Alana McVey

Marquette Autism Project

Alana McVey is currently a fifth-year Clinical Psychology doctoral candidate under the direction of Amy Vaughan Van Hecke, Ph.D. Alana grew up in Colorado, near Colorado Springs. She graduated with honors from Loyola University Chicago in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and minors in Spanish and International Studies. Alana’s interest in autism spectrum disorder began during her undergraduate years and has grown exponentially as she has had the opportunity to work with children, adolescents, and adults on the spectrum. Before beginning graduate school, Alana spent several years working as a research coordinator implementing large-scale research protocols examining biological, neurological, and behavioral expressions of autism with children and adolescents at the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Alana’s research interests center on mental health among youth with autism spectrum disorder. She is especially curious about how comorbid symptoms, such as anxiety, present in autism and how treatments may be developed and/or adapted to improve the quality of life for autistic youth and adults. She is also interested in methods of measuring such symptoms including via the use of physiological and neurological of activity. Alana Master’s Thesis examined the efficacy of the PEERS® for Young Adults social skills intervention on social ability and social anxiety among young adults with autism. Her Doctoral Qualifying Exam was a systematic review of the neurobiological presentation of anxiety in autism. Alana’s dissertation project examines neurological underpinnings, via fMRI, of improvements in social behavior and anxiety in response to the PEERS® intervention.

Clinically, Alana is involved with the facilitation of the Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) social skills intervention at Marquette for preschoolers, adolescents and young adults with autism. She is also a practicum student clinician-in-training at the Center for Behavioral Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin.

In her spare time, Alana enjoys spending time with friends and family, practicing yoga, meditation, and acrobatics, and being outdoors.


Contact the Behavior Therapy and Research Lab

The Behavior Therapy and Research Lab is currently located on the third floor of Cramer Hall.

Phone Number: (414)288-5746