Susan Loveall
Susan Loveall, Ph.D.

Email: sloveall-hague2@unl.edu

Dr. Susan Loveall is an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders. She earned her Ph.D. in developmental science and cognitive psychology from the University of Alabama in 2013. Her research focuses on learning, language, and literacy abilities in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and a majority of her research focuses on the Down syndrome phenotype. Dr. Loveall loves working with individuals with IDD and their families. Prior to moving to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the LifeSpan Institute at the University of Kansas, and worked as an assistant professor at the University of Mississippi where she oversaw a grant-funded language and literacy preschool laboratory program for children with moderate-to-severe language delays, many of whom had autism or other neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Derek Rodgers
Derek Rodgers, Ph.D.

Email: derek.rodgers@unl.edu

Dr. Derek Rodgers is a research assistant professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the Department of Special Education and Communication Disorders. He earned his Ph.D. in special education from the University of Iowa in 2019. He also earned a master's degree in educational measurement and statistics in the same year. Dr. Rodgers specializes in research related to the writing skills of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). He has developed a paragraph-writing intervention for secondary students with IDD that focuses on the development of important text-writing skills at the paragraph level, such as capitalization, punctuation, grammar, and writing connected text about a singular topic. He has also conducted writing intervention research with college students with IDD that focus on the writing process (e.g., planning, generating, revising). Dr. Rodgers is also interested in identifying evidence-based practices for writing instruction for students with IDD across grade level. Prior to working at UNL, he worked at a postsecondary program for young adults with IDD where he taught, conducted research, and worked closely with students' families.

Doctoral Students

Melinda Henson – Anchorage, Alaska

Melinda Henson is a doctoral student in Special Education. She is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Melinda received her master's degree in special education with an emphasis on autism education through the University of Missouri, and completed her Behavior Analysis coursework through Florida Institute of Technology. Her career has included positions within university, state agency, home and school settings supporting individuals with autism across the life span. Her primary clinical and research interests are in the areas of early childhood education, intervention efficacy, functional behavior assessment and supports, and delivery of effective staff development and training procedures.

George Toman – Worland, Wyoming

George Toman is a doctoral student in Special Education. He has served as a school psychologist in multiple school districts and organizations, including Lincoln Public Schools from 2017-19 and a one-year stint with the Department of Education, prior to entering the doctoral program.

Kendall Willems-Cygan – Orange County, California

Kendall Willems-Cygan is a doctoral student in Special Education. She graduated from the University of Utah in 2016 with a bachelor's degree in psychology. She has a diverse background with two master's degrees, MSc in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2018 and MA in Counseling in 2019. She also has experience working clinically as a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) from 2018-present in both the U.S. and the Netherlands. Her additional clinical experience is working as a child/family psychologist from 2019-21 in the Netherlands. Her research interests are in autism, early literacy, and executive function. She is also interested in learning disabilities and developmental psychology.

Undergraduate Students

Anna Suppes – Fargo, North Dakota

Major: Communication sciences and disorders | Minor: Education studies

Claire Kubicek – Friend, Nebraska

Major: Communication sciences and disorders

Claire Streeter – Lincoln, Nebraska

Major: Communication sciences and disorders | Minor: Education studies

Isabeau Tholen – Omaha, Nebraska

Major: Child, Youth, and Family Studies | Minors: Education studies, psychology

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