Grad Student Research Grants

DCDT 2017 Graduate Student Research Grant Award Recipients

L. Danielle Roberts-Dahm, University of South Florida

Title: Inclusive Higher Education and Employment: An Analysis of Program Components

Through a secondary analysis of quantitative data obtained from the Transition and Postsecondary Programs for Students with Intellectual Disabilities (TPSID) National Coordinating Center database from the first cohort (2010-2015) of model demonstration sites in Florida, this study will examine aspects of the postsecondary education programs for students with intellectual disabilities that are correlated with successful transition from college to employment. This study seeks to add to the emergent knowledge base on inclusive higher education through examining the effectiveness of inclusive higher education program components to facilitate post-school employment.

L. Danielle “Danie” Roberts-Dahm, M.A., is a doctoral candidate at the University of South Florida pursuing a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Special Education and Policy Studies. Her experiences working with students in transition and inclusive higher education inspired her to continue her education in this field. Danie is also the Co-Director for Project 10: Transition Education Network and the Director of STING RAY (Students Transitioning Into the Next Generation, Recognizing Alternatives for Youth), housed at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg (USFSP). She is also a partner within the Florida Consortium on Inclusive Higher Education and serves as the current President for the Florida Division on Career Development and Transition (FDCDT). 

Kelly Clark, UNC Charlotte

Title: UPGRADE Your Job Performance Grant

The purpose of this study is to investigate the effects of UPGRADE Your Performance Instruction on the attainment of employment soft skills (e.g., attitude, cooperation, reliability, productivity, on-task behavior, quality of work, communication, teamwork) of students with disabilities across in-school and community job sites. Students will choose one soft skill area, set a goal, and follow steps to self-evaluate and self-graph their performance daily. During maintenance students will use a digital spreadsheet to follow steps independently.

Kelly A. Clark is a doctoral student in special education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC). She works as a graduate assistant with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) and currently serves as the student representative for the North Carolina Division on Career Development and Transition (NCDCDT).  Her research interests are focused on improving post-school outcomes for students with low incidence disabilities through infusing self-determination skills into academic instruction and work based learning experiences. Kelly has eight years of teaching experience as a secondary special education teacher serving students with low incidence disabilities, and one year of experience as a general education math teacher for an alternative school. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in special education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She earned her Master’s degree in School Administration with certification as a curriculum and instruction specialist from UNCC.

Leslie Bross,  University of Kansas

Title: Evidence-Based Practices for Young Adults with Autism in Employment Settings

The study will evaluate the efficacy of evidence-based practices (EBPs) for supporting social skills of young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during integrated, paid employment experiences in their local communities. The primary aim is to examine whether the effects of specific EBPs, such scripting, technology-aided instruction and intervention, video modeling, and visual supports are effective to improve employment-related social skills of young adults with ASD. All employment settings will be selected according to participating interest (e.g., video game store, garden center). A multiple baseline across behaviors design (Gast & Ledford, 2014) will be used to evaluate intervention effects.

Leslie Bross is a 2nd year doctoral student in the Special Education Department at the University of Kansas where she studies evidence-based practices for learners with ASD and other developmental disabilities. Leslie was a special education teacher for six years and established a community-based work program for secondary students with ASD before beginning her doctoral studies. Her research interests relate to supporting individuals with ASD during the transition to adulthood, particularly in the area of obtaining competitive, integrated employment. Leslie has been a member of Council for Exceptional Children since 2005 when she completed her teacher education program.

Misty Terrell, UNC Charlotte

Title: Effects of Using Behavior Chain Interruption Strategy on Increased Social Interactions of Young Adults with Intellectual Disabilities and Autism

The purpose of this study will be to examine the effectiveness of the behavior chain interruption strategy (BCIS) on the social interactions and initiations of young adults with ID or autism at a day program. The researcher will teach participants to use a Nintendo Wii U gaming system and use BCIS to interrupt the behavior chain as way to increase opportunities for participants to initiate social interactions such as asking for new games to play and asking staff and peers to play with them.

Misty Terrell is a doctoral student at UNC Charlotte. She works with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) and her research focuses on transition needs for students with low incidence disabilities. She has seven years of secondary teaching experience as well as experience consulting with teachers in the classroom. Misty has taught in Arizona, Alaska, California, Texas, and on an air force base in England. After leaving the classroom, Misty spent a year and a half as a school district facilitator then went to work for the Education Service Center Region 13 in Austin, Texas. Misty completed her undergraduate degree in special education at Northern Arizona University. She went on to earn a Masters in Education with an emphasis on low incidence disabilities from Texas A&M as well as her BCBA certification.

Hyejung Kim, University of Wisconsin – Madison

Title: Intersectionality in the Transition to Postsecondary Education among Korean-American Students with Autism

This study examines the complexities of the intersectional experience embodied in the educational trajectories of Korean-American students with autism.  I use a multiple case study method to illustrate how participants’ experiences are shaped by their particular situational contexts, as well as how individuals, schools, communities, and policies respond to these experiences.  Data were obtained from multiple sources: interviews, documents, observations, policies, and statistics.  The results indicate that students’ experiences are shaped by English-only instruction policies such as California Proposition 227, immigration document issues, health concerns, racial discrimination, residential segregation, and the ethnoracial hierarchies embedded in schools and policies. 

Hyejung Kim is a doctoral student in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses on diversity and equity issues for transition-age youths with disabilities. The primary purpose of her studies is to improve the educational outcomes of diverse learners with disabilities. Her recent projects illustrate intersectional experiences among students with disabilities from diverse racial/ethnic, linguistic, cultural backgrounds.