Second Year Feature: Josh Westphal!

Meet Josh, a second year student in the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Master’s program at St. Cloud State. He graduated from Bemidji State University in 2014 with a Major in Psychology and minor in Sociology. After completing his degree at Bemidji State, Josh chose to get his master’s degree in ABA because of his interest in data driven practices. He decided to come to St. Cloud State because of the high pass rate for the board certification exam.

Currently Josh works with individuals diagnosed with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) and co-occurring mental health conditions as a Behavior Analyst 3 with Community Support Services. Josh comes from an eclectic background, previously having worked in and managed in-home programs for adults and children with mental illness, children’s residential treatment, corporate foster care for adults and children, and individuals needing crisis placement for stabilization. Because of this varied background Josh has accumulated 15 years experience working with individuals carrying IDD or mental health diagnosis. In addition to these work experiences Josh also brings a wealth of knowledge from his six years in the Minnesota Army National Guard as a Combat Medic and his 2011-2012 deployment to Iraq and Kuwait in support of Operation New Dawn. While Josh has always applied some components pertinent to ABA in his work, his recent educational pursuits at SCSU have allowed him to take his ABA practices to a higher level.

Second year students have the choice do a thesis to graduate or take a comprehensive exam, and Josh chose to write a thesis. Josh’s thesis is twofold, one part is looking at how a Positive Behavioral Supports (PBS) model (typically used by schools) can be modified to incorporate the unique variables present in a group home facility. Secondly, using that modified model Josh plans to look at historical data set for clients within a group home facility to compare outcome measures before and after PBS interventions are introduced to the group home.

Even with all the time he spends working and studying, Josh has found time to raise two kids and two dogs. He takes the title of “dad” very seriously and is known for making painfully punny comments amongst many other “bad” jokes. If you’re interested in getting to know him and the other second year students check out the Facebook for more information on when our clinics will be happening here:

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