Michelle Ragozzine, EdM, BCBA
Michelle Ragozzine is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from Providence College and her Master of Education from Harvard Graduate School of Education. Michelle was initially trained in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) by Dr. Alan Kazdin at Yale University and later through the University of West Florida. While working directly for Dr. Kazdin, Michelle was trained in Parent Management Training (PMT). PMT is a highly successful, empirically supported parent education model designed to reduce behavioral excesses in children.
After leaving Yale, Michelle coordinated an ABA program for children over the age three in the state of California. As the coordinator she trained and supervised other behavior analysts and direct therapy staff. Additionally she performed Functional Behavioral Assessments, completed developmental evaluations on children of all ages, and consulted regularly with school districts. While in California Michelle was trained in Pivotal Response Training (PRT), a naturalistic ABA intervention used to teach children on the autism spectrum.
Since returning to CT, Michelle has consulted for school districts and acted as the director of an ABA program in the state of CT. Additional specialties include Picture Exchange Communication (PECS), experimental analysis, staff training and supervision, program development, and positive behavioral support.
Director of Staff Development
Caitlan Mezerewski, MA
Caitlan earned her Master's Degree from the University of West Florida, where she completed coursework required to become a BCBA. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health from Southern Connecticut State University.
Caitlan has been providing ABA services to children of all ages with autism and related disorders since 2009. Prior to deciding to make this work her career, she volunteered for programs that provided services to children with special needs for 6 years.
Caitlan works closely with each staff member and families giving extra support on all PRT based skills. Caitlan is dedicated, enthusiastic, and feels very fortunate to be able to work in a field that she feels so passionate about.
Justin Lopes, MS, BCBA
Justin received Bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Biology from the University of Rhode Island, with a focus on experimental design and statistical analysis. In August of 2016 he received a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism from The Sage Colleges. In December of 2016 Justin received board certification from the Behavior Analysis Certification Board and currently practices as a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Connecticut.
Justin has developed, supervised, and implemented ABA interventions in home programs, classrooms, and in the community since 2012. Prior to joining the field of ABA, he worked for 7 years as a direct support professional for adults with developmental disabilities. As a direct support professional, he discovered his passion for helping differently abled people lead happy and independent lives. Justin looks forward to continuing in this vein using the tools provided by the science of applied behavior analysis.
Justin's current areas of interest include the functional assessment and skills based treatment of significant problem behavior, developing pivotal behaviors in early learners, and improving treatment outcomes by building parent participation into programming.
Kelly Vornkahl, MA, BCBA
Kelly received her bachelor’s degree from University of Bridgeport in Psychology. She worked as a therapeutic counselor for about two years and is certified in therapeutic crisis intervention. Kelly has experience working with a diverse population of children in an intensive outpatient setting in which she helped to provide individuals with alternative behaviors and coping skills. She has also volunteered at the Center for Human Services.
Kelly has received her Master's degree from the University of West Florida. Kelly is excited to continue working with children and advance her career with the MR&A team.
Lauren earned her Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Psychology, Sociology, and Public Health from Southern Connecticut State University. She is currently pursuing a certification as a BCaBA .
Lauren has always been passionate about working with children who have autism and is very fortunate to have the opportunity to pursue that passion. She has been in the field of ABA since 2013, and has grown immensely in the field and has gained the knowledge and experience necessary to provide quality ABA services to children with autism. Lauren’s experience continues to be rewarding and gratifying and fulfills her life with enjoyment.
Kinder Freedman, BCBA
Kinder Freedman is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the Sacred Heart University and her Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from North Eastern University.
Kinder began her career providing ABA services as a behavior technician at a school designed for children and teenagers with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), developmental disabilities, and related neurological impairments. While working in the school environment, Kinder was trained directly by Speech and Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, and Board Certified Behavior Analysts in a variety of learning methodologies. After four years working in the school environment, Kinder continued her career as an ABA therapist providing direct 1:1 ABA therapy for children and teenagers in their homes and community environments.
Currently, Kinder practices as a Licensed Behavior Analyst in the state of Connecticut. Kinder’s current areas of interest include Pivotal Response Training (PRT), functional based interventions, and verbal behavior.
Lisa Castellana, ABA Therapist, RBT
Lisa Chiodi is a recent graduate of Iona College, receiving her B.A. in Speech Pathology and Audiology. While at Iona Lisa was responsible for creating full Speech Assessments which also included suggesting therapy for her assigned client. She also completed an internship at a public school in Greenwich as part of her Bachelor's degree. Through her tenure at Iona, Lisa’s compassion for children with developmental disabilities proved what an asset she would be to the field of ABA Therapy.
Michael Magnotta, ABA Therapist
In 2014, Michael received his Bachelor of Arts in Criminology with a minor in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University. He is attending graduate school for his Master’s in Behavior Analysis, in pursuit of his BCBA. Michael is certified in CPR, First Aid, AED, and PMT. He also possesses a DCF Medication Certification.
Since graduating from CCSU, Michael has worked as a job coach with young individuals on the autism spectrum. In this position, he was responsible for teaching life skills and implementing behavior modification plans. Michael is a compassionate and driven person who enjoys assisting others and is an integral part of the MR&A team.
Zuzana Daure, ABA Therapist
Zuzana has been working with children of all ages for over 20 years, in roles such as camp counselor, tutor, full time nanny, and mother of two boys 8 and 10. She graduated from UConn with a BA in General Studies and is currently working on her RBT training. Zuzana became interested in Applied Behavior Analysis after observing the life-changing impact that high quality services can have on children and their families. She loves helping kids thrive and grow to maximize their potential through ABA.
Morgan Colombo, ABA Therapist
Morgan is a new graduate from Franklin Pierce University. She graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Psychology. While attending Morgan also minored in Public Health. During her college career she participated in the Peer Leadership Program as a Peer Leader where she counseled her fellow peers during their first year at college.
Morgan completed an internship at the Knights of Columbus. Here she worked on their learning management system and created Leader Training Webinars. This internship helped her develop a strong work ethic and compassion for helping others.
In her free time she enjoys snowboarding, glassblowing, and spending time with her friends. She is excited to begin her career in ABA therapy here at Michelle Ragozzine & Associates.
Justin Lee, ABA Therapist
Justin is a recent graduate of Sacred Heart University. It was here he received his Masters in Elementary Education and his Bachelors of Science in Psychology. While attending Sacred Heart University, Justin worked with children with developmental delays and disabilities. He also took courses in child development, sociology, and music therapy techniques.
At Sacred Heart, Justin completed field study experiments and published behavioral therapy research. He gained experience in progressive, general, and multi-cultural educational classrooms. Justin's dream is to ultimately work with children in orphanages who need developmental and educational resources.
Valentina Rocha, ABA Therapist, RBT
Valentina Rocha graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2017 studying both psychology and speech language pathology. She is bilingual in both English and Spanish. During her undergrad Valentina participated in many extracurricular activities such as the “Are You Autism Aware” club, psychology club, operation smile and national student speech language hearing association club, to name a few.
Valentina is currently interning with Lindsay Scott SLP and is hoping to continue her studies in speech language pathology. She has also gained experience volunteering with children and teens with special needs in the Acting Up Theater Company's summer camp in Easton. Her dedication and passion will make her a great asset to the MR&A team and she is excited to see herself grow in this field!
Douglas Bonenfant, ABA Therapist, RBT
Doug is a recent graduate from the University of Miami where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Management. While at UM Doug was a Research Assistant where he observed children’s behaviors in classroom settings while recording data in order to improve classroom behavior. During his summers he was a director at a sports camp and was also involved in a student-run organization called Camp Kesem which is a weeklong summer camp for kids whose parents who have been affected by cancer.
Since graduation Doug has worked as a counselor for adults on the autism spectrum. In this position he was responsible for teaching and assisting individuals in performing the basic functions of independent living. He is very excited to join the MR&A team and looks forward to learning everything it takes to become an outstanding ABA Therapist.
Jazmine Caraballo, ABA Therapist
Jazmine received her Bachelor's Degree in Speech Language Pathology and Audiology from Iona College in 2016. While at Iona, Jazmine gained experience with children through their tutoring program which serviced local children. She was also able to complete an extended observation with a special education preschool class. It was here that she developed her compassion and love for working with children with special needs.
Since graduating from Iona, Jazmine worked as a preschool teacher in a community early childhood program in CT. While she found this work very rewarding, she ultimately decided to leave and pursue a career working with the special needs population. She is eager to learn all she can from everyone and begin her journey in the field of ABA Therapy.
Amber Reese, ABA Therapist, RBT
Amber received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Composite Sciences from East Carolina University. She is pursuing experience in ABA Therapy and striving to become an BCBA. Amber is from North Carolina where she first began working with kids with autism at the Autism Society of NC. There she found a passion to improve the well being of children with disabilities and to bring advocacy to autism within the community. Her plans in Connecticut are to grow as an ABA Therapist and travel to various places where these needs are scarce.
Ashley Brunner, ABA Therapist
Ashley received her Liberal Studies degree with concentrations in Psychology and Biology from Western New England University in 2016. There she was also a member of the women’s lacrosse team. Ashley is now enrolled in graduate school to receive her masters in Autism & Applied Behavior Analysis.
Prior to starting with MR&A Ashley worked for a public school providing one-on-one support to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She is eager to learn from everyone and apply the knowledge she learns as she earns her degree to best help those she is working with.
Lakenya Watford, ABA Therapist
Lakenya obtained her Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Inclusive Education and is committed to continuing her education at Southern Connecticut State University. She is also a mother to a vivacious and beautiful little girl.
She previously worked as a preschool teacher for over six years and has a passion for supporting children’s personal goals and development. During her years as an early childhood educator, she encountered rewarding experiences and outcomes with children who have special needs such as autism, developmental delays, intellectual disabilities, ADHD, and emotional disturbances.
During this time she witnessed the power of collaboration between families, specialists, teachers, and therapists who contribute to the well being and enrichment of the whole child. Lakenya is thrilled to translate her experience, education and skills into her role as an ABA therapist at Michelle Ragozzine & Associates.
Leslie Torres, ABA Therapist, RBT
By December 2018, Leslie will have earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology under the Applied Psychology & Assessment (AP&A) track from Southern Connecticut State University. While attending SCSU, Leslie was a research assistant at the SCSU Reading Evaluation and Development of Skills (R.E.A.D.S) laboratory. As a research assistant, she has conducted standardized reading assessments and one-on-one dialogic reading (DR) interventions with children in Kindergarten through 2nd grade in a local elementary school.
During her undergraduate career, she has presented at the undergraduate research conference at SCSU and Psychology Day at Central Connecticut State University under the supervision of R.E.A.D.S lab for their research concerning the exploration of vocabulary differences between two elementary schools. By having a background working with elementary school children in the READS lab, MR&A accepted Leslie as an intern to learn how to conduct ABA with children of different ages. Her intern experience at MR&A has been so great that she plans on pursuing a career in school psychology with MS/EdS concentration while completing her BCBA.
Katherine Dussan, ABA Therapist, RBT
Katherine Dussan received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from West Virginia University in 2013. She is currently enrolled in the ABA Masters program at University of Saint Joseph, where she is in her second year with an anticipated graduation date of 2020. Upon graduation, Katherine plans to pursue her BCBA.
Once graduating from WVU, Katherine began working as a toddler teacher and then moved on to a paraprofessional/mental health worker role in a special education school. It was at that school that she began working with children on the autism spectrum and implementing behavior plans. While doing this, Katherine grew a passion for her job and became a Registered Behavior Technician. Once getting this certification, she continued to implement behavior plans while also creating academic programs. As Katherine learned more about ABA she knew that this was what she wanted to pursue a career in. Katherine is really excited to work in the home setting and continue to learn ABA hands on in the field.
Ivana Izzo, ABA Therapist
Ivana will receive her BS in Behavioral Studies with a concentration in Psychology from Manhattanville College in May. While at Manhattanville she worked for a LCSW for two years where she was able to work with children with various behavioral and developmental disabilities. During this time she realized she wanted to pursue a career working with special needs children. She has always been passionate about working with kids and is super excited to be an ABA Therapist at MR&A!
Alyssa Santos, ABA Therapist
Alyssa graduated from Sacred Heart University with a Masters in Teaching in 2013 as well as a Bachelors in Psychology in 2012.
After college, she taught students in grades 3-5 for four years in public school. She has also taught students in grades 3-8 at a therapeutic day school for one year.
She recently decided to change career paths and that is how she found the world of ABA! She is excited to continue to develop her passion for working with children in a different setting.
In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach, hiking, cooking, and spending time with her Portuguese and Italian families. She is looking forward to learning as much as she can about this field from her clients and coworkers.
Amy Weymer, ABA Therapist
Amy received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Counseling and Mental Health from Albertus Magnus College. She completed her practicum with Milford Youth and Family Services, and an internship with the school psychologist at an elementary school in Milford. During this time, Amy gained valuable, hands-on experience working with children with autism, learning disabilities, and emotional disturbance disorders. This field experience solidified Amy’s desire to work with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and special needs.
In addition to Amy’s education, she previously volunteered at High Hopes Therapeutic Riding Academy in Old Lyme. While at High Hopes, she worked with children of all ages with special needs as they increased their confidence and self-esteem through learning to ride horses and taking care of them.
Amy is very happy to combine her education and love of children as an ABA therapist at MRA!
Alanna Mossberg, ABA Therapist
Alanna graduated from the University of Rhode Island in May 2019 with her Bachelors of Science in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus in family and community settings. She also received a minor in Psychology. While attending the university she took numerous classes related to human development, child development, and many different psychology courses.
Alanna was also an intern at the Woonsocket Head Start. It was here that she was able to gain experience as a Mental Health Specialist. She worked with young children with developmental, behavioral, and emotional difficulties.
Alanna has a passion for working with children and is excited to be joining the Michelle Ragozzine and Associates Team as an ABA Therapist.
Lisa Benz, Client Services Coordinator
Lisa studied psychology at the University of Connecticut until moving home and continuing her studies at Southern Connecticut State University. Lisa is currently a Milford resident with three beautiful children. She has prior experience as an office manager at a mid-size company. She also was an account executive and department manager at a law firm, managing multiple sites and staff members. She briefly worked in sales as a district consultant before finding a home at Michelle Ragozzine & Associates. Her passion for children and their well-being is a perfect fit for our industry.
Daniel Kalweit, Administrative Assistant
Daniel Kalweit received his BS in Marketing from Southern Connecticut State University in 2004. Since graduating Daniel has gained work experience in a myriad of different arenas including everything from Radiology Tech Aide to General Manager of a Comedy Club. Along with being well versed in Microsoft Office Suite he is also organized and punctual. Dan has been performing stand up comedy since 2009 and can be seen at shows across the country.
Patricia Candrea, Practice Manager
Patricia graduated Magna Cum Laude from Pace University in 2014 with degrees in Sociology and Anthropology. While attending Pace University she was able to work at Blythedale Children’s Hospital and the Children’s Hospital at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Working at these two institutions launched her passion for the caring and health of children. After graduation Patricia worked as a low vision consultant at a retina practice in Old Greenwich. There she advocated for patients who were legally blind to obtain social initiatives and assistance for them.
Patricia then went on to become a clinical team manager and surgeon’s assistant at an ophthalmology practice associated with Yale-New Haven Hospital. At this practice Patricia cared for patients in clinic and in the operating suites at Yale’s ambulatory operating room. She also managed the clinical and administrative staff of this large surgical practice. It was here that Patricia developed a passion for the behind the scenes work of practice management.