Meet Julie Fraumeni-McBride- She has a focus on disability as it relates to disadvantaged populations and finding ways to make education equitable and accommodating to under-served populations.

Please share what has lead you to this position with the Thompson Policy Institute (TPI)?

My interest in autism and disability related research has led me to this position at TPI. This comes from a particular interest in wanting to see further educational opportunities for individuals experiencing disability related difficulties.  I have seen first hand the difficulties that arise from having family members with autism and hope that I can in some small way help ease the burdens and illuminate the strengths of this with autism.

What does your role encompass and how do you believe your experience as a GRA will influence future positions and opportunities in academia?

My roles at TPI vary depending on what is needed.  Thus far I have spent most of my time at TPI gathering data and preparing articles. Working with Don Cardinal at TPI compliments everything I am learning in the PhD program and enhances and multiplies my learning.  The opportunity to work among professionals who have such depth in the field of disability studies will prepare me to be able to conduct meaningful research in the future to contribute to the body of literature available. Improving understanding of, quality of care and living, for those facing intellectual and mental challenges is at the heart of my future pursuits in academia. The goals of TPI and opportunities they present to me as a GRA will prepare me to serve in any role relating to this pursuit.

What current project are you involved in with TPI?

Currently I am working on an Autism prevalence data project which seeks to explain the rise in autism and a historical literature review of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy.

What areas of research do you focus on outside of your work with TPI?

I have worked on various research projects relating to literacy development in individuals with autism and improving literacy for disadvantaged children. I enjoy the opportunity to work on new and pressing topics relating to autism at TPI which often are addressing controversial issues relating to autism and try to incorporate these topics of study into the work I do outside of TPI. I have a particular interest in research in the area of disability as it relates to disadvantaged populations and finding ways to make education equitable and accommodating to under-served populations.

What has been the best part of working as a GRA at the Thompson Policy Institute?

The environment at TPI is one of altruism and hard work.  The best part of working as a GRA at the Thompson Policy Institute is the people. They are all dedicated and caring individuals who are committed to improving the lives of families and individuals with intellectual differences. They are all extremely knowledgeable and experienced. I have worked most closely with Don Cardinal and feel incredibly grateful for the apprenticeship opportunity. His compassion and dedication to the field of disability studies is unmatched and I could not imagine getting better experience elsewhere.

Julie Fraumeni-McBride has Bachelor of Science in Human Development & Family Life from Brigham Young University, a Master of Arts in Education from St. Catherine University, and holds an early childhood education certification through the American Montessori Society.  Presently she is working on her PhD in Education with an emphasis in Disability Studies at Chapman University.

Before coming to Chapman, she spent time working as a language teacher for Jumpstart in low income schools in Chicago. While in Chicago, she conducted action research on better understanding how to improve reading comprehension for low-income students struggling with learning impairments in urban Chicago schools. Her research on this has recently been published in the Journal of Montessori Research. Julie also spent time conducting research on urban education at the University of Chicago and has worked as a teacher in Montessori education.

Julie has presented her research at national and international conferences on autism and literacy. Her research interests include: literacy & reading comprehension in children with learning impairments, atypical family circumstances on mental health & learning impairments and resiliency, mental illness as a learning impairment, gender roles in the family, and autism spectrum disorder. Julie currently serves as a literacy consultant for disadvantaged youth with mental and intellectual impairments and is working as a Graduate Research Assistant at the Thompson Policy Institute on Disability and Autism. In this capacity, Julie is working with Don Cardinal and Amy-Jane Griffiths on research publications studying the prevalence of autism.