“I love doing research. It was born out of my experience as a doctoral student at Caldwell.” – Lauren Schnell, ‘14, M.A., ‘17, Ph.D.
Lauren Schnell knew she wanted to be an academic. While studying in the master’s and doctoral programs in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Caldwell University, she was given the opportunity to conduct research and “plan her trajectory” thanks to the support of her advisor, Professor Jason Vladescu, Ph.D., BCBA-D. “Jason pushed me to identify what I wanted to do after graduation and then take the steps to get there. I love doing research. It was born out of my experience as a doctoral student at Caldwell. I knew I needed to publish.”
When she completed her studies at Caldwell, Schnell had a “nice handful of offers” and chose Hunter College, where she was hired as an assistant professor ABD (all but dissertation) to “put in action” and develop a graduate applied behavior analysis program to teach the next generation of behavior analysts, working alongside former Caldwell Professor April Kisamore. “Plus I’m a New York City girl. I believe in using ABA in marginalized communities, and we have a lot of marginalized autistic individuals in New York City,” explained Schnell.
Today Schnell enjoys teaching graduate courses, mentoring thesis students in a research lab, and “an equal balance” of teaching and publishing. She and Vladescu continue to collaborate on research projects including working with Philadelphia community programs to use ABA to teach expectant mothers safe infant care, how to put babies to sleep safely to reduce sudden infant syndrome, infant CPR and other areas of parent and staff training.
Schnell has been a guest reviewer for peer review journals, is on the editorial board for The Analysis of Verbal Behavior, volunteered for ABA agencies, and published and presented locally, nationally and internationally. She looks forward to the fall when she will present at a conference in Dublin.
She keeps her hand in practical work with a small private practice in New Jersey where she helps families determine the best educational services for children with ASD.
In addition to working with those on the margins, Schnell has an interest in researching instructional efficiency—which means finding out how to help individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) learn faster, and parent and teaching training, subjects she is working with her graduate students on. She is passionate about sharing her experiences with her students. “I believe strongly in teaching the next generation of future behavior analysts. In order to make a change, you have to dive in head first.”