I stumbled into Behavior Analysis during my freshman year at the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire when a professor did a visiting lecture in my Psych 101 class. That professor was Dr. Gregory Madden. He spoke to us about this thing called the "Behavioral Emphasis" that was within the Psychology Department. He explained that we would gain clinical experience, research opportunities, and get to know at least two professors (himself and Dr. Kevin Klatt) well enough to get detailed letters for graduate school. It all sounded great - I signed up right away. Little did I know that I had fallen into this wonderful world that would make more sense than any science I had previously studied (I had been a pre-med major...lots of biology and chemistry).
Once I began talking courses in the Behavioral Emphasis, I was hooked. I attended my first ABA conference in Boston, MA and realized that this was the world I wanted to be a part of forever! I continued taking classes in behavior analysis and behavior genetics at UWEC. I also started working at the UWEC Campus Autism Program with Dr. Kevin Klatt and with his wife Renee Norman for Applied Behavior Intervention Services, their in-home company. I was also accepted into the Ronald E. McNair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program where I was able to conduct research under Dr. Klatt's supervision. I was also awarded the Psychology Department's Outstanding Graduating Senior award in 2007. Perhaps the most-important and wonderful thing I also did during this time was giving birth to my oldest son James.
My next step was getting my Master's degree in Behavior Analysis & Therapy from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL. So my fiance and I packed up and moved our little family of three down south. While working on my degree, I worked as a therapist and consultant for the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders under the direction of Dr. Anthony Cuvo and for The Psychological Record as the Editorial Assistant under the supervision of Dr. Ruth Anne Rehfeldt. I also served as a teaching assistant for Dr. Nicole Heal. My thesis was on increasing compliance to medical procedures in children with autism through the use of a treatment package including systematic desensitization, differential reinforcement, and priming. In my spare time, I found time to get married to the love of my life, Brian.
After graduating from SIU, I went to the University of Kansas to complete my doctorate of philosophy in Behavioral Psychology under the mentorship of Dr. Claudia Dozier. During my time at KU, I worked as a practicum supervisor for undergraduate students in the Applied Behavioral Science department in the Edna A. Hill Child Development Center's preschool Educare. I completed various research projects including my dissertation on typically developing children's preferences for choice contexts and conditioning procedures to increase or change that preference. I also taught the undergraduate research methods course and was awarded the Sidney W. & Janet R. Bijou Grant for research in behavioral child development from the Society for the Advancement of Behavior Analysis.
After graduating from KU, I moved my family around a bit to teach at a couple different places.
My first position was at Penn State Harrisburg where I was lucky enough to work with some amazing graduate and undergraduate students on some great projects. See my photo gallery for photos of them presenting at ABAI 2014 in Chicago. Although I loved that position, it was too far away from my family, so we moved to St. Cloud, MN for a 1-year position at St. Cloud State University. While at SCSU, I was again lucky to work with some amazing students on projects that have won awards and been presented at multiple conferences.
Finally I have found a good fit at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology where I am lucky enough to work with Masters and Doctoral students while living in my home state - Wisconsin! We are finally close to family and we have added another beautiful son Oliver to our family. Counting our fur-babies Max (jack-a-poo) and Pickles (tabby cat), we are a very happy family of six. We spend our weekends with family and friends and introducing our boys to all the wonderful activities we remember from our childhoods. It's been a long and varied journey, but we learned so much and we couldn't be happier!