FIU Back-to-School Experts List 2015

Below is a list of FIU experts who can comment on back-to-school topics relating to school readiness, anxiety and emotions, vaccinations, childhood obesity and other relevant topics.

For help reaching these experts, please contact FIU’s Office of Media Relations at 305-348-2232 or:

Overall School Readiness
Angela Salmon, Ed.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Teaching & Learning, College of Education
Cell: 305-986-1487
Dr. Angela Salmon’s interests are in the interplay between cognition and language and literacy development has led her to conduct research in such areas as children’s theory of mind, habits of mind, executive functions, metacognition, language and literacy development, teacher’s discourse in the classroom, music and thinking and the development of communities of practice.  Dr. Salmon is inspired by the Reggio Emilia Approach; she founded and directed a preschool under this philosophy in Miami and Ecuador.

Katie C. Hart, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
Office: 305-348-4160
Katie Hart can discuss anything related to behavioral, social-emotional, developmental, and academic readiness for school including the transition from preschool to kindergarten. Her research addresses the development, evaluation, and dissemination of early behavioral and academic interventions and treatments across academic and social settings. She has worked on the development of interventions addressing issues of attendance and adherence for families of children from low-income backgrounds. She has developed interventions tailored to culturally diverse families including those with Hispanic and Haitian backgrounds. Hart’s research also looks at mental health policy as it relates to the dissemination of evidence-based interventions in school and community settings. Hart also evaluates school-based interventions for young children with or at risk of ADHD, specifically the evaluation of commonly recommended special education accommodations for these children, as well as teacher implementation of evidence-based treatments in their classrooms.

Paulo Graziano, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
Office: 305-348-4007
Paulo Graziano’s research focuses on the role of children’s self-regulation as it pertains to school readiness, early intervention, learning and fitness. He is particularly interested in how parental and environmental factors like teachers or the classroom environment may influence how children adapt to certain situations. Graziano places special emphasis on the role of physiological and neurocognitive processes in the development of disruptive behavior disorders as well as pediatric obesity. A large portion of his research focuses on developing and examining early interventions including behavioral parent training and summer programs that can target children’s self-regulation skills and subsequent adaptive and health related outcomes. Graziano has authored or co-authored a number of papers and his work has been supported by federal grants and local agencies, including The Children’s Trust.

Erika Coles, Ph.D.
Clinical Director, Center for Children and Families
Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
Office: 305-348-4087
Erika Coles examines the effectiveness of behavioral interventions in the school setting. She is specifically looking at how consultation interventions can be used to enhance teacher integrity, knowledge, attitudes and skills to improve student outcomes in the classroom. Coles also specializes in behavior interventions to assist children with ADHD in the classroom, including the implementation of a daily report card transitioning into the school year with a behavioral plan for the classroom to prevent behavior problems from interfering with academic and social functioning.

Margaret Sibley, Ph.D.
Director of Supporting Teens’ Academic Needs Daily (STAND) program, Center for Children and Families
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Health, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Office: 305-348-3005
Margaret Sibley is the director of the Supporting Teens’ Academic Needs Daily (STAND) program at FIU’s Center for Children and Families. The program offers comprehensive family-based services to middle and high school students with attention, organization and behavioral problems throughout the school year. STAND is a family-based intervention that teaches parents and adolescents to work together to set academic goals and to reinforce success on these goals through a comprehensive home privilege program. Sibley supervises all family counseling, organization classes and summer programming for students in grades 6-12. She has authored or co-authored approximately 30 scholarly publications on the presentation and treatment of adolescents with attention and behavior problems.

Joseph Raiker, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
Office: 305-348-1970
Joseph Raiker can address issues related to disruptive behavior problems, academic achievement, and cognitive functioning (e.g., long-term and short-term memory assessment). Raiker’s research focuses broadly on understanding neurocognitive dysfunction including working memory and information processing in individuals with ADHD. Specifically, he is interested in the extent to which deficits in these processes are associated with symptoms including inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity as well as with functional outcomes including learning problems. Currently, he is examining the interaction of multiple dysfunctional cognitive processes and what implications these deficits have for intervention strategies in children with ADHD.

Anxiety and Emotions
Jeremy Pettit, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
Office: 305-348-1671
Jeremy Pettit can address signs of back-to-school anxiety as well as tips for parents on how to manage that anxiety as the first day of school approaches. Pettit also conducts research on depression, anxiety and suicidal behaviors in adolescence and emerging adulthood. He has a particular focus on the course of depression, anxiety, and suicidal behaviors over time, including interpersonal and cognitive factors that contribute to the onset, maintenance, and recurrence of these behaviors. 

J. Zoe Klemfuss, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, College of Arts & Sciences
Office: 305-348-6982
Zoe Klemfuss is the director of Child Narratives Lab in FIU’s Department of Psychology. Her research focuses on young children’s memory reports, including those about emotional past experiences. She can address how to encourage children to discuss their school day fully and accurately, including potential negative events.

Andy V. Pham, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Leadership and Professional Studies, College of Education
*Please contact Chrystian Tejedor for an interview with Pham*
Andy V. Pham is a state and nationally certified school psychologist. His expertise includes working with children with learning difficulties (e.g., reading disabilities) and mental health issues (e.g., anxiety, ADHD, autism). He has also conducted workshops for teachers and parents on promoting children’s social skills, organizational and study skills, and conflict resolution.

Vaccines and Vaccinations
Aileen M. Marty, M.D.
Professor, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
Director of the FIU Health Travel Medicine Program and Vaccine Clinic 
Office: 305-348-0377
Dr. Marty is an expert in infectious diseases. She can address the Florida school immunization requirements, facts and myths about vaccines, why vaccines are necessary, the controversy over vaccines, and vaccines that are not required but may be beneficial for a child going back to school (flu shots, for example).  She can also offer health tips including proper hand-washing and checking and dealing with head lice — a very common problem in school settings.

Consuelo Beck-Sague, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work 
Office: 305-348-7789
Dr. Consuelo Beck-Sagué is a pediatric infectious disease subspecialist who can discuss vaccinations for children. She spent almost 20 years at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemic investigator and medical epidemiologist. During that time, she led dozens of investigations and studies.  She has authored or co-authored over 100 publications in peer reviewed journals, textbooks, health publications and national and international guidelines.

Childhood Obesity and Dietetics and Nutrition 
Catherine C. Coccia, Ph.D., R.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Dietetics & Nutrition, Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work
Phone: 305-348-0194
Catherine C. Coccia is a registered dietitian with experience working with children and families to improve health outcomes through proper nutrition. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the National Council for Family Relations. Coccia’s research combines basic science in child health and evaluation of community-based programs to increase health related outcomes in diverse populations. She has received funding for her research examining the role that parents play on the health behaviors of adolescents and emerging adults, and has contributed to the development of several community-based interventions for diverse populations.

Child Abuse 
Maureen C. Kenny, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Leadership and Professional Studies, College of Education
Office: 305-348-3506
Maureen C. Kenny is trained as a clinical psychologist and spent the early part of her career working with abused children and their families. As part of a research team that examined the effects maltreatment and abuse had on children, she also worked to help these children heal from these traumatic experiences. Over time, she became involved in prevention efforts, first in the area of abuse reporting. Her efforts were spent educating mandated reporters of child abuse to identify, recognize and report abusive situations early so that intervention could be sought for the child, and healing could begin. With external funding from the Childrens’ Trust of Miami Dade County, she founded KLAS: Kids Learning About Safety, which provided safety education to preschoolers and their parents throughout Miami-Dade County. Presently, Kenny continues her efforts to educate the public and the university community about mandatory child abuse reporting roles.