The Koegel Autism Center Team

To obtain more information about our research projects, clinical programs, and other services, please email our clinic coordinators at or call us at 805.893.2049. Please do not contact the directors for this information.

Dr. Ty Vernon, Center Director

Office: Education 2143

Dr. Ty Vernon is the Director of the Koegel Autism Center.  His primary research interests lie in novel methods for measuring, understanding, and altering the social developmental trajectories of individuals with autism.  He focuses on the development and evaluation of  innovative social interventions, including early social engagement paradigms for toddlers and their parents and socialization programs and groups for school-aged children, adolescents, and adults with ASD.

Dr. 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.  

Dr. Vernon's faculty page

Dr. Anna Krasno, Clinical Director

Office: Koegel Autism Center 1146

Dr. Krasno is the Clinical Director of the Koegel Autism Center. She oversees the clinical training and supervision of the Autism Center staff as well as designs and implements clinical service initiatives.

Dr. Krasno is a licensed psychologist and received her Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology (clinical emphasis) from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2014. Prior to her graduate training, she spent two years as a Donald J. Cohen Fellow in Developmental Social Neuroscience at the Yale Child Study Center's Autism Program (housed within Yale University School of Medicine). She completed her pre-doctoral internship at Children's Health Council in Palo Alto, CA, and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. She obtained her post-doctoral training at Child Abuse Listening and Mediation (CALM) in Santa Barbara, CA.

Clinic Coordinators
Aniela Bordofsky, Clinic Coordinator

Phone: (805) 893-2049

Aniela is currently a fourth-year undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara pursuing a B.A. in History and a minor in Applied Psychology. She hopes to continue her education in Clinical Psychology after graduation and is interested in working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the future.

Nicolas Cristallo, Clinic Coordinator
Phone: (805) 893-2049

Nicolas is currently a fourth-year undergraduate at UC Santa Barbara pursuing a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Education. He hopes to continue his studies in Clinical Psychology after he graduates.

Graduate Student Researchers
Daina Tagavi, M.A.


Daina is a doctoral student with an emphasis in clinical psychology. Her research interests include the development, adaptation, dissemination, and implementation of behavioral treatments for children diagnosed with or at-risk for autism spectrum disorder.

Anthony Osuna


Anthony is a first-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology emphasis under Dr. Ty Vernon. As an undergraduate at UCLA, he majored in Psychology and minored in Applied Developmental Psychology. He was also a McNair Research Scholar, a research intensive program for under-represented minorities, where he studied personality in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). After graduating, he spent two years working with Dr. Connie Kasari at the UCLA Semel Institute of Neuroscience helping with projects that focus on families with children with ASD living in under-resourced contexts. His current research interests include the intersection of culture and ASD -- specifically, how to better understand and improve the experiences of under-served families with children with ASD.

Emily Ferguson

Emily is a first-year doctoral student in the clinical psychology emphasis working with Dr. Ty Vernon. Her research interests include the design and dissemination of social interventions for individuals with ASD, along with the development of novel measures to track individual responses to intervention. She is also interested in developing methods to teach emotion regulation skills to individuals with ASD with a range of verbal and cognitive abilities.

Jessica Hai, M.A.


Jessica is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk studies. Her current research at UCSB centers on cultural competence and inclusivity of Autism Spectrum Disorders and the effects on the processes of assessment and intervention services.

Adam Garber, B.A.
Katerina Ford, M.A.


I am a doctoral student in the Education program with an emphasis in Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies. Some of my research interests include: remote interventions and trainings through Video-Conferencing Technology (VCT), social conversation skills, independent living skills for adults with ASD, supervision of behavioral interventions, and introducing Pivotal Response Treatment in countries that lack services for individuals with autism.

Samantha Poyser, B.A.


Samantha is a second-year doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk studies. Her interests include academic motivation, educational inclusion, and social interventions for school-aged children. She earned her B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology at UCSB in 2015, and has spent 8 years in a program to match individuals with disabilities with “peer buddies” at high-schools and within the community.

Kaitlynn Penner, M.S.


Kaitlynn is a doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disability, and Risk studies. She earned a B.S. in Special Education from South Carolina State University in 2014 and a M.S. in Special Education with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Florida International University in 2016. Her interests include improving the cultural relevance of interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, specifically in the area of parent education and treatment acceptability.

Erin Engstrom, M.A.


Erin is a student in the Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology program. Her current research interests include empathy expression in individuals with ASD, and improving higher education and employment outcomes for adolescents and adults with ASD. She is specfically interested in understanding these areas through the lens of neurodiversity while utilizing and improving strength-based, motivational behavioral interventions.

Shereen Cohen, M.A.


Shereen is a doctoral student in the clinical psychology program at UCSB. She earned her B.S. in Psychology at UC San Diego, and her M.A. in clinical psychology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. After completing her undergraduate studies at UCSD, Shereen worked at a research lab studying visual processing and Theory of Mind in infants, children, and adolescents with ASD. While obtaining her M.A. at UH, Shereen also worked as a behavior technician at the Easter Seals Hawaii Autism Center. She is passionate about helping individuals of all ages with ASD, as well as their families.

Liz McGarry, M.A.

Liz is a docatoral candidate in Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology, with a clinical emphasis. She is currently a graduate student clinician at the Center. Her research interests involve the development and dissemination of evidence-based interventions to promote early social engagement in infants and toddlers at-risk for ASD. Liz has developed an online Pivitol Response Treatment training program for parents to learn about and implement treatement strategies at home with their child.

Amy Barrett, M.A.

Amy is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology program (clinical emphasis) working with Dr. Ty Vernon. Before entering UCSB, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with highest honors in Psychology and went on to serve as the Laboratory Manager of the Children’s Cognitive Development Lab at Carnegie Mellon University. Her professional interests involve measuring social and language development of young children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using innovative outcome measures. Her doctoral dissertation investigates how children with ASD process and respond to adverse childhood experiences (ACES) compared to their typically developing peers. Amy will serve as the Interim Director of Clinical Services of the Koegel Autism Center from May to September 2018.

Jordan Ko, M.A.
Jordan is a clinical psychology doctoral student working with Dr. Ty Vernon. Her research at UCSB centers on social intervention for individuals with ASD across various stages of development (toddlerhood through young adulthood) and novel methods for measuring treatment outcome of social interventions. She is generally interested in parent and peer-mediated interventions to improve relationships and social trajectories.
Kelsey Oliver, M.A.


I am a doctoral student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk Studies. My current research interests include the dissemination of PRT to families, school personnel, and other professionals in addition to the support and education of parents with children on the spectrum. I am also interested in social skills interventions in inclusive school environments, particularly in elementary schools.

Founding Directors
Dr. Robert Koegel, Founding Director

Dr. Robert Koegel is currently a senior researcher at Stanford School of Medicine. He can be contacted at

Robert Koegel, Ph.D., was the Founding Director of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He 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. Lynn Kern Koegel, Founding Clinical Director

Dr. Lynn Koegel is now a clinical professor at Stanford University School of Medicine and can be contacted at

Lynn Kern Koegel, Ph.D., was the Founding 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.