Meet our Discipline Coordinators

Discipline coordinators participate in LEND by attending a monthly half-day meeting with other coordinators; presenting and/or attending, when appropriate, the weekly seminar for long term trainees; meeting weekly with any graduate assistants in their discipline that are funded on the project; organizing interdisciplinary field experiences with other long-term trainees; and helping facilitate disability focused coursework and research opportunities within their school/discipline.

Faculty and Staff

Mary Beth Bruder, Ph.D.

Professor of Pediatrics
Director, Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Ph.D., Developmental Disabilities - Early Childhood, University of Oregon, 1983
M.S., Developmental Disabilities - Early Childhood, University of Oregon, 1981
B.A., Psychology - Special Education, Trinity College, 1976

Mary Beth Bruder received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in Developmental Disabilities – Early Childhood. Dr. Bruder has been in the early intervention field, including the design, provision and evaluation of early intervention services within a number of states and across a variety of agencies including Early Intervention, Special Education, Child Care and Head Start since 1975.

Currently, Dr. Bruder is the director of the University of Connecticut A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service, and professor of pediatrics at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine. Dr. Bruder also directs a number of federally funded preservice, inservice, demonstration, and research projects, and she is the editor of Infants and Young Children. Dr. Bruder has won several awards, including the Mary McEvoy Service to the Field Award from the Division of Early Childhood (DEC) and the Angel in Adoption Award from Senator Christopher Dodd and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.

Since 1986, Dr. Bruder has been a member of the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, having been promoted to professor of pediatrics in 1996. She had a joint appointment in the NEAG School of Education and was a UCEDD faculty at the NEAG School from 1986 to 1996. To date, Dr. Bruder has brought in over $45 million to the Health Center. Dr. Bruder is a recognized leader in the early childhood field and has an extensive history in the UCEDD Network. She is also the parent of children with developmental delays.

Cristina Mogro-Wilson, Ph.D.

Evaluation Consultant
Phone: 860-570-9176

Ph.D., Social Welfare, University at Albany SUNY, 2007
M.S.W., Clinical Social Work, University of Michigan, 2003
B.A., Psychology, Fairfield University, 2001

Dr. Cristina Mogro-Wilson has over ten years of experience on a variety of research projects. She has extensive experience in data analysis, report writing, and project management. She serves as the research director at the Center and has provided evaluation expertise to LEND. Dr. Morgo-Wilson is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at the University of Connecticut and was the project coordinator for the Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Personnel Preparation for Early Childhood.

Dr. Mogro-Wilson graduated from the University at Albany State University at New York where she received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare. Her dissertation used Structural Equation Modeling with a longitudinal secondary data set. Dr. Mogro-Wilson worked at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research (ISR) on the Panel Study of Income Dynamics on the Child Development Supplement, a longitudinal research project. She received her M.S.W. degree from the University of Michigan, School of Social Work in Interpersonal Practice with children, youth, and families. She has received a NIDA pre-doctoral fellowship to be part of the National Hispanic Science Network. Dr. Mogro-Wilson is bilingual and bicultural.

Gabriela Freyre-Calish

Community Outreach Coordinator
Email: 860-679-1563

M.S.W., Administration in Social Work, Fordham University, 1990
B.A., Psychology, College of New Rochelle, 1983

Ms. Gabriela Freyre-Calish is the community outreach coordinator for LEND and has extensive experience with the Latino population and young children with disabilities. Ms. Freyre-Calish has a graduate degree in social work. She has provided case management services for adults with disabilities, and to families with children with disabilities. Ms. Freyre-Calish has been associated with the the Center for the past 18 years. She began serving as the project coordinator of the Niños Especiales Outreach Training Project, which provided training in a culturally sensitive model of early intervention to families of Latino heritage.

As the coordinator of several child find projects, she has conducted needs assessments and focus groups, facilitated strategic plans, developed training materials, implemented training, analyzed effectiveness of program through the use of evaluation measures, and written progress reports for funding source. She is responsible for assuring cultural competence in all Center activities and providing staff support to the Consumer Advisory Council chairs. She is a field instructor for M.S.W. candidates for the Field Education Department at the UConn School of Social Work. She is bilingual and bicultural and is the guardian of her sister who has severe disabilities and lives in Peru. She is the mother of twin boys, one of whom is visually impaired and has sensory and language processing challenges. Ms. Freyre-Calish is very active in the coordination of services for her son who is in an inclusive classroom.

Tierney Giannotti

Training Coordinator
Phone: 860-679-1522

M.P.A., Health Policy and Management, Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, 1994
B.A., Political Science, Johns Hopkins University, 1992

Ms. Tierney Giannotti is the training coordinator for the the UConn LEND program. She is responsible for organizing training activities and ensuring that all training provided by the Center conforms to evidence-based training standards. Prior to coming to the Center, Ms Giannotti was a senior research associate at Qualidigm where she worked on qualitative studies, including one for the Susan G. Komen Foundation on barriers to mammography for women with disabilities.

Ms. Giannotti also served as an education specialist at the UConn Health Center in the School of Medicine’s Office of Continuing and Community Education. Tierney received an M.P.A. in Health Policy and Management at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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