Meet the New Scientific Council Members
July 31, 2023
OAR’s Scientific Council oversees the annual research competitions and produces the highest quality reviews for prospective research study results. They also assist the board of directors in developing its research strategy, objectives, and priorities. Informally known as SCOAR, the Council recently welcomed three new members.
Noor Syed, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA/LBS, is an assistant professor, program coordinator, and the founding director of the Center for Autism Advocacy: Research, Education, and Supports (CAARES) at Empire State University. Dr. Syed was also named the Turben director of autism advocacy at Empire State University. She believes strongly in advocacy and collaboration and that contributes to her work’s primary initiative to help Empire State become a fully inclusive and supportive college for those who identify as neurodiverse through supported frameworks.
She was a recipient of a 2021 OAR grant and has served as a grant reviewer over the years. She is honored to join SCOAR and contribute with her SCOAR colleagues to advancing the state of autism research. She hopes to continue the contribution “towards the development of research that is community-based, participatory-informed, and centered on the voices of those we support.”
Judah Axe, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA, is a professor of behavior analysis at Simmons University in Boston. He teaches courses on single-subject research design and conducts research on teaching verbal behavior and social skills to autistic children. Dr. Axe received his M.A. and Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis and special education from The Ohio State University. He authored the 10th edition of Applied Behavior Analysis for Teachers and over 35 articles and book chapters.
Dr. Axe has been “inspired by the work of Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., SCOAR’s chair, for over 20 years, particularly his contributions to helping adolescents and adults with autism learn skills that will support them living fulfilled, safe, and productive lives.” Additionally, Dr. Axe had the privilege of knowing and being taught by other SCOAR members, including Daniel Openden, Ph.D., BCBA-D, who taught him about pivotal response training at UC-Santa Barbara, and Gerald Koocher, Ph.D., with whom he worked at Simmons.
Dr. Axe is delighted to work with an organization whose focus in on funding research that directly translates into practice and helping autistic people.
Jenny Root, Ph.D., BCBA is an associate professor of special education in the School of Teacher Education at Florida State University. She teaches courses on differentiating instruction, access to the general curriculum, and transitions for students with disabilities.
Her extensive research background has focused on instructional ways to encourage academic learning for students with autism and intellectual disabilities. Doctor Root received a grant from OAR five years ago to study how to use augmented reality to teach math and social problem-solving skills to transition-age youth.
Dr. Root says she hopes to “contribute to discussions about identifying and addressing systemic ableism that may be unconsciously impacting the research, education, and treatment of individuals with autism.”