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Breaking the Mold: From Doubt to Victory in Applied Behavior Analysis

Callie DeMaria, MS in Applied Behavior Analysis '23

April 4, 2024

Coming from a family where I was a first-generation college student and 1 of 3 girls growing up with a single mom, I did not think getting a master’s degree, let alone a bachelor's degree, was possible for me. After researching and applying to Drexel’s masters of applied behavior analysis program, I knew I needed to at least apply. Once accepted, I was blown away with joy and accepted the offer instantly.

Drexel allowed us to choose between 3 different concentrations, advanced topics in ABA, autism spectrum disorder and social, emotional and behavioral wellness. The selection allowed us to really focus on what area within the science we wanted to work in, so I chose autism spectrum disorder. Throughout the coursework, I took classes such as teaching students with autism spectrum disorder, characteristics and methods: autism, and behavior & sensory support: autism spectrum disorders. Although the classes were not directly about applied behavior analysis, I was taught different methods to help these individuals while also supporting teachers and support staff.

The core courses within the program taught critical and important topics that clinicians working in the field needed to know and become proficient in. One topic being functional behavior assessment, which we utilize in schools frequently. We dove into the ethical considerations and fundamental elements of ABA. These courses even prepared us for the board certified behavior analyst exam.

The most memorable course throughout the program, for me, was the capstone course you take at the end of the program. The course allows you to choose a research topic and your professor guides you through your research project. My professor, Dr. Lannie, was a huge help during my research project. With Dr. Lannie’s help I submitted my capstone project as a poster presentation to present at ABAI (Association for Behavior Analysis International Convention) this year.

Overall, this program has given me the greatest education and skills to utilize as a current board certified behavior analyst. Once you are accepted into this program, I strongly suggest utilizing your professors and the resources they provide you because they made my experience at Drexel better than I could have imagined.

Callie DeMaria 
Class of 2023 
Little Egg Harbor
Masters in Applied Behavior Analysis