O’Brien graduated out of the College of Education’s Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations Ph.D. program in School Psychology in 2009. He then stayed in Iowa City to complete an internship as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in both neuropsychology and behavioral psychology.
He was a staff psychologist at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics before becoming a faculty psychologist. He now divides his time between the school psychology program and the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
O’Brien is currently working to finish a National Institute of Health (NIH) Research Grant that lasted six years. Throughout his time working on this research project, he has studied telehealth interventions for young children with autism. Also, he has recently researched stimulant medications in challenging behavior, as well as different kinds of assessments in challenging behavior. Almost all of his research deals with severe and challenging behavior, and O’Brien largely focuses on individuals with disabilities.
O’Brien wanted to join the university' College of Education because of the great experience he had when earning his Ph.D. Not only did he find it to be a great place to learn when he was working to obtain his degree but has also enjoyed being able to work with students within the College of Education.
“I have had students train with me from the department of special education, from the school of psychology, the counseling psychology program, and they have all been wonderful students and I have really enjoyed working with them,” O’Brien said. “I thought that coming to the College of Education would allow me to work with students more closely and would give me the opportunity to do it in a classroom setting as well as in my clinical setting.”
O’Brien is excited to build additional relationships with other colleagues in his department. He is also excited to work with students who are going through the Ph.D. program.