University Series 010 | Sacramento State

Join Operant Innovations as they talk with Dr. Megan Heinicke and Dr. Caio Miguel about the undergraduate and graduate degrees at CSU - Sacramento State.

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  1. Dr. Megan Heinicke -
  2. Dr. Caio Miguel -

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Shauna Costello (00:00:02):

You're listening to the university series from the operant innovations podcast this week, we'll be talking to CSU Sacramento state and Dr. Caio Miguel and Dr. Megan Heinicke, Dr. Megan Heinicke received her PhD in cognitive and behavioral sciences from Auburn university under the advisement of dr. James Carr. She received her bachelor's degree from Western Michigan university and her master's degree from Auburn university. Currently, Dr. Heinicke is an assistant professor in the psychology department at CSU Sacramento, and she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in applied behavior analysis and developmental studies. Dr. Caio Miguel is a professor of psychology at CSU Sacramento and holds a couple other adjunct positions. He obtained his bachelor's degree in psychology in Brazil, and then traveled to Western Michigan university to obtain both his masters, his PhD degrees under the co-advisement of dr. Jack Michael and dr. James Carr. Caio has been a BCBA since 2004 and has served on editorial board for almost all behavior analytic journals.

Shauna Costello (00:01:12):

He was an associate editor and then chief and editor for the analysis of verbal behavior and served as an associate editor for the journal of applied behavior analysis. He is currently a mentor in JABA's associate editor mentorship program. Caio has given hundreds of professional presentations in North America, South America and Europe, and has had manuscripts published in English, Portuguese, and Spanish. He's the recipient of the 2013-2014 award for outstanding scholarly work by the college of social sciences and interdisciplinary studies at Sacramento state and the 2014 outstanding mentor award by the student committee of the association for behavior analysis international, the 2019 award for excellence in teaching verbal behavior from the verbal behavior special interest group of ABAI and the 2019 alumni achievement award for the department of psychology at Western Michigan university. So without further ado, I welcome both Dr. Megan Heinicke and Dr. Caio Miguel.

Shauna Costello (00:02:09):

We're here with Dr. Megan Heinicke and dr. Caio Miguel to speak a little bit more about their program and the research and faculty that is going on. So welcome both of you.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:02:23):

Thank you for having us.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:02:24):

Yep, thank you.

Shauna Costello (00:02:25):

And we'll jump right in. So can you guys give us a overview of the program and then we can jump into the, some more of the nitty gritty details.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:02:35):

Sure. I'll start. And Caio can jump in as I'm going. So currently we have our BCBA program at the master's level, and we also have a BCABA sequence and the undergraduate program that's embedded within our major, so it's a certificate program. At the grad level, I would say our overview is we're generally a three year program. It's rare if students get through in about two and a half years. So the first two years are heavy in the coursework aspect. And then in the last year, it's really heavy on their experimental thesis. So I would say that is one thing that makes our program unique is they do have an experimental thesis and they are engaging in research the entire time that they are in our program. Um, at the undergrad level, I think we are pretty special at the undergrad level cause we now have six individual undergrad courses in ABA, including a research methods class in single case design. So our students have a lot of opportunity to learn about the field even as an undergrad.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:03:34):

Yeah. And I think just to add to a couple of things that Megan mentioned at the undergraduate level, because we have so many courses, the students really graduate quite prepared to enter a master's program. So we, we raise a lot of our graduate students in house, uh, but we also have had a lot of, uh, undergraduates apply to behavior analysis programs all over the United States. And the feedback that we get from the faculty at other programs is that our students are very well prepared. So we have redesigned our undergraduate curriculum and we had a heavy hand on it. So now, um, students getting a bachelor's degree in psychology can actually meet a lot of the major requirements by taking behavior analysis courses. Um, so they can almost have a bachelor's degree in behavior analysis, which I think is pretty cool. Um, so by the time they get to the graduate program here, the masters program, um, a lot of the undergraduates have served as research assistants. So they oftentimes make informed decisions about the kinds of research that they want to get involved in. So they go into a graduate program into a master's program. Well, informed consumers, I'd say. Um, yeah,

Shauna Costello (00:04:50):

And that's really exciting. And we've been hearing more from some schools that only have undergrad programs right now and are starting to develop those master's programs. So, you know, before we jump into, you know, some of the graduate degrees, what kind of makes, I know you slightly mentioned what makes the undergrad program unique, but is there anything else within the coursework that is making the undergrad program unique?

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:05:14):

I would say so. I think psych 181 with the rat lab is very unique, especially for the CSU system.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:05:19):

Yeah. I think, you know, one of the things that we have, and I think all their programs I've listened to some other podcasts and I, and I, and I think some other programs that have undergraduate programs are, are also lucky to be able to have an animal facility and animal labs. So we've, um, when I, when we came here and I came first in 2006 with dr. Becky Penrod, and we'll talk about the other faculty in a minute, but when we came, there were only a couple of undergraduate courses in behavior analysis. And that was about it. Like we didn't have a master's program, we didn't really have a, a course sequence. Um, that was as developed as the one we have today. Um, I'd say the students, you know, the first thing that we do, which is kind of interesting is that we have this large seminar on applied behavior analysis.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:06:05):

So they actually start the students, the first exposure they have is actually on ABA. So how behavior analysis can be used to, uh, make changes in socially significant behaviors. So I say, that's the way for us to attract students into ABA, right? So it's like, let me tell you this there's this cool field. You can get a job, you can make some socially significant changes. Um, I make them watch videos about different applications of behavior analysis. You know, there's some really cool library now at the BACB website. So I really get them pumped into a study behavior analysis. And we, we all teach that course. So we rotate because that's a large 120 student course, right? So a lot of students, uh, within the major take the course and a lot of them don't know anything about ABA until they take their class. After that, then they start taking some more specialized courses.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:06:59):

So then they might take the, uh, undergrad EAB course, which is more of a basic concepts looking into basic research. And that's the one attached to the, to the rat lab. So at that point I can get a little drier because I'm already dealing with students that are already committed to ABA, right. So I tell them first we seduce you into the dark side. And then once you're already in the dark side, then we can go a little nuts in terms of, you know, presenting you with some materials that are a little more complicated, because I think they have the motivation to learn, you know, and then they have a single subject design course. They have a class on developmental disabilities. They have another class on essentially functional assessment, right, that they take.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:07:44):

Also has a lab to it as well.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:07:46):

It has a lab, yep. So I think, and then the students, a lot of them take research units, right. So then they serve as research assistants in one of the labs. Um, so then they get involved with the graduate students and kind of prepare them to go into graduate school. So I'm very proud of the undergraduate program that we have. Um, and, and if the students take all of the courses in ABA, they actually get a certificate. So it's almost like a, um, a concentration, right. So they get a bachelor's in psychology with a concentration in applied behavior analysis. Um, and a lot of students like that, right. It's like, oh, if I take those classes, I get this extra piece of paper. And I'm like, yeah, you do. It doesn't mean much, but you know, it's like some sort of token.

Shauna Costello (00:08:29):

It's another little thing to throw on the resume or the CV. No, and that's really exciting. I know that I got that same experience when I was teaching, uh, back in Metro Detroit, I was teaching in a BCABA course sequence. And, um, depending on which course I was teaching in the core sequence at the time I, I did the exact same thing. I was like, no, you know, you might be working in this area of behavior, but there's all of these. And actually a few of my students in the last cohort that I taught, they actually started applying to all of these different programs because they didn't realize at the time that behavior analysis was more than clinical applications. And, um, because they had come from a clinical setting and they wanted to just get that certification because that was the next step. And so that it was actually, I like hearing other people talk about getting these undergrads excited, because I know we focus a lot of the times on our grad students, but they start off somewhere.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:09:36):

You know, and I'd say, I don't know about Megan, but some of my best graduate students were the students who I trained as undergraduates. Right. Um, and possibly because maybe they already knew what they were getting themselves into.

Shauna Costello (00:09:53):

So what do you want to talk about next faculty or the graduate program?

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:09:58):

We can talk about the graduate program because I think we started a little bit and then, um, you know, add a couple of things. One of the things we really like about the graduate programs. So we have a masters in science in applied behavior analysis. So we used to be a masters of arts in psychology with a behavior analysis concentration, and now we're independent program. So we're very proud of that. Um, knowing that when I got here, we had nothing and now we have a separate program it's kind of cool. It, it just took 14 years. So, you know, for those listeners who are applying to become faculty members, don't get discouraged. It takes time, but you can build the program if you have the infrastructure to do so. It might take a little bit more time, especially in public universities, everything moves much slower than the real world.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:10:45):

Um, so the, the cool thing about our program is that we are this masters of science in ABA, and we are lucky enough to be able to take a very small cohort. So we take, we have four faculty members and we take only eight students per year. So each faculty member gets two students assigned to him or her. And those students work very closely with a faculty member and attend lab meetings on a weekly basis. And one thing that we've done is, um, the students, when they come in the first years, the first year master students, they get assigned to a research project that is being conducted in the lab by a senior graduate student, usually their master's thesis. And so the student works on their project their first year, possibly a little bit into the second year. So when now the student has to propose his or her own thesis, that student has already gone through the research process has already learned what the challenges are, maybe has been involved in writing the IRB for the project, um, and that, so that student is better prepared to run a master's thesis.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:11:58):

And also that student may very likely derive the questions from the study that he or she wasn't involved. So that is also a way to continue lines of research. So students are not always proposing new things and trying new, uh, methodologies that may or may not work, right? Um, they are already maybe extending a line of research that has been going on in the laboratory for quite a while. The other advantage to that, Shauna is that by the time a student graduates, I have other students in the program, that have being involved in the project. So if the student who graduate disappears, I still have someone in the program who can help me write the manuscript for publication. So that's cool because our students are actually graduating a lot of them with two publications, they have their master's thesis and whatever study they worked on in their first and second year.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:12:59):

So we're very, you know, research heavy that way. Um, but we are also have specific lines of research that would like to continue, um, and kind of contribute to the literature. So I guess, at least in my case, I think I know, um, a lot about very few things because we've been doing the same, um, you know, studies sort of over and over again. But Jim Carr, when he came and visit us, um, he's the CEO of the BACB. He came and said, well, you guys are a boutique program, uh, in a sense that you're a small, um, the students have a lot of research opportunities and a lot of one on one interactions with our faculty members. So I kinda liked that. So I'd been selling our program as sort of this boutique program, which matches really well with California, right? Like all kind of like, you know, cute and sophisticated and pretentious. Um, so I think it's a perfect program for us to have in California next to the wine country, right?

Shauna Costello (00:14:02):

Yeah, that sounds like a really good explanation, but no, I like hearing that it's very tailored and it's nice to see you guys setting up that type of community and really building.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:14:14):

Yeah, and I think our influence, I think, came from the fact that we all at least dr. Penrod and I were the first ones who got here. I was trained at Western Michigan, and she was trained at another very traditional ABA program, which is a UNR. So we came in with that kind of model. I mean, there's a lot of similarities between the way the program at Western Michigan and UNR, and then dr. Heinicke came in. So Megan came in and Megan was strained as an undergraduate at Western Michigan, um, with Jim Carr. And then she went on to Aubrey university with Jim Carr to study with him. So we all had very similar ideas of what we want the program to look like. So it was very easy, I think, for us to develop the curriculum because we knew, well, we wanted our students to learn.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:15:06):

Um, so that, I think, you know, so I think if you were to come visit our program, you would see a lot of similarities with the way the program at Western runs. And just a bit of curiosity for the listeners I was at Western this last weekend and some of my graduate students came with me from, from Sacramento. Um, and then one of the things they wanted to see was the rat lab, because I keep telling them that our rat lab was modeled after, um, you know, the rat lab at Western. And when I got here, we didn't really have a lot of Skinner boxes. So I emailed and I said, hey, can you take some pictures of the manual Skinner boxes you guys had at Western and take some measurements and send it to me. And, uh, he did, of course, one of his graduate students did, he took on of his graduate student and said, do this and then send it to Caio. Um, and I got it. And then I went to the metal shop in the engineering department at my university, and then they built boxes that look just like the boxes. If you were to come here, you would see very familiar Skinner boxes because I, I pretty much copied them.

Shauna Costello (00:16:16):

That's awesome. I had lots of time in that rat lab.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:16:20):

To add quickly with our program, what kind of does make it unique to me is the cohort model that we are using. So the first years, and second years take courses together. And I think for them, it's a really nice support system. So when the first years come in, they have that entire year, the same class with that same group of second year students. And they really serve as models to them. And I think that really helps them develop that sense of community and stay close throughout the entirety of the program. And then that next year they become the more senior students and they're the second year cohort and then gets to serve as a model for the new incoming cohort. So it is a system that I think is working really, really well and in our favor and the students feel really supported within that system.

Shauna Costello (00:17:08):

That's awesome. And I know that it was kind of mentioned about some of the faculty, but let's talk a little bit more about the faculty and what their research interests are or where they are now, I should say.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:17:23):

Sure. Um, I can talk about my own lab quickly. So my lab right now, we have three main lines of research, but one, I think we're, we're shutting down. So the first, I would say my main focus is on neuro rehabilitation or brain injury rehab and applying ABA within that context. So we have several studies going on currently in that area and really blending my love for verbal behavior and Caio's interest in verbal behavior as well, across labs. So we can have a cross lab collaboration. So we're right now piloting a new function based language assessment for adults with brain injury, because nothing like that currently exists. And then using those results to then reteach some verbal operants along that same line, we're kicking off a stimulus equivalence line of research, but I've never thought I would say that we are, and also collaboration with, with Caio's lab. We have a student who wants to reteach named face relations to adult brain injury survivors. So just really unique projects. And that is the line of research. I would say that I'm most in love with and can see continuing throughout my time at SAC state. My second line is on public speaking and looking at how we can use habit reversal therapy to decrease speech disfluencies within public speaking, that I can see expanding into interview skills as well, and eventually into brain injury and marrying those two lines of research together to try to help individuals after injury return to work or get a new job, because that's a big disadvantage that they're at as they kind of hang out at home a lot and don't have a lot to do so, getting them back to work would be a goal. And then the third line of research is anything involved in my classrooms are really using my classrooms as laboratories and my students as my lab rats. So trying to figure out what are the best ways that we can teach within the SAC state or the CSU system, because our classes are enormous, our undergrad classes, especially. So I usually teach 120 students per class every semester. So what can we do given that number to make sure that students are actually engaged and learning so that I would say that's my lab in a nutshell.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:19:35):

Yeah. And I'll talk about a little bit of my work, and then we'll try our best to talk about the work of our colleagues. Right. Um, and my work, you know, I have, uh, a unique training in a way being in Western Michigan at the time, uh, that both Jim Carr and Jack Michael were there. So Jack was my me advisor. Uh, Jim was my co-advisor. Um, so I did a lot of autism work with, uh, Jim and Linda LeBlond. Um, and then of course did a lot of conceptual, more basic work with Jack. So I have, um, a little bit of interest in, in basic research, a little bit on applied research and a lot of interest in translational work. So I have a series of, uh, human operant studies in which we use computer software, uh, or software's at this point, we have a couple in which we're modeling, uh, complex, uh, cognitive phenomena. So we're starting to look at things like analogical reasoning and any other kinds of problem solving strategies that individuals may use, um, to solve complex, um, tasks. Um, a lot of the things that people refer to as memory are things that we've been looking at in the laboratory too. Um, I've, uh, we've looked at for many years, looked at categorization, which is a process quote, unquote, that cognitive psychologists put a lot of effort into explaining and they suggest is a prerequisite skill for a lot of other complex cognitive phenomenon. So we've been sort of trying to do a behavior analysis of cognition in many ways in my lab. And I think he has a lot of implications. I don't think it does have a lot of implications for how we would teach those skills to individuals with disabilities. I think we're very good at teaching basic verbal operants, but I think when it gets to really complicated language skills and skills that would actually aid in the development of nonverbal skills, because a lot of our nonverbal skills may depend upon verbal skills, right?

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:21:32):

So if you're trying to go to the grocery store and remember what you need to buy, well, getting the items out of the aisle, I mean, that's not verbal behavior, but then everything you need to do in order to remember what you need to buy, that involves a lot of verbal, a verbal behavior, verbal mediation, um, you know, and I've, so I've studied this, this, uh, concept that we refer to as bi-directional nanny that involves the integration between speaker and listener repertoires. And we have been finding that to be sort of a crucial cusp skill that leads people to once they acquire this interdependence between speaker and listener behavior, then they can learn from the natural environment. So that again has implications for teaching individuals with disabilities, because we need to establish some cusp basics or building block skills. So then when they're done with early intervention, they can actually be reintegrated into society and learn from the messy natural environment.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:22:33):

So we're really interested in this sort of transition from, uh, you know, the applied behavior analysis or early intensive behavior intervention. And now going back into, um, typical classrooms. So a lot of human operant research, a lot of the studies that we've done in the laboratory, we call it students to test our procedures have been, um, uh, turned into protocols, uh, with typically developing kids and then eventually protocols with kids with disabilities. So depending on the project, if you're on the early stages, we're doing computer tasks, we college students. And if we're on later stages, we're testing it in the classroom with kids with disabilities. So it really depends on when you get to my lab, what you're going to do. So if you were to come to my lab now and say, I'm interested in studying analogical reasoning, then the studies are likely going to be applied.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:23:28):

But if you came to my lab and said, I'm really interested in learning about, um, comparative relations, then I would say, well, we're still on the early phases on of replicating some of the RFT studies and looking at some of the things that have been done in the laboratory. So it's, it's sort of a flux, but we, we like, I like having my foot, you know, a foot, you know, in applied and another one in basic. Um, so we've done a lot of JM and a lot of JABA kind of work. And, um, so that's kind of funny keeps me, it keeps me, I think, motivated and interested. I'm never bored cause we're always doing something, um, kind of different even though within the same kind of general lines of research. So that's kinda my work, um,

Shauna Costello (00:24:13):

That kinda makes me think too, it kind of brought up a question I had on the side of when you start getting to those higher cognitive processes. And I took the, I took the, um, 5020 instructional design course that we have done here with Tiamen, and Markel's book. And so that makes me think about all of that as well. And bringing that into how we're teaching those higher process processes and the skills that are needed to get there.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:24:44):

Yeah. And I, and I had a conversation with Dave Annalessi at Western Michigan. Who's a retired faculty, used to be, I think the director of the school psychology program. And he was actually talking to me about how they would, um, get children that were having difficulty in math to actually talk out loud. And so they would be able to identify exactly where, um, you know, their repertoire was faulty. So in, in, in a sense of like when they engage in those recurrent behaviors, so when they're engaging with the behavioral chain to solve the math problem, like where are they getting stuck? And if you're going to address that little thing, you actually fix the problem. So he said, we've been doing this sort of a mediational analysis and trying to understand the kinds of verbal behavior that folks engage in for awhile in school psychology, to try to understand the faulty strategy.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:25:35):

So it was really cool conversation because I think it does have implications for, um, you know, how individuals learn in, in, in college, how they learn and, you know, high school and middle school. And I think an important issue when it comes to teaching children with disabilities to engage in complex tasks. Right. Um, I always give the example, you know, I was mentioning earlier of getting things at the store, right? So if my wife calls me and says, hey, Caio, I needed to go to the store and buy milk and, um, you know, and cheese and wine and chocolate and toilet paper and whatnot. Now, if I have to do something, I had to either write it down. Uh, and if I write it down, then when I go to the store, then I have to read it. So I have to engage in textual; so I have to engage in dictation. Then I have to engage in textual behavior, then the product of my textual behavior has to serve as discriminative stimulus for some sort of selection response, or maybe I have engaged in some sort of self-echoic. So the reality is if we just say like, oh, your wife asked you to get items at the store and that's the antecedent, you went to the store, that's the behavior, and then you didn't get yelled at by your wife and that's the consequence, that's really too simplistic. I mean, that doesn't really encapsulate all the tasks. Then if you were to teach an individual with disabilities to do this, that person needs to learn all the tiny little steps, right? Um, so this molar analysis, it's only conceptually interesting, but it doesn't help us, I think, in doing anything. So anyway, I don't want to keep talking about my work because of course, Michael said another thing that was interesting. I was at Western, I saw Jack and he said, you know, if you don't brag about yourself, no one else will.

Shauna Costello (00:27:18):

I did already talk to you about bragging about yourself on another one of these. Um, but no, I mean, even with your talk with Gaylin and it brings up kind of how a lot of people are wondering if thoughts are behaviors and that, I mean, that just, you know what I mean, that kind of proves how we can adjust these overt behaviors, these overt verbal behaviors that then change the, like, it, it's just the whole thought process to actually be right.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:27:49):

Yeah, and I think you just don't attribute the ultimate cause of behavior to internal processes, but there's a lot of behaviors that occur at the covert level, um, that, um, you know, their origin comes from relations with the natural environment, but there's lots of behaviors that occur at a corporate level that produce, you know, the produce seemingly that we then react to. I wrote a paper on problem solving that I talk about, um, um, responding to visual seemingly so covert seeing, and then responding to stimulus that you're seeing covertly. And I got a little concerned that I was becoming a cognitive psychologist and I sent the paper to Jay Moore and Dave Power. And I just asked them, can you please read this and make sure that I'm still a radical behaviorist and they replied and say, yep, you are that you're good. I mean, you know, Skinner talked about this several times, so you're all set.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:28:38):

So let me talk about the other faculty. I'll talk about the most recent acquisition, and then we can talk about Becky a little. Um, so, uh, dr. Dennis Brand is our most recent acquisition. So he came, um, this past fall. So, um, this is his second fall. And so he's just starting his second year. He completed one full year and didn't leave. So that's the good news, right? So stuck with us for a year. So he, um, he's a cool guy. He got his PhD at, um, university of Auckland in New Zealand. So he is, um, he's originally from South Africa, but he immigrated to new New Zealand, um, very early. So he did all his education there. Um, so he goes to PhD at the university of Aukland, which is known for, uh, be, uh, heavy in EAB, right. Experimental analysis of behavior. And then he went to the university of Kansas to get a postdoc with dr. Florence DiGennaro Reed in OBM. So his research, he does a lot of, um, human operant work, um, trying to understand the effects of feedback and accuracy, proportion of accurate, to inaccurate feedback in maintaining, responding. Um, he's been doing some studies with the PDC, so some applied things, some, um, human operant things that actually laboratory studies, the model, um, human performance and sort of, uh, OBM type phenomenon. Uh, so he's a cool guy. So he he's definitely taken students. And I think he has a broad interests that he can do basic research on choice, or he can do applied research in OBS. So we did hire him to fulfill a need for teaching an OBM course that we created recently. Uh, and he also teaches the, um, uh, learning basic principles course at the graduate level. So he teaches the learning principles course at the graduate level.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:30:39):

And then he also teaches the OBM course. I teach the verbal behavior basic theory course. And then I also teach an advanced CEB course that talks about equivalence and relational frame and stimulus control. Um, and then Megan teaches the behavior acquisition course, which is the advanced supply behavior analysis. And she teaches research methods. And then we have, um, at the graduate level, and then we have dr. Penrod who came to the program with me, uh, and helped me develop it all. Uh, and then she teaches the, uh, assessment and treatment of problem behavior course at the graduate level and the ethics course. So Becky can talk a little bit about, uh, sorry. Megan can talk a little bit about, um, Becky.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:31:22):

So Becky, she completed her undergrad at university of Florida and then moved to UNR for her master's in her doctoral degrees. She came in with Caio. So she's been here for a bit. And her main interest I would say is in feeding issues. So right now her lab has really been focusing, focusing on what types of interventions parents can use. I would say it's really on the applied side, trying to figure out procedures that are socially valid, that can actually be carried out with integrity in the home. And she's also done some research on choice, and then recently to some, some research on fitness too, and kind of healthy behavior and exercise. So she's been looking at, you know, Fitbits as a measurement tool and trying to get college students and staff to have more steps per day. And I think that's, am I forgetting anything?

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:32:14):

No, I think that's it. Um, I keep thinking, as you're saying this, she probably gonna get better results here than she would, um, in Michigan, right? Because you can't really go all of them on the winter, but here, here, he can walk outside all year round. So that's an attraction of our program for people listening to it.

Shauna Costello (00:32:35):

I am going to disagree, as many have heard if listen to these, I, I actually like, like Michigan, because I can be outside all year round. Like, yeah, that's me though. That's me, me and me and John Baker have the same feelings on that. But so far it's not everyone.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:32:58):

No. I would say getting, getting back to the research labs and the different faculty. One thing that does make our program unique is that we all absolutely have very independent ideas for research and very independent, unique interests, like Caio said earlier, to making us more of a boutique program. But at the same time, we all have overlapping interests with each other too, which is really nice and opens up the door for a lot of collaboration, not only for us and keeping, keeping us intellectually engaged and happy, but also for our students, they get to see what a collaborative project looks like. So right now I mentioned earlier, Caio and I have some overlap in VB, Dennis and Caio been working together too with some OBM interests that are similar Becky and I have an overlap in choice and the list goes on and on. So that is one thing that we've been trying to do more so in the last few years is open up those doors for collaboration. So students have a variety of research experience.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:33:56):

Yeah. I think that the challenge that we have, um, and I think he might be the case for other programs as well is really to create opportunities for students to have experiences in other areas of behavior analysis. So they can learn a lot about them and do research. So they do research in OBM, they do research in traumatic brain injury. They do research and feeding, but the majority of, um, internship positions that are available in California are definitely doing early intensive behavioral intervention. So I'd say that in terms of practicum, and I'm sure you're going to ask us this question. So I'm just anticipating your question. So in terms of practicum, the majority of our students are getting experiences working with young children with autism. Now having said that we have, um, we don't provide services on campus, but we have, um, four community partners that are top notch service providers, uh, whose directors, um, some of them actually are former students.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:35:02):

Um, some of them are folks that we've published with or collaborated with. So we were, we have a, uh, a heavy hand in how those programs are run, but they're not our programs, right? Um, so the students get really good, um, um, practicum experiences. They get older supervision, uh, at those sites. And a lot of times, a lot of research collaboration that occurs between the university and those sites, but it is limited in scope, right? So they are getting out of our program. Having done research in different areas have learned about different areas and getting really good training, practicum training. But it's really good practical training in early intensive behavior intervention, right? I mean, they're going to be able to get amazing jobs when they graduate. But what I tell the students all the time is that we are at a point in the field and Megan can speak a little bit more to that. Cause she wrote a cool paper about, um, different areas of ABA and how to start,

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:35:56):

Yeah, how to expand your services but stay ethical.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:35:59):

So I think one of the issues that I think we're facing as a field is that for for us to extend, um, our, our knowledge outside of autism, it's going to take some folks who are, um, want to take risks and, uh, be entrepreneurs right. And, um, because the jobs are not going to be there. Like you're not going to go get a job with a nice salary with benefits. And then going from an 8 to 5, like you're going to have to start you own company. You're going to have to try things out. Um, and we need those in the field. We need more students who are interested in, um, starting new projects and new businesses and think about new business models. And I think that's really what I, what, what the universities should be telling the students to do when teaching those skills so they can get out, uh, and, and open their own businesses. What else?

Shauna Costello (00:36:55):

Let's see, we've done Faculty, practicum, a big one interview process and the application process.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:37:05):

I can tackle that. So we have updated our practices over the last several years, and I think we're really happy with how we're doing things now. So it's a typical application process, all done online that that has been a recent change. CSU, of course, we're a state funded institution, so we have to catch up sometimes technology wise, but now everything is online. And I would say fairly easy to manage and work your way through. Once applications get to the ABA faculty, we do a cutoff score, um, looking more at kind of GRE and GPA. And then we tend to look at folks who meet that cutoff score and above, which is the vast majority of applicants. At that point, right when we start beginning to dig into the files, we invite every applicant to come to campus.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:37:59):

So everyone's invited on a Saturday for an open house, which is just a really nice way of saying interview. We just can't say it, unfortunately at this university, but it is an interview and everyone comes to campus. We have them all day. And our current grad students are heavily involved in that process. They even help organize portions of it. So in the morning we give an overview of our program, all the faculty speak individually about their lines of research and what's of interest to them. In the near future, we give a lot of opportunities for the students to ask questions or the applicants rather. And then we move into group interviews. So small groups, usually four max. And we go through the same question for every group so that we can have a comparison. And also, again, always opening up the door for more questions.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:38:47):

The students go out to lunch with the applicants and we don't go; that way the applicants have the opportunity to ask our current students about us and our true mentorship style. You know, is it different from what we actually talked about in the morning? That way they are really well-informed. And I think what we're trying to do more so now than we used to is reiterate that we are small and we plan to stay small. There's no pressure at SAC state for us to grow, which we're really happy about. We want it to stay small and have that nice junior colleague model and actually have a lot of contact with our labs and our students. But we also want to get the point across that we are research intensive for a master's program, and it's not going to be a two year experience. It's going to be a three year experience. So we try to be honest about that. That way applicants are making a well informed decision if they are to receive an offer.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:39:41):

Yeah. And, and, and I think, you know, we've been emphasizing the small cohort and of course the, the research opportunities, but ultimately we are training scientist practitioners, right? So we, Megan and I had this conversation a lot. I, I think we feel very strongly about teaching a clinician. So a lot, some of our students go to doctoral programs, uh, I'd say it's the minority of them because there are so many jobs in the area. And then they usually graduate and they already have an offer that is likely paying more than, than what they would get after getting their PhDs. Um, and so it's like, so a lot of them graduate and then um go into the field. And so we're ultimately training scientist practitioners, there's a we, you know, there's a huge demand for BCBAs. Um, every single one of our listeners know that, um, for their reason, there's lots of training programs because, uh, especially private universities are taking advantage of that because like, well, there is this field called behavior analysis.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:40:42):

There's lots of jobs, so there's a need for training folks. So we're going to create programs everywhere. So you see a lot of faculty positions, um, for individuals to start, uh, programs in applied behavior analysis, which is great, but there's also, I think the pressure on a lot of institutions to bring in a large number of students and graduate as many students as possible, especially if it's a program that is tuition dependent. Now there are many very excellent, um, uh, private institutions, I think. And I've sent a lot of my students to some of those FIT being one of them, we were talking about them a second ago. Um, but I think what's happening is that because those institutions have so many students, they really can't really, they can't really manage, uh, an experimental thesis. There's not enough faculty to supervise. The students really want to get in and out so they can get jobs and get paid.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:41:40):

And I, we were wondering if that's actually creating students that are also not very consumers of research. They haven't done research. I think a lot of the critical thinking comes from going through the thesis project and making and reading articles and trying to understand, um, you know, how those results apply to the question that you want to ask, asking the question, designing an experiment, to try to answer it. Um, because a lot of times clinicians are going to be conducting treatment and they need to know whether their treatment and nothing else is responsible for the change that they have observed in the clients that they're working with. So a lot of times, without the experience actually understanding and applying a singles a single subject design, I'm not sure that clinicians will be able to evaluate their practices in an effective manner. And if they're not reading, reading a lot of research to inform their thesis and research, then how do we know that they can actually read the research to inform their practice? So I think for me, the thesis process is yes, it helps me get a lot of publications. I can't deny that, you know, our publication record, I think it's so, um, uh, extensive,

Shauna Costello (00:42:59):

I think you guys have it right up there at the top.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:43:01):

Yeah but we have.

Shauna Costello (00:43:03):

Right up there.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:43:04):

Yeah. But because we have amazing students, but we also create the contingencies for the students to do amazing work. And I think they come out of good conditions because they have had incredible practicum experiences, but they also, I think come out critical thinkers. So when, when someone goes out there and says, look, we have this new treatment package that is going to revolutionize behavior analysis. And, and they use all sorts of, uh, marketing strategists. Our students are going to be skeptical and I'd like that they're going to be like, wait, let's read the studies. Let's make sure that this is actually a thing, and not just a fad. And I worry sometimes that some folks are being trained not to be that skeptical. Um, so I'm, I feel very strongly about the small cohort, uh, and the research, not for training researchers, but actually for training scientist practitioners.

Shauna Costello (00:44:02):

Yeah. And I think that this is something that I've talked about with a few other people as well, but also some of the differences we're starting to see in some of these online programs, not all online programs are created equally. I mean, not even all on campus programs are created equally, but at the same time, these online programs they're easily accessible, it's just, like you said, sometimes they're quick in and out and then you have a job.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:44:28):

Yeah. Oh yeah.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:44:29):

Another thing to point out too is during those online programs, a lot of it offers students flexibility, right? So they're allowed to work 40 hours a week. Our students aren't. So it is a sacrifice coming to our program because we cap their hours at 20 a week so that they can be successful in their classes. And our classes are hard. They are tough. I would say conceptually, a lot of our students who've gone on to doc programs, come back and let us know that they were very, very well prepared from our coursework. So we do limit our students and how much they're working, but that doesn't work for every student given their life and their lifestyle and barriers that they may have, whether that be geographic barrier or something else. So we do tend to take a very specific student, I would say that does want to be trained in that way and sees the value of being trained as a scientist practitioner. They're okay with the work that's going to go into that and the time that's going to go into that because they want the output.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:45:28):

Yeah. So the student's life, right, a day in a student's life here, it's they take the graduate students, they take, uh, their graduate courses Monday and Wednesday morning. Um, so the courses will go from nine to 12. So they're are three hour courses. So they take one class. Um, they usually take two courses per semester. So they take one class on Monday and other class on Wednesday. Um, a lot of them have then led meetings, um, either Thursday or Friday mornings. And then they do the majority of their internship hours in the afternoon. Um, we suggest, we tell the students that we want them to work no more than 20 hours. Sometimes there is a need at their practicum site for them to work a little more than that, but we've tried to tell them like, you know, with the research we're going to be doing, um, with all the classes you're going to be taking and the classes like Megan said are difficult.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:46:21):

Um, we really want you to keep your hours at 20 and that's kind of the magic number in terms of the funding that they're going to get, because they're all getting funded through those internship sites or paid internships. Um, so it's a magic number to help them financially, but also to allow them to be able to get involved in different things, other than just spending all of their time, um, working. Um, we do have another thing that students get heavily involved with our student association for applied behavior analysis. So that is a student organization that, um, uh, we just heard recently that is the most active student organization on campus, on our campus yep. And, uh, we have, um, you know, several different opportunities for, um, graduate students and undergraduate students to get involved. And we have many activities throughout the year.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:47:13):

We are having one coming up next week on how to get into graduate school. So we bring undergraduates and, uh, help them prepare their CV and talk to them about the requirements of grad school, when the things they should be doing to prepare if they're not research assistants, they should, uh, if they're not working the field, maybe they should. We have a career panel that we bring former students from SAC state to talk about what their life is like. And then the same day that we have the career panel, um, the organizations, uh, the ABA organizations in the region that are affiliated with us, um, also do like a job fair. So the students can come listen about what our former graduates are doing. Then they can apply for jobs on campus and get jobs in ABA. And this is specifically helpful, um, to those students taking the intro to behavior analysis course at the undergraduate level, right?

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:48:06):

So it's, it's like they're starting to become interested. Then they come to this panel and folks say like, I have this wonderful job. And then they have also a job fair in which folks are trying to hire them. So I think that gives a lot of undergraduates sort of a path, right? So I say truly the lost come talk to me and I'll, and I'll tell you what you need to do. And there's this wonderful field that you can get yourself into and get a job and actually envision a career. Um, so yeah, the student association does all this stuff. We have a conference of the conference for, in California, the Northern California conference for ABA. Um, and we just had it in September. That's organized by students and that was with our graduate students presenting and then graduate students from other universities in Northern California and other, uh, other ABA, uh, programs in Northern California. And that's kinda cool because it's not a typical conference. It's essentially a research seminar in which students are presenting. Their current research might be an ongoing project. It might be something that they are proposing, or it might be a finished study. And then all the faculty from the university, um, can debate the study, ask questions. It's it's it was kind of fun.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:49:23):

It was very fun, it's like a big lab meeting.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:49:26):

Yeah. The students were spending all this time, like seeing how the faculty from the different universities are going to disagree with each other. So it was kind of a, quite entertaining to all of us. So yeah, we have this event and we bring a lot of invited speakers to campus. So over, you know, every semester we bring at least one invited speaker. So we recently have had Tara Fanie, we had Matt Normand and, um, we had so many different folks that, um, our students had the opportunity to spend one on one time with that. Oftentimes, um, you know, you see those big names at conferences and they're so busy, uh, even if they want to spend time with students and talk to them, they might not have time, but here they come to a smaller setting we take them out for dinner. We showed them around, um, and they spend a significant time with us. Usually we bring their invited speakers on Friday, and then we give a talk on Saturday and then they spend weekend with us. So then we can, you know, show them around and, um, and we tend to invite the folks on in Midwest and in the East coast, um, during their winter. So they're more willing to come here. Um,

Shauna Costello (00:50:38):


Dr. Caio Miguel (00:50:40):


Shauna Costello (00:50:41):

And so I know you talked about taking everybody around and you're invited speakers, so what is the area like?

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:50:48):

Yeah. Do you want to talk about that?

Shauna Costello (00:50:50):

I don't have much to say I have never been to California, so.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:50:54):

It was a welcomed move for me, for sure. It's a great place to be. It's a really, really great place to be. I love the weather minus July and August. For me being a native Michigander, it's a little too warm, but the winters here are not what I would consider a winter. We don't get snow. Snow is not a thing, but the nice thing is if you crave snow, you can drive an hour and a half, two hours up to Lake Tahoe, and there you go. And you can stay there for a couple of days and then, then come back

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:51:24):

Yeah, you can go ski. And, you know, California is a, it's a wonderful state. Uh, I, you know, find myself almost like a California native at this point. Um, it is a very progressive state, um, as people know, and, and I think you see that everywhere you go. Um, so if, if someone is not very progressive, you would have a difficult time I think living in California, we do live in a very beautiful region. We're in the Valley. Um, so it's flat, but we are very close to the coast. So we're very close to San Francisco. Um, we are about 45 minutes from Napa Valley. Um, and things are very sophisticated. Um, the food is amazing because there's so many farms around here and almost everything grows in California. So you're going to get to love to eat avocados, um, because they're everywhere. Um,

Shauna Costello (00:52:18):

Millennials love avocado.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:52:20):

Yeah. I know. You know, I, I was, uh, I read something about this. So, um, apparently Sacramento is one of the, you know, in the list of some of the top hipster towns in the United States, Sacramento lists on the top. So lots of hipsters and lots of hipster, like things like breweries and, um, you know, barber shops with

Shauna Costello (00:52:46):

No wonder you loved Kalamazoo and Sacramento.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:52:49):

Yeah, what'd you say?

Shauna Costello (00:52:49):

I said, no wonder you liked Kalamazoo as well, 'cause Kalamazoo is a,

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:52:52):

Yeah. It's very hipstery. Yeah. It's a tiny little hipster town. Yeah. So lots of brewers here, um, you know, lots of wine, good food, um, you know, the weather's great, lots of bike paths. You can bike almost everywhere if you're living down in Midtown. A lot of the students move to Midtown and that's like the, the sort of cool place to be where all the bars and coffee shops are. Um, we have, you know, an NBA team, we're just getting a, a professional soccer team. So there's a new stadium being built. Um, so there's definitely lots of things to do. Um, you don't really need to leave Sacramento for anything. Um, you know, we have shows you have many events, but you know, there's lots of, there's lots of places you can go for day trips. Now, California, the drawback of California of course, is that it is expensive.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:53:44):

I mean, it's an expensive state. Um, and it's expensive for a reason. I mean, it's really nice and things are sophisticated and, um, the weather is wonderful, so everyone really wants to be here. Um, so it's expensive, but I think our students can manage quite well with their internship. Um, the, the tuition is very low. Um, it's the CSU system has, I think the lowest tuition in the country. Uh, don't quote me, you can quote me on that because you're going to probably post this. Right. Um, but people can actually go and look to make sure that that's accurate. But, um, I think, uh, you know, in the eighties it was, uh, there was no tuition and then they started with some fees and now of course we have tuition, but, um, yeah, the plan was for this university to actually be tuition free initially.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:54:33):

Um, so it's, uh, it's a, it's a good place to live. Um, the drawbacks, of course, like I said, it's expensive and it's far away, right? I mean, if you're, if you're, if you have family in New York city, well, you know, you're gonna, it's gonna take you six hours of, you know, four, five hours flying to get there, but hey, we're close to Hawaii. And, uh, you know, we're not too far away from Asia if you want to travel to Japan. Um, but we like it and it's a very diverse city too. So Sacramento is also being listed as one of the most diverse cities in the country. So you have lots of immigrants from Asia, lots of immigrants from Mexico. Um, so in terms of how that is infused in the culture is that you see, um, lots of, you know, festivals and food items and restaurants from all those different cultures. So lots of really delicious Japanese food, Vietnamese food, Thai food, Mexican food, um, yeah.

Shauna Costello (00:55:35):

Food, lots of good food.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:55:36):

Yeah lots of good food and good wine and good beer. Um, so you know, the students can, I think get distracted here. Right? There's so many things to do.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:55:46):

I think they get sucked in to, we have a student right now who came to us from UF in Caio's lab. I don't think she's going to leave.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:55:53):

Yeah, no,

Shauna Costello (00:55:55):

I mean you guys are making me miss Detroit.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:55:58):

Yeah. Yeah. We have a, we have a student who came all the way from Norway to be in our program, came from Oslo and she's fascinated by the fact that the weather is so nice and, um, and she's really enjoying it. So I don't think the, the, the location I actually think is a big attraction. Um, you know, it's not that you'd be like, Oh, you know, the program is great, but you're going to have to sacrifice because the location is so, so I think our program great. And it's a great location too. So you're not going to be upset living here for a few years. And, and the other thing as, as Megan was mentioning if you like California, then you can actually just stay after graduate because likelihood is that you're going to get job offers because I think California and Massachusetts are the top employers for BCBAs.

Shauna Costello (00:56:44):

Yeah. I mean, I tried to remember when I was applying, a lot of them were in California and because of my affinity for cold weather, um, I wasn't, you know, looking in like Southern California, um, that wasn't my thing. But, um, but yeah, no, there's a ton and California is actually a lot more just like you said, it's very progressive. And if you're interested in schools, I know that California has BCBAs working in schools so much more frequently than anywhere else in the country.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:57:17):

Yeah. Yeah. So a lot of our former students, right? So we should think in terms of jobs, a lot of our former students, a lot of them actually are working in school districts as BCBAs. Um, and they, and those are really good jobs. They pay really well. They have lots of flexibility in terms of their schedule. They are however, in charge of a large number of students, they're usually the ones that put, you know, put out fires. Um, a lot of those students of course, are working in private agencies, providing early kinds of behavior interventions. And I think that that's usually the distribution. So this does, when they graduate, they either go to a private company or they get a job into the school district, or they go into doctoral programs. I think that's really like one of those three options, but, but the majority of them, um, stay here.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:58:08):

And a lot of the internship sites, want to absorb them once they graduate. So once the students graduate, they don't want to get rid of the students. They promote the students and give the students more responsibilities. So now they go from an intern, an intern to a full time consultant or director or whatever the position is. So that has also been attractive to students because they're like, well, I like the town. I have friends and I like my job, but now I'm able to have more responsibility and make more money and start a life here. So there are, we have had a lot of folks who have moved to Sacramento for, for, um, our program, uh, who came here with his intention. Like I want to get a master's degree in California and then stay in California.

Shauna Costello (00:58:54):


Dr. Caio Miguel (00:58:55):

And they were also successful in doing that.

Shauna Costello (00:58:57):

Good. Good. Well, I'm trying to think. Is there anything else that we haven't covered yet that you two would like to talk about?

Dr. Megan Heinicke (00:59:07):

I would say our campus, our campus is beautiful. It's absolutely gorgeous. It looks like a giant park. So you see students outside all the time, laying in the grass on a blanket, studying out there. I saw a student doing yoga yesterday when I was walking to my car. I was a little jealous, but it is, you know, it's a state institution, like we said before. So the buildings are not the most beautiful, except our new science building is gorgeous, but the campus itself is, is wonderful or right next to the river, which is fantastic, some really good running trails. And our campus also like Caio said with the city of Sacramento being quite diverse. Our students are very, very diverse. One of the most diverse campuses, I think, in the United States.

Dr. Caio Miguel (00:59:51):

Yeah. Especially at the undergraduate level. Um, but you know, you said the buildings are not that nice. It depends on your taste. Right. My brother's an architect, so he really liked the, the buildings because we it's all modern architecture, so everything is square. They don't have a lot of windows, a lot of concrete. So, you know, if you're like into, um, you know, modern, mid century modern, that's the place for you? Um, so we have tons of trees, right? Sacramento, it's considered, there's a designation for cities called tree city USA or something like that. And, uh, we're one of those. And I think we have, I've read statistics in many different places, but apparently we have, uh, one of the largest number of trees per capita. Um, I think only after maybe Paris and Vancouver or something like that.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (01:00:46):


Shauna Costello (01:00:47):


Dr. Caio Miguel (01:00:47):

It's very, very lush everywhere. Um, so it's got a cool, um, you're definitely, you know, there's some research now suggesting that, um, being around nature makes you less impulsive. So I wonder, um, if I'm less impulsive because I have this beautiful view of nature from my office window, but I don't know, but yeah, so it's a, it's a, it's a cool campus too. Like it's definitely, um, it's, it's pleasant to be, um, on campus. Um, yeah, we like it. We, we built, I think we built, uh, I'm very proud of the program we built. I think it's, uh, a strong program respected by the university, um, it's respected by the psychology department. I think we would love to eventually try to create a doctoral program here. Um, there is a lack of doctoral programs in California, even though California is the largest employer for behavior analysts.

Dr. Caio Miguel (01:01:46):

And there are now lots of PhD level clinical positions. We have California, the state of California has to import, um, you know, uh, PhDs from different institutions. So the folks here in California that have doctoral degrees, they came from, um, traditional universities like UNR and Western Michigan and, um, UF. Um, so the, the leadership positions in a lot of organizations are folks that were in California and had to leave and get their PhDs elsewhere, or maybe non-California natives that move here for that reason. So it will be nice for a California, California institution to actually offer the doctorate degree to it's natives. Um, I think that will be kind of cool. Um, so I think that will be the next step for us. Um, it takes time. Um, we have, we, we we're, we're willing to do it. We have the capacity and, uh, we also have the research right.

Dr. Caio Miguel (01:02:45):

That we're already doing it. So I would love to keep some of my master's students for a few more years and give them some extra work. Um, but yeah, it's a, it's I'm very proud of the program. I think it's a self sufficient program at this point. It requires way less management than it did, um, when we started. Um, and I think as we really have it dialed in. So if you were to ask me, is there anything you would like to do in terms of improving the program to make it better? I'd say, no, I think we've been improving it for the last several years. And I think we finally got to a point that I'm like, okay, we got it done. Like we, we know what we're doing and it's sort of a, uh, at least to, to, it's not perfect because nothing is perfect, but it's as perfect I think as it can be. And I think the students have good experiences before we came to the podcast. I think Megan asked some of her students tell me more about,

Dr. Megan Heinicke (01:03:37):

What do you like about,

Dr. Caio Miguel (01:03:38):


Dr. Megan Heinicke (01:03:39):

They had a lot to say. Yeah, that was really nice to hear. I think the main idea that came from my lab today was the junior faculty model that we use the junior colleague model. So it's that we take them really seriously and they have a lot of contact with us and that they also said they really enjoy that we get along and the faculty actually get along and encourage cross lab collaboration and don't get offended if our students want to go and talk to another faculty about their research. And they also really, really liked the cohort model as well that it becomes a little insular group that they're a part of. And they have a lot of support within their cohorts and across cohorts and labs too. And they also really liked that our internship model is the way it is. Sometimes. I wonder if it would be better to do things in house, but we simply we don't have the time to do it, but they actually like that it's not, they said that they get real world experience that way.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (01:04:38):

They're actually working for a company. They're not just an intern, they're an employee first. And that way they're building their resume the entire time. And they feel that they're very marketable when they walk out the door. And I think CABA is another shining star of our program. The students said they love having opportunities to meet with these faculty. They would never get to approach at a conference just because they're busy individuals and that they have a lot of contact with our alumni because our alumni come back for all of these CABA events. It's like a little reunion once a semester. So they get to ask them what they're actually up to. And I think those alumni help our current students make decisions about what they want to do in the futre, where they want to get employed if they want to go to a school or if they want to go to a private agency or what have you. So, yeah, I would say that I'm really, really proud of the program, I feel very fortunate to bee here and I think our students are amazing and I'm very proud of them as well.

Dr. Caio Miguel (01:05:32):


Shauna Costello (01:05:33):

Well I see so many positive things going on on like social media and cause I mean, I've followed, you know, I follow Caio on everything and I see everything about his lab going on all of the time and just the community that you guys have really built between the students and the faculty. And I know how much I appreciated having that type of relationship in my program that I love seeing it going on. And yeah,

Dr. Caio Miguel (01:05:59):

And I think that's it. I think you nailed it. I think you had that experience at Western. I had that experience at Western. Um, Megan had that experience, um, Becky had that experience at UNR. So I think we really, our goal was always to replicate that, right. If we want the students to come into a behavior analysis program where they have a community of behavior analysts of likeminded individuals where the learning from each other, or they're working really hard, but also party really hard. I mean, I don't know if they are, but I hope they are because I'm putting them to work. Um, and I'm not the most pleasant individual all the time. Um, you know, I, I, uh, I've also learned from Dick Malott that aversive control is your friend. So sometimes I have to be the dad that some of my students may be never had and then yell at them and tell them that they're not doing things right.

Dr. Caio Miguel (01:06:52):

And then oftentimes just, um, that gets them going, um, and gets them to do the best work that they can do. Um, and I think that was important to me too, because I was scared of disappointing Jack Michael so much that I never ever, like, I will never send something to him that I hadn't re-read a hundred times and potentially even given to someone else to read. So I'm kind of also trying to instill some of that in my students, like, look, don't send me this, um, you know, incomplete proposal or this document full of grammatical errors because I would never send this to, I would've never sent this to, um, uh, you know, one of my professors at Western Michigan. So you should be ashamed of yourself for sending me this piece of crap. Um, and, uh, you know, and, and right. I mean, that's what it is.

Shauna Costello (01:07:55):

Jessica was, Jessica was very like, Jessica was, I, I credit her for so much, but yes she is. She is, I mean, she makes sure that you were on your game at all times, but I mean, I.

Dr. Megan Heinicke (01:08:11):

I don't remeber them ever yelling at me, not ever, ever, ever. I remember missing a deadline and going, like bringing it to them and like tears rolling down my cheeks, like I missed it. He's like just go away, come back next week, don't worry about it. Yeah,

Shauna Costello (01:08:25):

I know. I mean, I credit Jessica so much for my mentorship style now, and while I was in Detroit and then after I moved, I mean, this was just about a month or so ago. I got a text from an old supervisee who said that she was working with a parent and like, and this was, and this was a supervisee who, you know, she was, she was giving me frequent feedback on my supervision style to her. And she was not always the biggest fan of it. Let's just say I have no problem admitting that she did not like my supervision style, but this parent told her, I don't know who trained you, but they knew what the F they were doing because they had this parent had had a poor supervisor beforehand. And then my old supervisee came in. And so like, just to hear this, like a year and a half after I left, you know, a company that I used to work for, I still get all these text messages. And I completely credit my supervisors for that because I, you know what I mean, I'm modeling what they did.

Dr. Caio Miguel (01:09:31):

It's supposed to be transformative experience. Right. It was for me, I don't want to keep saying that, so don't put again, don't put this in your podcast, but we really, I mean, I had such a wonderful experience at Western that I really wanted the students here to kind of have the same experience again. So I think we constantly think about what were the things that we loved about grad school and how can we replicate it here. This was fun, this was great.

Shauna Costello (01:10:08):

Thank you both. No, I think that's it. Thank you both so much. Thank you for listening to the university series from operant innovations. Over the next few months, we have a variety of different universities coming to speak about their programs, their practicum sites, their faculty, and their research. So please join us every other week as we release new episodes of the university series. And as always, if you have questions, comments, or feedback, please feel free to reach out to us at


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