David L. Westling, Ed.D., UP Program Director
David is the Adelaide Worth Daniels Distinguished Professor of Special Education at Western Carolina University and serves as the University Participant Program director. He received his Ed.D. in special education from the University of Florida as well as his bachelor’s and master’s degrees. His current responsibilities include implementing best practices with the University Participant Program and directing operations of the project. His research interests include areas of severe disabilities, teacher education and teacher practices. He has published in more than 50 refereed journals and co-authored several textbooks, including Teaching Students with Severe Disabilities.
Kelly R. Kelley, Ph.D., UP Program Consultant
Kelly received her bachelor's and master's degrees in special education from Western Carolina University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte focusing in secondary transition and technology. Since 2010, she has served as the University Participant (UP) Program Coordinator, Consultant, and now is an Assistant Professor at Western Carolina University. Kelly has published five book chapters and 12 journal articles. She has presented at over 100 international, national, and state conferences. Her research interests include secondary transition relating to assistive technology, independent , and inclusive postsecondary opportunities for individuals with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities.
Holly Brigman, Ph.D., CRC, UP Program Coordinator
Holly received her bachelor's degree in deaf education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She received her master's degree in rehabilitation counseling and her Ph.D. in special education and rehabilitation from Auburn University. Her dissertation focused on predictors of em ployment outcomes for youth in transition with significant disabilities who received vocational rehabilitation services. At the UP program, her responsibilities include coordination of day-to-day supports and research with college-age individuals with intellectual disabilities participating in a fully inclusive on-campus college learning experience. Holly's research interests include transition services for youth with significant disabilities and identifying employment predictors for youth who use state vocational rehabilitation services.
Susan K. Buchanan, UP Administrative Support Associate/Career Development Coordinator
Susan has worked in public schools as a teaching assistant for more than eight years, drove a bus and was employed at a local regional hospital business office and medical records department for more than 10 years. She has been with the UP Program since 2011 as the UP Administrative Assistant and now also serves as the Career Development Coordinator. She is responsible for administrative tasks as well as networking and overall management of employment opportunities wit hUP students and their natural supports.