Mary Beth Bruder, PhD (Major Advisor)
Mary Beth Bruder has been in the early childhood intervention field since 1976. She began her career as an early childhood intervention public school teacher in VT. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in Developmental Disabilities in 1983. She was an assistant professor of early childhood special education at Virginia Commonwealth University, and since 1986, Dr. Bruder has been at the University of CT School of Medicine where she is a professor in Community Medicine and Health Promotion, Pediatrics and Educational Psychology. She currently directs the University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service.
Dr. Bruder has directed over 75 federal and state research demonstration and training grants and contracts, and is on the editorial board of several peer reviewed journals in disabilities. She is the editor of Infants and Young Children and she is on the board of the International Society of Early Intervention.
Dr. Bruder is a recognized leader in the early childhood intervention and has an extensive history in the UCEDD Network. She is also the parent of children with disabilities.
Nicholas Gelbar, PhD, BCBA-D
Nick Gelbar is a tenure-track assistant professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center and the research director for the UConn-UCEDD. His research focuses on improving secondary transition outcomes for individuals with disabilities in particular individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. He graduated with his Ph.D in School Psychology from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Gelbar is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral Level (BCBA-D), a Nationally Certified School Psychologist, and a Licensed Psychologist. Previously, he worked as a high school social studies teacher. Dr. Gelbar has published 12 articles in peer-reviewed journals with an additional five articles under review. He serves as the Publications and Communications Chair for the Division 16 (School Psychologists) Early Career Workgroup of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Gelbar also serves as the internal evaluator for the OSEP Early Childhood Personnel Center.
Tara Lutz, PhD, MPH, CHES®
Tara is a public health postdoctoral fellow at the UConn UCEDD. She completed her Ph.D. in public health through the Department of Community Medicine and Health Care at UConn Health School of Medicine. She received a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the College of the Holy Cross. She received her Masters of Public Health from UConn. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES). Her research area of interest is health promotion, specifically comprehensive sex education, for individuals with developmental disabilities. Before joining the UCEDD she spent five years as a graduate assistant in Health Education serving the UConn Storrs student body where her responsibilities included co-supervising peer health educators, educating students on a variety of wellness topics, and guest lecturing in First Year Experience classes. She has co-presented on sexual health and disability topics at national conferences and other trainings such as True Colors, the National Sex Education Conference, the Institute of Sexuality Education and Enlightenment, American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities Annual Conference. She plans to pursue a career dedicated to health education and health promotion for individuals with developmental disabilities.
Linda Rammler, MEd, PhD
Linda Rammler, has over 35 years of experience in disabilities. She has been involved with inclusive education for more than 20 years and her activities over the last two decades have involved consulting to public schools in the areas of inclusive education systems change with the provision of supports for individual classes and students, focusing on those with Autism Spectrum Differences in alignment with best practices in education for ALL learners. Dr. Rammler has provided training and technical assistance to school staffs in effective tools for successful inclusion, collaborating with teams and families throughout New England and beyond. She is the spouse of a person with disabilities and has been a foster parent of youth with behavioral health needs.