Matthew Zajic, PhD, received his bachelor’s degree in sociology with minors in education and professional writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara and his doctoral degree in education with a designated emphasis in writing, rhetoric, and composition studies from the University of California, Davis. He is currently a National Center for Special Education Research Postdoctoral Fellow (funded by the Institute of Education Sciences) at the Curry School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. His research examines literacy development in individuals with autism spectrum disorder, specifically in the area of writing development. He draws from writing theory and research on writing assessment and writing interventions to investigate how the linguistic, cognitive, and social demands of writing contribute to the challenges individuals with autism spectrum disorder face with writing in school and out-of-school contexts. He is also interested more broadly in issues of psychometrics and quantitative methodologies in writing, autism, and special education research.
Zajic has worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorder for over a decade in educational and research contexts. While at the University of California, Santa Barbara, he worked as a research assistant at the Koegel Autism Center in the Department of Education in the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education. While at the University of California, Davis, he was a graduate researcher/co-lab manager at the Social Attention Virtual Reality Lab and a graduate researcher at the Reading and Academic Development Center. He was a U.S. Department of Education Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need Fellow in the areas of educational assessment, psychometrics, and quantitative research methods. He received a 2016 Scholarly Promise Award and a 2016 Summer Research Fellowship from the School of Education at the University of California, Davis as well as a 2013 Graduate Scholars Award and a 2015 Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award from Graduate Studies at the University of California, Davis. He is also a founding collaborator to the International Lifespan Writing Collaboration.