Meet Our Team

Dr. Robert Koegel, Director

Office: Education 2125

Robert Koegel, Ph.D., is an international authority in the area of autism, specializing in language intervention, family support, and school integration.  He has published well over two hundred articles and papers relating to the treatment of autism.  He also has authored 6  books on the treatment of autism and positive behavioral support.  He has been the recipient of numerous multimillion dollar research and training grants from the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Education, and the National Institute of Mental Health. Models of his procedures have been used in public schools and in parent education programs throughout California, the United States, and other countries. Dr. Robert Koegel is presently the Director of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara, where he is also a Professor of Clinical Psychology and a Professor of Special Education.  He has trained many health care and special education leaders in the United States.  

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Lynn Kern Koegel
Dr. Lynn Kern Koegel, Clinical Director

Office: Koegel Autism Center 1145

Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D., is the Clinical Director of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been active in the development of programs to improve communication in children with autism, including the development of first words, development of grammatical structures, and pragmatics.  Dr. Koegel is co-author and co-editor of major textbooks on autism and positive behavioral support and is co-author of the bestselling book Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life (Penguin, 2004). In addition to her published books and articles in the area of communication and language development, she has developed and published procedures and field manuals in the area of self-management and functional analysis that are used in school districts throughout the United States and have been translated in most major languages used throughout the world. Dr. Lynn Koegel is actively involved in providing support and intervention services in school districts, both locally in California and throughout the United States. Dr. Koegel, and her husband Robert, were awarded the first annual recipient of the Sesame Street Children’s Television Workshop Award for brightening the lives of children.  She has also been featured in news reports on television stations throughout the United States and has appeared on episodes of the internationally broadcast ABC television series Supernanny.

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Dr. Ty Vernon, Assessment Clinic Director

Office: Education 2143

Dr. Ty Vernon received his Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology (clinical emphasis) from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2010.  He completed his pre-doctoral internship and post-doctoral fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center (housed within Yale University’s School of Medicine).  During his graduate and post-doctoral training, he acquired training in state-of-the-art autism intervention, assessment, and research methods from two world-renowned programs: UCSB’s Koegel Autism Center and the YCSC’s Autism Program.

He is currently an Assistant Professor of Clinical Psychology within the Department of CCSP.  His primary research interests lie in novel methods for measuring, understanding, and altering the social developmental trajectories of individuals with autism.  He has participated in the empirical investigation of several innovative social interventions, including an early social engagement paradigm for toddlers and their parents, social clubs and groups for school-aged children and adolescents, and vocational training programs for young adults with ASD. 

Dr. Vernon concurrently serves as the Director of the Koegel Autism Center Assessment Clinic, which serves as a clinical and research hub for the detection and measurement of autism-related symptomatology in toddlers, children, adolescents, and adults. Through the use of behavioral coding, standardized assessments, eye-tracking technology, and neurophysiological measures, his team aims to improve diagnostic precision, closely monitor response to intervention efforts, and increase our global understanding of autism spectrum disorders.

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Samantha Solomon, Clinic Coordinator

Office: Koegel Autism Center Front Desk

Samantha Solomon began working at the UCSB Koegel Autism Center in May, 2015 as an undergraduate research assistant analyzing the effectiveness of a social skills training intervention for adolescents on the autism spectrum. Shortly after, she began her current position as Clinic Coordinator and will also continue to work as a research assistant throughout the school year. She will complete her bachelor's degree in Psychology with a minor in Elementary Education in June 2016. Samantha will be teaching special education in Philadelphia beginning this summer through Teach for America. She will be working towards her M.S.Ed of Urban Education with an emphasis in Special Education from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Kristen Ashbaugh, M.A., Head of Asperger Research Program
Sunny Kim
Dr. Sunny Kim, Head of School Professional Socialization Training Project

Office: Koegel Autism Center 1115

Dr. Sunny Kim received her Ph.D. in Education with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) in 2014.  She is also a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA).  Throughout graduate school, Dr. Kim worked closely under Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel, where she received extensive training in Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT).  She currently works at the Koegel Autism Center as a program supervisor and is also the head of the School Professional Socialization Training Project at UCSB.  Dr. Kim has received several extramural grants and published several peer-reviewed journal articles on improving social skills in individuals with ASD.  Her research primarily focuses on social skills training for students with ASD, school staff training, improving social pragmatic skills for individuals with ASD, and developing effective social intervention models that can be implemented in the school setting.  

Amber Miller
Amber Miller, M.A., Research Coordinator
Anahita Navab
Anahita Navab, Research Coordinator
Avery Voos
Avery Voos, Research Coordinator
Zak Koplen
Erin Engstrom, DOR Project Coordinator
Jordan Ko
Amy Barrett
Kelsey Oliver
Ben Ross
Office: 1120 Koegel Autism Center

Please click here for more information about Ben

Shereen Cohen


Office: Koegel Autism Center 1144

I was born and raised in San Diego, and earned my Bachelors degree at the University of California, San Diego. I completed my honors thesis on face processing in adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and thus discovered my passion for ASD research. I was a research assistant and lab coordinator at UCSD for three years, then moved to Hawaii to earn my Master's degree in clinical psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. While in that program, I gained experience at the Center for Cognitive Behavior Therapy, conducting assessments and some CBT for children and adolescents with various emotional and behavioral concerns, as well as at the Easter Seals Hawaii Autism Center as an ABA therapist for children with ASD. I am now beginning my doctoral training at UCSB and am excited to begin work in research and treatment at the Koegel Autism Center.