Director of Provincial Outreach
Dr. Vicki Knight
The CIRCA Director is Victoria (Vicki) Knight, Assistant Professor in Special Education at the University of British Columbia. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with more than 20 years of experience working with students who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her research interests include: (a) promoting learning of academic content, especially in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM); (b) evaluation of the collateral benefits of inclusion in STEM for students with ASD, and (b) evaluation and dissemination of evidence-based practices for students with ASD. She has published, presented, and trained educators in these areas internationally. Dr. Knight published over 50 peer-reviewed articles and presents internationally on these topics. Dr. Knight serves on the editorial boards of three journals, including the Journal of Special Education, Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, and Focus on Autism and Other Development Disabilities. She works closely with undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students across several research projects.
Dr. Pat Mirenda
The CIRCA was established in 2008 under the leadership of Pat Mirenda. Mirenda was a Professor in the Dept. of Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education at UBC until she retired at the end of 2020. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and taught graduate courses on autism, augmentative communication, positive behavior support, and inclusive education at UBC. In 2004, she was awarded the Killam Teaching Prize in the Faculty of Education at UBC and was named a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. In 2008, she was named a Fellow of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication. She has published over 150 research articles and chapters related to autism, and co-authored two texts on autism and augmentative communication. From 2017-2020, she was also Principal Investigator for the Parent and Child Early (PACE) Coaching Project in BC. She remains as co-investigator of a multi-site study of the developmental trajectories of children with autism and their families that is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research.
Director of Provincial Outreach
Dr. Karen Bopp
Karen D. Bopp is serving a 4-year term as CIRCA’s Director of Provincial Outreach. She started her career as a Speech-Language Pathologist has worked extensively with children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families for over 25 years. She completed a PhD and a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at UBC, where she examined the relationships between problem behaviors, maternal stress, and developmental outcomes in children with ASD. In 2008, Karen joined the Children and Youth with Special Needs Policy team in the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) where she served for 10 years in the positions of Senior Behaviour Consultant, Autism Policy Lead and, most recently, Director of Autism Information Services BC. At MCFD, Karen led the Cross-Ministry Autism Services and Supports Review; developed the Autism Outreach program; served on the Planning/Steering Committee for the Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN); and provided clinical consultation to children and youth with complex care needs across the province.
Sharon Hu joined the CIRCA team as an Instructional Designer. She specializes in using media and interactive activities to create impactful online learning experiences. Sharon’s lifelong interest in using educational technologies to enhance the learning experience led her to work on projects such as the EdX course “Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education“, UBC TLEF grant “3D Educational Resources“, and UBC Continuing Professional Development course on Anti-Racism Awareness.