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Graduate Students


Rachel Rivera

Graduate Student
Entry Year: 2020 - 2021
Faculty Mentor(s): Loisa Bennetto

427  Meliora Hall
Fax: (585) 273-1100

Research Overview

My research interests broadly focus on the relationship between sensory processing and social, cognitive, and adaptive functioning within the context of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). I am particularly interested in exploring how sensory processing and communication differ for non-speaking, non-verbal, or minimally verbal individuals and how we can best advocate for their needs in clinical, school, or other intervention settings

Selected Publications

Selected Presentation

  • Rivera, R. A., Jaen, J., Alper, R., and McCleery, J. (2020, June). Impacts of Aerobic Exercise VersusRelaxation on Pivotal Response Training Responder Profiles in Nonverbal and Minimally Verbal Children with Autism [Poster Session]. International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) 2020 Annual Meeting, Virtual
  • Rivera, R. A.*, Cichon, B.*, & McCleery, J. (2019, June). Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support: Cura Personalis. Presented at the sixth biennial meeting of the Jesuit Universities Humanitarian Action Network (JUHAN) Student Leadership Conference, Scranton, PA, United States.  *indicates co-first presenters 


  • Fall 2020: Teaching assistant for Clinical Psychology, University of Rochester
  • Spring 2020: Teaching assistant for Statistics for the Social Sciences, Lifespan Development, and graduate Advanced Research Methods & Statistics II, Saint Joseph's University
  • Fall 2019: Teaching assistant for Statistics for the Social Sciences, Sleep: Senior Research Seminar, and Autism Spectrum Disorder Co-Occurring Conditions, Saint Joseph's University


  • 2020: Graduate Psychology M.S. Award, Saint Joseph's University
  • 2020: Inducted into Alpha Epsilon Lambda National Graduate Students Honor Society, Saint Joseph's University
  • 2019: Inducted into Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, Saint Joseph's University
  • 2017: Who's Who Among Students in American Colleges & Universities, Villanova University
  • 2013-2017: Dean's List, Villanova University

Additional Information

2018-2020: Saint Joseph's University, M.S. in Experimental Psychology

2017-2018: Eden Autism, Early Childhood & High School Teaching Assistant

2013-2017: Villanova University, B.S. in Biology and Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience, Cum Laude