Meet the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training (LCIRT) Staff

Dr. Manju Banerjee, VP and Director of LCIRT

Manju Banerjee, Ph.D.
Vice President for Educational Research and Innovation
Director of LCIRT
Associate Professor

Dr. Banerjee has over 28 years of experience in the field of learning disabilities, ADHD, and postsecondary education, and is a certified diagnostician and teacher-consultant on learning disabilities. She has published and presented extensively, both nationally and internationally, on topics such as Universal Design for Instruction, disability documentation and accommodations, and technological competencies for postsecondary transition and online learning. She was Co-PI of $1.03 million U.S. Dept. of Education demonstration project grant (#P333A080053) on “UDI Online: Applying Universal Design for Instruction to Online and Blended Courses” awarded in 2008 and completed in 2012. She currently teaches a graduate level online course on Universal Design: Principles and Practice. She is an editorial board member of the Journal of Postsecondary Education Disability, Professional Advisory Board member to the Learning Disability Association of America, and a consultant to Educational Testing Service. She received her doctoral degree from the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut, on the application of Universal Design to assessment practices.

Linda Hecker, Lead Education Specialist

Linda Hecker, M.Ed.
Lead Education Specialist
Associate Professor

At Landmark College, Ms. Hecker has directed tutorial and teacher training programs, taught English, study skills, and music classes, and served as an academic advisor and academic dean. She was appointed to the Landmark College Institute for Research and Training in 2001 and currently serves as a Lead Education Specialist. She frequently presents workshops, seminars and graduate courses for educators and parents. Her areas of expertise include literacy, executive function, assistive technology, and Universal Design. Hecker is the author of numerous articles and book chapters, including work on multi sensory learning and assistive technology. She received her B.A. from Brandeis University and her M.Ed. from the University of Hartford. Ms. Hecker has an active second life as an avid amateur violinist/violist who performs in many regional orchestras and ensembles. She also loves hiking, kayaking and biking the by-ways of Vermont.

Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, Education and Research Specialist

Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki, Ph.D.
Senior Academic Researcher
Associate Professor

Dr. Dahlstrom-Hakki earned his Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research has primarily focused on two areas: new methods for teaching STEM to students with disabilities; and using eye-tracking technology to study the cognitive underpinnings of information processing. Dr. Dahlstrom-Hakki has a strong record of grant funding and is currently Principal Investigator of two major NSF (National Science Foundation) awards: DRL- 1420198 " Social Presence During Instructor Mediated Synchronous Versus Asynchronous On-Line Course Discussions: A Study of Undergraduate Students with Disabilities Learning Statistics," and DRL- 1417456 “Revealing the Invisible: Data-Intensive Research Using Cognitive, Psychological, and Physiological Measures to Optimize STEM Learning”. Dr. Dahlstrom-Hakki has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses at a number of campuses including the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Mount Holyoke College, SIT Graduate Institute, Holyoke Community College and the University of Phoenix. In addition to his research work, Dr. Dahlstrom-Hakki routinely delivers professional learning workshops and trainings to secondary and postsecondary educators around the country on topics including: Teaching STEM to students with disabilities, Universal Design for Learning, and Teaching with Technology.

Richard Bryck, Ph.D.
Assistant Director
Senior Academic Researcher

Dr. Bryck received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Oregon. His graduate work centered on the study of executive function using both behavioral and neuroscience methodologies (fMRI and ERP). His current interests revolve around understanding disparities in executive function related to developmental delay and/or mental health issues. He is also committed to developing and testing the efficacy of low-cost interventions aimed at enhancing executive functioning in at-risk populations. Dr. Bryck is the Principal Investigator on a National Institutes for Health (NIH) funded grant exploring an in-home cognitive training program for low income children (Examining the Effects of Working Memory Training in Low SES children: # R21HD073589). Rick has also presented professional learning workshops on executive functioning, long-term memory and educational techniques for enhancing learning. 

Cyrus Shaoul, Ph.D.
Senior Academic Researcher
Associate Professor 

Dr. Shaoul earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Alberta. He has done basic research on computational models of language processing as well as experimental work with eye-tracking and EEG data. Before coming to LCIRT, Dr. Shaoul was a post-doctoral fellow at the Quantitative Linguistics Group at the University of Tuebingen in Germany. Dr. Shaoul will be looking at how learning affects language processing and learning outcomes.


Head shot of Zachary Alstad in LCIRT offices


Zachary Alstad, Ph.D.
Research Associate

Dr. Alstad recently finished his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology at the University of Washington. As a graduate student, he was advised by Dr. Virginia Berninger. Berninger's research group is supported by the National Science Foundation and explores behavioral, neurological, and genetic aspects of learning disabilities. His dissertation work focused on the use of iPads for educational interventions to improve a student’s reading and writing. He is interested in further possibilities for virtual reality in educational environments and how these emerging tools can assist students with disabilities. Dr. Alstad is also a former Landmark College student and looks forward to sharing this journey with the students. 

Sarah Downing, Office Manager for LCIRT

Sarah Downing
Executive Administrative Assistant
IRB Administrator

In her role as office manager, Ms. Downing is the first point of contact for LCIRT inquiries. Those seeking additional information or customer service for workshop registrations or customized training workshops for faculty, staff and administrators receive initial assistance from the office manager. As part of the client intake process, the office manager is responsible for creating and processing contractual agreements for fee based services. In order to support ethical human subject research, she serves as the administrator for Landmark College's Institutional Review Board (IRB). Ms. Downing received a B.S. in marketing from Franklin Pierce University and assists with the Institute’s marketing efforts.


For additional information:

Landmark College Institute for Research and Training
19 River Road South
Putney, VT 05346