MEd in Special Education and BCBA-Track Course Sequence Graduate
“As the world moves toward more of a virtual platform, I cannot emphasize enough how important the people are in education!”
- BCBA/BCaBA Course Sequence
- MEd, SPED: BCBA
*In 2019, the Hawaii Department of Education (HIDOE) partnered with the Department of Special Education to provide funding for 40 DOE personnel to pursue licensure as Behavior Analysts. Dodi Pritchett is a recipient of this funded opportunity.
As the recipient of DOE funding*, how did the stipend support/impact you?
The DOE stipend made the entire pursuit possible. Without it, I would not have pursued this pathway.
Where do you work?
Currently, I am a special education teacher at Pa‘auilo Elementary and Intermediate School. I have also started building my own business, the Hawai‘i Institute of Innovation, centered around providing innovative educational experiences for youth and working towards building my own BCBA practice once I am certified and licensed in the state of Hawai‘i.
How did you become interested in special education?
I’ve been interested in education, in general, since I was five years old. When I was in high school, I started working with special needs students and fell in love! Later, when I became a general education teacher, of course, I made it my mission to create an inclusive classroom. Finally, I took the leap to fine-tune my training in order to help students with mild to severe disabilities. The BCBA coursework effectively tied the rest of these skills together to create an optimal approach for teaching and modifying behavior.
Why did you choose to pursue this program?
I chose this program for the BCBA work because these principles can change the world! I believe in the power of ABA and its ability to effectively change people’s lives.
What was the best part of the program for you?
Growing with my supervisors. Both of my BCBA supervisors were amazing, educated, and driven individuals. They, without a doubt, were the highlight of the program.
What advice or recommendations would you give to someone who is interested in this program?
Find your “why” from the very beginning. Cling to it. Write it down and look at it every single day. When it gets hard, or when life gets in the way, remember why you started and KEEP GOING!
In what ways do you hope to make a difference using the knowledge you have gained?
My dream is to pair ABA with the development of nutrition and lifestyle programs that will change the lives of children and families in Hawai‘i (and worldwide) to decrease unwanted behaviors associated with a variety of disabilities and disorders and to increase cognitive function through proper nutrition and lifestyle choices. We need more empirical evidence to support programs like this, and I hope to be a part of that important work and pursue a PhD at UH where we can work to make gains in this area.
How did the people and the program in the COE help you along your way to becoming a teacher?
There are many people at the many different levels who have been a part of my journey along the way. I am so grateful for the enthusiasm and positive attitude of most everyone associated with UH through each phase of my journey. For such a large institution, it is amazing how unified personal interactions were in each department. Very professional, kind, and patient. Mahalo!
What are your future plans?
I hope to be able to work as a BCBA for the HIDOE next year and continue to grow my business. At some point in the near future, I would like to pursue my PhD at UH in Public Health to work on the research and program development I mentioned in a previous statement. When I’ve gained more experience as a BCBA, I would like to develop my own practice.
Anything else you would like to share?
As the world moves toward more of a virtual platform, I cannot emphasize enough how important the people are in education! If it weren’t for the positive, caring, and motivated UH staff, professors, and representatives I encountered along the way, I would not have had the same level of success. Certainly, there were times life got in the way, things grew very challenging, and I even wanted to give up (there’s nothing like writing your Plan B during the birth of your fourth child or herniating a disk in your back during BCBA coursework)… but my devoted professors saw something in me and encouraged me in their own special way to stay the course. That’s what makes these accomplishments worth celebrating; the challenges we’ve had to overcome along the way. The way we’ve had to lean on each other throughout the hardships and cheer each other on to the end.