Zach Dugger, MA, BCBA, LLP
Meet Zach Dugger, the founder of Braintrust Behavioral Health. Zach originally hails from from Midland, MI. He obtained his Masters of Arts in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University and is currently a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, as well as a Limited Licensed Psychologist. While at WMU, Zach got his start in the world of early intervention with children with autism. He has 13 years of experience in Human Services ranging from working with individuals with traumatic brain injury and being a case manager to working with children diagnosed with ASD at WoodsEdge Learning Center (previously known as Croyden Avenue School).
One thing Zach is passionate about is the ability to help others. In 2013 Zach was contacted by a local autism coordinator who informed him about the need for services in the area. Through his faith in God and with the guidance and support of his friends and family, he made the decision to start Braintrust Behavioral Health. Zach has steadily sought out where there may be a need for additional providers in the surrounding communities and has added contracts with eight counties over the past two years. He plans to continue to work to provide quality services in the state of Michigan, with hopes of expanding to other areas in need.
Dana Pellegrino, MA, BCBA
Dana received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and is currently a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Applied Behavior Analysis through the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. During graduate school at Western, Dana assisted with starting the Kalamazoo Autism Center under the guidance of Dr. Richard Malott, BCBA-D. There she gained experience with early intervention for children with autism.
After graduation, she moved to Los Angeles, California, to work on her Ph. D. and also to work full time as an ABA Supervisor, overseeing programs in the home, school, and community settings. After two years in California, Dana obtained an Associate Director position in Sacramento, California, for an in-home autism agency, where she obtained more experience in managing employees. Dana also assisted with starting an in-home autism agency based out of Arizona, but longed to be back in Kalamazoo. She pursued this ambition and was fortunate enough to find a position as an ABA Supervisor with Braintrust. After one year, Dana was promoted to Clinical Director.
Dana’s professional interests include employee training, parent education, and treatment for challenging behaviors.
Marissa Allen, Ph.D., BCBA
Assistant Clinical Director
Marissa received her Bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University in Psychology in 2007 and her Master’s degree from Southern Illinois University in Behavior Analysis & Therapy in 2012. She has experience in working with children and adults with disabilities and traumatic brain injuries (TBI). Marissa was an Educational Coordinator at Melmark New England, in Andover, Massachusetts, where she designed and implemented treatments for children with severe problem behavior.
Marissa subsequently provided consultation for families and individuals with TBI. Marissa is currently a doctoral student in Behavior Analysis at Western Michigan University and Board Certified Behavior Analyst at Braintrust Behavioral Health. At Braintrust she currently provides supervision and training in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for staff who work with children with autism.
Marissa’s research interests include choice assessment and treatment of problem behavior, ethical issues in practice, and developing ways to improve treatment integrity with staff and other care-givers.
Betsy Thomas, MA, BCBA
Clinical Site Director, Autism Center-Kalamazoo
Betsy received her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University (WMU) in 2007 and then continued on to earn her Master’s degree in Behavior Analysis from WMU in 2009. Her time at WMU introduced her to Behavior Analysis, working with children diagnosed with Autism, and organizational behavior management. Upon graduation, Betsy began working in Indiana as a Behavior Specialist targeting the reduction of challenging behaviors for individuals of all ages and diagnoses, primarily within residential settings. This experience has assisted with her ability to consider the lifespan of an individual and how ABA therapy can help, but her true passion lies with helping children and adolescents. Following this position, Betsy returned to working with children as a Behavior Consultant within family homes prior to being promoted to Clinical Site Director and starting the center in Kalamazoo.
Betsy is currently a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Limited Licensed Psychologist in the state of Michigan. She is passionate about child development, parent education, and staff training.
Alyssa Darrah, MA, BCBA
Clinical Site Director, Autism Center-Kalamazoo
Alyssa has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Western Michigan University, and a Master’s degree in behavior analysis, also from Western Michigan University. She has been providing ABA services, first as a technician and then as a supervisor, since 2012.
Alyssa joined our team in March of 2015, when she started as an in-home ABA technician. She then joined on as a supervisor in April of 2016 when she graduated with her masters degree. She started as an in-home staff member and now provides services primarily at our Kalamazoo center, and some Kalamazoo county in-home. She enjoys working with a variety of ages, and also providing supervision for aspiring BCBAs.
Dave Nichol, MA, BCBA
Clinical Site Director, Autism Center-Grand Rapids
David received his Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and is currently a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst. David has worked in a variety of roles since his graduation. These include behavior technician, working 1:1 with children diagnosed with autism, clinical supervisor, overseeing the treatment for individuals diagnosed with autism, and is currently the Clinical Site Director of the Braintrust Autism Center, Grand Rapids.
David has a deep interest in the following areas: parent/caregiver support and training, organizational behavior management, and improving individual therapy and outcomes to improve the outcomes for those diagnosed with autism.
Allison Berry, MA
Allison received her bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University. After graduating she went out and got a job at the New England Center for Children in Westborough Massachusetts. She started her master’s degree through Northeastern University while working the residential program through NECC. She was out there for one year before returning back to Michigan. After returning to Michigan she got a job as a paraprofessional at Galesburg-Augusta Elementary school before going to work at WoodsEdge. She worked in a middle school off-site classroom for the school year. She was transitioned to the upper elementary classroom in the next school year. She took some time off from working with kids to go work at a family business in shipping and handling before finding a good fit for her. She found Braintrust through a friend and send Zach her resume. She has been employed at Braintrust for 4 years and has recently finished her master’s degree in ABA through Capella University. She started at Braintrust as a in home technician and has recently moved into the supervisor position at the Kalamazoo Center.
Matt Campbell, BS, BCaBA
Matt received a Bachelors in Psychology and a Bachelors in Philosophy from Western Michigan University in 2015. He began working for Braintrust Behavioral Health as an ABA technician in 2015. He then became an ABA field trainer, helping to support new staff and collaborating with others to create ABA programming and a company training manual. After two years, Matt earned his BCaBA certification and transitioned to his current role of ABA supervisor. He has worked with other staff to provide school consultation services and continues to supervise ABA therapy.
Matt enjoys working with children and seeing the impact of ABA on the families he works with. His professional interests include teaching language to individuals with autism to replace challenging behavior, clinical applications of behavior analysis in treating mental health, and disseminating behavior analysis to those unfamiliar with ABA. In his personal life, Matt enjoys reading and writing, exercise, and spending time with family and friends.
Jamie DeBone, MEd, BCBA
Jamie was born and raised in Michigan on the east side of the state. She completed her undergraduate degree at Western Michigan University in 2005 in Applied Behavior Analysis and graduate degree at the University of Cincinnati in 2016, with a Master’s in Education. She has been working with children with Autism for almost 14 years. Her career has taken her all over the United States, but she has always loved Michigan.
Tara Dickson, MA, BCBA
Tara received her Bachelor’s degree in 2016 from Western Michigan University, double majoring in Behavioral Science and Comparative Religion. While working on her undergraduate degree, Tara received experience in the area of behavior analysis through working with WoodsEdge Learning Center and WMU’s Psychological Assessment and Treatment Services team. Tara continued working as a behavior technician and field trainer while working on her graduate degree. Tara completed her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis through Ball State University in 2018. Tara joined the Braintrust team in 2017. She has worked with clients in both the Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids center locations, as well as with client in-home.
Jared Gibb, BS, BCaBA
Sydney Harbaugh, Ph.D., BCBA
Sydney originally came to Kalamazoo to pursue a degree in Elementary Education, however after discovering Behavior Analysis and the difference it could make in the lives of others her plans changed. Sydney received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University and is currently a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Sydney holds additional responsibilities at Braintrust including supervision of our Senior Behavior Technicians, oversight of new hire trainings, and training our employees in Safety Care Crisis Management.
Sydney’s passion for the field and making a difference led her back to WMU where she is currently a doctoral student in Behavior Analysis. Her professional interests include family training, staff training, and treatment for challenging behaviors.
Katie Lochart, MA, BCBA
Katie Received her Bachelor’s degree from Northern Michigan University in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2015. In 2018, she received her Master’s degree from Ball State University in Applied Behavior Analysis. While at Northern Michigan University, Katie worked in a Special Education kindergarten classroom. After graduating from Northern, Katie worked as an in home behavior technician around the Kalamazoo area. In March 2019, Katie Started working at Braintrust as a technician at the Kalamazoo Center. In July 2019, Katie took over the role as an ABA supervisor while still filling in at the Kalamazoo Center.
Sofia Peters, MA, BCBA
Sofia is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She received her Master of Arts in Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University and is currently pursuing her PhD in Behavior Analysis there as well. In addition to providing services to individuals with ASD and developmental disabilities, other professional interests include training students pursuing behavior analysis certification and creating organizational systems that support the provision of quality services.
Gabi VanOosterhout, MA, BCBA
Gabi is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with Braintrust Behavioral Health. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s from Western Michigan University, graduating from the BATS MA program under Dr. Richard Malott, BCBA-D in 2018. She has worked extensively in early intensive behavioral intervention beginning in 2014, and also has experience working with individuals up to age 13, in the areas of skill acquisition and behavior reduction. Gabi has been with us since May of 2018, and works with both center and in-home clients in Kent County. Her professional interests include effective supervision of staff, as well as best practices for parent training and collaboration.
Liz Zuby, MA, BCBA
Lead ABA Supervisor of Grand Rapids Center
Liz received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and is currently a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. During undergraduate school, Liz worked at the Great Lakes Center for Autism where she gained experience with severe, challenging behavior. During graduate school, Liz completed practicum work at the Kalamazoo Autism Center where she gained experience with early intervention for children with autism, under the guidance of Dr. Richard Malott, BCBA-D. After graduation, Liz moved to Grand Rapids to help start Braintrust Autism Center. She is currently a full-time supervisor at the center. Liz’s professional interests include early intervention, treatment for challenging behaviors, and teaching daily living skills.