological Sciences—Behavior Analysis Program with a Masters of Arts in 2014. She is currently working as a Behavior Analyst for Virginia Autism Spectrum Services providing services in the homes of children with autism. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member in the College of Education at James Madison University.

PHOTO: Chelsea Rainear
  • Chelsea Rainear
  • JMU '14

Chelsea Rainear started her masters degree in the Psychological Sciences program while working as the Program Administrator at the Baird Center and would have been one of the first of two students to graduate from the BCBA program. However, Chelsea also got married, had two children and moved to Richmond all while completing her degree, so she ended up taking quite a bit longer than expected to finish. She finally graduated in 2014, and currently lives in Richmond and is enjoying being stay at home mom, but she will always have a special place in her heart for the Baird Center.

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  • Sarah Vasquez
  • JMU '12

Sarah was the first graduate student to complete the Psychological Sciences- Clinical Research program (now called the Behavior Analysis concentration) under Dr. Trevor Stokes in 2012. Sarah went on to work for Behavioral Services of Tennessee, Inc. (BSTN) in Cordova, TN and is now a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who works with adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sarah is also the Behavior Services Supervisor at BSTN and supervises other Behavior Analysts and Behavior Specialists and all behavior support plans, under the Clinical Director. Although Sarah is sometimes faced with tough situations when her clients engage in challenging behaviors, she attributes her success as a clinician and supervisor to her academic and practicum experience with Dr. Stokes at JMU.