Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities Staff List
Dr. Nora Griffin-Shirley – Director of the Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research
and Education in Sensory Disabilities, Coordinator of the Orientation and Mobility
Dr. Griffin-Shirley is the Director of the Sowell Center as well as the coordinator for the Orientation and Mobility program and the TTU Graduate School Certificate in Sensory Impairments and Autism. Dr. Griffin-Shirley is a Co-Principal Investigator on the Reach Across Texas grant, Project CAT-SI, Project SASI, Project INVITE, Project Leadership Challenge and Project TEDD.
Dr. Rona Pogrund – Coordinator of the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments
Program, Coordinator of the Teacher of Students with Deafblindness Program
Dr. Pogrund is the coordinator of the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments Program. She is also the Co-Principal Investigator for the Reach Across Texas grant, Project CAT-SI, Project SASI and Project INVITE. Dr. Pogrund has her office at Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Austin and teaches classes there and online.
Dr. Phoebe Okungu – Coordinator of the Teachers of Students who are Deafblind
Dr. Phoebe Okungu received her doctorate from TTU in 2014. Since that time she has been an assistant professor at Stephen F. Austin State University in the Teacher of Students with Visual Impairments Program and the Orientation and Mobility Program for two years. In Fall 2016 Dr. Okungu became the Coordinator of the Teachers of Students who are Deafblind. Prior to coming to TTU Dr. Okungu was a faculty member at the Kenya Institute of Special Education teaching in a personnel preparation program to train special education teachers. She has had extensive experience teaching individuals with visual impairment, deafblindness and special needs in Africa.
Additionally, she received an M.Phil. from Norway in special education with an emphasis in teacher of students with visual impairments.
Grant Related Faculty
Dr. Devender Banda - is a professor of special education and teaches courses in applied behavior analysis and special education. He is the Verified Course Sequence (VCS) Coordinator for the TTU ABA program. Dr. Banda has more than 20 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. He has worked in school settings and has also provided behavioral consultation services in educational and home settings. He is a co-investigator on Project Leadership Challenge and Project TEDD. email@example.com
Dr. Stacy Carter - is a professor of special education, a school psychologist, and teaches courses in applied behavior analysis and special education. Dr. Carter has more than 20 years of experience working with individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. He has worked in developmental disabilities centers and with community supported living agencies in several different states. He is a co-investigator on Project Leadership Challenge and Project TEDD. firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriella Davis – Program Coordinator
The Virginia Murray Sowell Center for Research and Education in Sensory Disabilities has hired Gabriella Davis to be the Program Coordinator for both the Office of Special Education Programs grant; Project CAT-SI, and the Reach Across Texas Program (RATP). Gabriella coordinates the scholarships, students, and budgets for both Project CAT-SI and RATP as well as manages the technology and Blackboard courses for the Sowell Center. Gabriella began working with the Sowell Center in 2014, as a technology assistant and course developer for Project SASI and graduated from TTU in 2015.
Laura Delcambre – Research Assistant
Laura is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist who assists with face-to-face courses in the O&M and TVI programs. As a part-time research assistant Laura assists Dr. Griffin-Shirley with research projects and grant-related tasks. She previously worked for the program from 2013-2018, and returned to the program in the fall of 2021.
Sandra Lara – Administrative Business Assistant
Sandra is a part-time administrative business assistant for the Reach Across Texas Program who maintains the student data base, prepares grant reports, and assists Dr. Pogrund with a variety of program tasks at TSBVI in Austin. She has worked for the program since 2012.
Pam Lindell – Business Assistant
Pam is the business assistant for Project Leadership Challenge and also for the Non-Traditional Deaf Education Certification Program. Pam assists with participant recruitment, purchasing, travel, scholarships, reporting, and online course design. Pam began working for the Sowell Center as a temporary research assistant in 2005.
Anita Page – Internship Coordinator
Anita is a Certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist who assists with online and face-to-face courses in the O&M and TVI programs. As the Internship Coordinator, Anita coordinates and places interns for the O&M programs as well as supervises interns. Anita also works with admissions and advisement for students in the vision programs and has been working at the Sowell Center since 2001. Anita graduated from Texas Tech University with her Master's Degree in special education with a specialization in Orientation and Mobility.
Jenelle Racher – Research Assistant
Jenelle is a part-time research assistant who assists Dr. Pogrund in Austin with course- and grant-related tasks and research projects. She has worked for the program since 2014.
The Nguyen - Specialist 4
My name is The Nguyen. I am a research assistant for the Sensory Impairment Program. I was born in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This is a coastal country in South East Asia. Right now I am in my second year in the Curriculum and Instruction Program in College of Education. I am filled with hope that later I will be able to integrate service learning and research skills into curriculum to increase students' experiences, knowledge as well as life skills to get ready for the real working environment and be more responsible for the community.