Members of the Month

Alyssa Suzuki, junior UCLA, Public Affairs major with a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology
Nicole Meron, senior UCLA, Psychology major with a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology
Lauren Solouki, senior UCLA, Psychology major and with a minor in Applied Developmental Psychology

IDA is so happy to honor three members this May as our members of the month! Although Alyssa, Nicole, and Lauren are new IDA members, their impact on IDA from all their hard work over the past six months will be long-lasting. One of our missions at IDA is to provide education to create an early intervention community that is well-trained, supported, and informed. By providing internships for college students, we can mentor future early intervention providers. This dynamic trio from UCLA hit the ground running at IDA with their innovative ideas and amazing teamwork.

IDA spent some time hearing from our May honorees about their internships and future plans.

Although Alyssa, Nicole, and Lauren all have different career goals, they all shared a common interest in working with children. Their study in Applied Developmental Psychology brought them together as interns. Alyssa is considering a career as an occupational therapist. Nicole aspires to work in behavioral therapy, occupational therapy, or as a mental health clinician. Lauren is interested in human behavior and mental health.

Alyssa SuzukiAlyssa worked with our events committee, supporting the many virtual events that IDA has conducted over the past six months and assisting in planning those events. Alyssa created the membership survey to glean and gather information to help the events committee better understand what our membership cares about and would like from IDA programs. This month, Alyssa is interviewing new IDA members to better understand who some of our new IDA members are, what compelled them to join our organization, and how we can best support them.


Nicole MeronNicole worked with our social media committee to spread awareness and education about the importance of early intervention. Nicole planned a social media strategy that improved IDA’s exposure; and, by extension, helped increase IDA’s social media followers. Nicole was able to strategize on increasing IDA’s exposure and find ways to reach members and potential new members by creating graphics and collecting analytics on all our social media platforms.



Lauren SoloukiLauren worked with our policy committee, supporting their work informing the early intervention community about early intervention public policy in California and advocacy opportunities. Lauren initially worked on a project to connect IDA members with their legislators and was instrumental in helping IDA to update our member database. Most recently, Lauren developed a plan to update and streamline the IDA policy page on our website. Lauren’s plan will create a central place to see research and make it easily accessible and readable for all our members.

When asked what they learned most about early intervention, there was a common theme that arose. They became aware of how broad the early intervention community is, and how it consists of so many different occupations and ways to help young children and families.

Further they said the most rewarding part of their experience with IDA, was the the opportunity to build relationships and meet and learn from experts in the field. Lauren pointed out that at a large university, such as UCLA, it so hard to get to know people in the field, especially in a class with 300 people. Highlights included: Alyssa meeting Terri Nishimura, CEO, Pediatric Therapy Network, an occupational therapist trained under Dr. A. Jean Ayres, the pioneer of sensory integration, and other occupational therapist professionals in the field. Nicole and Lauren meeting Dr. Judith Perrigo, Assistant Professor at UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare and hearing how she studied marginalized communities and the adverse effects on early childhood. Hearing about cutting edge autism research from Dr. Karen Pierce, Co-Director UCSD Autism Center of Excellence at Vivian Weinstein Leadership Day and meeting with IDA board members about their career paths were additional highlights.

Their six-month internship with IDA has flown by so quickly, and we want to sincerely thank Alyssa, Nicole, and Lauren once again for their dedication, enthusiasm, and ingenuity. We wish them all the best as they conclude their studies their internship with IDA in June. Also, a special thank you to Dr. Elisheva Gross at UCLA for offering this internship opportunity for students in her Applied Developmental Psychology class on Development, Education and Care of Preschool-age Children.