Meet the Staff


Hillary Adams, M.A., is a Student Support Specialist for The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Ms. Adams is a doctoral candidate for Education Leadership in the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development at Marshall University and has worked for The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder since 2011. Her interests and research focus on educating community members with best practices for the inclusion and support of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, particularly those within a higher education setting.

 


Catherine Bailey, Ph.D., NCSP serves at the West Virginia Autism Training Center to provide direct services to registered families as a PBS Trainer. She earned her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in School Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University, as well as her B.A. in Psychology from West Virginia University. Prior to joining the WV ATC, Dr. Bailey worked as a school psychologist for five years. Her previous work has been published in School Psychology Review, Psychology in the Schools, and The Physical Educator.
 
 

 


Zach Bailey, M.A., is the Student Support Specialist for The College Program for the Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Concord University. Mr. Bailey completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in Communication Studies at Marshall University. Mr. Bailey provides individualized skill building supports to Concord University students through a mentored environment. He is working to cultivate an on-campus culture dedicated to the empowerment and success of Concord University students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
 
 
 

 


Dianna Bailey-Miller is the Mental Health First Aid Coordinator for The West Virginia Autism Training Center’s Project AWARE Program. Dianna is a certified Instructor of Youth MHFA and Adult MHFA, with special designations in Rural Communities, Veteran and Higher Education. Dianna oversees Mental Health First Aid courses in WV and provides support and oversight to over 70 instructors throughout WV. She obtained her Bachelors of Arts degree in Elementary Education from Fairmont State and served as an advocate for youth and families. She has worked with children and families in a variety of systems within WV over the past 14 years.

 


Bianca Bragg, M.A., is a Student Support Specialist in the College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Morehead State University and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Marshall. Mrs. Bragg has worked with the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 2011, specializing in using a person-centered and individualized approach to serving college students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is currently interested in research related to the understanding of social communication and behavior in intimate relationships for individuals with ASD.
 

 


Amy Carlson, Ed.D. CCC-SLP, graduated with her Bachelors of Science and Masters of Science degrees in Communication Disorders from Marshall University. She worked for twelve years as a speech-language pathologist in clinical, home health, and educational settings serving patients of all ages. She graduated with her doctoral degree in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in teaching and higher education leadership from Marshall University. She works in collaboration with the West Virginia Autism Training Center and the West Virginia Department of Education Office of Special Education as the Early Childhood Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (ECPBIS) Coordinator for the state of West Virginia.

 


Benjamin Childers has been involved with the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 2007. He currently works among the FF-PBS program in the southern part of the state. Some of his past duties have included facilitating skills groups such as Discovery Group at Concord University. He provides Tier 2 trainings in a variety of settings: first responders, social services, and schools. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor within the state of West Virginia.
 
 

 


Jackie Clark, M.A.T., is the Coordinator for The College Program for Students With Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ms. Clark has provided individualized and person-centered supports for college students with ASD at Marshall University for 8 years. Ms. Clark holds an undergraduate degree in History, and a master’s degree in Teaching. She is also a doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction in the Graduate School of Education and Professional Development at Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia. Her research has focused on the housing and residential life needs of students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in their transition to college.
 

 


Elizabeth Coffey has been with the WV-ATC since 2009 as the Database Technician. Her duties include updating/maintaining the database and e-filing systems for the center. Elizabeth received her bachelor’s degree from Marshall University in 2012.
 
 
 

 


Mrs. Tracey M Coffman-Vincent, holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Fairmont State College, she is a Positive Behavior Support Trainer with the Autism Training Center. Specializing in using a person centered and individualized approach serving individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Marshall University for over 12 years. She is currently interested in research investigating different visual strategies to support behavioral and cognitive challenges with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
 

 


Tara Davis obtained her undergraduate degree in Social Work from MacMurray College in Illinois. She has her graduate degree in Special Education from West Virginia University. She has worked in Child Protective Services, Foster Care, and Juvenile Probation. Tara has worked for Applied Behavior Analysis agencies with a concentration on verbal behavior therapy. She went on to be self-employed as an ABA consultant before joining the Autism Training Center team.
 
 

 


Jacqueline D. Dewald, B.A. is a Direct Services Assistant. She provides clerical support for Educational Specialists and maintains the Direct Service Registry. Jackie compiles and distributes client documents and information and receives and files client information. She is responsible for supporting the overall client record structures & functions. Jackie serves to perform various clerical, organizational, filing, data driven strategies to monitor, and improve record compliance. Formally with the Drinko Academy Jackie joined the Autism Training Center in 2008.
 
 

 


Marc Ellison, Ed.D. is the executive director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center, located at Marshall University in Huntington, WV. Dr. Ellison is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked for more than 30 years to provide person-centered support, services, and advocacy to individuals who live with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their families, and those who support them. He has supported individuals with ASD throughout their lifespan; as they moved to the community from state-supported institutions, searched for and obtained employment, entered into relationships, and transitioned into college. Dr. Ellison has authored or co-authored several publications on the topic of transition into higher education for students diagnosed with ASD, including co-authoring the chapter “The Transition from High School to Higher Education: Inclusive Services and Supports,” in Autism Spectrum Disorders: Identification, Education, and Treatment (4th edition). Dr. Ellison is an Approved Licensed Professional Supervisor in West Virginia, a Board Member of the Autism Society of West Virginia, and a member of the Autism Society of America’s Panel of Professional Advisors.

 


Mrs. Haines obtained her Master’s of Special Education from Marshall University in 2005. She has over 12 years of experience working with individuals with disabilities across myriad settings including residential programs, emergency shelters, mental health centers, public and private schools, and clients’ homes. Additionally, she has over 9 years experience working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder using Applied Behavioral Analysis. She is passionate about fusing the rigor of behaviorism with the compassion and collaboration of team work. Julia has one son, Chandler, a sophomore at WVU; and a Miniature Dachshund, Gracie Mae.
 

 


Rebecca Hansen, Ed.D., is the Director of Campus-Based Services for the West Virginia Autism Training Center’s College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Hansen’s dissertation research focused on understanding employment preparedness needs for college students with Asperger’s Disorder. Her area of emphasis is in student affairs issues within higher education, with specific interest in issues related to access and comprehensive supports for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Dr. Hansen holds an undergraduate degree in Biology and a master’s degree in Student Affairs Counseling. She has provided individualized and person-centered supports for students with ASD at Marshall University for over ten years.

 


Dr. Jim Harris is the Associate Director of Training at the West Virginia Autism Training Center located at Marshall University. Jim’s focus at the WV ATC is the improvement and expansion of services ranging for in-home programs to national partnerships. Jim has presented at a variety of conferences from the local to the international levels on such topics as behavioral intervention, parenting, positive behavior support, trauma-informed care, organizational change, and many more. He has worked with children and families throughout his career as an early interventionist, parent educator, educational consultant, and behavioral health therapist. He has worked with a variety of public and private entities including the Fred Rogers Company, United States Department of Education, the United States Department of Justice, and many more.

 


Kerrie Harris, M.A., is a Student Support Specialist in the College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of West Virginia and holds a bachelor’s degree in Counseling and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Ms. Harris has provided individualized and person-centered supports in the areas of academic, social, and independent living skills for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder for eight years. Her focus is on incoming freshman as they transition into college at Marshall University and navigate a new lifestyle. Her interests include research and training on the topic of how females experience ASD; in particular, how that experience compares to the experience of males.

 


Tina Hatfield, M.A., is a Clinical Instructor with the Autism Training Center. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from West Virginia University at Parkersburg and a Master’s Degree in Special Education from West Virginia University with certification in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Multi-Categorical. Mrs. Hatfield has worked with the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 2015, specializing in using person-centered planning with families to improve their quality of life. She has worked with individuals with autism since 2007 providing strategies and support in their education and home life. She was the Teacher of the Year for 2015-2016 at Ripley Elementary School. Her interests are educating as many people as she can about Autism and showing them how much a person with ASD has to offer the world around them.

 


Charlotte Hays is the Program Coordinator, Sr. for the West Virginia Autism Training Center’s North Region. Charlotte has provided individualized, person-centered, positive behavior support services for individuals and families impacted by Autism Spectrum Disorder through West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University for the past 14 years. She holds a Professional Master of Arts degree in Clinical Child Psychology, with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis, from West Virginia University and is a Licensed Psychologist, Licensed Professional Counselor and Endorsed Positive Behavior Support Professional. Charlotte was instrumental in developing Positive Behavior Support initiatives in West Virginia and has been active in providing individualized community-based services for over 30 years.

 


Peggy Hovatter, MA, Endorsed Positive Behavior Support Professional, has been a positive behavior support trainer with the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 1990. She has had the pleasure of learning from people with autism for 35 years, both in a professional capacity and as “Luke’s aunt”, who is an adult on the spectrum. In addition to traveling statewide to train teachers and families on how to develop and implement social clubs, Peggy provides individualized Positive Behavior Support to people with autism and their families in West Virginia.
 

 


Jimmy Jarrell, B.B.A., is the Information Technology Consultant for the West Virginia Autism Training Center. He graduated from Marshall University Lewis College of Business with a degree in Management Information System. He has been with the center since 2011 where he has worked with others to implement new technology. Not one to turn away a computer problem, Jimmy likes to assist others in meeting their technological needs. Other focuses of interest include video editing and computer security.
 
 

 


Amy Kelly, WV ATC’s Director of Technical Assistance, received her Masters of Arts in Preschool Special Needs from Marshall University. She worked in the private and public educational setting for 13 years prior to her employment with the center in 2015. She leads the center’s technical assistance efforts, including School-Wide and Early Childhood Positive Behavior Support programs, Project AWARE, and the regional Behavior and Mental Heath Technical Assistance centers.
 
 

 


Ellen Kirby, M.A., is a Student Support Specialist in the College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She holds a bachelor degree in Spanish, a master’s degree in Secondary Education, and is currently completing a second master’s degree in Special Education at Marshall University. Ms. Kirby served as a Graduate Assistant for the College Program for three years prior to beginning her career as a Student Support Specialist. She is interested in research regarding understanding, developing, and maintaining healthy relationships for individuals on the spectrum.
 

 


Sarah Kunkel, BCBA, M.A., is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Positive Behavior Support Trainer for the West Virginia Autism Training Center. Ms. Kunkel has worked to improve the quality of life for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder while also supporting families and professionals since 2006. She holds undergraduate degrees from Case Western Reserve University and a master’s degree in Psychology from Marshall University. Her interests and research focus on person-centered support development, assessments of quality of life, and comorbid issues related to autism.

 


Whitney Lawson is the Program Assistant I for the West Virginia Autism Training Center. She has been employed by Marshall University and with the WV ATC since 2011. A significant part of her duties involves processing travel for WV ATC staff who service clients statewide, and for staff who travel outside the state for presentations or conferences. She is the librarian for the center’s Lending Library, and assists clients with book selections and suggestions.
 
 

 


Bonnie Marquis, M.A., has been a Positive Behavior Support Facilitator with the Autism Training Center since 2008. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 1989 and went on to receive her Master of Arts in Special Education from Marshall University. She provides individualized person centered support for registered families, as well as training and specialized workshops to families and professionals supporting individuals with ASD. She has spent the majority of her career empowering families to improve their quality of life; through increasing their understanding of ASD and its impact and exploring potential avenues to increase independence and self-determination across the life span.

 


Pat McCoy, MA, CCC-SLP is a trained Speech-Language Pathologist with experience in diagnostics, early childhood identification and remediation, supervision, autism specialization, assistive technology, and special education procedures. She has worked in school, hospital, and clinical settings. Her background includes: working on multi-disciplinary assessment teams, instruction at the college level, serving as special education coordinator, and conducting presentations on the state and national level. She has been with the Autism Training Center for 9 years.
 

 


Karen Midkiff is the Administrative Secretary for the WVATC. She had been employed by Marshall University and with the WVATC since 2001 and retired in 2012. A significant part of her duties involves reception duties and serving as the voice of the WVATC when answering the phone. Karen returned on a part time basis and enjoys spending time with her grandchildren.
 
 

 


Andrew Nelson, M.Ed., ISA-CI is the Director of Direct Services with the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University where he is also a doctoral candidate in Educational Leadership Studies. In his role, Andrew leads the center’s statewide multi-tier direct service efforts that supports individuals with autism. He’s consulted internationally, and serves as a consultant with the Center for Integrated Self-Advocacy, for which he is an Integrated Self Advocacy Certified Instructor. Andrew has worked as an editor for the ARI Adults with Autism eBulletin, taught courses on autism and self-advocacy through the Houlton Institute, and traveled globally to train others to use theatre-based techniques to support actors with autism. Andrew is the founder of the Autism Theatre Network and is the author of Foundation Role Plays for Autism available through Jessica Kingsley publishers.

 


Julie O’Malley, M.A. is the Tier II Service Coordinator for The West Virginia Autism Training Center. She holds an undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders from The University of Massachusetts and a master’s degree in Special Education from Marshall University. She has experience working in clinic, home, and school environments and has special interest in providing social skills and sensory based play for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In her role as coordinator, Julie develops, organizes, and delivers workshops and trainings statewide that are designed to support families and educators of those with ASD. She also maintains the state’s WV Autism Registry, and provides training about ASD to medical doctors in residence. Julie has worked at the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 2002.

 


Jackie Payne, MSW, is the State Coordinator for West Virginia Project AWARE. The Now Is The Time Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education grant was awarded to the West Virginia Department of Education to expand the capacity of state education agencies and local education agencies to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-age youth; train school personnel and other adults who interact with school-age youth so they can detect and respond to mental health issues and connect children, youth, and families who may experience behavioral health issues with appropriate services. Jackie holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Marshall University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from West Virginia University. She has over 28 years’ experience in both the private and public sectors working collaboratively across child-serving systems to increase access and improve service delivery for children and adolescents with behavioral health needs. Jackie is a Certified Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid Instructor with specialty designations in Veteran and Higher Education MHFA.

 


Megan Pennington has a master’s degree in General Special Education Programming with a certification in autism. She worked in public schools as an autism teacher before becoming an executive director at a service coordination agency for Title XIX Waiver. Megan is the author of a Positive Behavior Support curriculum that is currently being taught throughout the state. Currently, she is working towards her board certification in applied behavior analysis. Megan is excited about the work of Autism Training Center and is passionate about teaching academic and behavioral skills, as well as faith inclusion for those with disabilities.
 

 


Kelly Preston is the Office Administrator for the West Virginia Autism Training Center. She has been employed by Marshall University since 2005, and with the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 2009. A significant part of her duties involves working with families to organize their attendance at the center’s multi-disciplinary diagnostic clinic. Kelly received her RBA from Marshall University in 2016 with an emphasis in Office Management and Photography. She has two children; an adult son on the autism spectrum and a teenage daughter.
 
 

 


Cam Pulliam, MA, is a Positive Behavior Support Trainer with the Autism Training Center. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from North Carolina Wesleyan and a Master’s degree in Special Education, Early Intervention from West Virginia University. Mrs. Pulliam has worked with the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 2008, providing services to children and adults in the southern counties of West Virginia. She specializes in an individualized, person centered approach to serving individuals diagnosed with Autism and is currently interested in research related to understanding the effects of autism with co-morbid diagnoses.
 

 


Gloria Sage, MA is a Senior Program Coordinator with the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University. She is a graduate of Marshall where she received her B.A. and M.A. in elementary, special education and early childhood education. Gloria directs the Positive Behavior Support Direct Services programs for the Southern region. She has taught special education in West Virginia, South Carolina and Ohio school systems and worked as an early intervention specialist, serving families and children birth to three in home-based and center-based programs. She serves on the West Virginia Birth to Three Autism leadership team and the West Virginia APBS Network leadership team. Gloria is also a 200 hr. registered yoga teacher and has taught yoga to individuals with ASD and developmental disabilities. She is interested in quality of life issues for persons with ASD.

 


Scott Short is the Family Coordinator Liaison for the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University. He has worked in the field of autism for the past 16 years, providing professional development, technical assistance, consultation services, advocacy and resources to support individuals with ASD, their family members and those who work with them. Prior to joining the WV ATC, he spent 8 years working in Autism Spectrum Disorder and genetic research for Duke University and the University of Miami Florida. Mr. Short is also the founder and director of a non-profit organization which serves as a resource for those impacted with ASD in southeast Ohio.

 


Hannah Stone, M.A., is a Provisionally Licensed Counselor and serves as the Mental Health Therapist for The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. She is currently enrolled in a Research & Program Evaluation certificate program at Marshall University. Ms. Stone holds a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling and a certificate in Violence, Loss, and Trauma Counseling from Marshall University. Ms. Stone provides therapeutic services for students in the program through individual and group counseling. Her interests include utilizing creative expression in therapy and identifying supports for women on the spectrum.

 


Elizabeth Tappan is the Business Manager for the West Virginia Autism Training Center. An employee of Marshall University since 1997, she started working for the WV ATC in 2007. She is primarily responsible for tracking all funding and expenditures, for maintaining compliance with federal, state, and campus policies, and for reporting financial data to ATC staff and others as needed.
 
 
 

 


Carrie Underwood is the Administrative Assistant for Project AWARE and has worked at the West Virginia Autism Training Center since 2015. She hold a bachelor’s degree from Marshall University and also has a background in marketing and design.
 
 
 
 

 


Laura Viars, M.A., is a Provisionally Licensed Counselor and serves as a Mental Health Counselor for The College Program for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ms. Viars holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling from Marshall University. Ms. Viars provides therapeutic services for students in the program through individual and group counseling. Her interests include utilizing mindfulness and other Dialectical Behavior Therapy skills in individual sessions, as well as working with clients with trauma. Her aspirations are to obtain licensure, continue working with clients with ASD and trauma, and one day earn a Ph.D in Counseling.

 


Karen Chung, M.ED, SDA, ABD., is the West Virginia Project AWARE PBIS Coordinator. She has provided PBIS training and technical assistance to parents, school districts, and alternative programs. She is part of the faculty at Long Island Universities Graduate Counseling and Undergraduate Teacher Education Programs for the past 18 years. She has take the opportunity to introduce PBIS to the future generation of educators. Karen is presently at the dissertation stage in her Doctoral Program.
 

 


Luke Walker, M.A., is a Positive Behavior Support Trainer working primarily to provide direct services to registered families. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling. Mr. Walker has provided individualized and person-centered supports for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder for over nine years. He has worked with individuals of all ages including several adults and has created social skill groups in his local community. He created a sibling program to help address the needs of siblings of those individuals on the spectrum. His interests include research into the effects of sleep, diet and exercise on individuals with ASD and channeling research into parent and professional training. He is on the board of his local chapter of the Autism society of America and volunteers with the state wide PBS Network.