Below you'll find a list of our current research.

Monica Galizzi

  • Severe Work Disabilities and Unaccounted Losses with Roberto Leombruni and Lia Pacelli (University of Turin, Italy)
  • Precarious Lives -- Disability Type and Prevalence for Temporary Workers with Jennifer Tenant (Ithaca College)

Ashleigh Hillier

  • Horizons College Preparation Mentoring Program. Through a 7-week curriculum, UMass Lowell students work with high school students to prepare for the transition from high school to college. Qualitative and quantitative data are collected to evaluate the efficacy of the program.
  • Horizons Plus Mentoring Program. This project evaluates the efficacy of a student-to-student mentoring program for neurodiverse college students who are in their freshman year of college. This project will collect data over multiple years and is an ongoing long-term project.
  • Financial Literacy Among Autistic Adults. This project is a collaboration with Monica Galizzi (Economics) to assess financial literacy among neurodiverse populations. We are also soliciting input about possible interventions to improve understanding and ultimately increase independent.
  • Impact of a Physical Exercise Program on Fitness Levels Among Autistic Adolescents. This project is an evaluation of a 9-week exercise intervention program where we examining fitness levels before and after the program and collecting interviews with parents.

Elissa Johnson-Green

  • The EcoSonic Playground Project (ESPP) at Applied Behavioral Analysis: Training Education Consultation (ABATEC) Boston with Rocío Rosales (Psychology). The ESPP is a music-education focused, immersive, interdisciplinary program through which children build and play large scale musical sound sculptures out of reusable materials and PVC pipe. The program focuses on helping children to develop skills in musicianship, critical thinking, creative problem solving, collaboration, communication, and resilience. Participants include middle school children with ASD who attend a weekly social skills support group and their teachers. 

John McKenna

  • Inclusive Instruction for Students with Emotional Disturbance: A Survey Study. This project investigates teacher self-reported knowledge, use, and perceived effectiveness of recommended instructional practices for the inclusion of students with emotional and behavioral disabilities. Relationships between self-reports, teacher and district demographics, and school contextual factors are also investigated. For more information, please contact Professor McKenna at
  • Parents and Guardians of Students with Emotional Disturbance: Perceptions of Special Education and the IEP Process. This study investigates parent and guardian perceptions of the Individualized Education Program process and the provision of a free appropriate public education for students receiving special education services for Emotional Disturbance. For more information, please contact Professor McKenna at

Brenna Morse

  • School Nurse Experiences and Changes to Practice During a Global Respiratory Pandemic. School nurses have been faced with moral injury, distress, and dilemmas throughout the COVID-19 global respiratory pandemic. Parents and guardians have displayed aggressive verbal and physical behaviors toward school nurses. School communities have been caught in the middle of policy confusion regarding disease mitigation efforts and school attendance guidelines. There has also been a devaluing of public health and the role of the school nurse by some members of the school community. The purpose of this qualitative study employing focus groups as a data collection method is to describe perspectives of school nurses regarding changes to practice and workload during the COVID 19 pandemic. Study aims include:
    1. describe school nurse experiences during the pandemic,
    2. identify barriers and facilitators of school nursing practice during the pandemic, and
    3. determine best practices for supporting school nurses going forward.
    Following analysis, the team hopes to identify changes to policy, practice, research, and education that will support school nurses in the changing landscape of public and school health following a global respiratory pandemic.

Rocío Rosales

  • UMass Lowell-Lasell Interdisciplinary Training Program. This project is funded by the Department of Education - Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (DoEd-OSERS). The training grant will support scholars in an interdisciplinary personnel preparation program in Applied Behavior Analysis, Autism Studies, and Special Education with a focus on Bilingual/English Language/Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners. The project is a collaboration between UMass Lowell and Lasell University (UML-LIPP).
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Applied Behavior Analysis. A collaboration with a local community organization that provides behavior analytic services to primarily culturally and linguistically diverse families that have a child with autism spectrum disorder: Applied Behavior Analysis: Training Education Consultation (ABATEC). Projects are broadly focused on providing culturally responsive care to families and training of direct care professionals who are English Language Learners.
  • Education and Support for Immigrant Families. A collaboration with faculty from UMass Lowell's School of Education (Werunga, Kim, and McKenna) to provide education and training to immigrant parents who have a child with a disability attending public schools in Lowell.
  • Video Modeling to Teach Pairing Skills. This study is designed to evaluate the effects of a video with voice-over instructions on the implementation of several behaviors related to building rapport when interacting with children with autism spectrum disorder. This study is being conducted in collaboration with an area agency that provides behavior analytic services to young children with autism.

Jiabin Shen

  • Healthcare Services Utilization and Expenditures for Unintentional Injuries in Children with ADHD. Funded by the UML Seed Grant Program, 2021-2023.
  • Successful Transition to Adulthood: Best Practice Services for Individuals who Sustained Traumatic Brain Injuries during Development with Jaclyn Stephens (Colorado State University). Funded by American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine Brain Injury Interdisciplinary Special Interest Group (BI-ISIG), 2021-2022.
  • Virtual Reality-based Rehabilitation for Children with Traumatic Brain Injuries. Funded by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD) Research Transition Award, 2020-2023.