CDS Coordinator and Faculty Member Earns Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Andrea Perez, Faculty Specialist and Coordinator of Community Connections at the Center for Disability Services, who successfully defended her dissertation in March. Dr. Perez received her Doctor of Philosophy in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University. Her dissertation is titled Evaluation of Telehealth Training to Teach the Stimulus Identification Questionnaire and Multiple Stimulus Without Replacement. 

Dr. Perez brings a wealth of knowledge to CDS. Her goals at CDS are to continue to teach and maintain participant independence, build community partnerships and continue to develop employee training processes to ensure students acquire clinical skills that will benefit them in their future careers. 

“Behavior analysis is the science of human behavior and understanding why humans behave as they do. This understanding can be used to improve the lives of our participants and design successful work environments for our student employees. As a behavior analyst I have been trained to conduct assessments that allow me to more objectively understand our clients' needs and to arrange their environment in a way that promotes success,” said Dr. Perez. “Further, I have been trained to conduct objective and measurable skills assessments to help identify goals, and to develop individualized teaching procedures informed by evidence-based practices. In addition to experience working with children, adults and older adults, my training has incorporated an organizational behavior management focus. This will help me analyze our program structure and maintain or design systems within our program to ensure success." 

Dr. Perez was introduced to the field of behavior analysis while working with individuals diagnosed with IDD in Miami, FL. After developing a passion for the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and working with vulnerable populations, she moved to Michigan to complete the Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis in the Department of Psychology at WMU. 

Prior to joining the CDS team, Dr. Perez provided services to a diverse population, including children and adults diagnosed with IDD, adults experiencing impairments associated with aging and adults with neurocognitive disorders. In addition, she has supervised and trained several undergraduate and aspiring BCBA graduate level students in best practice techniques when working with these populations. She has provided services in a variety of settings, including autism centers, adult day programs and nursing homes in Florida and Southwest Michigan.