Office of ABA Staff
Director - Leasha M. Barry, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA
Leasha M. Barry, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA
Dr. Barry is the founder and director of the Office of Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of West Florida.
The curriculum offered at the University of West Florida is one of the first in the world approved by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, www.BACB.com. Dr. Barry holds a PhD in Special Education, Disability, and At Risk populations from the University of California at Santa Barbara, as well as a MA in Educational Psychology.
Dr. Barry conducts research, teaches, and participates in service activities that combine her interest in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), special education, and early intensive behavior intervention. Diverse applications include behavioral interventions for post- traumatic stress disorder, developmental disabilities (including Autism), learning disabilities (such as ADHD), and other at-risk populations spanning areas of impact from neonatal intensive care to juvenile justice.
Dr. Barry collaborated with community stakeholders to establish the Autism Center at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola, FL. The Autism Center at Sacred Heart provides ABA services, differential diagnosis, and other services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The Center also provides practicum experiences for students of Applied Behavior Analysis at UWF.
During her tenure at the University of West Florida, the Board of Trustees recognized Dr. Barry for her contributions to the University.
The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies recognized Dr. Barry for her contributions to the field. In addition, Autism Pensacola named Dr. Barry the “Professional of the Year” in 2009. Dr. Barry publishes in refereed publications, including Journal of Advanced Academics, Journal of Behavior Analysis of Offender and Victim – Treatment and Prevention, Journal of Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention, Adolescence, and The Behavior Analyst Today.
Associate Director - Dayna L. Beddick, Ed.S, BCBA
Dayna L. Beddick received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a specialization in Administration of Justice from the University of Pittsburgh, her Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of West Florida, and is currently completing her Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Science and Social Sciences. Dayna is an advisor for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Dayna began working for the Office of ABA as a guest lecturer in 2009 and now provides support to instructors for curriculum execution and research endeavors and also supports student research endeavors.
Research interests include: problem behaviors in gifted children, severe self-injurious behaviors, health and fitness, and coercive administration of justice.
Program Coordinator - Michelle Nelson, M.A.
Michelle Nelson earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a Specialization in Management Degree as well as a Masters in Exceptional Student Education with Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis Degree from the University of West Florida.
Michelle began working for the Office of ABA in 2013 and provides support to all students throughout the program and coordinates marketing efforts.
Research interests include: Music education, precision teaching, organizational behavior management, and health and fitness.
Program Assistant - Jerry Charvat
Jerry received an Associates in Applied Science in Health Services Management as well as a certification in Medical Assisting from Pensacola State College. He is a U.S. Navy Reservist with an occupational specialty in Information Systems Technology.
Jerry began working with the Office of ABA in 2016 and brings his IT experience to specialize in video production. He assists team members with administrative duties and marketing efforts to promote the UWF ABA program and he plays a large role in the production of continuing education courses that are offered in collaboration with the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies.
Jerry is also actively involved as an educator in the performing arts, as he works with High School and University percussion ensembles in the southeast region in visual design and marching instruction.