"Do with, not for" - I believe teaching should be an interactive process where the interests of the students are used to create and capture learning opportunities that support growth and acquisition of skills.
How did you become interested in the special education field?
A few years ago, I did some BCBA consulting work with Windward District. I loved going into the classrooms and collaborating with teacher and support staff. I saw all the amazing things they were doing with their students and the love that they had for their job. I wanted to learn more about the world of special education so I could better support my kids across all areas of their lives.
What is your philosophy of teaching?
“Do with, not for” – I believe teaching should be an interactive process where the interests of the students are used to create and capture learning opportunities that support growth and acquisition of skills. And of course this should be done with the support of our data!
What types of candidates do you hope/recommend to pursue our programs in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
A good candidate for the BCBA-Track program is someone who loves working with other people, is creative, fun, has a sense of humor, loves science and data, good problem solver, professional, and can collaborate with others from all different professional backgrounds.
How does the MEd SPED, BCBA-Track program best support and prepare its students?
The faculty here is amazing! They work hard to make sure every student is heard, supported, and prepared to meet their educational goals. Instructors are approachable (online of course) and responsive to emails, questions or concerns. We incorporate student feedback in all areas of the program and make necessary changes to continue to meet the needs of our students.
What words of advice would you give to people looking to pursue this profession?
You can do it! I know the thought of starting a graduate program can be intimidating, but amazing thing happen when you step out of your comfort zone.
Briefly describe your own road to higher education.
I fell in love with behavior analysis in an undergraduate into course. From there I took every class I could find and started volunteering in Dr. Brian Iwata’s research lab working with his grad students, helping with their research projects. Basically, I wanted to be like them and started asking for guidance on how to further my education. Back then, there were not many graduate level programs specializing in applied behavior analysis. I had maybe 3 options. So, I went with what Dr. Iwata suggested- University of Maryland, Baltimore County where I would get my field work experience at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. I moved to Baltimore after graduation, worked full time for 1 year and applied to the program. It ended up being an amazing experience and I feel so fortunate to have been part of such an amazing program and trained by some of the most talented BCBAs in our field.
What are your research interests and future plans/goals?
I am kind of out of the research scene, but if I had the opportunity I would evaluate effective supervision practices for BCBA supervisees, school wide application of precision teaching or ACT curriculum, and parent/family stress related to having a family member with a disability. I would like to help create a learning center at the university to support our students in furthering their education in behavior analysis, get back into the research scene, and apply to a PhD program.
What do you like to do outside of education?
I enjoy all the wonderful activities living in Hawaii has to offer us- hiking, beach, camping, paddle boarding, taking my dog on trail runs, walks etc… Basically, if I am not in my office, you can find me outside!