Fred R. Volkmar
Dr. Meghan Brahm, BCBA, is an Assistant Professor at Southern Connecticut State University in the Department of Special Education, teaching in the Autism Spectrum Disorders and Applied Behavior Analysis concentrations, and is a Research Scientist in 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 ASD and developmental disabilities of varying ages. 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 ASD.
Mark Groskreutz, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Research, is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) who has worked with individuals with ASDs in public and private school settings, their homes, and vocational and community settings. His experience has focused primarily on designing individualized social and educational curricula, interventions for challenging behavior, classroom specific and district wide professional development programs, and research studies based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).
Karen Meers, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA-CT is a Research Associate for the Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Meers brings experience in case management and transition planning. She has assisted individuals with ASD in achieving independence through the development of self-determination, goal setting, and both educational and vocational skills. She graduated from the University of Connecticut with a Ph.D. in Adult and Vocational Education and is certified to teach Special Education (K-12) in Connecticut. In addition to her work with individuals with disabilities, Dr. Meers spent several years as a corporate trainer, training and development consultant, and instructor for the business and higher education fields.
Deborah Puglia, M.S., Sixth Year Professional Certificate, brings to the center 36 years of experience as a special education teacher and administrator. Throughout her career, Ms. Puglia has been active in the State Department of Education's BEST and TEAM initiatives a s a mentor trainer, assessor, portfolio scorer and module scorer. Ms. Puglia has led many professional development trainings for both teachers and paraprofessionals. Her special area of interest is the transition of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Ms. Puglia serves as a trainer in the Center's professional development activities.
PAST CENTER DIRECTORS
Dr. Ruth Eren, along with the late former interim dean of the School of Education
James Granfield, co-created the Center in 2010 to help provide the state with a distinctive
resource to improve the experiences of children who have been diagnosed with an autism
spectrum disorder (ASD). She spent many years consulting with public schools in Connecticut
regarding program development for children with ASD and has been a member of several
state committees related to this subject, including Connecticut’s Task Force for Children
with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Eren is a former special education teacher and
administrator, and served as chairwoman of the SCSU Special Education Department.
A noted expert in this field on program development for children she was selected,
after a national search, as the Goodwin Endowed Chair in Special Education, the first
endowed chair in the University's 122-year history.
James (Jim) Michael Granfield
Dr. James Granfield, former Co-Director of the Center, passed away in July of 2010. As interim Dean of the Southern Connecticut State University School of Education, Jim had the vision and the courage to support the concept of a Center of Excellence that would serve individuals with autism spectrum disorders. An active member of the 08-5 study group, Jim contributed tremendous effort, knowledge and skill in acquiring and evaluating the information needed to move ahead with initiatives to support the ASD population in Connecticut. He enthusiastically embraced the concept of a Center of Excellence; in fact, Jim would accept nothing short of "excellence" here at Southern. Once the Center concept was developed into a specific framework with goals and objectives, Jim worked tirelessly with the team to acquire federal funding to support the Center's first year initiatives. Jim's presence and influence will remain with the Center for many years to come.