Melissa Hunsinger-Harris – Executive Director
Melissa L. Hunsinger-Harris, PhD, LABA, LBA, BCBA-D®, is the Assistant Director of Graduate Studies in Applied Behavior Analysis at Bay Path University in Longmeadow, MA, where she has been supervising, teaching, and developing coursework for graduate students since 2012. Melissa received her Doctorate in Applied Behavior Analysis from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, conducting her dissertation research in the area of cultural humility training and awareness within ABA supervision. Her research interests include diversity, equity, and inclusion within the field of behavior analysis and supervision, implementation of evidence-based supervision experiences, and the professional growth and dissemination of the field of behavior analysis. Melissa has worked with CTABA in multiple capacitates since moving to Connecticut, including as the Workshop Committee Chair (2015-2018), Board of Director (2017 – 2020), Conference Committee Co-Chair (2018-2019), and Secretary of the Board (2019 – 2020). She has presented numerous symposia, workshops, and talks for ABAI annual conferences, ABAI Culturo-Behavioral Conference, MassABA, CTABA, Bay Path University, and The Chicago School. One of Melissa’s goals while serving as the Executive Director of CTABA is to increase public understanding and awareness of the science and practice of behavior analysis within the state of Connecticut and beyond our borders.
Melissa S. Saunders – President
Melissa S. Saunders, Ed.D., BCBA-D, LBA, LABA is the Executive Clinical Director for Creative Interventions, an organization providing school, home and clinic-based ABA services from birth through adulthood. Melissa received her doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership and Applied Behavior Analysis from Nova Southeastern University. Melissa has a special interest in the role behavior analysts have as leaders. Her research interests are focused on supervision, leadership, employee turnover, workplace satisfaction, and treatment fidelity in applied behavior analysis services. Melissa has served as an elected officer for MassABA (2013-2014) and participated on MassABA’s Contracts Committee that focused on promoting practice standards for ABA. In addition, Melissa was actively involved with both Massachusetts’ and Connecticut’s grassroots efforts for the establishment of licensure for Behavior Analysts. Melissa has served as the CTABA Member at Large (2013-2015), Applied Representative (2015-2017), Chief Executive Officer (2018-2019) and has chaired both the Organizational Membership committee (2013-2017) and Conference Committee (2016-2019). Melissa currently serves as an appointed member of the CTABA Executive Board (2020-present), she is chair of the Professional Issues Committee in addition to her role as the CTABA CEU Coordinator. Melissa is also actively involved with the Connecticut Autism Action Coalition (CAAC; 2015-present) in its mission to support the development and improvement of service access and quality for all individuals who are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Shelly Jones – Treasurer
Bio Coming Soon
Liz Smith – Secretary
Elizabeth Smith, BCBA, LBA – CT, is the owner and director of CORE ABA. She is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst and realized her passion for working with kids at a young age. Liz found ABA after graduating from Marist College and fell in love with teaching children with autism new skills. Liz obtained her Masters in ABA and Autism at the Sage Colleges and received Board Certification in May of 2013. She opened C.O.R.E. ABA at the beginning of 2014 and has been working in homes and communities in Fairfield County. Liz enjoys sharing knowledge of ABA through supervision experiences and creating opportunities for kids to learn using naturalistic teaching strategies. She is a member of Association for Behavior Analysis International, CT-ABA and the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts.
Dr. Tracy Sinclair, BCBA-D, LBA, is an assistant clinical professor at the University of Connecticut. Tracy teaches pre-service teachers in the special education program in the Neag School of Education. Areas in which she teaches focus on assessment, behavior support, exceptionality, and supporting student teachers across multiple campuses for UConn. Tracy completed her PhD at the University of Oklahoma in Special Education with a focus on Applied Behavior Analysis and Transition in May 2020. Her dissertation examined the role of self-evaluation within an authentic work environment for students with an intellectual disability or autism—applying skills of self-management to difficult-to-operationalize social skill behaviors. Prior to the move to Connecticut and higher education, Tracy was a high school special educator in Tennessee and a general education kindergarten teacher in Michigan. She found her love for the science of behavior as a teacher coordinating School-Wide Positive Behavior Supports and Response to Intervention initiatives at the high school level. As a teacher educator, Tracy strives to infuse evidence based practices into her courses for both general education teachers and special educators. She believes the science of behavior applied effectively can positively transform classrooms for all students.
Dr. Meghan Brahm, BCBA, LBA-CT, is an Assistant Professor at Southern Connecticut State University in the Department of Special Education, teaching in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) programs, is interim coordination of the ABA program and is a Research Scientist in University’s Center of Excellence on ASD. Dr. Brahm completed her Ph.D. at the National University of Ireland, Galway in Psychology and ABA in 2018. Her doctoral work focused on epidemiological studies of ASD, including the evaluation of weight related maternal risk factors for the development of ASD in offspring and the application of ABA to manage disordered eating, pre-pregnancy. Dr. Brahm received her Master’s degree in 2012 from The University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut in special education, ASD and ABA after completing her Bachelors in 2009 at Eastern Connecticut State University in Psychology, focusing on psychology of childhood and adolescence and ABA. Dr. Brahm is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has worked both domestically and internationally as a practitioner and consultant across a multitude of settings, supervising evidence-based interventions to support individuals with varying diagnoses. At current, Dr. Brahm’s work focuses on researching and delivering effective training services to school-based personnel, families and community service providers to increase the integrity with which evidence-based practices are used to support individuals with additional needs.
Melissa Olive, Ph.D., BCBA-D, is the Executive Director of Applied Behavioral Strategies LLC. Prior to entering private practice, Missy spent 9 years conducting research and training special education teachers and behavior analysts at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Nevada, Reno.
Missy currently serves as a Guest Reviewer for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and the Review Journal on Autism and Developmental Disorders. She also served on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Early Intervention for 8 years, Topics in Early Childhood Special Education for 10 years, and Young Exceptional Children for 12 years.
Missy has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters focusing on assessment and treatment of challenging behaviors, communication intervention, feeding disorders, and ethical issues for behavior analysts.
Prior to moving to CT, Missy served on the Executive Board as a Member at Large for the Division of Early Childhood, a sub-division of the Council for Exceptional Children. Missy also served as President of the Texas Council for Exceptional Children. After moving to CT, Missy first served as a Member at Large on the Executive Council for CTABA. She currently serves on the CTABA Board of Directors and Chairs the CTABA Public Policy and Legislative Outreach Committee (PPLO).
Her current research interest lies in assessment and treatment of feeding disorders, assessment and treatment of severe challenging behavior, ethical issues in the delivery of ABA services, and ABA services in school settings.
Dr. Ravit Stein earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Lehigh University, where she received extensive training in applied behavior analysis and evidence-based practice across school and clinical settings. Dr. Stein has served as an educational and behavioral consultant in schools and hospitals throughout the Northeast, where she has conducted diagnostic assessments and developed evidence-based behavioral interventions for children with acquired brain injury, ADHD, pervasive developmental disorders, and a variety of other presenting problems. Dr. Stein is a licensed psychologist, Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D), Licensed Behavior Analyst (CT), and Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) and oversees the Psychological and Behavioral Consultation Services division at EASTCONN. Dr. Stein supervises the provision of school-based consultation on an individual, whole classroom, or system-wide basis for students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), learning, and/or behavior problems. She serves as an affiliated faculty member at the Neag School of Education at UCONN and conducts professional development workshops throughout the region. Dr. Stein is committed to collaboration with colleagues and strives to partner with psychologists, pediatricians, educators, administrators, and families to provide quality behavioral health services for children and adolescents with diverse needs.
Arlene Dworkin Kaye, M.S., CCC/SLP, BCBA, LBA is Clinical Director of Children’s Behavioral Services at Benhaven, Inc. A Board Certified and Licensed Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Speech and Language Pathologist she created and has administrated the program since 2017 . Prior to joining Benhaven, Arlene was employed by a private practice, a number of public school districts as well as CREC’s River Street Program for Young Children with Autism. In addition, Arlene was instrumental in crafting the first BACB course sequence to be approved inside of a Communications Disorders Program through Elms College. She also taught required BACB core courses as an instructor at Elms.
Arlene received her Master’s Degree in Communications Disorders from SCSU in 1978 and her certification as a BCBA in 2007 after completing her coursework and University of Massachusetts (Lowell). She has been a presenter at a variety of conferences including CT-ABA, ABAI, BABAT, ASHA & CSHA, and has been an invited speaker at schools in Connecticut and Massachusetts.
An editor of Behavior Analysis for A Lasting Change, First Edition and author of Getting To Know ME: A Primer About Autism Spectrum Disorders, Arlene has demonstrated skills as both a practitioner and writer. With over 40 years of experience providing services to children with developmental disabilities, Arlene appreciates the needs and challenges of colleagues working in homes, schools, RESC’s, private practice, administration and graduate education.
Maggie Fitch, BCBA, LBA – CT, earned her Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from Fairfield University. She then attended Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia where she completed her Masters degree and course work to become a BCBA, graduating in 2013. She has since worked in multiple settings including providing services in-home, public schools and private schools. Maggie began her career working as an ABA Therapist with students ages 7-12 in an Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention program. From there she went on to providing services in-home through CT’s Birth to Three system as well as to clients over the age of 3 who were diagnosed with Autism. After becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Maggie accepted a position as BCBA in a private school providing services to children 3 to 21 years old with a range of disabilities including Smith-Magenis Syndrome, Down Syndrome, emotionally disturbed and Autism. Currently Maggie is a BCBA at Boys and Girls Village in Milford. In addition to working in the school setting, Maggie is currently an adjunct teacher for Bay Path University as well as an ABA supervisor for students seeking supervision.
Ashley Creem, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA (CT), LABA (MA) is a Clinical Director at Applied Behavioral Strategies LLC and an Adjunct Professor at Endicott College’s M.S. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program. She is also a thesis mentor and an advisor for master’s level students in Endicott’s ABA program, and is part of the thesis team. Ashley is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Licensed Behavior Analyst (LBA/LABA) in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Ashley received her master’s degree in Education in Applied Behavior Analysis at Arizona State University and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis at Endicott College. Her research interests include social skills training and the dissemination of quality ABA through the implementation of evidence-based practices. As such, she has three book chapters in press on teaching social skills and the utilization of evidence-based strategies to teach skills to individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Ashley previously served on the Connecticut Association for Behavior Analysis (CTABA) Public Policy and Legislative Outreach (PPLO) committee (2018-2020). Currently, Ashley sits on CTABA’s conference committee (2020-present) and co-chairs the technology committee (2020-present), and is an appointed member on the Board of Directors (2019-present).
Ian P. Burruss
Ian P. Burruss completed his coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism at Sage in 2010. Sage Graduate Schools developed the first full graduate program in ABA. Ian was part of the first graduating cohort. Studying with Tom Zane and Dana Reinecke strengthened his love of science and experimental practices to solve practical treatment questions. Ian founded Advanced Behavioral Care, LLC in 2009 to ensure he was able to use science in daily practice.
Ian has a strong interest and belief that technology can improve outcomes by more readily using the science as it relates to learning. Ian has developed computer programs to reduce indirect assessment time, improve accuracy of visual analysis, and to improve the presentation of learning materials with and without therapists present. Ian continues to work to pursue the use of advanced sciences and technology to improve treatment outcomes. In the last couple years, Ian has begun visiting treatment sites across the country to evaluate their treatment outcomes more directly.
Technology also has the potential to drastically improve the accessibly to treatment for those that are underserved in our communities. Providing quality treatment and outcomes to those that are underserved is a primary passion of Ian’s. Ian’s clinical work spans 25 years and has primarily occurred within secured inpatient, outpatient, and home settings. His clinical experience includes working with those with severe mental-health disorders, acquired brain injuries, developmental disorders, autism, broad social-emotional and learning disorders, and those with severe aggression. The most effective treatments have largely become available only to children with families that are well educated and those that have substantial financial stability. This inequity has not only negatively affected those who can benefit from behavior analysis, but also our communities, and our field. Ian believes that through individual accountability to high quality work and by working towards social equity on a daily basis, we can bring our communities together to better ourselves, our community, our country, and our world.
As a BCBA-D and licensed psychologist/behavior analyst, I currently serve as the Senior Director of Education at Aspire Living & Learning, Inc. (formerly the Institute of Professional Practice, Inc./IPPI). With more than 20 years of experience in education, I started my career as a middle school special education teacher in 1998. I quickly learned that my skillset did not match the intensive needs of the students in my classroom, and decided to further explore my passion for education at the University of Southern Mississippi. As a doctoral student in school psychology, my love for applied behavior analysis was realized. Following a pre-doctoral internship at the May Institute in Massachusetts , I started with Aspire in 2006, as a Program Director. During my early years at Aspire, I had the opportunity to work in a number of public schools across Connecticut. I became increasingly invested in promoting the use of applied behavior analysis and data based problem solving while developing programs for children to access education in their home schools. This foundational experience was the catalyst for the founding of the Aspire Living & Learning Academy (formerly IPPI Learning Academy), a private approved special education school, in 2010. As a founding member, I served as the Academy’s Director for eight years. I am passionate about using the science of behavior analysis to support children and adolescents with varying learning needs to realize and reach their potential. Joining the CTABA Board of Directors would be a welcomed opportunity—to grow professionally, to support others who are interested in the field of behavior analysis, and to serve an organization that has elevated the work of behavior analysts and provided so many of us the opportunities to explore the field and grow as professionals .