Archive of ‘Our Graduate Students’ category

Who Writes the Blog?

Meet Meghan and Zoe!

They have been running the Husky ABA clinic Facebook and blog. They both have positions as Graduate Assistants at St. Cloud State and have been working hard on keeping everything for the clinic organized and helping develop materials for our undergraduate clinicians.

Meghan and Zoe both come from South Dakota State University, where they both Majored in Psychology. Meghan also has minors in Sociology and Philosophy and Zoe has minors in Human Development and Family Studies and Mental Health Services.

Meghan became interested in ABA through working as a paraprofessional at a special education cooperative during her summer and winter breaks from college. She would work closely with the Behavior Analysts at these programs to help them implement their treatment programs and found it interesting to see how certain behavior plans affected each student.

Zoe originally became interested in ABA through a behavior modification course she took at SDSU. After taking this course Zoe started to do behavioral research for the professor of the class and got a job at the South Dakota Development Center in Redfield, SD where she learned a lot about how important behavior plans can be. Through this work Zoe found ABA to be very interesting and practical and decided that she wanted to learn more about it.

Meghan and Zoe have been friends since freshmen year of undergrad and a fun fact about them is that they took a 15-hour road trip to Red River Gorge in Kentucky to go rock climbing together. They spent a week there hiking, climbing, and camping, even though it was snowing for a few days!

Six St. Cloud State University students selected for scholarships by the Autism Recovery Foundation

The Autism Recovery Foundation logo, courtesy of the Autism Recovery Foundation.

The Autism Recovery Foundation (ARF) is committed to building the workforce in Minnesota for individuals who wish to or are providing ABA services to children with autism. They support students who are pursuing their Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) credentials. Students pursuing BCBA or BCaBA course work and will be joining or are currently in the Minnesota workforce as an intern or employee are eligible for $500 to $1,500 scholarships. Since 2014, ARF has dispersed more than $75,000 in scholarships to help build a robust, highly qualified workforce dedicated to supported individuals and families with Autism diagnoses.

Congratulations to McKenzie Loch and Maria Ranallo for their BCaBA scholarships! Additional congratulations to Kelly Berth, Jennifer Hagen, Kelsey Loeffler, and Emlie Olson for their BCBA scholarships! More on the Autism Recovery Foundation and the Spring 2020 scholarship awards can be found at:

The organization disperses scholarships to students twice a year, the 2020 deadlines for scholarships can be found on the ARF website. Applications can be found at:

Second Year Feature- Kelsey

Meet Kelsey! 

She is another second year student at St. Cloud State in the ABA program. Kelsey received her undergraduate Psychology degree at University of Wisconsin- River Falls. She has also worked at a center for children with Autism Spectrem Disorder (ASD) for three years. While working at this clinic she started to show an interest in the field of ABA. She is currently doing in-home therapy for children diagnosed with ASD while working towards her master’s degree. 

Kelsey chose to come to St. Cloud State because her coworkers encouraged her to check out the master’s program. She says that she thought the program would be easier than it is, but she could not be happier at SCSU and is also learning so much more than she ever imagined. All the professors want students from the ABA program to come out of it with as much knowledge and experience as possible, and because of this all the class work can be challenging at times, which is why Kelsey says one of her biggest accomplishments so far has been making it through the first year of the program. 

A not-so-fun fact about Kelsey is that her laptop crashed during finals her first semester in the program, so now she prints all her work or has it on one of many flash drives, so she never loses it again. She also prints out every article from class (which can be up to 10 a week) and loves to use highlighters to pick out the most important information. 


Like us on FaceBook! 

Our Masters Program

Pictured are all of the first year students attending the on-campus program. Front row (L to R): Emilie Olson, Danielle Vesel, Karen Her, Zoe Cosato, and Naomi Ziegler. Back row (L to R): Averi Wright, Meghan Minor, Amanda Schoer, and Vanessa Hiley.

The St. Cloud State Applied Behavior Analysis Program is a two year program that prepares students to sit for the national Board Certified Behavior Analyst exam. During the first year of their program, students will spend a majority of their time in the classroom. Students will start by learning about the basics of behavior analysis and practicing some of these principles learned in a laboratory setting, while also receiving substantial training on the ABA code of ethics. These classroom and laboratory learning opportunities prepare the students for their practicum-heavy second year.

Pictured are a few of the “Second Years” that help with the ABA clinic. Front to back: Kelsey Loeffler, Kelly Berth, Sam Wanner, Chelsea Montag, and Josh Westphal.

Students in their second year will still take classes, but a majority of their time will be spent on site under the supervision of a currently licensed BCBA or similarly qualified professional. During this time, the second year students will either be preparing to take a comprehensive exam or working on their thesis under the supervision of a current faculty member. Students opting to go the thesis route will discuss methods of their study, procedures, practical and ethical dilemmas, etc. with the faculty member of their choice; the student usually chooses a professor who has a similar professional or research experience/interest. After a student has completed their second year in the SCSU ABA program, they will have passed all of the prescribed coursework, received their master’s degree in ABA, and completed 1,500+ hours of supervision by a licensed BCBA. Meeting all of these criteria allow the student to sit for the board certification exam and practice as a licensed BCBA upon passing. The SCSU ABA master’s program is one of the best in the country, boasting a 100% pass rate.

Check SCSU’s program here!

Check out our Facebook page here!

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:

First Year Feature: Emilie Olson

This is Emilie, another first year in St. Cloud’s Applied Behavior Analysis Masters program!

She graduated from Iowa State with a Bachelors degree in marketing and a Minor in Apparel Merchandising and Design. After spending some time working in Houston, TX as buyer at Gordmans, Emilie become interested in Applied Behavior Analysis and her ability to help others in socially significant ways through a career in ABA.

During her time in Houston, she worked on the side at behavior clinics. She started at University of Houston Clear Lake at their severe behavior disorders clinic where she helped with data collection and interventions. She then worked at Briar Cliff University as a therapist.

Emilie chose to come back to the Midwest for her Master’s because of the amazing faculty at St. Cloud State who are always excited to serve their students. The faculty also have a wide variety of experiences that Emilie is able to draw from to supplement her own experiences.

One thing Emilie is very proud of was her ability to leave her old life in her undergraduate major to pursue a more fulfilling career path. It’s not easy to go from a full-time job in marketing back to school in Applied Behavior Analysis, but Emilie is showing it’s never too late to change your mind and choose a new career.

A fun fact about Emilie is that her family came to the United States on the Mayflower. She is the 13th generation from the Mayflower and one of her family members was actually born on the boat during the journey to America.

To keep up to date with everything Emilie and other first year students are up to like us on facebook:

First Year Feature: Danielle Vesel

Meet Danielle Vesel, she started graduate school in August 2019, making her one of our bright and shining “first years” in the SCSU Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis program!

Danielle holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with an emphasis in Applied Behavior Analysis from University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire.

In her two years at UW – Eau Claire, she spent extensive time working with typically developing children and those diagnosed with ASD. These experiences were gained through an on-campus internship and through in-home work she did as a therapist.  Danielle cites these experiences as what solidified her desire to work in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis and pursue the skills, training, and degree necessary to be a confident and qualified practitioner.

Since coming to SCSU in August, Danielle has become the president of the Student Organization of Behavior Analysis (SOBA). SOBA hosts monthly meetings that welcome undergraduate and graduate students interested in Behavior Analysis, providing them with engaging content about ABA, navigating an ABA education, and connecting interested students with career or internship opportunities related to ABA. Danielle has also attended the MNABA conference since coming to SCSU and making plans to attend the ABAI conference this spring!

Danielle’s goals in continuing her education involve refining and expanding her current skills to become a better leader and more critically thinking therapist.

Danielle is most proud of being involved in a degree dedicated to helping individuals be successful.

A fun fact about Danielle is: She likes to teach her cat, Remi, tricks AND is wonderful at it!

To keep up to date with Danielle and the clinic like us on facebook: