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TEAM Autism Research Center

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Graduate Research Assistants

Emily A. Corley, B.A.



Lab Manager / Graduate Research Assistant

Emily A. Corley is a driven management professional with over 15 years of intensive experience in the costumer service industry. Proven abilities in leadership furthered her career path within the mutli-unit hospitality industry. Her passion to learn and desire for continued success motivated her to further her education. Emily earned her Bachelor's in psychology at UTSA with a minor in early intervention, where she is currently a Master's student in special education with a concentration in ABA. Emily has presented at local research conferences and has won awards for her work. She wants to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is currently acquiring supervised field experience through ABA research and service at the UTSA Autism Research Center with a focus on young children and the assessment and treatment of pediatric feeding disorders. Specifically, her masters thesis will further examine the effects of lag schedules on mand variability.


Suzanne Byrne, M.Ed., BCBA



Graduate Research Assistant

Suzanne Byrne is a Licensed and Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a passionate educator and advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities. After completing her BA in Linguistics and Psychology at Rutgers University, Suzanne began a career teaching life skills to adults with developmental disabilities in NY. After seven years of field work with adults, she decided to pursue an advanced degree in Special Education. Receiving a fellowship to attend the University of Texas at Austin, Suzanne moved to Texas with her family. While earning a M.Ed. in Special Education with a focus on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, she began working as a teacher at the Moore-Weis Children’s Center, and as an in-home applied behavior analysis provider with Aspire. In 2009, Suzanne partnered with three parents to open a non-profit school for children with autism. She opened William’s Community School in 2011, creating an integrated therapy model for education where speech therapists, occupational therapists, behavior analysts, and teachers work collaboratively on interventions to help students learn quickly and efficiently. She is a founding board member of MindSET for All, a non-profit organization that will focus on development of funding for research and technology that can supplement learning for individuals with autism. Suzanne is honored to join the team at SBRG and hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in the near future. Suzanne's projects will include conducting research on the assessment and treatment of pediatric feeding disorders. Currently Suzanne is leading the development of a new Infant EEG Lab to study early indicators of autism and other developmental disorders. 


Sarah Liberty



Graduate Research Assistant

Sarah graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. Her undergraduate research experience included working on medical desensitization with adults with severe disabilities and utilizing constructional affection training with aggressive/scared animals. She has worked as a Registered Behavior Technician for 4 years in various settings including public schools, in-home and clinics. Sarah has experience working as an employment specialist for the Texas Workforce Commission helping teenagers and adults with disabilities find employment. Sarah is continuing her education at UTSA to acquire a master’s degree in special education with a concentration in ABA. Sarah’s goal after graduation is to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Sarah is currently focusing her research on metacontingencies and the experimental analysis of culture.


Joey Maldonado, M.Ed.



Research Assistant

Joey Maldonado has worked with children diagnosed with autism and learning disabilities for 15 years. She is a recent graduate from UTSA, receiving a Master’s degree in special education with an ABA certificate. Her graduate research experience includes working with learners diagnosed with EBD and ADHD within the inclusion classroom setting at various San Antonio public schools. Joey is now a teacher in the Medina Valley Independent School District and continues to pursue certification as a behavior analyst. Her focus is the application of ABA using peer-mediated learning strategies within a public school setting to support academic and prosocial behaviors of individuals diagnosed with autism. 


Kiana Whitlock, B.A.



Graduate Research Assistant

Kiana Whitlock is a registered behavior technician and has worked with children with autism and other developmental disorders for two years. She graduated with a Bachelor's degree in sociology with a minor in communication from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is continuing her education at UTSA and pursuing a Master's degree in special education with a concentration in ABA and seeking to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Kiana's masters thesis will further evaluate behavioral interventions for pediatric feeding problems.





Javier Torres, B.A.



Graduate Research Assistant

Javier Torres graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Multidisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at San Antonio. He has worked with children with autism and other developmental disorders as a Registered Behavior Technician for nearly two years and as a swimming instructor for 5 years. Javier wants to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is continuing his education at UTSA by pursing a master’s degree in Special Education with a concentration in ABA. Javier’s master’s thesis will evaluate behavioral strategies for increasing correct responses in foundational swimming techniques in children with autism.