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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Dr. Whitney Detar, Head of Adult Peer Mentor Program
Emily Basta, Clinic Coordinator

Office: Koegel Autism Center Front Desk

Emily Basta began working at the UCSB Koegel Autism Center in January, 2014 as an undergraduate research assistant. This summer, she began her current position as Clinic Coordinator and will continue to work as a clinical research assistant this academic year. She will complete her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Speech and Hearing Sciences in March, 2015. Emily is currently applying to master’s programs in speech-language pathology and hopes to work as a speech-language pathologist for children once she has completed her degree.

Kristen Ashbaugh, M.A., Head of Asperger Research Program
Jessica Bradshaw, M.A., Head of Autism Infancy Project
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, Program Supervisor
Avery Voos
Avery Voos, Research Coordinator
Zak Koplen
Erin Engstrom, Program Supervisor
Jordan Ko
Amy Barrett
Kelsey Oliver
Ben Ross
Office: 1120 Koegel Autism Center

Please click here for more information about Ben