Student Research Published in Psychology Journal

By | January 24, 2024

Rebecca Cervi '21, professional headshot.A student capstone project completed for the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Program at Daemen University has been published in Behavioral Interventions, a psychology journal focused on applied behavior analytic techniques in the treatment, education, assessment, and training of students, clients or patients, and staff.

Rebecca Cervi ‘21, conducted research on Interview Informed Synthesized Contingency Analysis (IISCA) and skill-based treatment for her ABA masters capstone project. 

At the time, Cervi was working at a school where she was able to design and implement the treatment for a student with autism after a prolonged break from school following the COVID-19 pandemic. Results of the IISCA determined the contingencies that could evoke problem behavior upon being reintroduced to educational instruction, and a skill-based treatment was then developed based on those contingencies.   

Cervi, who currently works at the Summit Center as a behavior consultant, said she never planned on publishing her research.

“However, after sharing my research with my professors during my capstone presentation, all of them were very encouraging about trying to get it published,” she added. “They said it was important for my research to be disseminated because there were so many other students with autism going through the same thing, returning to school after a prolonged break from Covid, that could benefit from what I did.” 

Cervi worked with Dr. Deborah Napolitano, an associate professor in the Behavioral Science Department, and Dr. Deborah Gruber, a former adjunct professor, for nearly two years to edit and submit her paper before it was accepted by Behavioral Interventions for publication. 

“This is something that I never dreamed I would be able to accomplish, and there were many times throughout the process when I was ready to give up,” Cervi said. “But I truly owe everything to my two professors, Dr. Napolitano and Dr. Gruber, for not only the extensive amount of work they put into helping me revise the paper for publication but for the unwavering encouragement and optimism they provided me throughout the whole process. This accomplishment is as much theirs as it is mine, and I am so grateful to them.” 

Dr. Vicki Madaus Knapp, the department chair and an associate professor, said it’s very rare for student research to get published. 

“It is extra work and involves the student and the faculty members working together and going above and beyond,” Knapp said. “I am proud of Rebecca for taking the extra steps to collaborate with faculty from the Behavioral Science Department to publish her important research.”