Meet The UH*sparc Research Team

 

Dr. Sarah S. Mire

Dr. Mire developed and directs the UH*sparc (School Psychology Autism Research Collaboration) team. She joined the faculty of the UH School Psychology PhD program in the Fall of 2013. Along with UH*sparc, Dr. Mire works to connect research and practice through her study and support of persons in systems surrounding children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  

Dr. Mire is a Licensed Psychologist (LP) in Texas, a Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP), and Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP). She earned her Bachelor's degree at Baylor University, Master's degree at UHCL, and PhD at UH. She has research and practice experience in public school, hospital, specialty clinic, and community mental health settings in Texas and California.  


Madeline Racine

I am currently completing my doctoral internship at Baylor College of Medicine/Texas Children’s Hospital in Child Clinical/Pediatric Health Psychology. My clinical and research interests broadly surround early identification and evaluation of ASD, disruptive behavior disorders, parent management training, and behavioral interventions for preschool pediatric populations. My dissertation topic focuses on the early identification and diagnosis of ASD in primary care and medical settings, specifically for Latino children. I have been involved in various *sparc research projects, including the FASTep study, which examined parent stress in parents of children with ASD and severe behaviors who were completing function-based behavioral treatment. I have previously completed practicum placements at Sheldon ISD, The University Speech & Language Clinic, The Brief Behavioral Intervention Program (BBI), The Center for Children and Women, UT Health Science Center Department of Pediatrics, and The Severe Behavior Disorders Research Clinic. Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions or would like to chat about my experiences in *sparc! madelineracine@gmail.com

Katherine Bergez

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I am a fourth year student in the School Psychology program. I grew up in Houston and earned my B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Urban Education from Santa Clara University in Northern California. My research interests broadly surround autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities, including child, family, and clinician experiences.  Right now, I am working on my candidacy project investigating the psychometric properties and clinical utility of written expression curriculum based measurement for children with executive functioning challenges, including the mediating role of executive functioning on written expression performance. My current practicum placement is at the UT Health CLASS Clinic (Changing Lives through Autism Spectrum Services), where I am advancing my skills in multi-faceted autism assessment with diverse clients. I recently completed an advanced practicum rotation at the Texas Children’s Health Plan Center for Children and Women, where I delivered behavioral health services in a primary care setting.  Additionally, I completed a school psychology practicum rotation in Katy ISD and a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP) internship in Sheldon ISD. I gained assessment, consultation, intervention, and crisis response experience through these school based rotations. I have been actively involved with *sparc since joining the program. I am collaborating on multiple papers and conference presentations, have been on a manuscript published in a peer-reviewed journal, and have presented at state and national conferences, such as IMFAR, TASP, NASP, and APA. I love our program- Dr. Mire, *sparc, my site supervisors, and my peers have helped me to reach so many of my goals. In my free time, I enjoy Netflix, reading for pleasure, and hanging out with my rescue pup Winnie! Please reach out and contact me with any questions! katherinebergez@gmail.com.

Shannon McKee

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I am a fifth year student in the School Psychology program. I received my BA from Harding University and MA & EdS from Middle Tennessee State University. My primary research interest involves resilience factors in families of children with ASD, and my dissertation topic is focused on family adjustment and risk and resilience factors in families of children with ASD. My current practicum placement is at The Harris Center in the Behavioral Feeding Program. I am working with families whose children have Avoidant or Restrictive Food Intake Disorder and are in need of behavioral feeding therapy.  I conduct assessments, complete diagnostic intakes, conceptualize treatment plans, carryout feeding therapy sessions, and monitor and interpret ongoing data collection occurring during each therapy session.  The majority of the families that I am working with have children with developmental disabilities, most of whom have ASD. My previous practica include Texas Children’s Hospital Brief Behavioral Intervention (BBI) Program providing parent management training for families of preschool-aged children with disruptive behavior disorders and/or ADHD, an integrated practicum placement focusing on ASD assessments at the University of Houston Speech, Language, and Hearing Clinic and Texas Children's Hospital Autism Center, as well as practica at UT Health Science Center providing outpatient services and Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital providing inpatient services, where I focused on pediatric psychology, developmental assessments of children born preterm, and developmental disabilities. Additionally, I have been continually collaborating on research projects with Dr. Robin Kochel at TCH Autism Center, specifically regarding regression and ASD. I have led and been involved with several *sparc projects/papers over the last four years, and I have traveled to state, national, and international-level conferences to present. I also have a wonderful husband and two amazing kids, so my time spent out of school is occupied by my family. :) Please feel to contact me with any questions, shannonleighmckee@gmail.com.

Rainey Hughes

I am a third year in the School Psychology program.  I attended the University of South Carolina and earned my BA in Experimental Psychology. During my undergraduate career, I received a research grant to study gesture development in infants with Fragile x Syndrome and infant siblings of children with ASD and I have continued to collaborated on several presentations and publications on this topic. Currently, my primary research interests are treatment considerations for individuals with ASD and early identification/intervention of ASD. For my candidacy project, I developed a measure to identify factors that influence parents’ treatment selection for their child with ASD and I am investigating the underlying factor structure and psychometric properties of the measure. I am currently completing my LSSP internship in Galena Park ISD and completed my school psychology practicum in Katy ISD. I have maintained an active role with *sparc and collaborated on several *sparc presentations/publications as well as presented at several national conferences. In my free time I enjoy running, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with my cat and dog – Nemo and Penny! Feel free to contact me with any questions, raineyhughes28@gmail.com.

Jamie Manis

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I am a third year in the School Psychology Program. Before coming to UH, I attended Texas Christian University (TCU) in Fort Worth, TX and received my B.S. degree with a double major in psychology and child development. Last year I completed my school psychology practicum in Galena Park ISD, and this year I will be completing my LSSP internship in Katy ISD. I enjoy working in the schools, and my research interests focus on early intervention for children with autism and how these can be implemented in the school setting (i.e., preschool, early childhood, PPCD). I am interested in how feasible and acceptable early interventions that target symptoms associated with ASD are in practical settings, and how this impacts intervention fidelity, or, how successfully teachers and parents implement these interventions. With the *sparc team, I have had the opportunity to collaborate on a number of publications and projects, and help present our research at conferences across the country. In addition to my work with Dr. Mire and *sparc, I also work with Dr. Gonzalez's lab on Project World, an early literacy intervention for preschool-age Latino children in which preschool teachers implement a shared book reading curriculum. This work focuses on behavioral coding using a computer software program where we examine teacher use of strategies such as scaffolding and the resulting impact on early literacy as well as social skills in preschool children. Feel free to email me with any questions at jkmanis21@gmail.com!. 

Allison Meinert

I am a second year in the School Psychology program. I graduated from Clemson University with a BA in Psychology and a minor in education. I am interested in psychologist-physician relationships and how these relationships can affect children with autism. I am currently helping with a project at Texas Children’s Hospital in the Psychology department that examines the how pediatricians work with patients who may need psychological care. More recently, I have become interested in psychopharmacology and the role school psychologists play when medication is involved. This upcoming Fall, I will be doing my school psychology practicum in Galena Park ISD. Please feel free to contact me at ameinert12@gmail.com

Dieu Truong

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I am a second year student in the UH School Psychology program. I was born in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam and moved to America at the beginning of my high school. I attended and obtained my Bachelor degrees in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies from the University of Houston. Then I went ahead and completed my Master’s degree in Psychology from Houston Baptist University. During this time, I was accepted to the Leadership Education in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship focusing on issues relating to Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities. I was also able to complete my practicum at the Disability Office at the Houston Community College as a disability counselor before complete my master’s program. Upon graduation, I completed an externship at the UTHealth Science Center Department of Psychiatry - Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic and was working as Texas Home Living Medicaid Waiver Service Coordinator with the Harris Center for Mental Health and IDD. Currently, my research interest primarily focuses on understanding how to effectively serve families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) from a system-based perspective. On the other hand, during my spare time, I like to spend time with my loved ones and friends, swimming, and exploring new restaurants in the very diverse city of Houston. Please feel free to reach out to me if you any questions regarding our program: truongdm2013@gmail.com.

Amy Barton

I am a second year student in the UH School Psychology program. I graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Brain and Behavioral Sciences and minors in Human Development and Family Studies and Religious Studies in 2016. There I completed work on early identification of ASD in infants and toddlers and on animal-assisted interventions for students in an inclusion classroom. My primary adviser is Dr. Keller-Margulis and my research interests include optimizing school readiness and improving academic achievement for young students with ASD. I also work with Dr. Allison Dempsey at UH Health Science Center on various studies, including a project investigating the use of digital-based developmental screeners compared to paper-based ones. For my school psychology practicum this year, I will be in Katy ISD. In my free time, I enjoy playing piano and ukulele, baking cookies, and playing with my cat Gus. Please feel free to reach out with any questions: abarton@uh.edu.

Stacey Grebe

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Hello everyone! I am Stacey Grebe, a first year student in the University of Houston’s School Psychology Doctoral Program. Before coming to UH I completed my B.S. in Special Education at Texas A&M University and my Ed.S. in School Psychology at Baylor University. I completed my School Psychology internship in the Houston area. My research interests revolve around children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and behavior management across the school and home setting. I am extremely excited to start working with the *sparc team! Please feel free to contact me at grebesc@gmail.com.

Morgan McNeel

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Hi! My name is Morgan McNeel, and I am a first year student in the UH School Psychology program. I grew up in Tampa, Florida, but have been in Houston since 2011. I graduated from Rice University in May of 2015 with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Neuroscience. Following graduation, I worked as a research assistant and clinic coordinator at UT Health Science Center's Developmental Neuropsychology Clinic, with children with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families. I am thrilled to continue working with this population during my time at UH with Dr. Mire and the UH*sparc team. My current research interests include systemic approaches to autism intervention–what impacts treatment choices and outcomes and how that knowledge can be used to develop more integrated, effective, and affordable treatment options. Please feel free to contact me with any questions (mmmcneel@gmail.com)!

Mycah Ayala

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Hello everyone! My name is Mycah Ayala and I am a first year in the program. I graduated from Oklahoma State University in May 2018 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Child Development. My current research interests include understanding different factors that impact early intervention in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Specifically, I am interested in the role that pediatricians play in early identification and intervention and the how the collaboration between pediatricians and psychologists impacts treatment options. Due to these interests, I am so excited to work with Dr. Mire and the UH*sparc lab throughout my time at UH. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions: mycahayala@gmail.com

Emily Jellinek

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Hi everyone, I’m a first -year doctoral student in the School Psychology Program. I’m originally from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and I recently graduated from Penn State University with a B.S. in Psychology. My research interests involve behavioral, social, and academic outcomes among children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. I’m also interested in researching parent training and the effects of parental perceptions on interventions for students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD. I’m looking forward to being a part of the *SPARC team!

Georgina Rosenbrock

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Hey there! My name is Georgina Rosenbrock, and I am a first year student in the UH School Psychology program. I am originally from the small town of Port Lavaca, Texas, but I completed my undergraduate degree in Lubbock, Texas. I graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies. During my time at Tech, I became increasingly interested in early development research. My current interests center around the early identification and early intervention practices of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Additionally, I am interested in researching the impact ASD has on the family system in terms of parental and familial stress and how that stress subsequently has an impact on treatment outcomes for children with ASD. I am very excited to be continuing my education here at UH and being a part of Dr. Mire’s UH*sparc team. Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions (georginarosenbrock@gmail.com).

Ashley Ramclam

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Greetings! My name is Ashley and I am completing my second year in the School Psychology PhD program. I am originally from Mexico, MO and have lived in Houston for almost six years. Prior to the doctoral program I completed a B.A. in Psychology and M.Ed./Ed.S in School Psychology at the University of Missouri (Go Tigers!). I then completed my school psychology/LSSP internship at a minority majority school district in the greater Houston area. After internship I worked as an LSSP for three years serving two elementary schools and one high school. I am currently completing my advanced practicum at the C.L.A.S.S. Clinic (Changing Lives through Autism Spectrum Services) housed within the UTHealth McGovern Medical School Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. My clinical and research interests including working with children with emotional and behavioral difficulties, educational disparities, and parent training. I am also interested in multicultural training for school psychologists and culturally sensitive service delivery for children and their families.  Outside of school I enjoy teaching Jazzercise, traveling, and going to brunch. Please feel free to contact me with any questions- I love talking to prospective students about school psychology! My email address is ashleynramclam@gmail.com.

Alex Slaughter

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I am a third year student in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program. Prior to entering the program, I received my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas and a master’s in Psychology from the University of Dallas. My research interests broadly focuses on youth with disabilities within the juvenile justice system including youth with autism. For my candidacy project I examined criminal behavior patterns and school discipline in juvenile justice-involved youth with autism. I am currently completing a practicum rotation at Texas Children’s Hospital – The Center for Children and Women and my prior practicum experiences include Children’s Medical Center and the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department. Most recently in *sparc I am involved in a systematic review of recruitment and retention strategies for youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities who come from diverse populations. In my spare time I enjoy spending time with friends, making sushi, and traveling. Please feel free to contact me with any questions at alexslaughter.uh@gmail.com.

Hufsa Ahmad

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Hi! My name is Hufsa and I am a third year undergraduate student at the University of Houston. I am currently majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Psychology. I am preparing to attend medical school after I finish my undergrad in 2019 to pursue a pediatrics specialty as a physician. My interests are quite broad, surrounding both the genetic and social aspects of autism spectrum disorder. This is my first year working with Dr. Mire in *sparc and collaborating with a few experienced researchers on APA presentations. With this, I am hoping to gain more experience in the field of autism research and learn to see where exactly I fit in. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my loved ones, watching Friends, and indulging in my unhealthy obsession of cheeseburgers! Feel free to reach out to me at: hahmad23@gmail.com.

Jacqueline Anderson

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I am a third year in the School Psychology Program. I received my Master’s and Bachelor’s in Psychology from Cal State University Fullerton. My dissertation is on the impact of mentoring on adolescent well-being from a dual mental health perspective. My primary research interests are well-being in youth, motivation interviewing, program evaluation, and quantitative methodology. I work in 3 different labs at the University of Houston and work with research faculty at Texas Children’s Hospital Adolescent Medicine Clinic. At the University of Houston, my primary lab is the AMPED mentoring program under Dr. Jones and program director Dr. McQuillin (University of South Carolina). I also have contributed to *sparc team under Dr. Mire and worked with Dr. Gonzalez on his Project World and Families4College project. At TCH Adolescent Medicine, I am contributing to research about youth with obesity. My current practicum is at TCH Adolescent Medicine, and was previously at Galena Park ISD. I have conducted program evaluations that has added to my practicum experience. In my free time, I generally am out being active and hanging out with friends. Please feel to contact me with any questions, jacqranderson@gmail.com.

Gray Atherton

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I am a third year in the Measurements, Quantitative Methods, & Learning Sciences program. I originally entered University of Houston as a Master’s in Counseling student and envisioned myself becoming a therapist working individually with clients using therapeutic techniques. However, this goal shifted when I started working with students at the Monarch Institute for Neurological Differences and meeting and growing to know students with autism. I completed my master’s thesis with my advisor, Dr. Susan X Day, using a mixed methods inquiry evaluating social stories and adolescents with autism. Through this, I discovered a core interest in better understanding the mechanisms of autism. This interest, and a desire to create lasting interventions for young people on the spectrum, have led me to design projects examining the broader autism phenotype during my time in the Measurements, Quantitative Methods, & Learning Sciences doctoral program under Dr. Jacqueline Hawkins. This also led me to become a part of *sparc, where I have been an active part of the team, involved with projects and papers. In addition to research, I teach undergraduate courses in the Human Development and Family Studies program centering on self-regulated learning. When not working, I enjoy visiting new things around Houston, and spending time with my new foster kitten.