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Lena Newborn

What are you doing now?

I am a full-time, clinic-based, Registered Behavior Technician at Bridges Behavior Therapy and Consulting, LLC  in Florence. As a behavioral therapist I work one on one with children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder and various other developmental delays using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). My role as a therapist is to provide direct implementation of behavior-analytic services under the supervision of a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Using evidence-based teaching strategies and precise data collection methods are not only key, but imperative to this field.

How did UNA's psychology program help you achieve what you have become?

Although my initial goal coming into the psychology department was to further my education in the realm of counseling, in my first semester of the program I became acquainted with an amazing group of friends and professors who were encouraging me to widen my horizons into other applied fields. Having this encouragement to look in other places for “helping” professions, I decided to be brave and to throw my resume into a field I had never been exposed to – ABA. I was accepted as an intern/volunteer at Bridges right away and I quickly fell in love with not only the company, but ABA in general. Luckily for me, Dr. Zayac’s ABA courses were just what I needed to gain the knowledge required to grow and be the therapist I am today. As an added bonus, the department made sure I was well equipped with a faculty advisor that had been well-immersed and knowledgeable in the field I planned on furthering my education in, so I felt very comfortable in taking guidance from someone who had once been in my shoes and had a lot of the same questions and experiences!

What advice would you give students who are interested in becoming UNA psychology majors?

If you are looking to join a department that feels like coming home- this is the place for you! I came into the program not knowing a single person and within the first week of classes I had fostered friendships that I know will stand the test of time. I would advise new students to get involved in the department! Join psychology club, work hard to be inducted into Psi Chi, go to SEPA, humble yourself by being a mentee, and then use that knowledge to be a mentor to someone new later down the line, help someone by being a minion in the research lab (because chances are you’ll need help from someone else with your research). DO RESEARCH! These things are not only beneficial for your resumes, but chances are if you are involved, your professors are seeing this tremendous effort as well. They will remember you for your work. UNA psychology department isn’t just a department, it is a family, so come home.