Midland Alumni Share Experiences, Knowledge with Current Students at NEABA Conference
A group of Midland University students recently had the opportunity to ponder their future, and visit the past, during the Nebraska Association for Behavior Analysis (NEABA) conference in Omaha.
Led by Dr. Connie Taylor, Professor of Psychology, eight Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) students had the opportunity to learn from leaders, researchers, and professionals in the ABA field. ABA was implemented as a major at Midland in 2021 after 14 years as a minor. This major is designed for students who are interested in providing behavioral services to individuals, families, schools, group homes, mental health agencies, and industrial/business settings.
“I take students each year to this conference and it’s a great opportunity for them to hear nationally known speakers, network with them, and learn about some of the cutting-edge research that is taking place,” Taylor said.
Those students were also able to meet with numerous Midland alum who are now working in the ABA field, many through the University of Nebraska Medical Center Munroe-Meyer Institute. For more than 100 years, the Munroe-Meyer Institute has been an advocate and ambassador for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The institute offers more than 100 services, including physical and occupational therapy, psychological services, and autism assessment and treatment.
“One of the most exciting parts of this conference each year is having the opportunity to see so many of our former students,” Taylor said. “We have many that are working for Munroe-Meyer. We also have an alum now working for Omaha Public Schools, and one who started their own company providing autism services, private consulting, and behavior analytic services.”
“After the conference, we took a tour of two facilities for autism treatment, and three of the students that were helping with the tours were Midland alumni. It was very cool to see the presence that Midland has.”
ABA students are required to complete a one-year practicum with an institution, and many of those students complete their practicum through Munroe-Meyer. Taylor said that five of those interns were offered full-time positions with Munroe-Meyer.
“There are so many more opportunities in the ABA field. This is an opportunity for our students to not only learn more about what ABA is about, but to establish connections for those practicums,” Taylor said. “In the past, I’ve only taken junior and senior students, but we’ve started taking younger students so they can see what is available for them. I had one student, who’s a sophomore, tell me after our tours that he’s decided he wants to become a Behavior Analyst.”
Taylor believes that seeing so many alumni thriving in the ABA profession provides positive reinforcement to current students as they examine future roles. “Some of our alums have become adjunct instructors at Midland, or are supervising our undergraduate students,” Taylor said. “I think it’s great for our students to understand the impact and presence Midland has in this field.
“When we gathered to take a group photo of current students and alumni, we had to move to a bigger stage because there were so many of us. It makes me so proud to see what these individuals have accomplished. One thing I have loved about working at Midland is seeing all the support we have received for this program. I think it helps me remember why we do this. It’s so reinforcing to me to see what these young people have become, and how they are making a difference in the lives of so many people.”