Aspire specializes in helping children, teens and adults on the autism spectrum achieve success.
Meet the Aspire Leadership Team
D. Scott McLeod, PhD
Executive Director of Aspire
Clinical Instructor in Psychology, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Scott McLeod has been on staff at Massachusetts General Hospital since 1990. He became Aspire’s Executive Director in January 2003 after acting as Associate Director for 10 years. Dr. McLeod received his doctorate in clinical psychology from Boston University. He is a Clinical Instructor in Psychology at Harvard Medical School.
His clinical interests include the development of effective interventions for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Dr. McLeod consults in a large number of public and private schools about supporting social and academic success with students with ASD. Dr. McLeod strongly believes that real change for persons on the spectrum occurs in the life space. The most effective interventions to support academic, social and vocational success need to be at schools, camps, and job sites. He is a former long time member of the Board of Directors of the Asperger's Association of New England (AANE). He is also the co-author of a new book on ASD: Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child with Asperger's (ASD): Create a Personalized Guide to Success for Home, School, and the Community.
Elise Wulff, MEd
Senior Program Manager, Child Services and Aspire Works
Elise Wulff has been working with the neurodiverse population in both the public and private sectors for over 15 years. With Aspire since 2008, Elise oversees Child programming, Parent programming, Aspire Works, and related services where participants engage in multi-disciplinary, strengths-based learning. Elise feels strongly and has observed that there is a mutual accountability of neurodiverse individuals and their environments (schools, communities, workplaces) to create safe, inclusive spaces that enhance the potential for success for all involved. In her consultation, Elise supports corporations and other organizations to expand their Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives to encompass and value Neurodiversity. She designs and delivers evidence-based trainings, workshops, and seminars that empower individuals and groups to transition their DEI goals in concrete, practical, prioritized, and actionable roadmaps to progress.
Prior to joining Aspire, Elise worked as an Inclusion Facilitator for a therapeutic intervention program for students with Asperger’s, NVLD, ADHD, and similar profiles. In collaboration with Aspire, Elise co-wrote a multi-year tiered self-awareness curriculum based on Aspire’s model ‘The Science of Me,’ as well as curricula to address enhancing Executive Functioning skills and supporting resistant writers.
In addition to managing Child Programming and Aspire Works, Elise provides parent coaching, school-based consultation, and professional development services. She is recognized for her work supporting school districts, community organizations, and corporations to enhance their inclusion practices and foster healthy social-emotional development and self-awareness. She has specific expertise in inclusive practices, program design, social-emotional learning, tools to build independence, and strategies for Executive Functioning. Elise received her undergraduate degree in psychology and theater arts from Emory University and her master’s degree in special education from Lesley University.
Taylor Levesque, MA
Associate Program Manager, Child Services
Taylor Levesque comes to Aspire with a variety of experience working with children and teens with an ASD or similar diagnosis. Her passion lies in direct service through small group and in-the-moment coaching for children of all ages. Taylor began her Aspire career at the Adventure Camp for children and continued on to lead Explorations groups for Aspire’s teen program. Prior to working at Aspire, Taylor developed and implemented a social skills curriculum for transition-age youth with neurodevelopmental disabilities and participated in the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Taylor is thrilled to be a part of the Aspire team, where she can to continue to establish meaningful relationships with children and their families to facilitate their positive development.
Taylor received her undergraduate degrees in Child Development and Psychology and her Master of Arts degree in Child Study and Human Development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University.
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Jenn O'Rourke, MS
Associate Program Manager, Child Services
Before coming to Aspire, Jenn facilitated an inclusion based program in the District of Columbia Public School System, with a focus on teaching social thinking and executive functioning skills to elementary aged children with high-cognitive spectrum disorder. Jenn believes in a teaching approach that values the development of the whole child. Jenn received her undergraduate degree in psychology and earned her masters of science degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Northeastern University.
In 2015, Jenn was awarded the Newton Parent Advisory Council Special Education award and in 2017, she was nominated for the Excellence In Teaching Award, by DC public schools. She is excited to be a part of the Aspire team and work with individuals from a variety of clinical backgrounds to help children reach their full potential.
Molly Jagoda, MS, BCBA
Program Coordinator, Child Services
Molly is passionate about supporting the success of children with complex neurological and behavioral profiles. She moved to Massachusetts from Westchester, New York in 2015 for the opportunity to teach yoga and recreational movement at Aspire Adventure Camp and has been living her dream ever since. Molly believes strongly in a strengths-based, child-centered approach to intervention and celebrates the neurodiversity of the individuals she has the privilege of working with.
Molly received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Muhlenberg College and completed her Yoga Teacher Training at the Kripalu School of Yoga. She earned a Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism Studies from UMass Lowell, and has been a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst since 2020. In addition to taking on many roles within Aspire’s child programming, she has provided behavioral support as a milieu counselor at the Manville School at Judge Baker Children’s Center and as a behavior therapist in Newton Public Schools. During the 2020-2021 school year, Molly worked as a private teacher to support the continued academic and social-emotional growth of a student on the autism spectrum being home-schooled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jack Lewis, MEd
Associate Program Manager, Aspire Works
Jack Lewis began his career in education by working with individuals on the autism spectrum at Weston High School. His four years at Weston allowed him to gain a deeper insight into the unique strengths and challenges of this population. Jack managed the day-to-day lives of students while utilizing a strengths-based approach to ensure their individual growth. Jack helped to develop a transition planning curriculum for the students in an inclusion program to support their transition to life after high school. Jack has overseen and supported students with Weston’s senior internship program throughout his years.
During his time at Weston High School, Jack was the head diving coach for Boston College. Jack was able to incorporate the leadership skills gained from coaching into his job with Weston. He feels strongly that having an adult who creates an inclusive environment and safe space for all enhances their potential for personal and professional growth. Jack completed his master’s degree in special education for moderate disabilities from Lesley University and his undergraduate degree in recreation management from Springfield College.
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Cornelia Pelzer Elwood, MA
Parent Support Specialist, Parent Services
Cornelia’s special interest is supporting individuals on the autism spectrum, their parents, and their families. Her professional experience in this field includes parent coaching, job coaching, providing individual and family therapy, and facilitating trainings, support groups, and workshops. She is an ASD specialist for a community mental health agency and worked at Asperger/Autism Network, where she currently serves on the Board of Directors. She is the parent of two boys, one of whom is a young adult on the autism spectrum.
Cornelia co-authored Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child with Asperger’s (ASD) with D. Scott McLeod, PhD, and developed and led a corresponding parent training. She frequently speaks on the topic of parenting a child on the autism spectrum for a variety of audiences including parents, students, camp counselors, and professionals at schools, universities, offices, hospitals, and conferences.
Cornelia received her BA from Vanderbilt University, completed a two-year life coach training, earned a Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Antioch University New England and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from William James College. Her experience of being a mother and working with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, combined with her education about autism and clinical mental health counseling, help her understand the many facets of autism.
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Brett Mulder, PsyD
Program Director, Teen and Adult Services
Brett Mulder, PsyD, Director of Teen and Adult Programs at Aspire and Clinical Instructor at Harvard Medical School, oversees year-round programming for teenagers and adults with high cognitive autism and related profiles. Dr. Mulder holds appointments as Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry and as Assistant in Pediatrics in the Department of Pediatrics at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Mulder is the principal investigator on three longitudinal studies evaluating program outcomes for teen and adult programs at Aspire. He provides consultation to school systems and conducts trainings and workshops throughout the year for employers, clinicians, and educators. At the Lurie Center for Autism, he sees children, teenagers and adults for individual psychotherapy.
Dr. Mulder received his undergraduate degree in psychology and philosophy from Hope College, his Master of Arts degree in philosophy from Tufts University, and his doctorate in clinical psychology from the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology. He completed a two-year advanced fellowship in psychotherapy and psychological assessment at the Danielsen Institute of Boston University. Also, his training positions included: Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital/YouthCare, Boston University, Tufts Medical Center and McLean Hospital.
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Kellsey Donovan, MS, CAGS
Associate Program Manager, Teen and Adult Services
Kellsey has been a part of Aspire’s Teen and Adult Programming since 2013. She has worked in both the Explorations and the Transitions programs in a variety of roles. Kellsey has extensive experience in the public school system, where she previously worked as a school psychologist. Within this role, she supported many diverse populations of students including students with Autism, ADHD, and specific learning disabilities. As a school psychologist, Kellsey worked in a special education program designed for students with social and emotional weaknesses. She completed comprehensive psycho-educational evaluations for special education eligibility, implemented social-emotional learning curricula, and conducted school-based counseling with students.
Kellsey received her undergraduate degree in psychology and Spanish from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her Masters of School Psychology from Northeastern University.
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Stephen DeFilippo, PsyD
Associate Program Manager, Teen and Adult Services
Stephen has worked clinically supporting children, young adults, and their families for more than 10 years in a variety of roles. He began working at Aspire in 2021 as a staff member in the Summer Explorations Program. Stephen is passionate about working with teens and young adults and has developed a particular interest in better understanding how technology and virtual spaces can be utilized to help facilitate and improve social connections and relationships. Stephen completed his undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst and received his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from William James College. He is excited to be a part of the important work that takes place at MGH Aspire.
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Ainsley Losh, PhD
Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow
Ainsley Losh is a postdoctoral psychology fellow who is passionate about supporting neurodiverse individuals in achieving their personal goals through a strengths-based, neurodiversity-affirming approach. She comes to Aspire with prior experience working with children and teens on the autism spectrum individually and in groups across clinical, school, and research settings. Her previous experiences include working with the UCR SEARCH Family Autism Resource Center, the UCLA PEERS Social Skills program, and the University of Michigan STEPS Autism program. She is thrilled to have the privilege of working with and learning from the individuals participating in Aspire.
Prior to joining the Aspire team, Ainsley earned her doctorate in School Psychology at the University of California, Riverside and her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience and English at the University of Michigan. She completed a year-long fellowship with the University of California Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (UC-LEND) program and recently completed her predoctoral internship at the May Institute. Her clinical and research interests include promoting close student-teacher and parent-child relationships, supporting social communication and emotion regulation skill development, and integrating children’s perspectives and choices into assessment and intervention.
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Briana Brukilacchio, PhD
Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow
Briana Brukilacchio, a postdoctoral fellow in psychology, will be co-leading several gaming groups at Aspire this year. Briana has been working with neurodiverse individuals for over 10 years across clinic, hospital, school, research, and recreational settings. She earned a Master’s degree in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University and a PhD in School Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Her clinical and research interests include the development and evaluation of family-centered interventions to educate and empower primary caregivers following a child’s initial autism diagnosis. She is also involved in ongoing service system redesign to increase access to developmental evaluations for traditionally underserved communities through interdisciplinary teaming and coordination of care across disparate service systems. Briana looks forward to getting to know everyone who participates in her groups and supporting them in the pursuit of their own goals.
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Deanna Toner, PhD
Postdoctoral Psychology Fellow
Deanna Toner is a postdoctoral psychology fellow at Aspire and Lurie Center for Autism. At Aspire, she co-facilitates child, teen, and adult groups during the academic year and works with the Aspire camps during the summer. Prior to joining the Aspire team, Deanna worked in inpatient and outpatient hospital settings, providing individual, group, and family therapy for individuals with diverse clinical presentations, conducting comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations, and providing school-based consultations. Deanna completed her undergraduate and graduate degrees in Clinical Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston and her doctoral internship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. She also served as a fellow in the Leadership Education and Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at Boston Children’s Hospital. Deanna is thrilled to be a part of the Aspire team.