Dr. Abernathy earned her Ph.D in Special Education from the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of the Policy Analysis Research Doctoral Program Leadership Training Grant. She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level for students working toward a teaching license in special education and for practicing teachers who are interested in developing advanced teaching skills. She has lead the development of integrated general and special education teacher licensure programs at both Weber State University and the University of Nevada to help include students with disabilities into general education classes. Dr. Abernathy graduated a cohort of Lead-RR Nevada doctoral scholars funded through the OSEP Preparation of Leadership Personnel (CFDA 84.325D). She is currently the Principal Investigator on a 325T Program Improvement Grant, designed to push the program beyond first-order change and toward a new more inclusive second order change. Dr. Abernathy's current research interests are focused on developing self-determination skills for adolescents with disabilities, evaluating teacher education programs and mentoring graduate students and early career scholars.