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.
Britta Wehmann-Bell, MA, BCBA
Britta Wehmann-Bell is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She received her Bachelor's Degree in Psychology from the University of Rochester. She then began working at the New England Center for Children in Massachusetts as a Coordinator and Program Specialist. While working at NECC Britta received her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University.
After leaving Massachusetts, she came to Connecticut as a school-based consultant. She gained experience working with children and young adults with special needs in residential programs and school settings. Britta developed and implemented behavior and academic programs for children and young adults with autism and related disorders. Britta also has experience conducting functional behavior assessments and developing programs. In addition she has provided staff training, supervision, and family training.
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 has experience in school and home settings. Caitlan is a dedicated and enthusiastic therapist, and feels very fortunate to be able to work in a field that she feels so passionate about.
Justin Lopes, MA, 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.
Justin has worked in ABA classrooms teaching various communication and life skills since 2012. Prior to that he worked for 7 years as a direct support professional for adults with developmental disabilities. It was there 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.
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.
Kelly Welcome, BCaBA
Kelly is a Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA). She earned her Bachelor's Degree in 2002 from Albertus Magnus College. In undergrad, Kelly studied Psychology with a concentration in Art Therapy. After, she went on to attend the University of North Texas where she completed the coursework necessary to sit for the BCaBA exam in 2008. Kelly recently received her masters in Curriculum and Instruction (Applied Behavior Analysis) (MEd) from Arizona State University.
Kelly has also been trained in PECS (Picture Exchange Communication System). Kelly has been providing ABA services since 1998 to children ages 18 months through 14-years-old, and with varying disabilities. She has provided these services in both, home and school settings. Kelly has experience conducting assessments, including the ASIEP, Brigance, VB-MAPP, and ABLLS. She is well versed in the PPT process, as well as the development of goals for IEPs. She has also created behavior intervention plans (BIPs) and trained staff to implement those plans with fidelity. Kelly is excited for even more new experiences 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.
Lisa Chiodi, ABA Therapist
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.
Jessica Evarts, ABA Therapist
Jessica earned her Bachelor's degree in Psychology and Elementary/Special Education from Marist College, Poughkeepsie, NY in 2016. In addition to her studies in New York, Jessica had the pleasure of studying abroad in Florence, Italy for nearly half a year. She was able to travel throughout Europe which was an amazing opportunity.
Jessica completed a semester of student teaching in both a general education classroom as well as a social-emotional classroom, where she was able to work with children of various needs and backgrounds. This is where she became interested in ABA, and realized it was what she wanted to do. Since her graduation, Jessica has been working as an ABA Therapist for children with autism in home settings. She is extremely excited to be working at MR&A!
Dana Lombardo, ABA Therapist
Dana graduated from Sacred Heart University in 2013 with a bachelors in general studies and a concentration in psychology. She has a brother with special needs and has always been a big advocate for Autism Awareness. Growing up with a brother who is on the spectrum has changed Dana's whole outlook on life and the needs of others. She has volunteered for Special Olympics,
special needs golf, bikes for kids and many other related causes supporting her brother and his group of friends with intellectual disabilities. She wants to continue to spread Autism Awareness to her community and society. Dana is hoping to pursue a Master's degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and eventually open her own private practice.
Valentina Rocha, ABA Therapist
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
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.
Shayla Richardson, ABA Therapist
Shayla graduated with her Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a minor in Biology from Virginia State University in 2014. She is currently enrolled in Capella University to obtain her Master’s in Applied Behavior Analysis with a concentration in early child intervention. With her master’s degree, her goal is to become a BCBA in hopes of opening her own Autism center. Shayla is also First Aid and PMT certified and S.U.P.P.O.R.T trained
From 2008-2010, Shayla worked with New Haven’s youth struggling with behavioral and educational problems. From 2014-2016 she provided services to clients through Connecticut’s Department of Developmental Disabilities in group homes and in the community. Shayla has also provided services to children through the Department of Children and Families by conducting supervised visits and parent training. Additionally, she worked with patients through the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, helping them avoid crises by utilizing appropriate coping techniques. In 2016-2017, Shalya moved to Richmond, Virginia to be an ABA Therapist where she completed a 40 hour RBT training. She also worked as a Therapeutic Counselor for children diagnosed with autism that need assistance with their behaviors at home and in the school setting. In the summer of 2017, Shayla moved back to Connecticut and provided services to children in-homes as a behavior technician. She also worked for a public school district as a Behavior Technician for special education students diagnosed with autism who experience a range of behaviors.
Diamond Laing, ABA Therapist
Diamond has recently earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Forensic Psychology from Bay Path University. During her time at Bay Path University Diamond completed an internship with a non-profit organization where she worked with gang and street involved youth. She also has experience working with children who have academic and behavioral challenges in school. During her time at Bay Path University Diamond has gained the knowledge and skills to work with children and late adolescents. She is a strong advocate for positive youth development and plans to continue her education and earn her Master’s Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
Amber Reese, ABA Therapist
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.
Kelsey Ettinger, ABA Therapist
Kelsey is a recent graduate from the University of Bridgeport where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. She plans to continue her education and earn her masters in Applied Behavioral Analysis which will allow her to pursue becoming a BCBA. During her time at UB Kelsey interned at Joseph A. Foran High school alongside the School Psychologist where she was able to work directly with adolescents who had developmental, as well as behavioral disabilities.
Kelsey has worked with children and adults in multiple capacities and has a special place in her heart for working with the special needs population. She was the Assistant Director of Special needs at the Wilton Family YMCA, and has also worked and volunteered for programs including friends and buddies and Roaring Twenties, which both focus on inclusion and creating a fun environment for gifted children. Kelsey has also been a part of The Special Olympics and has helped coach bocce and track with special needs individuals. She is eager to learn from everyone and start working as an working as an ABA Therapist for MR&A
Keith Pirraglia, ABA Therapist
Keith graduated from Western Connecticut State University in 2014 with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. He then graduated from Northeastern University in 2016 with a Master’s of Science in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis with aspirations to become a BCBA in the future.
Keith has been working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum for the last 5 years, with ages ranging from 4-21 years old. He has experience in the school, community, and home settings providing therapy and creating behavior intervention plans, writing reports, and developing academic and social programs. Keith looks forward to creating new experiences and advancing his knowledge and career with the MR&A team!
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.
Leslie Torres, ABA Therapist
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
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.
Lisa Benz, Office Manager
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.
Lauren Szenina, Practice Manager
Lauren is excited to be joining Michelle Ragozzine & Associates for a second time to help in the administration department. She has a passion for helping people and making a difference in the world in any small way she can. She has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Northern Arizona University, and spent two years providing ABA services to children with autism in Connecticut. When she moved to Colorado, she decided to pursue a career in publishing, which she worked on for several years. After seeing a career counselor, she feels very happy with the decision to pursue a career in nursing. While she is taking prerequisite classes, she is glad to be contributing to the team of MR&A once again.