- Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara
- M.Ed., University of Nevada
- B.A., University of Nevada
Dr. Abernathy earned her Ph.D. in Special Education Policy Analysis and Research from the University of California, Santa Barbara as part of the Policy Analysis Research Doctoral Program (PARDOC). She teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate level for students working toward a teaching license in special education for practicing teachers who are interested in developing advanced teaching skills. Dr. Abernathy has led the development of several integrated general and special education teacher licensure programs at both Weber State University and the University of Nevada to assure inclusive practices for students with disabilities. Dr. Abernathy was the Principal Investigator on an OSEP funded 325T Program Improvement Grant designed to push teacher education beyond first order change and toward a new more inclusive second order change. In 2010 Dr. Abernathy graduated a cohort of Lead-RR Nevada doctoral scholars funded through the OSEP Preparation of Leadership Personnel (CFDA 84.325D). In 2015 she was awarded a second OSEP Preparation of Leadership grant (NCITE) to prepare six new doctoral scholars who are pursuing positions in higher education. Nevada's Collaborative Investment in Teaching Excellence (NCITE) is a collaborative project between the Special Education Program and the Nevada Center for Excellence in Disabilities. 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.