The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Recent Graduates

Photo of Morgan CrossmanMorgan Crossman - Lurie Doctoral Fellow

Curriculum Vitae

Morgan Crossman, PhD'15, MA, successfully defended her dissertation, "Impacts of Early Intervention and the Family Environment on the Well-Bering of Parents of Children with Developmental Disabilities," and earned her doctoral degree in March, 2015. She is currently a Clinical Research Program Manager at Boston Children's Hospital. Morgan has an MA in Applied Developmental and Education Psychology from Boston College and a BA in Psychology and Communication Studies from the University of Rhode Island. Her concentration at Heller was in Children, Youth and Families with a focus on the well-being of families of children with disabilities and special health care needs as well as the prevention and effects of child sexual abuse on children and families of children with disabilities and special health care needs. 

Taletha DerringtonTaletha Derrington - Lurie Doctoral Fellow

Curriculum Vitae

Lurie Institute Doctoral Fellow Taletha Derrington, PhD'12, MA, successfully defended her dissertation and earned her doctorate. Her dissertation was entitled “Drug-Exposed Young Children and Early Intervention: What Influences Service Engagement?”  She earned her MA in Developmental Psychology from the University of Hawai'i, a second MA in social policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, and her BS in biology from the California Institute of Technology. She has focused her research career on systems, services, and policies related to very young children with or at risk for disability and their families, working on a variety of research and applied research studies of state Early Intervention Systems, natural learning environments for children with and without disabilities, children with Down syndrome, children with special health care needs, fetal deaths, and maternal substance abuse. Taletha was an Al Solnit Early Career Fellow with Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, and a Frank and Theresa Caplan Fellow in Early Childhood and Parenting Education at the Heller School. Taletha's specific research interests include early childhood health and development, early intervention systems and policies, child welfare, disability studies, racial/ethnic disparities in health and development, and the connections between research, policy, systems, and practice for vulnerable young children and families.

photo of t sannicandroTom Sannicandro - Lurie Doctoral Fellow

Lurie Institute Doctoral Fellow, Tom Sannicandro, PhD'16, MPA, JD, is a leader in Massachusetts on civil rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. He served as a State Representative and Chair of the Committee on Higher Education, and was the author of ground breaking legislation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a practicing attorney he has represented students with disabilities to insure a quality education. His research interest is access to higher education for students with intellectual disabilities. He has a Bachelor’s Degree from the College of the Holy Cross, a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University and a Law Degree from Suffolk University Law School.

photo of m timberlakeMaria Timberlake - Lurie Doctoral Fellow

Curriculum Vitae

Lurie Institute Doctoral Fellow Maria Timberlake, PhD'13, MEd, successfully defended her dissertation, "Academic Content and Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: How Teacher Interpretation and Choice Impact Access to the General Education Curriculum" and earned her doctoral degree in 2013. She is presently an Assistant Professor at SUNY Cortland. Maria earned her MEd in Special Education from the University of Maine and earned a second MA in Social Policy from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She earned her BS in Elementary Education from Northeastern University. Maria entered the PhD program at Heller after a career working with K-12 schools, families, and state agencies on education reform initiatives, assessment policy, positive behavioral supports, and inclusive education. She has taught at the elementary, high school and university levels, in both special and general education. Maria's research interests include the intersection of education policy and disability studies, the nature and impact of participant-directed services, and defining and evaluating high-quality instruction for students with complex or low-incidence disabilities. She is also interested in disability theory and socio-political definitions of disability, justice and fairness.


photo of igdalskyLeah Igdalsky - Research Associate and Lurie Institute Fellow

Leah Igdalsky '14 is a 2014 Brandeis Phi Beta Kappa graduate with degrees in Psychology and Hispanic Studies with a minor in Social Justice & Social Policy. She is particularly interested in women's issues and aging as they relate to disability. While attending Brandeis, she was selected to be a Lurie Institute Fellow and worked as a Research Assistant for the Institute.  Following graduation, Leah worked for the Institute as a Research Associate, and as a Development Associate and Grantwriter for Greater Waltham Arc, a local nonprofit.   Leah will begin Boston College's School of Social Work in the fall of 2016.

photo of titiPamela K. Titi - Research Assistant

Pamela Titi '16 graduated with an MS in Global Health Policy and Management from the Heller School. Titi holds a Bachelor of Laws Degree from Makerere University Kampala and a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (Bar Course) from the Law Development Centre in Kampala-Uganda. Driven by the need to raise social awareness about the potential of children with special needs she founded and established the first therapy and learning center of its kind in East Africa's Tunaweza Children’s Center.

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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