Technology, Interventions, and Inclusion in Autism Lab (TIIA)

Team Members

Gulnoza Yakubova
Gulnoza Yakubova, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in Special Education in the College of Education at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests include autism, technology, functional living skills, mathematics, and parent-implemented and culturally adapted interventions. In her current scholarship, she examines the use of individualized video-based interventions to help autistic children acquire functional living skills and also improve mathematics learning with the ultimate goal of promoting inclusion in school and society. 
Monerah Al-Dubayan
Monerah Al-Dubayan, M.S., is a doctoral candidate in the Special Education program at the University of Maryland. She received her master’s degree in special education from Johns Hopkins University and her bachelor’s degree in special and elementary education from Purdue University. Her research interests include autism spectrum disorder, communication, challenging behavior, parent-implemented and culturally adapted interventions, and applied behavior analysis. Through her research, she hopes to empower and involve families in interventions to improve communication and understanding with their children, while striving to support children with disabilities and their families to reach their full potential.
Stuti Gupta
Stuti Gupta is a doctoral student in the special education program at the University of Maryland, College Park. Hailing from Delhi, India, Stuti earned her bachelor's degree in education from Delhi University before embarking on a journey to the United States to pursue her MA in leadership in disability services at the University of Delaware. Her research interests focus on employment preparation of transition-age youth with autism. She recognizes the importance of equipping and preparing individuals with autism for the workforce, especially in today's environment, where the job market is becoming increasingly competitive. Working with Dr. Yakubova and her team provided Stuti with hands-on experience, allowing her to build a strong foundation in research and learn to conduct research experiments with rigor.
 Tvisha Vyas is a doctoral student in the University of Maryland, College Park Special Education program. Her research interests include studying intervention for individuals with ASD; and parent-implemented interventions, parent mental health and well-being.
Michaela Duranti
Michaela Duranti is a first-year Ph.D. student in Special Education at the University of Maryland. Before graduate school, she worked at a not-for-profit independent college preparatory school in New York City. As a sixth-grade Humanities teacher, she provided both individualized learning and personalized differentiation for her twice-exceptional (2e) students. Her research interest consists of best practices for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Inclusion in the classroom. Michaela earned an M.Ed. from Goucher College in Reading Instruction and a B.S. in Special Education from Towson University where she was a part of the Women’s Lacrosse program. 
Melissa Defayette
Melissa Defayette is a doctoral candidate in special education at the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a master’s in educational leadership from Loyola University Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education with a minor in special education from Notre Dame University of Maryland. Her research interests include delivering core content instruction in general education settings for students with moderate to severe disabilities (MSD), creating collaborative communities to support students with MSD, and influencing policy and procedures for teacher preparation programs. In addition, Melissa is a former special education teacher for both elementary and middle school. She has maintained her Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) Advanced Professional Certificate (APC) in administration, elementary (grades 1 – 6), and special education (infant to adult).

Alums and Collaborators

Briella Baer Chen
Briella Baer Chen, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of Special Education at Towson University. She completed her Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of Maryland, College Park in 2022. While there, she was Dr. Yakubova's advisee and was a graduate research assistant and fellow in the Technology, Interventions, and Inclusion in Autism (TIIA) lab, and continues to collaborate on TIIA lab studies. Her research interests focus on the use of technology-based interventions, including evaluating the authentic implementation of these tools, to support the independence of autistic individuals. She also has research interests in postsecondary transition and employment supports for autistic adults.
Yewon Lee
Yewon Lee is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education at the University of Maryland at College Park and the Director of the Disability Studies Minor Program. As a former preschool teacher and a special educator, her scholarly and professional work is greatly motivated by her interest to address educational and social barriers for individuals with disabilities across lifespan. Previously, she participated in multiple science intervention studies that were designed to promote writing in adolescent students who are identified with learning disabilities (LD) and/or who are English learners (EL) and a part of her research focuses on promoting causal and mechanistic thinking in science classrooms. In her most recent work, she is exploring writing-to-learn pedagogy as a way to recruit and retain college-aged students with disabilities in the STEM fields. 

Previous Lab Members

Saanvi Shashikiran
Saanvi Shashikiran is currently pursuing her higher education degree and started at the TIAA Lab as a senior at Walter Johnson High School and as a research intern with Dr. Gulnoza Yakubova.