Who We Are

Lab Director

Lab director

Dr. Jessica KramerAssociate Professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida.

Dr. Kramer’s work involves partnering with youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) to develop and evaluate rehabilitation products; developing community-based interventions that equip youth with I/DD and their families with the skills to identify and resolve environmental barriers to participation; and designing high quality patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs). She draws upon theoretical concepts and methodologies from occupational therapy, disability studies, education, and rehabilitation.

Dr. Kramer has been awarded over 1.5 million dollars in external funding and collaborates with researchers at different universities and advocates across the nation.  Dr. Kramer’s occupational therapy practice experience is with enabling children and youth ages 3 to 20 with multiple, severe disabilities to participate and learn in a public school setting.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral Student

Fiorella Guerrero is a PhD student in Rehabilitation Sciences and a Fulbright Scholar. She completed her Master in Sociology and her Undergraduate Degree in Electrical Engineering. Her previous work has been in telecommunications companies, non-profits, and public health research. She is the co-founder of Warmakuna Hope, a non-profit serving children with disabilities living in conditions of poverty and their families in Peru by providing therapeutical services, empowering workshops and promoting inclusive education with families and teachers.

Post-doctoral associate

Dr. Wen-hsuan Chang is a Postdoctoral Associate in the Department of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Chang is a licensed special education teacher in Taiwan and an Associate Marriage and Family Therapist in Minnesota. She received her doctoral degree in Special Education at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Her research aimed to understand parents’ perceptions of existing challenges and develop family-focused evidence-based practices. Dr. Chang serves as a consultant at a non-profit family support organization-Little Sheep, which empowers Chinese-spoken families who have children with special needs with monthly training and workshops. Dr. Chang enjoys painting, traveling, and meditating with puppies!     


Elizabeth Kennelly-Smith

Elizabeth Kennelly-Smith, Research Coordinator in the Department of Occupational Therapy, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida.  Elizabeth received her B.A. in Elementary Education and her M.Ed in Special Education from the University of Florida. She has served as a Project Manager for the Multi-agency Network for Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disabilities (SEDNET) and has extensive expertise in collecting, reviewing, and analyzing data related to student interventions and outcomes, including, restraint and seclusion, suspension and expulsion, school-based mental health, and community mental health. In this role she served six Regional Districts and provided consultative and assistance activities based on specific requests or identified needs; including requests for grant funding for special class initiatives or projects. Ms. Kennelly-Smith provided training in areas that include Positive Behavior/Social Emotional Learning, Children’s Mental Health, MTSS, supports for the reduction of restraint/seclusion, Transition from School to Community, and Trauma-Informed Care. Ms. Kennelly-Smith is highly skilled at building relationships with students, adults, and families when providing activities to assist in increasing parent and youth involvement, as well as support and education for families of students with disabilities. 

Staff member - Shelby Waldron

Shelby Waldron graduated from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2018 with a B.S. in Psychology and Exercise & Sports Science. She is a member of the inaugural UF OTD class of 2021 and is interested in practicing in the field of pediatrics. Her previous research focused on health outcomes associated with early sport specialization. Shelby is the co-director of the UF OT Equal Access Clinic, providing free occupational therapy services to the underinsured in the Gainesville area. She also enjoys playing volleyball, reading, and exploring Gainesville.


Thaila Schug graduated from the University of Central Florida with Honors in 2020 with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Psychology. She is now part of the UF OTD class of 2023 and the INSPIRE Program, which prepares a select number of students to work in Early Intervention once they graduate. Thaila has had five years of combined research experience and is happily a part of the YELL Lab team. She has also been volunteering with the UF OT Equal Access Clinic, which provides free occupational therapy services, and the clinic’s diabetes education classes. In addition, she volunteers with Mighty Minds, an occupational therapy program for children in military families dealing with stress and anxiety. Lastly, she enjoys reading and taking her dog on walks around Gainesville.

Young Adult Team

Elijah Thomas

Elijah Thomas has work experience in the Alachua County Library and in Rural King, where he had worked checking books, greeting customers and directing them to different departments. He graduated from Eastside High School and since then has completed courses in job skills. He has attended some sports clubs such as Noah’s Endeavor and Topsoccer Gainesville Alliance.  In this spare time, he enjoys hanging out with friends and watching sports.

Chrysa Brown-Doherty

Chrysa Brown-Doherty is currently studying in Santa Fe Community College and registered with the Disabilities Resource Center. She graduated from Buchholtz High School, after which she completed job trainings through Vocational Rehab. She had worked at TJMax, the Humane Society, Marshals and Habitat for Humanity Restore and currently working in-between on-the-job-trainings. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, writing stories and poetry, swimming, playing frisbee, skiing and snowboarding. She also loves to hang out with friends, but also having time for herself.


Cyril Nonga-Mann is currently studying at Santa Fe Community College and is part of the Project SAINT (Student Access and INclusion Together). He is an active member of the Artist Entrepreneurship program and participates in the Best Buddies Program, UF Chapter. He was selected among the top ten Finalists in the “Alachua County Double Exposure Competition.”  He graduated from Gainesville High School (GHS), where he was the captain of the junior varsity lacrosse team and received the “Heart and Team Spirit” award. In his spare time, Cyril enjoys playing lacrosse, soccer, basketball, and tennis, watching sports, and traveling with family.