About the Work Group on Autism Research and Training

Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training: Administrative Staff


Debra Kamps, Ph.D., Director

Dr. Kamps' expertise includes a long history of research on children with autism and serious behavior disorders and effective instructional, behavioral and social interventions for students with disabilities. She is the Associate Director of Juniper Gardens Children's Project and Senior Scientist at the University of Kansas Life Span Institute.

Kathryn Ellerbeck, M.D., MPH, FAAP, Co-Director

Dr. Ellerbeck has been involved in the diagnosis and management of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder for 20 years. She is the immediate past president of the Kansas Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She is also a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Council of Children with Disabilities’ Autism Subcommittee.

Linda Heitzman-Powell, Ph.D.

Dr. Heitzman-Powell is a Licensed Psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her research interests are related to the education and training of professionals and parents in the use of ABA techniques. She is the Director of Community Research at the University of Kansas Medical Center where she holds a Research Assistant Professorship position.

Sean Swindler, M.S.Ed.

Sean Swindler is the Director of Community Program Development and Evaluation for the Kansas Center For Autism Research and Training (K-CART). For K-CART Mr. Swindler is responsible for the establishment of community partnerships and development of individual programs to respond to the needs of people with Autism. Sean earned his Master's Degree in Special Education, with an emphasis on Transition, from the University of Kansas.

Jill Koertner, MA, BCBA

Jill Koertner is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over a decade of background experience in autism intervention and dissemination of effective instructional practices. She is currently the Director of the Autism Training Program, in which she is responsible for the coordination and implementation of the state training program for providers of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services Early Autism Waiver program.

Jessica Corkill

Jessica Corkill, Senior Coordinator for K-CART/CCHD’s Autism Training Program (ATP), is working toward her Bachelors degree in Applied Behavioral Sciences from the University of Kansas. Jessica has worked with children on the Autism Spectrum for four years and joined the ATP in February of 2009.  She has since helped to train and educate professionals throughout the state of Kansas in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and evidence-based practices.

Ashley Hawk

Ashley Hawk, Senior Coordinator for the Autism Training Program, received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Fort Hays State University in 2005. Ashley has currently been working for the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training since 2009. She previously worked as a behavioral aide in home programs working with children with autism.

Therese Leochner

Therese Leochner is a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst with a background in early childhood education and early autism intervention.  She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Kansas in Applied Behavior Science.  She joined K-CART/CCHD in 2012 and currently works as a Senior Coordinator for the Autism Training Program and as a Parent Coach for the OASIS Family Therapy program.

Melissa Chalmers

Melissa Chalmers received her Bachelors in Applied Behavioral Science from the University of Kansas in 2010 and has been working with children with autism for four years.  Melissa has a background with in-home therapy and with providing services in the school setting.  She has been with K-CART since September 2012, is the Autism Intervention Trainer for the Bridge Clinic and a research assistant for the Functional Analysis Clinic. 


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