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Theodore Tjossem Postdoctoral Awards

Natalie Libster PhD

Natalie is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the Transitions Lab at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (PI Julie Lounds Taylor). She received her doctorate in Human Development and Psychology from UCLA in 2023.  Natalie’s research focuses on the peer experiences of autistic youth, particularly those of autistic females and gender minorities. Her work aims to understand the relationship between these social experiences, specifically in school and vocational contexts, and mental health outcomes.

Alexis Rhames PhD

Dr. Alexis Rhames is a clinical psychology postdoctoral fellow at the UNC TEACCH Autism Program. In this role, she conducts diagnostic evaluations, provides intervention services, and serves as a research team member on the Black Families and Providers Accessing Services Together (BFAST) project. Dr. Rhames is passionate about addressing healthcare inequities through both clinical practice and research and increasing access to knowledge and services for individuals with autism from historically marginalized backgrounds.

Kiley McLean PhD

Kiley McLean (she/her), PhD, MSW, MSEd is a postdoctoral research fellow in the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute in the Policy, Analytics, and Community Impact Program under the direction of Dr. Lindsay Shea. Dr. McLean graduated with her PhD from the UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work in 2023. Her research focuses on improving the social, health, and economic well-being of autistic adults as they transition into adulthood and age, through inclusive and comprehensive policies.

Laraine Masters Glidden Undergraduate Student Award

Sophia Mueller

Sophia Mueller is a senior undergraduate pursuing a bachelor’s in psychology and child development at Vanderbilt University. She works as a student research assistant in the Transitions Lab at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Her current research interests are how job characteristics and the workplace may influence mental health outcomes in autistic individuals. She will be presenting on the associations between job characteristics and mental health measures in working autistic adults.

Ethan Greenstein

Ethan, a research fellow at The George Washington University, is honored to receive a travel award to present his research on the links between executive functioning and mental health among autistic adults with high support needs. This work, which aims to guide targeted interventions, builds on his previous TMS research for depression in autistic young adults at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. Ethan looks forward to advancing his research on mental health and subsequent interventions in his upcoming role as an Intramural Research Training Award Fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health.

John G. Borkowski Diversity Travel Awards

Chak Li

Chak Li is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. Prior to his current research experience, he worked as a special education teacher and special education coordinator for several years in many underserved communities. For this conference, Chak will be presenting research findings from a grant funded multisite project conducted to examine the relations between knowledge, empowerment, and advocacy activities among parents of transition-aged youth with autism.

Alp Köksal

Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, Alp is a Donald J. Cohen Pre-Doctoral Fellow in Developmental Social Neuroscience at the Marcus Autism Center, holding bachelor’s degrees in biology and music from Brown University. His research focuses on socio-visual attention in early infancy as a screening tool for autism and the emergence of social smiling. The study he will present at the Gatlinburg Conference explores how autism impacts the consistency of retrospective parent reports of infant milestone acquisition.J

Madison Booth

Since graduating from Washington University in St. Louis in 2021 with a B.A. in Neuroscience, Madison has worked at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles with Chief of Neurology, Dr. Shafali Jeste. Madison’s research aims focus on developing improved methodologies for collecting neuroimaging data in infants and children, to aid in diagnosis and treatment efforts. She is an upcoming applicant to MD-PhD programs and hopes to bolster her knowledge in research and treatment of neurological disabilities.

Jonathan Panganiban PhD

Dr. Jonathan Panganiban is a trainer and supervisor in the JASPER program at the Kasari Lab in UCLA. His experience in the field of autism spectrum disorder spans over a decade working as an interventionist and researcher. Trained in both discrete trial training and the social communication intervention known as JASPER, Jonathan’s research and clinical interests have led him to train parents, teachers, and professionals on autism intervention strategies. His research interests also include predicting optimal language outcomes for children with autism and adapting autism interventions for community and school settings.

David Zeaman Graduate Student Awards

Wei Siong Neo PhD

Wei Siong Neo is a PhD candidate in clinical psychological sciences at Purdue University. He has longstanding research interests in autism and developmental disabilities during early childhood. His program of research integrates multimodal behavioral and psychophysiological methodologies to examine phenotypic features of these neurodevelopmental conditions, with long-term translational goals of improving early diagnosis and transforming outcome measures. Wei Siong will be a psychology resident at the University of Washington School of Medicine in 2024–2025.

Dasoo (Milton) Yoon

Dasoo Milton Yoon is a Ph.D. Student in Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison working with Dr. Sigan Hartley in the Hartley Lab. He graduated from Georgetown University with a BA in Psychology and earned his MA in Clinical Psychology from Columbia University. His greatest research interest lies in the impact of the sibling relationship, especially on the lives of those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Katiana Estrada PhD

Katiana Estrada is a second-year Clinical Psychology PhD student at Purdue University. She holds a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of Texas at Austin and a master’s degree in psychological science from the University of Texas Dallas. Her research focuses on understanding how caregiver-child dyadic interactions shape language development in children with neurodevelopmental disorders. At the 56th Gatlinburg conference, she will present work examining the use of caregiver touch during caregiver-child interactions in infants with an elevated likelihood for autism spectrum disorder.