UHCL profs join Million Dollar Club for receiving grants supporting programs

June 1, 2018 | Katherine Adams

UHCL profs join Million Dollar Club for receiving grants supporting programs

University of Houston-Clear Lake’s Associate Professors of Behavior Analysis Jennifer Fritz and Sarah Lechago have been diligently applying for – and receiving – external grants and contract funding to support graduate assistantships in local school districts and in many other programs since 2008 and 2010, respectively.

This month, both Lechago and Fritz learned their efforts had culminated in receiving an honor reserved for the faculty’s top money-raisers: entrance into UHCL’s $1 Million Club, as acknowledged by the Office of Sponsored Programs. Their names will be added to a plaque honoring 30 other professors who have also raised $1 million on behalf of the university.

“We are just thrilled about this,” Fritz said. “Some of the funding has been used to support our work at UHCL’s Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, the Severe Behavior Disorders Research Clinic, the Autism Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, the Verbal Behavior Clinic, and the Connecting the Dots program.”

Lechago and Fritz developed the Connecting the Dots program in 2016 to help parents and caregivers of children on the autism spectrum address the connection between communication deficits and problem behavior in a holistic manner. Lechago said that they had raised the largest amount – approximately $800,000 – for the Connecting the Dots program, for which they won the 2017-18 Star Award from Clear Creek Independent School District’s Special Education Parent-Teacher Organization earlier this month.

Fritz serves as the director of CADD’s Severe Behavior Disorders Research Clinic and of the Behavior Analysis Program at Texas Children’s Autism Center. Lechago serves as the director of CADD’s Verbal Behavior Clinic and Verbal Behavior Clinic tele-health program, which will launch in June of 2018.

“We have also received funding for graduate assistantships to Avondale House, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing individuals with autism training and education,” Lechago said. “That’s an amazing program that we’ve been working with for a couple of years.”

Rhonda Thompson, UHCL’s vice president for university advancement, said this achievement reflects the heart both Lechago and Fritz bring to their work. “These professors’ life-changing work is a powerful example of how our university, through this program, is making a big difference in our community – one life, one family at a time,” she said.  

For more information about CADD, visit www.uhcl.edu/autism-center. For more information about UHCL’s Behavior Analysis program, visit www.uhcl.edu/human-sciences-humanities/departments/clinical-health-applied-sciences/behavior-analysis.