SAFE Grant Student Spotlight: Matthew Laske and Maria Compagnone ‘20, Psychology

SAFE Grant Student Spotlight: Matthew Laske and Maria Compagnone ‘20, Psychology

Maria Compagnone and Matthew Laske are graduate students from Middleborough, M.A. and Galesburg, M.I.

Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) fund recipients

Project: “Integrating Behavior Analysis and Data Analytics to target Interventions Toward Safety Outcomes”

Funding received from a SAFE grant helped enable Laske and Compagnone to attend the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) conference in Chicago, Illinois in 2019. They presented their research as co-authors, with assistance from mentor, Dr. Timothy Ludwig, professor, Department of Psychology. The multiyear study conducted by Laske and Compagnone, identified behavioral covariates of leading and lagging safety variables within databases from four divisions of a Fortune 500 chemical manufacturer, each with different manifestations of behavioral safety, which will be used to build a predictive model for the development of safety interventions.

Their developed predictive model will help organizations in pinpointing and designing interventions, as well as evaluating safety programs in a way that will be most effective at reducing workplace injuries and fatalities.

“I was able to see how my area of expertise in the intersection between data analysis and safety is hugely impactful and generally unstudied,” said Compagnone. 

This experience and ability to participate in the conference provided Compagnone and Laske exposure to the behavior analysis field, affecting Compagnone’s future PhD considerations, as well as allowing both students to network with top academics and practitioners in the field.

“Being able to present at ABAI, because of the funding I received from the SAFE fund, gave me the opportunity not only to present my research to a wider audience, but also to develop as a professional,” said Laske.


About The SAFE Fund

Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at:

About the Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology

Appalachian’s Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology serves more than 1,000 undergraduate majors seeking the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, as well as 80 graduate students in three master’s programs (experimental psychology, school psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology and human resource management) and the clinical psychology (Psy.D.) doctoral program. Learn more at

Compiled and written by Barclay Ann Blankenship and Ellen Gwin Burnette
Oct. 28, 2020

Matthew Laske, Maria Compagnone and Dr. Timothy Ludwig. Photo submitted.
Published: Oct 28, 2020 3:28pm