Meet Our Team
Principal Investigator, Lab Director
Allison Jobin, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Welcome to the SPARCC Lab! I am Dr. Allison Jobin, a faculty member in the Department of Psychology as CSU San Marcos and director of the SPARCC Lab. I completed my graduate and undergraduate training at the University of California San Diego and Northwestern University, respectively. I first became interested in neurodevelopmental disabilities 20 years ago, after applying to a job ad on the bulletin board in my school’s psychology department. Much of my passion for conducting community-based work is informed from my own experiences as a clinician, where I directly experienced disparities and shortfalls in access to and the delivery of quality services in real life. Prior to returning to academia, I spent many years in a range of clinical and research settings delivering, supervising, and training others in evidence-based diagnostic and treatment practices.
At CSUSM, it is a joy to mentor and work alongside my driven and innovative team in conducting impactful, community-partnered research. We strive to improve community-based intervention services and outcomes for children with autism and their families through research, student mentorship, and community outreach and collaboration. We are dedicated to
- conducting high-quality research that advances understanding of how to effectively support autistic youth and their families,
- sustaining bi-directional community partnerships that improve capacity to meet child and family needs
- providing meaningful undergraduate and graduate research training and mentorship.
You can learn more about the work that we do by browsing our website or reaching out to our team!
Veenavi Fernando, B.S.
Veena is a third-year graduate student in the CSUSM M.A. Program in Psychological Sciences. She completed her undergraduate studies at UCSD, where she earned B.S. degrees in Physiology and Neuroscience, and Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. Her current research interest is in understanding caregiver engagement in ABA-based services for autistic children and exploring how culturally related factors are associated with caregiver engagement. In her free time, she also enjoys hiking and painting!
Fun Fact: Veena did Kandyan dancing (a type of Sri Lankan dancing) for 10 years!
Kris Nelson, B.A.
Kris is a third-year graduate student in the CSUSM MA Program in Psychological Sciences. He has a B.A. in Psychology from CSUSM, and is also a research assistant at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center, UCSD. Kris is interested in assessing community based practices and interventions to improve care for the ASD population, along with research on the intersectionality of autism, gender, and sexuality related to mental health and relationships. In addition to research, he also loves to travel, hike, and participate in sports.
Fun Fact: Kris has been to 19 states and 13 countries!
Elizabeth Keck, B.A.
Libby is a second-year graduate student in the CSUSM M.A. Program in Psychological Sciences. She completed her undergraduate studies at CSUSM, where she earned B.A. degree in Psychological Sciences. Libby is currently the SPARCC Lab Manager, as well as the coordinator for several of Dr. Jobin's projects. She is interested in mental health interventions for children with autism, and embedding naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions (NDBI) in early childhood education classrooms for children with and without developmental disabilities. Libby loves to go on hikes and read in her free time!
Fun Fact: Libby bowled semi-professionally for 11 years!
Taylor Munro, B.A.
Taylor is a first-year graduate student in the CSUSM M.A. Program in Psychological Sciences. She attended Chapman University for her undergraduate studies, where she earned a B.A. in Psychology. Taylor is passionate about improving the quality of life for individuals who are neurodiverse, particularly children. In her free time, she likes to read, crochet, and sometimes rollerblade. Unlike her peers who enjoy hiking in general, she only likes hiking in cooler temperatures.
Shani is a senior undergraduate student in the Psychological Science program at CSUSM. She is currently a research assistant in the SPARCC lab and is helping Veena and Kris with their thesis projects. She is currently an RVT in an emergency and specialty animal hospital while she is in school. Her dreams are to join a MA/PhD program in clinical and neuropsychology with a goal to do research in neuropsychology. Shani would also like to invest time in creating more accessible resources for LGTBQ individuals. In her free time, she enjoys belly dancing, playing Dungeons and Dragons, writing, yoga and hiking.
Alexandria Mulqueen, who also goes by Alli, is a third-year undergraduate student at CSUSM, pursuing a major in Psychological Science and a minor in Linguistics. Alexandria is co-president of the CSUSM chapter of Best Buddies, where she works towards advancing the social inclusion of peers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) both on and off the CSUSM campus. Her involvement in Best Buddies has heavily influenced her desire to research the quality of life and psychological well-being of students with IDD enrolled in inclusive postsecondary education programs. As a provider of DIR/Floortime therapy for youth with ASD, Alexandria is also interested in studying socioemotional and relationship-based therapeutic strategies for neurodivergent individuals. In her free time, Alexandria loves spending time in nature, going to concerts, reading, and learning new recipes.
Kayla is a third year undergraduate studying towards her bachelors in psychological science. Kayla has worked as a behavior technician for close to two years where she works directly with children who have ASD, as well as working side by side with parents. Kayla's goal has always been to join a masters/PhD program in clinical psychology with an end goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. Kayla has always been highly interested in working with people who have personality disorders, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders, but ever since she started her job as a behavior technician she would love to be able to mix the work of a clinical psychologist, as well as a board certified behavior analyst. In her free time Kayla likes to explore new areas of San Diego, spend time in nature, and make time to be with the people she loves.