Amy loves her job. “It’s an honor to work with children and watch them learn and grow in their development,” she said. “And I have BCI and Bay Path to thank for helping me get to where I am today.”
Amy joined BCI in 2011 and quickly realized that to really make a difference in the lives of children diagnosed with autism, she would need a master of science in Applied Behavior Analysis. “It’s an expensive degree to earn,” she said. “It’s also a huge time commitment.”
When BCI offered Amy the opportunity to earn her master’s degree through Bay Path University, she jumped at the chance. She graduated from the accelerated program in June and recently sat for her board certification exam.
“It was an intense experience,” Amy said. “But it was also wonderful. My fellow students were also my coworkers. We could relate immediately to what we were learning and were able to apply what we learned in the classroom to real-world situations.”
Mikayla Gonzalez started working as an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapist just to see if it might be the right fit. “I started and I loved it,” she said, “There was no turning back from there.”
Mikayla got some experience in the field and was working full time at a school when she was offered the opportunity to work for BCI part-time. She soon made the decision to pursue a career as a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and joined BCI full-time. Not long after that, the organization introduced the Bay Path University program, giving qualified employees the opportunity to earn a Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis.
BCI provides up to 60 percent of tuition for employees accepted into the program, which Mikayla saw as a huge perk. “Where else can you go where they’ll pay for this much of your education experience? It’s very, very rare – so it’s definitely an opportunity to jump on if you get the chance,” she said.
Mikayla described the learning experience as both thorough and convenient, “You can finish your shift, walk right over, and start your class. Not only do you learn through books and lectures, but you also learn how to apply that knowledge in action, getting real-time hands-on practice.”
Mikayla enjoys working with families to set individualized goals for each child and takes pride in seeing the positive changes in her clients over time. “Working with families and seeing how they can also see the progress and know you had a hand in that is really rewarding.”
Starting out as an ABA Therapist and becoming a BCBA while at BCI gave Mikayla the best of best worlds. She had the opportunity to learn and be supervised by other BCBAs and is now supervising other therapists, some of whom are following in her footsteps.