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2022 Speakers

AzABA 2022 Annual Conference
October 28-29, 2022

Shahla Ala’i Rosales, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA
Associate Professor, Department of Behavior Analysis
University of North Texas

Shahla Alai-Rosales, PHD, BCBA-D, LBA is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. She has taught courses in Texas, Europe and the Middle East on a variety of topics, including ethics, early autism intervention, parent training, behavioral systems, applied research methods, technology transfer, behavior change techniques, and cultural diversity. Shahla has served on several boards and disciplinary committees and has published and presented research on social justice, ethics in early intervention, play and social skills, family harmony, and supervision and mentoring. Shahla has more than four decades of experience working with families and has trained hundreds of behavior analysts. She has received awards for her teaching, her work with families, and for her work in the community. She is co-author of Building and Sustaining Meaningful and Effective Relationships as a Supervisor and Mentor (LeBlanc, Sellers & Alai, 2020) and Responsible and Responsive Parenting in Autism: Between Now and Dreams (Alai-Rosales & Heinkel-Wolfe, 2022).

Chrissy Barosky, M.A., BCBA, LBA (RI, TX, UT), LABA (MA)
Chief Clinical Officer
Bierman ABA

Chrissy Barosky joined Bierman Autism Centers in 2013 as a Behavior Analyst and is now the Chief Clinical Officer. Chrissy has been working in the field of ABA as a practicing Behavior Analyst since 2008, and before that in the field of developmental disabilities since 2005. Prior to working in the center based setting at Bierman Chrissy worked in home based ABA settings, consultation in schools, and as a special educator. Chrissy is also Adjunct Faculty at Simmons University where she teaches masters level courses on verbal behavior and behavior analytic methodologies.  Chrissy obtained her bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University in Human Services, her masters degree from Columbia University in Applied Behavior Analysis and Education, and is completing her Doctorate in Behavior Analysis at Simmons University. Chrissy’s research interests are in Verbal Behavior, specifically in early language acquisition and how it ties into joint attention, and staff training and its impact on client outcomes.

Alexandra Beckwith, M.Ed., BCBA
Lead Consultant
FTF Behavioral Consulting

Alex Beckwith is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst who began her career a decade ago as a direct in-home service provider for clients ages 2-21. Since then, she has served as a special education teacher, program supervisor, and BCBA consultant. She is currently a Lead Consultant and Director of Credentialing at FTF Behavioral Consulting, where her work focuses on Practical Functional Assessment and Skill-Based Treatment—a role to which she brings a wealth of prior experience implementing these processes in direct service settings. Alex holds a Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction and Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University.

Mari Cerda, Ph.D., TR-BA, BCBA, LBA
Center Director
The Lighthouse Learning Center, PLLC

Mari Cerda is an Indigenous woman, Autist, wife, mom of 3, and board-certified, trauma-informed behavior analyst who consults with neurotypical professionals to support the development of neurodivergent affirming and compassionate practices. A former special education teacher of 13 years, Mari moved into this work when she realized that her own Autistic experience could help others develop better supports and acceptance for the Autistic community. Mari is also the co-founder of The LEAP (Lighthouse for Equitable Access and Practices) Institute, a non-profit whose mission is to increase equitable access for marginalized groups entering the field of applied behavior analysis through quality supervision support and testing scholarships. LEAP is also working to shift the culture around the supervision relationship in the field of ABA. When she is not working on one of many projects, Mari enjoys retreating into her home with her family and spending time in her gardens to recharge.

Kyla Bernal-Christenson, B.S., RBT
Senior Behavior Specialist
Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center

Kyla Bernal-Christenson has a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology and is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Exceptional Student Education with a certification in Applied Behavior Analysis. She looks forward to obtaining a BCBA credential in near future. Kyla currently works at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center as a Senior Behavior Specialist and is passionate about supporting individuals with autism in the natural environment (birthday parties, school, grocery stores, etc.) and creating inclusive communities.

Pilar Bonilla, M.S., BCBA, LBA
Ally Pediatric Therapy

Pilar Bonilla, M.S., BCBA, LBA works at Ally Pediatric Therapy and oversees the Residency Program for masters-level students accruing supervised fieldwork experience. Pilar began working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) when she was studying and researching canine behavior at Illinois State University with Dr. Valeri Farmer-Dougan. After moving to Arizona for graduate school, Pilar shifted her focus to children with autism. Pilar has worked in various areas of ABA including clinic, in-home, and school settings. She is experienced with Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) and has a passion for research and supervision. Pilar is currently working towards her Ph.D in ABA through The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and recently received the Academic Achievement Award for Excellence in Research. She has presented on ACT research at ABAI and looks forward to presenting at AZABA this fall.

Dr. Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH, LBA, BCBA
Chief Executive Advisor & Ethics Officer
Aspen Behavioral Consulting

Dr. Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH, LBA, BCBA is a behavior analyst with several years of experience providing interdisciplinary consultation and training services to families, school districts, and organizational personnel nationwide. For over 10 years, Dr. Davis-Wilson served as the clinical director of an Arizona-based autism provider organization, overseeing ABA programs for hundreds of children statewide. Through this work, Dr. Davis-Wilson created an extensive curriculum-based supervision program which included sustainable employment opportunities, staff training and professional development for hundreds of aspiring professionals and students. Dr. Davis-Wilson has served on several boards in Arizona, including the Association for Behavior Analysis (AzABA), the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment Autism Advisory Council, the Glendale Community College Behavior Health Sciences Occupational Advisory Board (BHS-OAB) and as a governor appointed board member with the Arizona Board of Psychologist Examiners. In addition to her local experiences, Dr. Diana Davis-Wilson serves as faculty member for Ball State University and serves as an advisory board member of the Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence (BHCOE). As a parent of a child with autism, Dr. Davis-Wilson has a passion for working closely with parent advocacy groups and interdisciplinary stakeholders to provide education, advocacy and public policy guidance on accessing family-centered care.

danyelle s. goitia beal, Psy.D., BCBA
Loving Hands Family Support Services, LLC

danyelle s. goitia beal earned her doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Her dissertation; Trauma and Resiliency in Black American Women began a journey of breaking the stigma of traumatic events that plague the Black community including how systems can cause further harm.

danyelle obtained her undergraduate degree at CSU Long Beach in Child Development and Psychology with a minor in Communicative Disorders. She went on to obtain a Masters of Art in Teaching (Deaf and Hard of Hearing Studies) with an emphasis in Applied Behavioral Analysis. With over 20 years of experience in behavioral health, danyelle currently operates a Non-Public Agency named Loving Hands Family Support Services, LLC and provides support in multiple contexts and settings. She is able to work on individual and organizational levels. She has a passion for and a commitment to working with children and their families who are diagnosed with developmental and psychological disorders. She also has a heart for working in marginalized communities and providing education in supporting safe de-escalation techniques for its members.

Ellie Kazemi, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Professor and Chief Science Officer
Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE), CSU Northridge

Dr. Kazemi is the Chief Science Officer at Behavioral Health Center of Excellence (BHCOE), an accrediting organization focused on improving the quality of behavior analytic services. She is also a professor at CSUN, where she founded the M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program and has been teaching undergraduate and graduate coursework in research methodology, organizational behavior management, and behavior therapy for over 15 years. She has received several mentorship awards including the ABAI Best Mentor Award, the Outstanding Faculty Award, the Outstanding Teaching Award, and the Outstanding Service Award. Her applied research interests involve the identification of efficient, effective strategies for practical training and supervision of staff, which includes leveraging computer technology and Artificial Intelligence (e.g., robotics, virtual or augmented reality). She has worked on several nationwide large projects (e.g., with FEMA and NASA) with a focus on effective training and measurement of intervention outcomes. Currently, she leads BHCOE’s efforts in quality measure development and conducting reliable, valid evaluations for accreditation.

Kristina McGinnis, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA
Doctoral Candidate in Educational Psychology
Baylor University

Kristina McGinnis is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a doctoral candidate in educational psychology at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She runs the Baylor Caregiver Coaching Program and is a certified special education teacher in Texas and Arizona. Kristina taught in a self-contained classroom for six years and has over 10 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. Kristina’s research focuses on identifying socially valid methods for serving individuals with developmental disabilities, delivering interventions via telehealth technology, and supporting caregivers as they implement interventions with their children.

Simone Palmer, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA
Vice President of Clinical Training
Bierman ABA

Simone started working with behavior analytic interventions in Brazil, where she is from. She has been working in the field for more than 15 years. Throughout her career, she has implemented interventions based on the principles of behavior analysis to individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, as well as anxiety, depression, ADHD, hearing impairments, among others across several settings and environments. Since moving to the United States in 2010, Simone has worked with individuals age ranging from 18 months through 22 years old, and across multiple settings including: in-home, public and private schools, early intervention centers, and residential programs.
Simone received her M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis through Northeastern University and recently received her Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis through Simmons University. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a Licensed Applied Behavior Analyst (LABA) in the state of Massachusetts. Currently, she is also an Adjunct Faculty at Simmons University.

Kelsey Ruppel, Ph.D., BCBA
Senior Consultant
FTF Behavioral Consulting

Kelsey Ruppel is a practitioner and researcher whose work focuses on Practical Functional Assessment and Skill-Based Treatment, as well as preventing the development of repertoires of severe problem behavior. She began her career as a teaching assistant in a specialized school for students with developmental disabilities and eventually served as a school-based special education teacher, BCBA, and curriculum supervisor. She has also implemented and supervised in-home ABA programming, taught courses as a faculty fellow at Western New England University, served as the Associate Director of Dr. Greg Hanley’s Life Skills Clinic at Western New England University, and served as a BCBA at an inpatient hospital program for children with severe problem behavior. Kelsey has served as a consultant to a range of organizations, including schools, in-home and outpatient clinic providers, and residential programs, and she is currently a Senior Consultant at FTF Behavioral Consulting. She holds a Master’s degree in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University and a doctoral degree in Behavior Analysis from Western New England University under the advisement of Dr. Hanley.

Shane Spiker, Ph.D., BCBA
Director of Training and Dissemination
Positive Behavior Supports, Corp.

Shane Spiker is a BCBA in Ormond Beach, Florida. Shane received his MS of Psychology in 2012 and his second MS in applied Psychology in 2016. In May 2019, he graduated with his PhD in Clinical Psychology with a concentration on instructional design. He has been providing services in the field of ABA since 2010, with the majority of his experience with adults with autism and other disabilities. Shane specializes working with teens and adults with dangerous problem behavior, sexual behavior as well as medically complex individuals.
Primarily, Shane serves as the Director of Training and Dissemination at PBS, Corp. Currently, Shane previously served as the Vice President of the Sexual Behavior: Research and Practice SIG through ABAI. He has written and published several articles related to behavior analysis and practice. Additionally, he serves as a co-instructor at Florida Institute of Technology, Arizona State University and Regis College, where he teaches graduate level coursework.

Madison Theis, M.S., BCBA
Clinical Supervisor
Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center

Madison Theis, M.S., BCBA is a Clinical Supervisor in the Comprehensive Behavioral Program. Madison obtained her Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis from Arizona State University. Currently, she works as a Clinical Supervisor in Phoenix Arizona, providing evidence-based treatment to individuals with autism and their families, with an emphasis on providing treatment in her client’s natural environment. Her behavior analysis graduate training focused on development of behavioral interventions and building a professional network to expand research activities and dissemination.

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