Dr. Jessica Kramer, Associate 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.
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.
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.
Elizabeth Barbour graduated from the University of Florida in 2021 with a BS in Psychology and a minor in Disabilities in Society. She is interested in clinical child psychology with an emphasis on autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She has worked as a lab manager in three labs at the University of Florida and enjoys working in research that has real-life applications for families and individuals. In her free time, she enjoys cooking new foods, playing with her cat, and hiking.
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 six years of combined research experience and is happily a part of the YELL Lab team. She has previously volunteered with the UF OT Equal Access Clinic, which provides free occupational therapy services, and the clinic’s diabetes education classes. In addition, she volunteered with Mighty Minds, an occupational therapy program for children in military families dealing with stress and anxiety. She is currently part of the OTD Recruitment Committee, bringing awareness of the profession and the UF program to potential applicants. Lastly, she enjoys reading and taking her dog on walks around Gainesville.
Savannah Jackson graduated from Florida State University in 2020 with a B.S. in Family and Child Sciences with minors in Biology and The History and Philosophy of Science. She is a member of the UF OTD class of 2023 and is interested in pediatric and adult hand therapy, health literacy, and the role of OT in primary care. Her previous research focused on helicopter parenting and graduate student burnout. Savannah volunteers with the UF Equal Access Clinic which provides free occupational therapy services, and the clinic’s diabetes education classes. Savannah enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her dog, Rooster.
Leah Knight graduated from the University of Florida in 2019 with a B.S. in Health Science and a minor in Disabilities in Society, and again in 2020 with a M.S. in Health Education and Behavior as a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES®). She is now a member of the UF OTD class of 2023 and is interested in acute care, pediatric and adult neurological therapy, access to care, and the role of OT in advocacy. Her previous research focused on preparing students with disabilities to enter the workforce and improving their quality of life. Leah also works for the Climb for Cancer Foundation, a local non-profit, and volunteers with the UF Equal Access Clinic which provides free OT services to under- and un-insured clients. When she is not working, Leah enjoys traveling, being on the water, listening to podcasts about true crime, and spending time with her family.
Juliet Rapaport graduated from the University of Florida in 2022 with a B.S. in Health Sciences with Summa Cum Laude honors and a minor in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences. During her undergraduate experience, she was first introduced to the YELL Lab where she had the privilege to assist on the Game Plan App research study under the guidance of Dr. Jessica Kramer to complete her senior honors thesis. She is currently part of the UF OTD Class of 2025 and is interested in settings such as acute care, trauma (specifically burns), neurological rehabilitation, as well as advocacy for accessible and affordable health services. Juliet currently serves on the board for the UF OT Equal Access Clinic as the On-Site Operations Coordinator to further the mission of providing free occupational therapy services to individuals in the community. As part of the YELL Lab team, she is currently working on the Vocational Fit Assessment (VFA) study. When not in the lab or at school, Juliet enjoys spending time with friends and family, exercising, and taking dance classes.
Amber Nipper graduated from the University of Florida in 2022 with a B.S. in Health Science and a minor in Disability in Society. She was part of the Bachelor of Health Science-Occupational Therapy (BHS-OTS) Combined Program, completing two semesters of her doctorate program while finishing her undergraduate degree. She is now part of the UF OTD class of 2024 and the INSPIRE Program, which provides students with in-depth knowledge about Early Intervention (EI) and prepares them to work in this setting following graduation. Amber has had multiple years working with individuals with disabilities, ranging from birth to young adulthood. She is passionate about providing individuals with as much support as possible through transitional phases in life. Additionally, she works as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) at an accessible dorm on campus, helping individuals with disabilities with the transition to college, as well as helping set-up their environment for success. She is interested in pediatric and nature-based therapy and is honored to be part of the YELL Lab team. She enjoys being outdoors, traveling, and spending time with her family/friends, as well as her cat, Cooper!
Sabrina Glover graduated from the University of South Florida in 2019 with a B.S. in Health Sciences. She is currently pursuing a Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) and plans to work in upper extremity rehabilitation following graduation. Sabrina also has a love for teaching and aspires to be a professor in an occupational therapy program in the long-term. In her spare time, Sabrina enjoys playing board games, yoga, and spending time with her puppy, Oakley.
Samone Cowart is from Miami, Florida. She graduated from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Health Science on the Pre-Occupational Therapy Track with a minor in Disabilities in Society. She is now a part of the UF OTD Class of 2022 and is interested in health education, adult hand therapy, and physical rehabilitation. Samone completed previous research on exercise physiology as part of the Howard Hudges Medical Institute (HHMI) Research Fellowship Program. Research focused on the implementation of exercise prescriptions and the importance of developing valid diagnostic methods to truly assess the needs of specific populations. She has been working as a Rehab Aide, Certified Nursing Assistant, and Certified Mental Health Aide where she finds joy in helping others. Samone enjoys watching Marvel movies, traveling, and spending time with family/friends and her cat, Bianca.
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.
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!