Our Team

Laura Cwynar, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, LBS
Founder/CEO


Laura Cwynar is a Behavior Analyst that has worked in the field of autism and special education for 10 years. Laura received her Master of Education degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Early Intervention with a specialization in autism. During her studies at Pitt, Laura earned her ABA certificate and was a recipient of the Early Intervention/Autism Specialization Scholarship. Laura has worked in both the home setting and private day school setting in Pittsburgh as well as Northern Virginia. She has worked with a variety of learners ages 2-22. Laura has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with the BACB since 2009 and became a Virginia Licensed Behavior Analyst with the Board of Medicine in 2012. As of April 2015, she is also a Licensed Behavior Specialist with the Pennsylvania Board of Medicine. Laura has a Virginia teaching license in Early Childhood Special Education and a Pennsylvania Private Teaching Certification. Laura’s areas of expertise include Verbal Behavior, language development, problem behaviors, behavioral assessments, behavior plan development and implementation and data collection and analysis. Laura loves data! She sees it as a way of showing the successes of her clients and families that she works with. Laura is also passionate about disseminating ABA and enjoys teaching those around her about the positive impact of ABA.

Annie DeBaldo, M.Ed., BCBA, LBS
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
 

Annie DeBaldo has bee in the field of special education for 6 years. She is a graduate of West Virginia University with her Bachelors of Science degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology with a Certificate in Disability Studies. In August 2015, she began her Masters Degree at the University of PIttsburgh in the Early Intervention with Autism Specialization program where she also pursued her applied behavior analysis certificate. Annie sat for her Board Certified Behavior Analysis exam in August 2017 and passed on the first try. She also became a Licensed Behavior Specialist in Pennsylvania. Annie has been working for Allegheny Behavior Analysis Services, LLC since Decemeber 2016 and has loved seeing the company grow. In her spare time, Annie enjoys reading, riding her bike in parks, cooking, and exploring everything that Pittsburgh has to offer.

Jolynn Villena, M.Ed., BCBA, LBS
Professional Development and Training Coordinator\Board Certified Behavior Analyst
 

Jolynn has worked for over 20 years as a Developmental Specialist in Early Intervention.  She has provided services in individual’s homes as well as in the community.  She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a dual certification in Special and Elementary Education from Slippery Rock University.  Jolynn completed coursework with Pennsylvania State University and was certified as a BCaBA.  Jolynn was enrolled at University of Pittsburgh where she earned her Masters of Education in Early Intervention with a specialization in autism.  She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and is a Licensed Behavior Specialist with Pennsylvania.  She is also fluent in Spanish.

Kara Hafen, M.Ed., BCBA, LBS
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
 

Kara graduated from the Pennsylvania State University with her Bachelor of Science in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She went on to achieve her Master of Education degree from the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Early Intervention with a specialization in autism. During her studies at Pitt, Kara had multiple practicum experiences with a variety of learners ranging from birth to 21 years of age. She enjoyed applying her knowledge in both home and classroom settings and is excited to continue her education and knowledge of ABA practices. Kara is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Behavior Specialist.

Hannah Lawson, M.A., BCBA
Board Certified Behavior Analyst
 

Hannah graduated with an M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) with an Emphasis in Autism from Ball State University in the fall of 2019. She also graduated with a certificate in autism. Shortly thereafter Hannah became certified as a BCBA in February of 2020. Hannah has five years of experience working with children with autism in a variety of capacities and settings. She worked as an RBT for over two and a half years with Allegheny Behavior Analysis Services before transitioning into a BCBA role. In this role she gained extensive experience working with a wide range of clients aged 2-18. Hannah is the recipient of the 2019 Robert F. Steiner Special Education Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to an ABAS employee who is pursuing the BCBA credential and who demonstrates a passion for ABA and special education. Hannah is dedicated to using a Verbal Behavior approach to help build language skills as well as decreasing problem behaviors by providing clients with alternative functional skills. 

Dana H. Patenaude, M.ED., BCBA
Board Certified Behavior Analyst

Dana is a BCBA for us here at ABAS as of September! She has been working as an RBT at ABAS since January of 2019. Dana earned her Masters of Education in Early Intervention on an ABA track with an autism specialization from the University of Pittsburgh in December 2019. During her time in graduate school, she worked as an intern at UPMC in their LEND trainee program, where she worked on a multidisciplinary team collaborating with other professionals in multiple fields relating to disability studies to support local families. Dana enjoys playing with kitten and her puppy, reading and going on hikes with her boyfriend in her free time. She plans on continuing her career as a BCBA and supervising BCBA candidates with ABAS! 

Doreen Schoppen
Office Manager

Doreen has been working in the Human Resource field for many years, most recently at a behavioral health rehabilitation services agency for the past six years. She attended Robert Morris University and has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Business Administration. She also has experience working and volunteering with children.  Doreen loves spending time with her family and friends and can usually be found attending one of her children’s activities.

Nicole Rauch
Registered Behavior Technician

My name is Nicole Rauch.  I live in the South Hills with my husband, daughter, and son.  When my daughter was four years old, she was diagnosed with PDD NOS which is now called Autism Spectrum Disorder. I wanted to become knowledgeable about ASD so that I could help my amazing daughter. What started out as a quest for knowledge quickly become a passion. Recently, I graduated with a B.A. in Psychology from Saint Leo University. For the past three years, I have been working in the school environment as a paraprofessional. I am excited to continue my education at California University of Pennsylvania where I will be working towards my M.Ed. in Applied Behavior Analysis with a concentration in Autism. My goal is to become a board certified in Behavior Analysis so that I can continue to support and empower children with autism and other special needs. In my free time, you can find me watching a movie, reading a good book, or doing a fun adventurous activity with my family.

Alexa Catanzarite
Registered Behavior Technician

Alexa possesses 7 years of combined experience within the mental health and behavioral health fields. Throughout her undergraduate studies majoring in psychology at Carlow University, she worked as a therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital among adults diagnosed with co-occuring mental health and substance abuse diagnoses. She then earned her master's degree in Applied Developmental Psychology with a concentration in school-based behavioral health at the University of Pittsburgh. During Alexa's graduate coursework, she completed a 9-month internship within a school-based program at an inpatient psychiatric setting. Following this experience, she was employed for 2 years within a school-based partial hospitalization program among children with Autism and other behavioral and emotional disorders. During this time, she accrued experience hours towards a behavior specialist license and obtained this credential in December 2014. She transitioned into a position as a licensed behavior specialist at a wrap-around agency providing in-home therapy to children and skill transfer to their families, consultation with local school districts and special education professionals, and weekly supervision to therapeutic support staff. In August of 2016, Alexa enrolled at the University of Pittsburgh seeking an Applied Behavior Analyst certificate.

Cara Thomson
Registered Behavior Technician

Cara Thomson is a Pittsburgh native who grew up in the South Hills. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Saint Vincent College in 2017, and went on to complete a Masters in Education in Child Psychology from Duquesne University in 2019. Cara also completed a graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis through The Pennsylvania State University. She has worked with children in the home, academic and community setting, serving as a camp counselor at two area summer camps. Most recently, Cara supervised the direct care staff of children on the autism spectrum at an inclusive summer camp. She is working on earning the requisite supervised hours to sit for the BCBA exam. In her spare time, Cara enjoys catching up with friends and family, reading, listening to music and podcasts and cheering on the local sports teams. 

Eva Rybak
Registered Behavior Technician

Eva has nine years of experience working with children in daycares and family centers. After deciding to pursue a career where she could work with and help children on a more personal and individual level she applied to the University of Pittsburgh, where she is currently studying Early Intervention and Applied Behavior Analysis, with hopes to become a certified BCBA after graduation. In her free time, Eva enjoys listening to music and making art. 

Casey Schick
Registered Behavior Technician

Casey graduated from Duquesne University in 2014 with her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She went on to study School Psychology at the University of South Florida and graduated in 2017 with her Education Specialist degree. In 2018, Casey became a certified School Psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania and worked in multiple schools. However, she decided that she wanted to utilize the data collection and progress-monitoring skills she obtained in graduate school on a regular basis. As a result, she is eager to apply these skills as an RBT. Casey hopes to further her education and gain the experience needed to eventually become a BCBA.

Megan Hufford
Behavior Technician

Megan Hufford graduated from the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Cum Laude with her Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education. Since then, Megan has obtained her Pennsylvania teaching license in grades PreK-4 and has taught PreKindergarten and PreK Counts for 4 years. During her teacher training program, Megan taught 4 th grade math, English language arts and social studies in special and general education settings. Currently Megan is pursuing her Masters Degree in Special Education, Pennsylvania Special Education teacher licensure grades PreK-8 and BCBA at Duquesne University.  Megan is excited to be apart of the ABAS team and infuse what she knows about education into the role of a BT/RBT. Megan has called Pittsburgh home since 2006 when she moved from Southern California with her family. In her free time Megan enjoys exploring the city, going to Steeler games, cooking new reciepes for her family, and reading self-help/motivational books.

Addie Tyson
Registered Behavior Technician

Addie Tyson is currently a graduate level student at the University of Pittsburgh studying Early Intervention with a Specialization in Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis. She aims to take her boards to become a certified behavior analyst after graduation. Addie has seven years of work and volunteer experience working with children. In her free time, she enjoys reading and spending time with her family.

Nick Lapinski

Nick Lapinski is a junior in high school and lives in Pittsburgh with his dad, mom, and three sisters.  Outside of school and work, he enjoys cooking, baking, mountain biking, CrossFit, fishing, and anything computer related.  Nick is very excited to be a part of the Allegheny Behavior Analysis team and looks forward to gaining transition skills to prepare him for his future.

Keri Ufolla
Behavior Technician

Keri graduated with a Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis (Autism Track) from California University of Pennsylvania in December 2019. She has four years experience working with children in a child care setting. Her goal is to become a BCBA and she is looking forward to learning more about the field of ABA. In her free time she loves having movie nights with her son.

Emily Thomas
Behavior Technician

Emily is a Pittsburgh native and a 2017 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelors of Arts in Communication Science and Disorders. Her experience with autism spectrum disorder has been lifelong, as she has a younger brother on the spectrum. This exposed her from a young age to many of the support services in the area for autism, and also inspired her to work with children with disabilities as a private caregiver, therapeutic support staff, and an early childhood educator. She hopes to use her life and career experiences so far to contribute as a RBT,  providing children and their families with compassion and support. 

Allegheny Behavior Analysis Services, LLC

3000 Mcknight East Dr Suite 102, Pittsburgh, PA 15237

Main:  (412)230-8615

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