Ms. MacKenzie is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Colorado State University in 2011. She subsequently earned her Master of Social Work with a Certificate in Mental Health from the University of Pittsburgh in 2017.
Ms. MacKenzie has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families in various capacities since graduating from Colorado State University. She has provided intensive one-on-one intervention and comprehensive behavioral consultations for children and their families. She has also developed supportive academic, life skills, and vocational programs to support the transition to adulthood for adolescents. Ms. MacKenzie also served as a research coordinator for a study of specialized inpatient units for individuals with developmental disabilities, which provided invaluable information about children with ASD, family adjustment and wellbeing, and standards of inpatient health care across the United States.
Ms. MacKenzie also completed a fellowship with University of Pittsburgh’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities and Related Disorders (LEND), a program that provides graduate students across many disciplines with extensive training in leadership, advocacy, and interdisciplinary partnerships, so that they may more effectively work with children and families in the field of neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Throughout her work with children and families, Ms. MacKenzie has noticed a scarcity of available supports and services for parents and other unpaid caregivers of individuals with ASD. She is interested in better understanding the challenges faced by these caregivers and working to develop novel ways of supporting them through research, policy, and practice. Her dissertation examines the many barriers to appropriate and timely diagnosis for caregivers of children at risk for ASD.