Michael J. Simonian

Second Year Graduate Student

Michael Simonian graduated with a BA in psychology from California State University, Sacramento in 2017. He got his start in the field of ABA as an undergraduate research assistant, which he spent a year doing before graduating. He has also spent a year doing clinical work with children on the Autism spectrum, doing so in both home and center-based settings. His research interests include interventions to increase compliance, preference assessments, and performance feedback. When he is finished earning his master’s degree, he would like to become a BCBA and develop interventions for children with developmental disabilities. In his free time, he enjoys playing video games, listening to metal, photography, and going on walks. 

Galan Falakfarsa

Second Year Graduate Student

Galan Falakfarsa was brought up in Davis, CA, and completed his B.S in Psychology at San Jose State University. Some of Galan's research interests involve the motivations and various factors associated with decision making, and the impact of environmental factors on choice and performance. In his spare time, he pursues his keen interest in strategy-based games. After graduation, Galan plans to earn his certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and work as a clinical director for ABA companies specializing in interventions for individuals with autism-spectrum diagnoses.

Erik Godinez

First Year Graduate Student

Erik Godinez is first year graduate student and his research interests include performance feedback, systems analysis, verbal behavior, and environmental sustainability. His clinical work consists of 1:1 consulting with children on the Autism spectrum. Erik plans starting at a graduate program in the fall to continue his education and experience in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. In his free time, he enjoys playing disc golf, listening to music, and watching soccer.

Silvia Serrano

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Silvia Serrano is a first-generation college student at California State University, Sacramento. She is a transfer student with an Associate degree in Philosophy and will be graduating in Fall 2020 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Minor in Philosophy. After University she plans to work as a victim’s advocate to gain experience in the court system before moving onto law school. Her long-term plans after law school is to work as a prosecutor. Her interests consist of philosophy, reading and exercise.

Deborah Richardson

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Deborah Richardson is a senior, who will graduate in Fall 2019 from California State University, Sacramento. Her interest in ABA started in the summer of 2018, when she attended her first ABA course. Deborah’s goal is to obtain her certification in behavior analysis and continue to the graduate program. When Deborah is not focusing on school, she is either spending quality time with family and friends, or creating handmade jewelry.

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Makenna Mason

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Makenna Mason is a senior who will graduate Spring 2019 from California State University, Sacramento with a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology. After she receives her degree, she plans on becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. When she is not working as a Behavior Interventionist with children who have Autism, Makenna enjoys hanging out with friends and cooking. 

Sofia Zamora

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Sofia is a Senior who will graduate in Spring of 2021 with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Biology and also plans to receive a certification in applied behavioral analysis. She was always interested in behavior, but decided to really pursue the field when she started doing clinical work as an RBT with children with autism and other developmental disabilities. She is also interested in neuroscience and the neural activity that elicits behavior. She plans to pursue graduate school and continue to contribute to research. When she is not working or volunteering, she likes to watch documentaries, and visit her family in the Bay area on the weekends. 

Dr. Joshua Bensemann

Research Collaborator

Dr. Joshua Bensemann completed his PhD (Psychology) at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. His doctorate research investigated both traditional and modern theories of learning via positive reinforcement using a combination of mathematical models, experimentation, and computer simulations. He is currently interested in applying methods from machine learning to behavioral psychology in an attempt to detect behavioral patterns.

Lea Jones

Volunteer

Lea Jones is a senior, who will graduate in Fall 2019 from California State University, Sacramento. She has previously worked 1:1 as an RBT with children on the Autism spectrum and plans to pursue a graduate degree in Psychology. In her free time, she enjoys powerlifting, spending time with friends, and caring for a variety of animals.

Savannah Velazquez 

Volunteer

Savannah recently graduated Fall of 2019 with her BA in Psychology. She got into the field of ABA as an RBT when she was in junior college and have been invested ever since. She hopes to enter in the graduate program and obtain her BCBA credentials and continue working with children on the autism spectrum. Her hobbies include going to new restaurants and discovering new foods, painting, and she has recently taken up yoga. 

Former Team Members

Colin Wills - Fall 2019

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