Our Staff

Naomi SwiezyNaomi Swiezy, PhD, HSPP
DIRECTOR

Dr. Swiezy founded and started directing HANDS in Autism® in 2004Her areas of research and career interest include Applied Behavior Analysis, staff and caregiver training, and the behavioral assessment and treatment of autism spectrum and related disorders as well as global systems change and implementation effortsAs the Director of HANDS in Autism®, she provides consultation in clinic as well as in the community through home intervention and school contracts and collaborations.


Tiffany NealTiffany Neal, PhD
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Dr. Neal joined the HANDS team in 2011Her areas of research and career interest include school-based trainings related to functional behavioral assessments (FBAs), behavioral interventions, observational methods, data collection, ASDs, and RtIDr. Neal’s training efforts as the Assistant Director at HANDS in Autism® have focused on training across disciplines, diagnostic considerations, and how to develop collaborative partnerships within school systems and between schools and families.


Macy RunyanMacy Runyan
SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Macy joined the HANDS team in 2018 after earning a teaching license in k-6 general education, k-6 mild disabilities and in P-12 severe disabilities. She has worked in a variety of settings from urban to rural, elementary to middle school, and resource to self-contained settings. Macy takes interest in helping individuals become independent and how a multi-sensory approach can be used throughout education. Macy currently works to provide training and support on the HANDS team as a Special Education Support Specialist on coaching to families, schools and various community members to increase positive outcomes with individuals.


Tara Lugo

CARE COORDINATOR

Tara joined the HANDS team in 2022 after completing her MSW from IUPUI. Her MSW concentration focuses on community and organizational leadership and she has gained expertise on community development, creating connections, program development, and program management. In her spare time, Tara loves to hike at her local state parks, read, and play with her cat, Dempsey. Tara is excited to share her experiences and passion for social work with the HANDS team as the Care Coordinator.


KurtKurt Bassett
PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Kurt joined the HANDS team in 2017, coming from a wide range of experience, including; 4 years as a records manager at IDOE, 5 years as a cart collector at Walmart, interning for the Arc of Us, and a teacher aid at his church’s preschool. He volunteers at Riley Hospital, the Children’s Museum, and the Indianapolis Zoo. His hobbies include watching TV, reading history books, sailing, going on vacation with my family cooking, and play with his dog. Kurt currently works to help put materials together for schools and trainings, host Coffee With Kurt, and assist on other office responsibilities on the HANDS team as a Program Assistant.  


Iryna Ashby, PhD
INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNER

Iryna joined the HANDS team in 2008 as a behavioral specialist. She came back in 2017 as an instructional designer. Iryna hold PhD in curriculum and instruction, focusing on learning design and technologyShe has extensive experience with course development for online and face-to-face learners, data visualization, and information architecture to support diverse learners in higher education and industry. Her research interests include competency-based education, interdisciplinary education and collaboration within and across interdisciplinary teams, lifelong learning, and improvement of online learning experiences and environments. 


Ryan WolfeRyan Wolfe
MULTIMEDIA SPECIALIST

Ryan has been a part of the HANDS team since 2018. His areas of interest include social media planning, Salesforce/Marketing Cloud, media strategy development, market research and video design and production. Ryan currently works to use all of these tools to help promote the needs with ASD with outreach and information for the community through his role on the HANDS team as a Multimedia Specialist. 


Aditi Deodhar, PhD
RESEARCH SPECIALIST

Aditi joined the HANDS team in 2019 after completing her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research focused on the development of self-regulation and socio-emotional processes during early childhood. In her spare time, she is an avid reader and loves to travel. Aditi is a Research Specialist at HANDS in Autism® collaborating on multiple ongoing research and service projects, as well as communicating research & data with diverse stakeholders including families, educators, medical professionals, and other community providers. 


Lori Henley
OFFICE MANAGER

Lori joined the HANDS team in 2021, after serving as a graduate coordinator at Florida State University, where she earned her MA in Arts Administration.  She started her career 20 years ago as a teacher in the Ohio public school system. Lori takes interest in supporting administrators and professional staff by facilitating logistics in conducting services, sharing resources, and assisting the daily flow and productivity.  Lori is excited to assist the HANDS team as the Office Manager in working to provide services to a full range of consumers in the field of autism and related disorders. 


Claire Freeborn
MULTIMEDIA SPECIALIST

Claire joined the HANDS team in 2021 after earning her Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in Marketing and Management. She takes interest in combining her love for the community affected by ASD with her desire to create and design effective communication tools. Claire is working to make the services of HANDS more widely known and utilized in her current role as a Multimedia Specialist for HANDS in Autism® 


Rebeca Hayes
STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Rebeca joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a senior at IUPUI in the Purdue School of Science studying Psychology with a minor in Spanish. With an academic & research interest in positive psychology and autism, Rebeca will be planning on going to graduate school to pursue a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, with an emphasis in autism, in hopes of becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst working at an ABA center. At HANDS, she is eager to help and learn as one of our Student Support Specialists. 


Bryce Stockslager
STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Bryce joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a 2nd Year Practicum Student in the University of Indianapolis PSY-D program. Currently, he is working towards receiving his doctoral degree in clinical psychology with current interests in research and clinical practice related to cognitive and behavioral therapies. At HANDS, he hopes to gain knowledge and experience that will help him grow as a current clinician in training.


Mackenzie Kruger
DIRECT SUPPORT ASSISTANT

Mackenzie joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a senior at IUPUI in the Purdue School of Science studying Psychology and Neuroscience. Her current areas of academic and research interest include cognition, behavior, and abnormal psychology. She hopes to grow her experience and learning through her role as a Direct Support Specialist.


Tanpreet Kaur
RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Tanpreet joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently in her junior year at IUPUI in the School of Informatics studying Health Information Management. Her current areas of academic and research interests include data analysis and abnormal psychology. She hopes to gain more experience in her role as a Research Assistant with HANDS in Autism®.


Anna Jacob

PROJECT ECHO COORDINATOR

Anna joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a 1L at IU McKinney School of Law. Her interest in law and public policy has led her to pursue a career as an attorney with a specialization in health care law or intellectual property through a global perspective. Anna brings a diverse skillset to the HANDS team and is thrilled to gain extensive knowledge through her role of the Project ECHO Coordinator.


Cate Clark

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER

Cate joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently in her junior year at Butler University studying Dance and Psychology. Her current areas of academic and research interest include developmental, abnormal, and sports psychology. At HANDS, she is eager to help and gain more experience in her role as a community volunteer.


Connor Hesher

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Connor joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a sophomore at IUPUI in the School of Health and Human Sciences studying Health Science on a pre-medical degree. His current areas of academic and research interest include health outcomes and problems encompassing natural and behavioral science. Connor will provide a role of being a Research Assistant for the HANDS research team.


Amandeep Kaur

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Amandeep joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a current junior at IUPUI in the School of Informatics studying Health Information Management with a minor in health psychology. Her academic and research interests include data analytics, coding, and psychology. Amandeep hopes to gain valuable experience and make connections as a field-based Research Assistant at HANDS.


Yashaswini Uppalapati

PROJECT ECHO RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Yashaswini joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Health Informatics at IUPUI, in the School of Informatics and Computing. Her current research areas include healthcare data analysis and biostatistics. Yashaswini works as a Research Assistant at HANDS, where she is currently working on the Autism Project ECHO. She is eager to deepen her knowledge and diversify her skillset through this role.


Maria Pranaya Penta Reddy 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSOCIATE (CEA)

Maria joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is in her final semester pursuing a masters in health informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. Her research interests include effective integration of clinical decision support systems for the better health outcomes and data analysis. Maria is working as a community engagement associate at HANDS. She is very much eager to see herself as a civic-minded graduate through this role as CEA by deepening her knowledge in the work environment with HANDS. 


Mounika Gottipati

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Mounika joined the HANDS team in 2022. She is a Health Informatics master’s student at IUPUI in the SOIC department. Her current areas of academic and research interests include health data analytics, electronic health record systems, and clinical informatics. Mounika works as a Research Assistant at HANDS and is excited to be a part of the team and hopes to enhance her skills and knowledge to achieve higher career growth in the healthcare data analysis field.


Sai Yashashwini Achanti

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Sai joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing her masters in the Health Informatics in the school of informatics and computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She has completed her undergrad in Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm-D) and worked as a drug safety associate for AstraZeneca-Covishield project. Sai’s interests include research and data analysis. Through this role, Sai hopes to expand her knowledge in the field of research, hone her data skills, and establish new relationships. 


Vijayani Bomma

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Vijayani joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a graduate student in the School of Informatics and Computing. Vijayani is actively seeking knowledge and eager to learn more about data-driven medical infrastructure and is very enthusiastic about interning with Hands in Autism in the Neurodiagnostic Research Institute’s Adolescent Autism Project. Being from the area of dentistry, Vijayani has had a significant influence on encountering autistic people and the strategies to approach them with care. 

Naomi SwiezyNaomi Swiezy, PhD, HSPP
DIRECTOR

Dr. Swiezy founded and started directing HANDS in Autism® in 2004Her areas of research and career interest include Applied Behavior Analysis, staff and caregiver training, and the behavioral assessment and treatment of autism spectrum and related disorders as well as global systems change and implementation effortsAs the Director of HANDS in Autism®, she provides consultation in clinic as well as in the community through home intervention and school contracts and collaborations.


Tiffany NealTiffany Neal, PhD
ASSISTANT DIRECTOR

Dr. Neal joined the HANDS team in 2011Her areas of research and career interest include school-based trainings related to functional behavioral assessments (FBAs), behavioral interventions, observational methods, data collection, ASDs, and RtIDr. Neal’s training efforts as the Assistant Director at HANDS in Autism® have focused on training across disciplines, diagnostic considerations, and how to develop collaborative partnerships within school systems and between schools and families.


Macy RunyanMacy Runyan
SPECIAL EDUCATION SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Macy joined the HANDS team in 2018 after earning a teaching license in k-6 general education, k-6 mild disabilities and in P-12 severe disabilities. She has worked in a variety of settings from urban to rural, elementary to middle school, and resource to self-contained settings. Macy takes interest in helping individuals become independent and how a multi-sensory approach can be used throughout education. Macy currently works to provide training and support on the HANDS team as a Special Education Support Specialist on coaching to families, schools and various community members to increase positive outcomes with individuals.


Tara Lugo

CARE COORDINATOR

Tara joined the HANDS team in 2022 after completing her MSW from IUPUI. Her MSW concentration focuses on community and organizational leadership and she has gained expertise on community development, creating connections, program development, and program management. In her spare time, Tara loves to hike at her local state parks, read, and play with her cat, Dempsey. Tara is excited to share her experiences and passion for social work with the HANDS team as the Care Coordinator.


KurtKurt Bassett
PROGRAM ASSISTANT

Kurt joined the HANDS team in 2017, coming from a wide range of experience, including; 4 years as a records manager at IDOE, 5 years as a cart collector at Walmart, interning for the Arc of Us, and a teacher aid at his church’s preschool. He volunteers at Riley Hospital, the Children’s Museum, and the Indianapolis Zoo. His hobbies include watching TV, reading history books, sailing, going on vacation with my family cooking, and play with his dog. Kurt currently works to help put materials together for schools and trainings, host Coffee With Kurt, and assist on other office responsibilities on the HANDS team as a Program Assistant.  


Iryna Ashby, PhD
INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGNER

Iryna joined the HANDS team in 2008 as a behavioral specialist. She came back in 2017 as an instructional designer. Iryna hold PhD in curriculum and instruction, focusing on learning design and technologyShe has extensive experience with course development for online and face-to-face learners, data visualization, and information architecture to support diverse learners in higher education and industry. Her research interests include competency-based education, interdisciplinary education and collaboration within and across interdisciplinary teams, lifelong learning, and improvement of online learning experiences and environments. 


Ryan WolfeRyan Wolfe
MULTIMEDIA SPECIALIST

Ryan has been a part of the HANDS team since 2018. His areas of interest include social media planning, Salesforce/Marketing Cloud, media strategy development, market research and video design and production. Ryan currently works to use all of these tools to help promote the needs with ASD with outreach and information for the community through his role on the HANDS team as a Multimedia Specialist. 


Aditi Deodhar, PhD
RESEARCH SPECIALIST

Aditi joined the HANDS team in 2019 after completing her PhD in Developmental Psychology at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research focused on the development of self-regulation and socio-emotional processes during early childhood. In her spare time, she is an avid reader and loves to travel. Aditi is a Research Specialist at HANDS in Autism® collaborating on multiple ongoing research and service projects, as well as communicating research & data with diverse stakeholders including families, educators, medical professionals, and other community providers. 


Lori Henley
OFFICE MANAGER

Lori joined the HANDS team in 2021, after serving as a graduate coordinator at Florida State University, where she earned her MA in Arts Administration.  She started her career 20 years ago as a teacher in the Ohio public school system. Lori takes interest in supporting administrators and professional staff by facilitating logistics in conducting services, sharing resources, and assisting the daily flow and productivity.  Lori is excited to assist the HANDS team as the Office Manager in working to provide services to a full range of consumers in the field of autism and related disorders. 


Claire Freeborn
MULTIMEDIA SPECIALIST

Claire joined the HANDS team in 2021 after earning her Bachelor’s degree from Purdue University in Marketing and Management. She takes interest in combining her love for the community affected by ASD with her desire to create and design effective communication tools. Claire is working to make the services of HANDS more widely known and utilized in her current role as a Multimedia Specialist for HANDS in Autism® 


Rebeca Hayes
STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Rebeca joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a senior at IUPUI in the Purdue School of Science studying Psychology with a minor in Spanish. With an academic & research interest in positive psychology and autism, Rebeca will be planning on going to graduate school to pursue a degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, with an emphasis in autism, in hopes of becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst working at an ABA center. At HANDS, she is eager to help and learn as one of our Student Support Specialists. 


Bryce Stockslager
STUDENT SUPPORT SPECIALIST

Bryce joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a 2nd Year Practicum Student in the University of Indianapolis PSY-D program. Currently, he is working towards receiving his doctoral degree in clinical psychology with current interests in research and clinical practice related to cognitive and behavioral therapies. At HANDS, he hopes to gain knowledge and experience that will help him grow as a current clinician in training.


Mackenzie Kruger
DIRECT SUPPORT ASSISTANT

Mackenzie joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a senior at IUPUI in the Purdue School of Science studying Psychology and Neuroscience. Her current areas of academic and research interest include cognition, behavior, and abnormal psychology. She hopes to grow her experience and learning through her role as a Direct Support Specialist.


Tanpreet Kaur
RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Tanpreet joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently in her junior year at IUPUI in the School of Informatics studying Health Information Management. Her current areas of academic and research interests include data analysis and abnormal psychology. She hopes to gain more experience in her role as a Research Assistant with HANDS in Autism®.


Anna Jacob

PROJECT ECHO COORDINATOR

Anna joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently a 1L at IU McKinney School of Law. Her interest in law and public policy has led her to pursue a career as an attorney with a specialization in health care law or intellectual property through a global perspective. Anna brings a diverse skillset to the HANDS team and is thrilled to gain extensive knowledge through her role of the Project ECHO Coordinator.


Cate Clark

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER

Cate joined the HANDS team in 2021 and is currently in her junior year at Butler University studying Dance and Psychology. Her current areas of academic and research interest include developmental, abnormal, and sports psychology. At HANDS, she is eager to help and gain more experience in her role as a community volunteer.


Connor Hesher

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Connor joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a sophomore at IUPUI in the School of Health and Human Sciences studying Health Science on a pre-medical degree. His current areas of academic and research interest include health outcomes and problems encompassing natural and behavioral science. Connor will provide a role of being a Research Assistant for the HANDS research team.


Amandeep Kaur

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Amandeep joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a current junior at IUPUI in the School of Informatics studying Health Information Management with a minor in health psychology. Her academic and research interests include data analytics, coding, and psychology. Amandeep hopes to gain valuable experience and make connections as a field-based Research Assistant at HANDS.


Yashaswini Uppalapati

PROJECT ECHO RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Yashaswini joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Health Informatics at IUPUI, in the School of Informatics and Computing. Her current research areas include healthcare data analysis and biostatistics. Yashaswini works as a Research Assistant at HANDS, where she is currently working on the Autism Project ECHO. She is eager to deepen her knowledge and diversify her skillset through this role.


Maria Pranaya Penta Reddy 

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSOCIATE (CEA)

Maria joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is in her final semester pursuing a masters in health informatics in the School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI. Her research interests include effective integration of clinical decision support systems for the better health outcomes and data analysis. Maria is working as a community engagement associate at HANDS. She is very much eager to see herself as a civic-minded graduate through this role as CEA by deepening her knowledge in the work environment with HANDS. 


Mounika Gottipati

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Mounika joined the HANDS team in 2022. She is a Health Informatics master’s student at IUPUI in the SOIC department. Her current areas of academic and research interests include health data analytics, electronic health record systems, and clinical informatics. Mounika works as a Research Assistant at HANDS and is excited to be a part of the team and hopes to enhance her skills and knowledge to achieve higher career growth in the healthcare data analysis field.


Sai Yashashwini Achanti

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Sai joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is currently pursuing her masters in the Health Informatics in the school of informatics and computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. She has completed her undergrad in Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm-D) and worked as a drug safety associate for AstraZeneca-Covishield project. Sai’s interests include research and data analysis. Through this role, Sai hopes to expand her knowledge in the field of research, hone her data skills, and establish new relationships. 


Vijayani Bomma

RESEARCH ASSISTANT

Vijayani joined the HANDS team in 2022 and is a graduate student in the School of Informatics and Computing. Vijayani is actively seeking knowledge and eager to learn more about data-driven medical infrastructure and is very enthusiastic about interning with Hands in Autism in the Neurodiagnostic Research Institute’s Adolescent Autism Project. Being from the area of dentistry, Vijayani has had a significant influence on encountering autistic people and the strategies to approach them with care.