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VTCAR News and Updates

VTCAR Student and Faculty Awards Announced!

VTCAR is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Student Award and the 2016 Student Fellows of the year.  We are also pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 faculty SEED Award for Research Development.

Deanna Swain and Reina Factor (Psychology) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “Stress and Anger Management Program (STAMP) RCT for Young Children with ASD.” We are also excited to name Deanna and Reina as our 2016 Student Fellows of the Year.

Ligia Antezana (Psychology) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “Preliminary Training in Neuroimaging Methods to Examine Neurological Characteristics of Co-occurring Autism and ADHD.” 

Nina Lauharatanahirun (Psychology) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “Autism Spectrum Disorder and Betrayal Aversion: An Experimental Study.” 

Mary Tackett (Education) won the 2016 VTCAR Student Award to fund research on “The Power of Story: How Culturally Diverse Children’s Books About Autism Provide Transformative Opportunities for Elementary Learners.” 


Dr. Susan White and Dr. Thomas Ollendick (Psychology) won the 2016 SEED Award for Research Development to fund research on "Exploring the Mechanistic Role of Anxiety in the Experience of Adverse Outcomes among Adults with ASD."

Dr. Amy Azano (Education) won the 2016 SEED Award for Research Development to fund research on "Development of an Evidence-based Program for Competitive Employment of Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder."



SAFE (Supporting Autism Friendly Environments) Field Study Position

Position description:

The Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research (VTCAR) is looking for a student to participate in a field study position for the Spring 2016 semester.  This field study position would organize events, create public relations materials, and fundraise for the SAFE (Supporting Autism Friendly Environments) program as well as other VTCAR events or programming as necessary.  This student would promote VTCAR and the SAFE program by conducting outreach to various community organizations/partners, making presentations to different groups about VTCAR and the SAFE program, assisting in trainings for community organizations/partners, advertising for the events, and other needs for the operation of VTCAR and the SAFE program.  This position will require a self-motivated and organized student with great written and oral communication skills who wants to meet many new people in the Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, and surrounding communities.  This student must be able to dedicate 10-12 hours a week (3 credits) to this field study with more credits possible if the student is interested.  This field study will be through the Department of Psychology although students from all disciplines are encouraged to apply.

Program description:

VTCAR is a multi-disciplinary center that aims to understand the causes, consequences, and treatments of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  One of our primary objectives is to foster collaborative research by establishing a database of well-characterized individuals with ASD, using state-of-the-art measures in diagnostic evaluations.  The Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research’s “SAFE: Supporting Autism Friendly Environments” project provides greater access for individuals with autism to attend local venues and participate in community activities.  Goals for the SAFE project are twofold: (1) to provide everyday access to entertainment venues for individuals with autism and their families and (2) to create a culture of awareness and acceptance in our community. While increasing access for meaningful participation in the community by individuals with autism, SAFE also teaches empathy, creating a community of care, inclusion, and compassion.


If you are interested in applying for this field study position, please email Angela Scarpa ( with your CV or resume as well as a statements of interest and qualifications.



Affiliates in the News!


SAFE featured in the VT Magazine!

Affiliate Amy Azano and the SAFE program are featured in the VT Magazine!  See the article here.


STEPS Featured in the Roanoke Times

VTCAR Affiliate Susan White and the STEPS project were featured in the Roanoke Times.  See the article here.


Affiliate Awards!

Congratulations to Affiliate Michael Fox for receiving a 2015 NARSAD Independent Investigator Grant!

You can read more about Michael's work and the grant here.

Congratulations to Deanna Swain for her receipt of the Graduate Research Grant from the Organization for Autism Research

Her project is titled "Feasibility Study of Mindfulness Enhanced Pivotal Response Treatment Group Training for Parents of Children with ASD."  More information about the award can be found here.

Congratulations to Affiliate Susan White for her recent R03 Award

Contact Information

Address: 460 Turner Street, Clinical Science Suite (Suite 203), Blacksburg VA
Phone: 540-231-8747


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