Current Members

Dr. Jenny Root

Lab Director

Associate Professor at Florida State University

Dr. Root is the director of the General Curriculum Access lab and an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Florida State University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and uses applied behavior analysis and single case design to evaluate interventions to promote general curriculum access for students with developmental disability, including autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. Dr. Root is originally from North Carolina and enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and traveling.

You can find her CV on the FSU website.

Dr. Sarah Cox

Associate Lab Director

Assistant Professor at Eastern Michigan University

Dr. Sarah Cox is an assistant professor of Special Education at Eastern Michigan University. You can find more information here. Her scholarly interests focus on academic supports for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her current projects explore how explicit instruction of mathematical practice standards (e.g., representation of mathematical thinking, problem solving, mathematical discourse, and abstract reasoning) can help students with ASD enhance their mathematical proficiency. Her dissertation was recognized by the Council for Exceptional Children with the 2020 Division of Research, Student Award for Single Case Designs. Dr. Cox currently collaborates with the GCA lab to explore how students with ASD use problem solving strategies to solve math problems and to investigate effective interventions to improve those problem-solving practices.

View her CV HERE.

Dr. Alicia Saunders

Project Coordinator for Math Scene Investigators (MSI)

Research Scientist at University of North Carolina at Charlotte for Project IMPACT (Inclusions Made Practical for All Children and Teachers)

Alicia Saunders, Ph.D., is the project coordinator for Math Scene Investigators, the lab's IES-funded project. In addition, she is a co-investigator for Project IMPACT, Inclusion Made Practical for All Children and Teachers, and adjunct professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research focuses on coaching educators to use evidence-based practices, as well as providing access to the general curriculum for students with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Saunders has published several articles and book chapters on general curriculum access and alignment, and has presented on this topic at international and national conferences and in-service trainings for teachers. Additionally, she has co-authored five mathematics curricula for students with intellectual disabilities.

View her CV HERE.

Dr. Stacey Hardin

Teaching Faculty at Florida State University


Dr. Stacey E. Hardin, who’s pronouns are she, her, hers, is the program leader of and faculty in the Special Education Teaching program at Florida State University. Prior to working in higher education, Dr. Hardin provided special education services to students in elementary, middle, and high schools. Dr. Hardin has worked in inclusive, resource, and separate setting classrooms and in two different K-12 school districts in the United States. Dr. Hardin currently teaches multiple higher education courses around an array of special education areas. Within each course, Dr. Hardin infuses culturally responsive strategies and discussion throughout each semester to prepare candidates to work with diverse populations. Dr. Hardin’s research interests include females with emotional and behavioral disabilities (EBD), culturally responsive teaching, anti-racist education, and STEM education for minorities and students with disabilities.

You can find her CV on the FSU website.

Deidre Gilley

Doctoral Student

Raise Scholar

Florida State University

Deidre Gilley is doctoral student supported and funded through Project RAISE (Research-based Academic Interventions for Students with Extensive Support Needs) at Florida State University. She previously was a self-contained classroom teacher in Knoxville, Tennessee and taught abroad in Madrid, Spain. While abroad she spent time teaching English, consulting on a secondary school's special education program, and taught at a transition school for adult students. Deidre received her B.A. at Pfeiffer University in North Carolina (2017) and her M.S. at Florida State University in Florida (2018). Her research interests include targeting functional academics for students with extensive support needs. Deidre has been working with the General Curriculum Access (GCA) lab for the last three years under the guidance of Dr. Jenny Root and is assisting in research targeting mathematical problem solving for students with extensive support needs.

View her CV HERE.

Addie McConomy

Doctoral Student

Raise Scholar

Florida State University

Addie McConomy is currently a doctoral student in Special Education. Prior to enrolling in this program, she worked as a classroom teacher and district professional development trainer for 9 years. Addie earned her B.S. from the University of South Florida in Special Education and is a National Board-Certified teacher. Addie is supported by Project RAISE (Research-based Academic Interventions for Students with Extensive Support Needs). Her area of research interest is the implementation fidelity of high-leverage and evidence-based practices in classroom settings. At FSU Addie is a member of the General Curriculum Access lab and participates in research in the area of mathematics problem solving for students with extensive support needs.

View her CV HERE.

Taryn Wade

Doctoral Student

CYCLE Scholar

Florida State University

Taryn Wade is currently a doctoral student in Special Education at Florida State University. Prior to enrolling in this program, she worked as a school psychologist. Taryn earned her B.A. from the University of South Carolina in experimental psychology and her M.S./Ed.S from Florida State University in school psychology. She is currently working toward her BCBA certification. Taryn is supported by a US Department of Education doctoral leadership grant focusing on the language, emergent literacy, and pro-social behavior of children birth to 5 years old who are at risk for developmental delays or have identified disabilities. Her dissertation research focuses on teaching math vocabulary in the context of a shared reading routine to preschool children at risk for language delays.

View her CV HERE.

Denise Dennis

Doctoral Student

Raise Scholar

Florida State University

Denise Dennis is a doctoral student supported and funded through Project RAISE (Research-based Academic Interventions for Students with Extensive Support Needs) at Florida State University. She previously supported elementary students at the School of Arts and Sciences at The Centre and Kate Sullivan both in Tallahassee, Florida. She has worked with students with a wide range of support needs in a variety of settings for the past 15 years. Denise also worked with preschool aged students with and without disabilities. Denise received her B.S. in Elementary Education and Exceptional Student Education at Flagler College Tallahassee Campus (2005) and her M.S. in Special Education at Florida State University (2014). Her research interests include teacher support, family collaboration, and behavioral and academic interventions for students with extensive support needs. Denise is excited to be joining the team working with the General Curriculum Access (GCA) lab under the guidance of Dr. Jenny Root and is currently assisting in research targeting mathematical problem solving for students with extensive support needs.

View her CV HERE.

Alice Williams

Doctoral Student

Raise Scholar

Florida State University

Alice Williams is currently a doctoral student in Special Education. Prior to enrolling in this program, she worked as a Speech-Language Pathologist for five years and classroom teacher for nine years. Alice earned her B.S. and M.S. from Florida State University in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Alice is supported by Project RAISE (Research-based Academic Interventions for Students with Extensive Support Needs). Her area of research interest is the implementation of evidence-based practices in classroom settings with students with extensive support needs. Her focus currently is on working with students who use augmentative and alternative communication and building foundational literacy skills.


View her CV HERE.

Emily Stover

Doctoral Student

Raise Scholar

Florida State University

Emily Stover is currently a doctoral student in Special Education at Florida State University. Prior to beginning her doctoral program, Emily was an educator at the elementary school level. Most recently, she was a Special Education Resource Teacher for students with specific learning disabilities for two years. Prior to that she was a classroom teacher for students with extensive intellectual and developmental disabilities for 7 years. Emily earned both her Bachelor’s degree and Master’s Degree in Special Education from the University of Florida. Her teaching certifications include Elementary K-6 and Exceptional Student Education K-12. She also holds an endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Emily is supported through the Project RAISE (Research-based Academic Interventions for Students with Extensive Support Needs) grant. Her research interests are focused on culturally responsive education focusing on literacy in students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and extensive support needs. In her free time, Emily enjoys spending time with her husband and two young sons and teaching yoga.

View her CV HERE.

Cara Bryan

Graduate Research Assistant

Florida State University


Cara Bryan is currently attending Florida State University and pursing her Masters degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Prior to entering her graduate studies, Cara earned her B.S. in Special Education Teaching from Florida State University (2021). She is currently working towards her endorsement in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Reading, and ESOL. After graduating Cara plans to work in Florida public schools K-6 as a Special Education teacher.

View her resume HERE.

Erika Fundelius

Doctoral Student

Scholarship Candidate

Florida State University

Erika is beginning her third year this fall as a doctoral student at Florida State University’s Visual Disabilities program. Through two decades of working in the field of education in a variety of capacities, she has developed an interest in early intervention and service delivery to children with visual impairments. She finds working in the field of providing services to students who are blind and who have low vision a challenge due to its low incidence status and society's lack of understanding towards its complexities. Her dissertation research focuses on current working knowledge of self-determination and instructional strategies used for instruction of self-determination by teachers of students with visual impairments.

View her CV HERE.

Tyler Chin-Lenn

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Tyler Chin-Lenn is currently an undergraduate student in Criminology at Florida State University. Tyler is currently participating in Florida State University’s Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program focusing on the mathematical studies in General Curriculum Access Lab. Prior to this, Tyler attended The King’s Academy in West Palm Beach Florida, where he graduated with distinctions in Vocal Music and Pre-Law Studies. Following his undergraduate studies, Tyler hopes to complete his master’s in criminology at FSU and attend a preeminent law school in the United States.

View his resume HERE.

Kimeisha Cummings

Graduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Kimeisha Cummings is currently a graduate student in the Autism Spectrum Disorders program at Florida State University. She is originally from Miami, FL and relocated to Tallahassee, FL., where she obtained her Bachelors in Psychology at Florida A&M Univeristy. Currently, Kimeisha works full time as a Director of Operations at an Intermediate Care Facility (ICF), for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She previously served as a Qualified Intellectual Disability Professional (QIDP), creating individualized plans and analyzing data for people with extensive support needs. Kimeisha’s research interests include developing strategies to support collaborative relationships between communities and schools of students with Autism Spectrum Disorders and varying disabilities. In her free time, Kimeisha likes to “Netflix & Chill” with her husband and daughter.

View her resume HERE.

Danielle Morsching

Graduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Danielle Morsching is currently a graduate student in the Autism Spectrum Disorders program at Florida State University. Danielle has thirteen years of classroom teaching experience as both a special education teacher and as a general education teacher. Danielle graduated from Flagler College in 2007 with a dual degree in Elementary Education and Special Education. Danielle's research interests focus on supporting special education teachers who work inclusive settings.

View her resume HERE.

Madison Klick

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Madison Klick is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a double major in Criminal Justice and Biological Science at Florida State University; in junction, Madison is completing a double minor in Chemistry and Underwater Crime Scene Investigations. Madison is part of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and is working with mentor Taryn Wade in a shared reading intervention with the integration of mathematical concepts designed for children aged up to 5 who are at risk for language delays. Prior to joining the FSU community, Madison earned her Associates Degree with honors at Eastern Florida State College as a dual enrollment student. Succeeding her collegiate studies, Madison strives to become a forensic biologist and on-call crime scene diver.

View her resume HERE.

Skylar Ruffner

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Skylar Ruffner is currently an undergraduate student in Cell and Molecular Neuroscience at Florida State University. Skylar is currently participating in Florida State University's Undergraduate Research Program focusing on teaching math vocabulary in the context of a shared reading routing to preschool children at risk for language delays under Taryn Wade. Additionally, Skylar is a member of the Florida State University Honors Program, as well as a platform diver fo the FSU Women's Swimming and Diving Team. Prior to this, Skylar attended San Clemente High School in San Clemente, California where she graduated as a Valedictorian and California Scholarship Foundation Gold Seal Bearer. Following her undergraduate studies, Skylar hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Neurobiology in the context of Human and Family Sciences, as well as pursue research within her field at a preeminent graduate university.

Bianca Hamm

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Bianca is currently a second-year student at Florida State University majoring in Biology with minors in Psychology and Child Development. She became a lab member through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and is assisting doctoral student Deidre Gilley with her research regarding mathematical problem solving for students with extensive support needs. Bianca plans to become a Speech Pathologist with a focus on autism spectrum disorders. She also hopes to conduct research related to improving communication techniques for those with language disorders.

View her resume HERE.

Lily England

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Lily is currently a freshman at Florida State University majoring in Psychology. She became involved with the GCA Lab this year via the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) and is working with doctoral student Deidre Gilley on her project dealing with peer-mediated intervention targeting mathematics for students with disabilities. Lily enjoys working with children in all capacities and devotes her time to pursuing this interest, volunteering with local organizations and becoming involved with related academic study through programs like UROP.

View her resume HERE.

Amanda Ravins

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Amanda is a sophomore at Florida State University and is double majoring in Psychology and Spanish. She is involved in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program this year, and is working with doctoral student Deidre Gilley on her research project regarding peer-meditated mathematical problem solving for students with disabilities. Amanda loves working with children and hopes to one day work in the field of education. Her goal is to work with Elementary or Special Needs students and to conduct research in this area.

View her resume HERE.

Emily Dillon

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Florida State University

Emily is a second-year student at Florida State University majoring in Communication Science and Disorders. She is a participant in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. Emily plans on attending graduate school and obtaining a Ph.D. in Speech Pathology. She hopes to become a college professor and conduct research relating to cognitive communication or Autism, with the goal of creating better outcomes for people with disabilities. She started working with the General Curriculum Access lab in September of 2021, helping doctoral student Deidre Gilley with her research on mathematical problem-solving among students with extensive support needs.

View her resume HERE.