KidTalk has a staff of about 20 people. About one-third of these are masters or doctoral students, and most of the rest are full-time staff. KidTalk also regularly employs a handful of undergraduate students part-time.
Ann Kaiser, Ph.D. – Director, KidTalk Project
Ann is the Director of KidTalk and the Susan W. Gray Professor of Education and Human Development at Peabody College of Vanderbilt University. She serves as the principal investigator for the research and demonstration grants at KidTalk. She has published more than 160 articles and chapters on early language interventions for children with language delays and developmental disabilities, and for children at risk due to poverty. She has received numerous awards for her research and mentoring including the Harvie Branscomb Distinguished Professorship at Vanderbilt University, and the prestigious J. E. Wallace Wallin Lifetime Achievement Award of the Council for Exceptional Children. Dr. Kaiser received her PhD in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas.
Rachel Asres, M.S. – Bilingual Assessor
Rachel received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education, Child Studies, and Teaching Linguistically Diverse Students from Vanderbilt. After graduation, she spent 8 years as a teacher for English learners in Nashville and in Guadalajara, Mexico. She is new to the KidTalk team but is excited to continue to work with Spanish speaking families and children and to improve her knowledge of early childhood language development.
Lauren Booth, B.S. – Research Analyst
Lauren began working as a Research Analyst on the KidTalk ACE project for minimally verbal children with Autism after graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga. Prior experience before joining the KidTalk team was gained through multiple internships and volunteer work with children who have intellectual disabilities, including autism. Lauren’s extensive involvement with children has developed a stronger interest in this field, and she plans to continue pursuing Special Education at the graduate level.
Ashlynn Campagna, M.S., CCC-SLP – Assessor
Ashlynn is a licensed speech-language pathologist who obtained her Master’s degree in Communication Disorders from Auburn University. Prior to moving to Nashville, she worked for several years within a pediatric private practice in Boston, MA primarily working with early intervention and children with autism spectrum disorders. Ashlynn joined KidTalk to pursue her passion for research and working with children with autism. She currently works as an assessor for KidTalk serving children with autism spectrum disorders.
Georgina Cisneros, M.A. – Bilingual Research Assistant
Georgina is a Bilingual Researcher in Social Sciences . She received her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Central America University in El Salvador and Master’s degree in Economics from Vanderbilt University with a Fulbright Scholarship. She has been working in data managing and quantitative technical assistance of research projects in different areas with multidisciplinary teams. She is most interested in contributing to developing projects and interventions focused in improve the lives of disadvantaged families. She joined the KidTalk team in January 2023.
Madeline Hinson, B.S. – Lab Manager/Research Coordinator
Madeline Hinson is currently the Project Coordinator for all of the KidTalk programs and performs various duties across all projects. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Middle Tennessee State University with a concentration in liberal studies and psychology.
Ana Paula Madero, M.S. – Bilingual Educational Consultant
Ana Paula Madero obtained a BS in Special Education with a minor in Speech-Language Pathologies and Hearing disabilities and a Masters in Psychology with Gestalt orientation and Human development. Her career as a Language, Speech and Behavioral Therapist for families and children with special needs has spanned over 20 years. Some of her experiences include ABA training and therapy for kids with developmental disabilities such as autism and down syndrome, shadowing and mentoring monitors in inclusive environments, advising parents, teachers and professionals regarding current behavioral strategies for working with children, parent training and bilingual language intervention for kids with language delays. Ana has worked with multidisciplinary teams of professionals in related fields to provide ongoing support for her clients. Her passion drives her to work with kids with special needs and their families.
Kimberly McCulla, B.S. – Research Coordinator
Kim received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and English from Lipscomb University in 2008. She became acquainted with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center during her senior practicum experience, where she assisted at the Kennedy Center and TRIAD, working with projects to study Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) detection and intervention. She has worked for Vanderbilt KidTalk for the past four years as a data analyst and coordinator, working with children who have language delays and ASD.
Jennifer Nietfeld, M.A. – Project Director
Jen obtained an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education and a Masters in Developmental and Child Psychology, Behavior Analysis, both at University of Kansas. She worked with Dr. Kaiser as a parent trainer for four years, which moved her to become the director and founder of SAIL Inc, an early intervention group providing ABA to children with autism. In addition to her work with SAIL, she is the Project Director for the KidTalk ACE project, a four-site grant funded by Autism Center for Excellence. The ACE project serves minimally verbal children with Autism.
Tatiana Peredo, Ph.D. – Project Coordinator & Investigator
Tatiana has served as an interventionist and parent trainer on several KidTalk projects. She earned her Master’s degree in Human Development Counseling from Vanderbilt University in 2010 and her doctorate degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of Texas at Dallas in 2015. Tatiana enjoys working with children with Autism, children with Down syndrome, and Spanish-speaking families. She currently serves at the investigator on the R21 Spanish Grant.
Suzanne Thompson, M.Ed., BCBA – Project Coordinator
Suzanne Thompson is the Project Coordinator for our newest Institute of Educational Sciences grant for toddlers with Autism. She works both as the coordinator of this project and as an interventionist to the children and families. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Disorders, a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Suzanne has been with KidTalk since October 2009 and enjoys working in an environment where she is able to directly apply research to the clinic and home settings.