Meet the team
Linda Heitzman-Powell Ph.D., BCBA
Dr. Heitzman-Powell is a Licensed Psychologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Doctoral level (BCBA-D). She is the Director of Community Research for the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (KCART) and the Center for Child Health and Development (CCHD) at the KU Medical Center. Dr. Heitzman-Powell has been involved with autism research and training over the last 20 years. She has been a strong advocate for autism services at the state level and is a member of the KS Legislative Task Force on Autism.
Jay Buzhardt, Ph.D.
As an associate research professor at the University of Kansas, Dr. Buzhardt’s interests focus on investigating factors that impact the implementation, usability and effectiveness of technology-based intervention, assessment, and training. He has directed and co-directed several federally-funded research projects from NIH, IES, OSEP, NIDRR, and local foundations, including the following: He is co-developer and investigator of the OASIS (Online and Applied System for Intervention Skills) Training to train parents how to implement evidence-based practices with their young children with autism.
E (Alice) Zhang, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Zhang is an Assistant Professor with the department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She graduated with her doctoral degree in behavioral psychology. Her research interests focus on increasing access to families of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other related disorders via technology. She provides clinical services including OASIS Parent Training and behavioral consultation through both in-person and telehealth clinics. Dr. Zhang is passionate about advocating for healthcare access and disability rights.
Vanessa Snyder, MA, LPC, BCBA
Vanessa Snyder is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Hawai’i Pacific University. Since 2008, Vanessa has provided in-home, center-based, and school-based support to providers and parents of children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2016, Vanessa joined the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training at the University of Kansas Medical Center where she operates as the OASIS Project Manager, and provides clinical services to families of children with ASD and other related disorders.
Lugeine Alshurafa, MS, LMLP
Lugeine Alshurafa is a Licensed Master’s Level Psychologist. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology at Missouri University of Science and Technology and her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Washburn University. Lugeine initially joined the team in 2017 to assist in the development of the OASIS training curriculum. Following her time at K-CART, she worked as a licensed therapist at a community mental health center working with youth and their families to address difficult emotions and challenging behaviors. In 2023, Lugeine rejoined the team as an OASIS Parent Coach to provide training to caregivers of children with behavioral issues and high support needs.
Hanna Traphagan, M.Ed
Hanna received her undergraduate degree in Biological Health with a minor in Psychology from University of Oklahoma, and her Masters of Education in Public Health Education from Texas State University. Hanna has experience working in statewide youth tobacco prevention, juvenile delinquency prevention, and youth substance use prevention. In 2021, she joined KCART where she is a Research Assistant for the OASIS program and she is now the Kansas Family Support Center program manager.
Inesha Hale, M.A.
Inesha Hale graduated from Northwestern University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies. Inesha later graduated from Lindenwood University in 2022 with a Master’s in Early Intervention in Autism and Sensory Impairments. Inesha has experience working with children with autism within a classroom setting and then later as an interventionist. Inesha joined the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training at the University of Kansas Medical Center in 2023 as Direct Service Provider and Training Specialist where she coordinates the Direct Service Provider and Behavior Specialist trainings.
Kelly Kluthe, M.S.
Kelly received her undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Kansas in 2012, and her Master of Science in Biological Sciences from Clemson University in 2014. Kelly taught K-12 science for 11 years and was involved in pre-service STEM teacher preparation at the University of Kansas-Lawrence before joining the OASIS team in 2023. Kelly is currently a Research Assistant and helps facilitate Coach Training.
Raneem Akkila, B.S.
Raneem Akkila received her undergraduate degree in Public Health from the University of Missouri – Kansas City in 2023. She has experience working primary and secondary research studies during her undergraduate years, and has an interest in behavioral research. Raneem is currently a Research Assistant and will be pursuing her Masters in Public Health at the University of Kansas.
Emily Baumann, B.S.
Emily Baumann is a Doctorate of Audiology student at KU Medical Center, and is a student research assistant for the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training who currently assists with the OASIS training programs and the Kansas Family Support Center. She graduated from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center with a Bachelor’s degree in Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences in 2021. Emily is interested in pediatric audiology and working with children with autism.
Caity Hynson, M.S.
Caity is a Doctoral student in Education in K-12 Leadership at Rockhurst University. They joined in the fall of 2023 as a Research Assistant for the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training. Caity completed their B.S. in Elementary Education and completed a M.Ed. in Educational studies at Rockhurst University. Caity worked as a middle school science teacher for 9 years.
Zachary Langston, B.S.
Zach received his undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Science from Kansas State University and a minor in Conflict and Trauma studies. Zach has experience working as a program assistant for the Couples and Family Therapy Graduate program at K-State. He joined K-CART as a Research Assistant in the fall of 2023.