Maria J. Ayoub is a third year PhD candidate in the Rehabilitation Sciences program at Boston University. She conducts her research in the BU Motor Development Laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Simone V. Gill. Her work utilizes a balanced Ecological Psychology/Neurocentric approach, and her interests are rooted in motor development and performance, both across the lifespan and within the context of neurodevelopmental disorders. Her current research analyzes the interactions between motor performance and cognition among neurotypical children, autistic children*, and adults with severe mental illness. For her dissertation work, Maria will utilize functional near-infrared spectroscopy to examine differences in cognitive-motor performance between neurotypical and autistic children* during dual-task walking. Outside of the lab, Maria enjoys pursuing volunteer work with children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, and serves as a committee member on the Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion for the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity.
Prior to pursuing a PhD, Maria received her B.S. in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2018. She spent her undergraduate years as a research assistant in the UMD Cognitive Motor Neuroscience Laboratory under the guidance of Dr. Rodolphe J. Gentili.
*As an ally of the autism community, Maria utilizes identity-first language in accordance with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
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