OUR EXPERTS

From robotics to education to health, our specialists boast a variety of areas of expertise, all aimed at one purpose: helping children with special needs. Meet just a few of MOVIA's experts below!

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TIM GIFFORD

A renowned entrepreneur in the field of collaborative robotics, Tim's technical expertise and research experience is the driving force behind MOVIA's cutting-edge technology.

Read more about Tim Gifford below!
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JIMI BLACKWELL

With both personal and professional experience in Family Navigation, Jimi's expertise in family resources helps our families get the support they need.

Read more about Jimi Blackwell below!
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ROB PARENTI

A Special Education veteran, Rob leads MOVIA's education and services team as Chief Education Officer, building effective content and customer support.

Read more about Rob Parenti below!
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MONICA O'BRIEN

With a background in Special Education, Monica brings her expertise to the creation and testing of MOVIA's content, maintaining MOVIA's high educational standards.

Read more about Monica O'Brien below!
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LISA LICHTENSTEIN

A practicing psycho-therapist for over 20 years and the Clinical Director for two Special Education schools in LA, Lisa enriches MOVIA with her psychological expertise.

Read more about Lisa Lichtenstein below!

Meet Tim Gifford

Founder & Chief Scientist

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An internationally renowned researcher and entrepreneur, Timothy Gifford has worked with NASA, led the team that built the first virtual reality exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution, and is a sought-after consultant and presenter on Robot-Assisted Instruction, Autism, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, Collaborative Robotics, Human Perception, and Assistive Technology. He also works in the labs of the University of Connecticut, where MOVIA was born.

"Robots are more accessible to children than people

because they are simpler."

- TIMOTHY GIFFORD

Meet Jimi Blackwell

Family Navigator & Advocate

Jimi Blackwell has been serving her community for over ten years in the field of Human Services. She's held roles as a Recovery Coach, the Program Coordinator for the Second Chance Program for the city of Bridgeport, CT, a Supervisor in a youth residential, and a Recovery Navigator, assisting women and leading them to success by connecting them to resources within the community. In 2018, Jimi was awarded Community Partner of the Year for the outstanding service she has provided to her community.

"Every family is different, and we listen."

- JIMI BLACKWELL
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Meet Rob Parenti

Chief Education Officer

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As a Special Education Teacher and Administrator, former Principal of Oak Hill Special Needs School in Bristol, CT, Rob Parenti has an extensive background in Special Education. With a Masters in Special Education from Saint Joseph University and an Education Administration Certificate from the University of Connecticut, Rob has both the experience and training to support children with autism and other special needs and their families. He has worked with children of all ages who have had some of the highest special needs in the state of Connecticut.

"The best intervention is practice."

- ROB PARENTI

Meet Monica O'Brien

Vice President - Curriculum & Content

With a background in Special Education, Monica O'Brien leads the team that develops MOVIA's curriculum and content, ensuring it meets the highest educational and therapeutic standards. She was an Elementary School Teacher and Curriculum Developer for many years, and earned her Masters degree in Education from Iona College, specializing in Science Education. As a mother of two children with special needs, Monica has a wealth of experience in understanding the challenges these individuals and their families face.

"We took a lot of input from the clients and

what they needed and what they saw."

- MONICA O'BRIEN
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Meet Lisa Lichtenstein

Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist (LMFT)

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Lisa is a psychological expert who has established a multi-faceted career as a psychotherapist, practicing for over 20 years. She runs a psychotherapy private practice in Santa Monica, CA, as well as serving as the Clinical Director for two Special Education schools in Los Angeles. Lisa's experience and expertise ensures MOVIA's products maintain the highest standards for therapeutic interventions.

"The kids are able to talk [...] and practice lessons

without any kind of judgement."

- LISA LICHTENSTEIN
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