University Series 047 | University of Texas at San Antonio

Today we are joined by Dr. Hannah Macnaul from the University of Texas at San Antonio. This program will surprise you! With a wide variety of practicum opportunities, you can see how focused they are on training well-rounded practitioners. Located in the heart of San Antonio, this program is growing at an astounding rate and has so much to offer!


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Dr. Hannah Macnaul -


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Behavior Analysis @ UTSA -


Shauna Costello (00:00):

You're listening to Operant Innovations, a podcast brought to you by ABA Technologies. This month, on the University series, we are here with the University of Texas at San Antonio with Dr. Hannah Macnaul. Without further ado, UTSA. Today we are here talking with Dr. Hannah Macnaul from the University of Texas at San Antonio. Thank you so much for talking with me today.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (00:27):

Yeah, thank you so much for having me.

Shauna Costello (00:30):

I am excited to learn more. I'm gonna pass it right over to you for a general overview of the program.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (00:38):

Sure. Here at the UTSA, or University of Texas at San Antonio, we have a graduate level coursework for students interested in becoming a board certified behavior analyst. We offer three different tracks, given the three different requirements in order to become a BCBA, which include the masters degree, the verified course sequence for the coursework, and then of course, those 2000 supervised field work hours. I'm hoping today we'll break down each of these different tracks, but I'll give a brief overview. We have our comprehensive clinical program, which includes all three of those requirements you need in order to become a BCBA. It takes two years with three classes in the fall and the spring, and throughout those two years, our students are working at fieldwork sites, our educational approved sites, we partner with here in the community. They're also taking coursework with a couple of electives and with the intention to graduate at the end of those two years and be ready to sit for the BCBA exam. Within recent years, we've also heard from our students and from the community that some students really like where they're working. The comprehensive program does have extra requirements in regard to practicum, such as different competencies, working at schools, homes, clinics, and things like that. Some students come in and they already have a great job they really like and they want to get all of their field work hours there. We have a focused, flexible program, which includes the masters degree and the verified course sequence, but the field work is really up to the students and that also opens up the practicum classes to be electives. If some of our students have interest in other domains of how behavior analysis can be applied, for instance organizational behavior management and things like that, they can explore those avenues through the different electives. We have some students that come in and they already have a masters degree, say in special education or a related field, and they have their field work supervision, they have a plan for that, then they can come in and do what we have: The ABA graduate certificate program. It's just the seven courses in the verified course sequence. We really have a variety of options that can be tailored to meet the needs of our students. It's something that's been formulated over the past couple of years, but more often than not, we can find the best path for students who are interested in working in the field.

Shauna Costello (03:50):

It sounds like you have just the right amount of options, not too many, not too little. It's nice to hear that there are different options for individuals who may just be in those different areas or different parts of their life. It's really nice to hear about the flexibility. It's not a one size fits all kind of thing. We can jump into some more of the nitty gritty details.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (04:19):


Shauna Costello (04:20):

Who are the faculty and what might be some of the research that they're doing?

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (04:25):

Absolutely. This program really started out with Dr. Leslie Neely. I actually was a student in the certificate program a couple of years back, I'll say. I took a class in ABA with Dr. Neely, and I pivoted my career from school psychology to ABA. Now, they work hand in hand of course, but I did go on to do my PhD in behavior analysis and then when I finished my PhD, there was a job opening here at UTSA and it has always been my dream to come back and live in San Antonio and work at this incredible University. Then we became a team of two and so it's been Dr. Neely and myself up until this year. We are also going to be joined by Dr. Marie Kirkpatrick starting the fall of 2021. We are growing because the interest in the program is growing, the number of students that are interested in pursuing the path to becoming a BCBA is growing. We're listening and we're responding. We are also hiring right now a new assistant professor of practice. She will be coming on board here shortly to provide some supervision. For the main faculty, I'll talk about myself, Dr. Neely and Dr. Kirkpatrick. My research is in severe, challenging behavior for individuals with Autism, because of my background in the schools and working. I used to work with adult populations as well. My research interest really started to look at reinforcement based interventions rather than using restrictive or obtrusive interventions such as extinction. A lot of my research looks at different ways we can reduce challenging behavior and increase communication through means of reinforcement contingencies. Looking at things such as quality, magnitude, immediacy and things like that. Dr. Neely, her research also focuses on the assessment and treatment of problem behavior with ABA, but she has a lot of experience in a lot of different areas. I'll just talk a little bit about her projects there. She just completed a project that looked at really early intervention for toddlers at risk for Autism spectrum disorder. They were age zero to three years old and what they found was super cool. They developed an intervention that taught protective skills such as functional communication to prevent the emergence of problem behavior beyond toddlerhood. It was a huge hit for our University and the community and also for the field of ABA. She's also really well known for her expertise in telehealth and telehealth therapy based on the principles of ABA. She has multiple projects that are ongoing. We just wrapped up a project using parametal training to coach registered behavior technicians in telehealth services, especially in light of the pandemic. It was really a great application of that science to help a population who was really in need of continuity of services. Most recently, Dr. Neely got awarded a grant to start an artificial intelligence and virtual reality lab. It's really cool if you ever get to see this. I wish I could send pictures or something like that, but the lab is an entire room decked out with awesome, they look like the Microsoft Connect cameras, but they're motion detecting and they sense the behaviors ongoing in the room. We're hoping to do a variety of projects with those, but really ultimately leading to the precise aspect to ABA therapy and how we can really use technology for our advantage when thinking about data collection and precursor behaviors and how to sense severe challenging behavior. What those degrees of intensity are and things like that. We have a really great team working on those projects right now. Last but not least, Dr. Marie Kirkpatrick, she's the one who is just joining our team, and she is awesome. She does a lot of research in regard to ABA in the classroom and in school contexts. She looks at technology based ABA interventions to support children with Autism and developmental disabilities in the schools, particularly those who are in inclusive classrooms. She's also really interested in efficient and effective training methods for teachers and staff. We have a great project going on right now, Project ABA Teacher, and we've really been leaning on her expertise for how to best prepare teachers to become board certified behavior analysts. We have a lot of different areas of expertise, but we do collaborate a lot on our projects. We also have a big priority for community engagement. We are always listening and reaching out to parents, caregivers, individuals in our community to hear what they need and the things they're interested in. It's something that we always hold really near and dear to our heart, and we really focus our research around disseminating to our community.

Shauna Costello (10:41):

It's really exciting to hear all of the different ways your program has brought in all of these faculty members. They do have different areas of interest, but that doesn't mean you can't collaborate. It doesn't mean that the students can't get their hands on a little of this, a little of that, and that's the main goal. Get a wide variety of experience as well. I'm so excited to see what comes out of all of this.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (11:20):

Oh, yes. Me too. It's so great. We're collecting all this pilot data, and I get new ideas every day. I'm like, "Oh, what if we did crisis intervention in the homes where the parents wear wearables with the video recording technology?" We can intervene and we can coach them live in the moment, almost like bug in ear coaching, but they're literally wearing the video device so that we can see what's happening from their perspective. It's just one of the ideas that probably came into my mind today. A lot of areas for exploration and really getting into how ABA and the science of ABA can really lean on these new innovative technologies, whether it be challenging behaviors, social skills in the schools. It's something that we can all leverage to our benefit.

Shauna Costello (12:26):

It's so neat just because this is one of the main reasons behind this podcast. Everybody doesn't always get to hear about these things that are happening. I'm very happy to be able to help get this out because that is very, very exciting. To kind of build on that, and I brought it up, but I know you mentioned the different practicum options. What do some of those practicum opportunities look like?

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (13:02):

Absolutely. For our clinical comprehensive students in year one, depending on if they come in with an RBT, we'll give them a little bit more flexibility in regard to where they want to work in that first year. If they come in brand new, then we usually place students at our University based clinic, the Autism Treatment Center so that we can provide really intense and hands-on supervision. As they go forward, we start recommending them for outside sites that they can work out. Our students typically work about 20 hours a week in year one, and they're working their way through. I think it's beautiful, right? The students might say something else, but the field work binder, it really hits on all the domains of practice that they're expected to be proficient in as a registered behavior technician. Their site supervisor will sign off, "Yes, you've done a preference assessment. Yes, you've done ABC data. Yes, you've done X, Y, and Z." As they work their way through this, it's always a really great avenue for conversation in those supervision meetings as well as really clear documentation. They have to discuss it, they have to demonstrate their ability to implement these procedures. They have to write or graph or create a permanent product of some sort. All these different areas of competence when it comes to these domains of practice. At the end of year one, most of our students obtain, if they haven't already, their registered behavior technician. In year two is when our students move into practicum, which has a different label of field work and practicum, but it's essentially the same thing. When you get into practicum is when we have these various competencies. These include things like telehealth, so make sure that you have a couple telehealth cases, and there's an associated rubric with that. Did you contact the parents correctly? Did you follow the confidentiality procedures? Did you mediate any issues with the connectivity? Graphing data, and maintaining all of the necessary materials from those sessions. Our students do a hospital rotation. We have a collaboration with the Children's Hospital of San Antonio. Throughout their two years, students will always have at least one client at that site. It's our University supported clinic and we also have the clinic side of that at the Autism Treatment Center. They do a school competency where they're working in the schools with the teacher. Sometimes it's more direct service, sometimes it's more of a consultation role, it just depends. We have a home competency, so our students do that. ABA in the home looks very different from ABA in a school. Last but not least, we have a research competency, because ABA in a research context, looks very different across these different domains. We have an adolescent and adult competency really hitting on the importance of what we teach and what we program and what we work on in early intervention, really seeing the long term effects of that and making sure the skills we teach are going to generalize and be beneficial long term and sometimes, unfortunately what happens when they weren't. We like our students to get all of these different experiences so that ultimately, by the end of their time in the program and when they graduate and they're ready for their job, they know their area of specialty, what they want to pursue. I have experience in all of these different domains. I really loved working in the home, so now I'm going to apply to companies primarily serving the population in the home setting or vice versa. We really like to set our students up for success in that realm and if they find something they really like, or say they're interested in a PhD program or something like that, then we will really beef up that area of competency. Instead of just doing one research project, maybe they can take on a project management role, things like that. We really try to tailor our students' experiences towards what they're interested in learning about.

Shauna Costello (17:56):

I was trying to remember while you were describing this, I feel as though this is one of the only programs I've heard of where they have... And like I said, only the programs I've talked to, [Laughing], not all programs... They have this rotation where the students actually go through all of these different settings and get all of these different experiences.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (18:27):

Yeah, I'm not sure if we're the only one, but I know it is somewhat unique. Our students don't do a full-on masters thesis, they do a research project resulting in a final permanent product they go on to present at state and national conferences and hopefully, at the end, a publishable manuscript. They work in groups, they work in teams to do that. If they have four participants, maybe one is the lead implementer while the other is doing IOA and procedural fidelity, and then they flip. It's really a team based approach to that so they get the experience they need, but it also opens up their availability for these other rotations. We make sure they have a case in early intervention, they have a skill acquisition case, they have a behavior reduction case, really making sure that they do come out, not only just good BCBAs, but excellent scientist practitioners. A lot of our students, when they leave, they know what they want to work in, and they stay at those jobs. They're being hired before they even graduate, they're staying there. We end up, a lot of the time, collaborating with them. They end up being our approved sites for the practicum and they're supervising our students. Like I was saying, I know I'm gonna hit on this as we go through today several times, but it's that connection with the community. It's so huge here at UTSA. We are always reaching out, we're always listening, we're always collaborating. By building capacity within our community through this graduate program, a lot of the time we will continue to work with our students long term. I think by providing opportunities for all of these different experiences is unique and it appears to work very, very well for our students. We get a lot of positive responses about this approach.

Shauna Costello (20:33):

Yeah, it is unique and I know a lot of programs have these different opportunities, but to have it so programmed into the entire sequence, is the unique part. It's not the student going to a different faculty member who has different experiences being like, "Hey, can I get in on this?" It's, "Hey, no. This is where you're going, this is what you're doing." I can really see so many benefits to this. I was dead set when I was in grad school about what I wanted to do. I am doing nothing like that right now. [Laughing] I'm not saying that I got bad experiences. I didn't, and I had absolutely phenomenal experiences. Just being able to have these different options, but then also, like you said, with the community outreach, and it seems like this is something that would continue to happen in the future. If something new pops up needed within the community, for future practitioners to be doing, your team would be adding that in as well.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (21:58):


Shauna Costello (22:01):

That's a research thing too. I love that there's a research rotation to really focus and really have that applied research as well, because that's so important. You don't always see that out there.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (22:19):

What they'll do is in their first semester of their first year, they take research and single case design. I taught it last year and I'm teaching it again this year. It's really getting into data collection and the processes that underlie really solid research. During those classes, when we have the faculty discuss our ongoing projects, if a student comes in and they want to do something completely novel or maybe they want to replicate an article, they have the freedom to do that under the supervision of a faculty member who is working closely with them. Just in regard to something that came up to me when you were saying about the options and you weren't sure, you didn't have your experience led to a different path that you decided to pursue. One of my students said this to me the other day, and I thought it was beautiful. She said, "You can't make the right choice if you don't know what your options are." I was just like, "You're so right." We really have to provide our students with all of the options so that they know they're making the right choice, and they're confident in that choice because they have the experiences and they have the knowledge of what they're choosing. It also makes me think of a preference assessment, right? [Laughing] You can't say that someone loves the iPad compared to everything else. You can say they prefer the iPad compared to the other items that was available. Unless you know all of the things available, it's really difficult to make a choice.

Shauna Costello (24:06):

That's why this podcast series is so important because the websites only tell us so much. Unless students are reaching out to tens of hundreds of schools to figure this out, it can be really hard to find the schools that have these kinds of experiences and these kinds of setups. It's just something that blows my mind and I told you this a few days ago when we met. I was trying really hard not to ask questions in that first meeting because this is the stuff I love hearing about. The one thing I really look forward to after hearing this is your students taking these experiences with them into their futures, and then continuing to build more programs and help build more programs based off of what they've experienced. I'm foreseeing it now, we're gonna see more programs have something similar to this in the future.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (25:18):

Yeah. Hats off to Dr. Neely for setting this up. The work that went into it, I'm sure, was just incredible, but the way we have these community partnerships really allow for this to happen. I will also say because they're not just approved sites, but we have educational agreements with them, their supervisors and us, we can share information back and forth. If we hear from a site, "Your students are doing really well in this area, but they need some work on blank," we can say, "Oh, excellent. We'll talk about that next class." And vice versa. Other soft skills you would miss if you only saw them in the classroom. Professionalism, being able to engage in reflective practice, really those critical skills that bring you from just being a BCBA, to being an excellent BCBA. Being able to have those discussions and really share that information back and forth. Again, we're very involved and we're very committed to our students when they come into the program because it is a lot. We expect a lot from them, but we also make sure they are supported and they have the resources and the personnel they need in order to be successful. I find that's something else pretty unique. We're always collaborating and communicating with these community partners so we can hear if they're really strong in this area, but they need a little bit more help maybe in DTT or something like that. Then we're like, "Okay, great. We'll do that in our next field work meeting," or "We'll do that in our next practicum class." We have the flexibility to tailor the content in those field work meetings and in those practicum classes to bridge the gap between the coursework and then what they're actually expected to do in the field. I find that's really nice and gives us some perspective as to what they're being asked to do out in the field.

Shauna Costello (27:36):

I think that's a perfect segue way into, you've talked about it a little already, but some of the student experience throughout the program with these expectations. Not just the faculties and schools, but also the real world expectations with their practicum placements as well. What does that look like? What can students expect?

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (28:00):

I'll tell you, I don't know if it's just Covid or what, but I know more about my students than I ever thought I would. We're always here meeting, making sure that they feel supported, they're happy in their practicum sites, they're getting the experiences they need. Of course, I'm not a student now, but I used to be, so I can speak to that from an area of experience. I will say that one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come back to this University as a professor was because of how supported I felt as a student, and how heard I felt as a student. My professors really listened to what I wanted to do. They let me explore my interests. I was very busy, because I was doing both my school psychology hours and my BCBA hours, but it was doable because I had that support system behind me. Like I was saying, I can't speak on behalf of the students, but we do our very best to make sure we are touching base with them frequently, whether it be in classes or we meet with them every semester for advice. We do check-ins and we always will see them at that University supported clinic at the San Antonio Children's Hospital. We have a lot of contact with our students to make sure no one is struggling and we just don't know about it. Otherwise, they also reach out to us with their successes and we like to be a part of that. I think the student experiences could be summarized by just saying there's a lot of expectations and we hold them to very high standards, but we also provide the resources in order for them to perform in that capacity.

Shauna Costello (29:59):

I think that's the best way to put it. Like you said yourself, you are a good show of this. [Laughing] I love hearing when the students do go back and they do start teaching at their programs they came from, because that shows they got something amazing out of it and they want to continue that legacy and continue giving that to future students as well. I absolutely love hearing that. Let's see... We have covered faculty and research, practicum, and student experience. How about the application, admission and if there's an interview process. I know most applications are pretty standard now with what they expect.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (30:56):

Our application process is under the Department of Educational Psychology. A lot of our application processes look the same as they do for the entire graduate school. The admission prerequisites are to have a bachelor's degree in a related field, such as psychology or education. You have to have a 3.0 in the last 60 credit hours of your undergraduate degree. We also require at least two letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose. What we do find sometimes is that a student applies... And I say this because I was in the exact same boat. I had gotten out of undergrad with my degree in psychology, and I said, "Well, I need to do something else, right?" I knew I needed to go on to get a graduate degree. We sometimes get students who are saying "school psychology", and then some know exactly that they want to go into a BCBA program, and sometimes students are talking about counseling and things like that. We do require that statement of purpose so we make sure you're applying for the program you intend to apply for. If that's not the case, if there seems to be a mismatch between the statement of purpose and the program you applied for, we have awesome administrative assistance and associates who will read that and say, "Hey, are you sure?" If you meant this one, we'll move you over here. A strong statement of purpose, especially if you're coming into the ABA program, I would definitely recommend mentioning that you want to become a board certified behavior analyst. Once we see that in the statement of purpose, we're like, "Excellent. This person knows exactly what they're talking about," and then we go forward through the process. I don't know if this will stick for too long, but we've waived our GRE requirements, so if you have them, that's great, go ahead and send them. If not, that's okay. With Covid and with the pandemic, we did move towards a more holistic admissions approach. Looking at grades, looking at those letters, looking at the statement of purpose, and then if we want some additional information, we may invite you for an interview. It's not something that is required of all students. If we just have some additional questions or want to get to know you a little bit, because like I mentioned before, we do meet often for advice. It's something that can be discussed later, but if not, then we'll say, "Hey, can you come in for a brief interview?" I did just want to mention the application deadlines. For the fall, the application deadlines are June 1st, and the spring deadlines are October 1st.

Shauna Costello (34:06):

I hope more schools do start doing that more holistic approach to it, you know what I mean?

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (34:14):


Shauna Costello (34:15):

In general, hopefully that sticks. We'll see.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (34:18):

Yeah. I think something maybe that I should have mentioned in our overview is we're a Hispanic serving institution, and we're located right in the urban city center of San Antonio. Sometimes we have first generation college students or non-traditional students. Maybe they went to school, they took a break and they want to come back, or maybe they're working full-time. You name it, right? Life goes in so many different ways. At UTSA, I think we're tying it back to the community. We always listen to what our community needs and what would best serve those who are interested in obtaining a graduate level degree. On that note, our classes are from 5:30 to 8:15 PM, especially for our ABA students, because they're working in their practicum and their field work experiences during the day. It was the same for me when I did the school psych program. I was working full-time during the day and so we serve a lot of non-traditional students. We really take a lot of pride in serving underrepresented students here in our community. It's been something that I think makes us really unique.

Shauna Costello (35:44):

It's really great to hear, because as I've educated myself more and more about what happens with furthering education and the obstacles in place for so many people. Yeah. It has just astounded me and personally has pushed me to want to help out and do additional things to help make access to education, access to just all of these different services, not just education, but services even more widely available. It's really awesome to hear. I know you said that you were dying to get back to San Antonio, so I'm very excited to learn more about the location of San Antonio. I've been to Texas, but never to San Antonio. What can people expect?

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (36:57):

Yeah. Oh my goodness. I love San Antonio. It's my favorite city I've ever lived, and I have lived outside of Texas, I will say that. San Antonio is right in the heart of Hill Country and the UTSA graduate school is at the downtown campus. We're right in the middle of the urban city center and we have a beautiful city here, full of really rich culture. Of course we have wonderful Mexican food, we have a lot of awesome community parks and amenities to enjoy. You don't have to spend a dime to have a great day, and I absolutely love that. We have the riverwalk that's really popular. One thing that I didn't know is the river walk you see downtown is really busy and has a lot of awesome restaurants and stores and it's really nice, but it is pretty commercialized. I didn't know the riverwalk, until I moved down here, is massive. It goes for miles and miles. I think you can go past where I live, close to the river walk, and if you go past that for about 15 miles, you reach the mission reach, which has all of these old historic Spanish missions that have been preserved for years and years. It's a great bike ride. I absolutely love it. For me, when I hit the river, if I go right, I can go down to mission reach and explore all of those things. If I go left, I'll hit the downtown city with that more popular version of the river walk. If you keep going, the river walk even goes down to the museum reach where we have a lot of beautiful museums right along the river walk. The history and the culture here is so rich, and I love that you can have a great day just by walking around and exploring, looking at all the historical markers available. UTSA is right there in the heart of it. We have a new expansion going on down by the San Pedro Creek, which also connects to the river walk. We have a big building of data science going up there. The downtown campus is just growing immensely, and it is beautiful. I will say when I was a student here, I loved the downtown campus because it was really geared towards graduate students. Everyone here was pursuing a graduate degree. I think there's also the school of architecture here and some other undergrad programs, but primarily it's for graduate students. It's really great to be around like-minded people and you don't have to fight the traffic. I will say, I don't know if anyone's interested, but the parking here is great. You do not have to fight for parking. I remember I went to my PhD program at another institution and I won't say. I'm sure you're gonna post my bio, it's fine, but the parking situation was atrocious and I just couldn't believe I paid so much money for a parking pass and it was terrible. It was because I got spoiled here at UTSA. There were so many parking spots I could choose from and so something small, but it actually made a big difference in my program, and whether or not I had to get to school an hour early just so I could follow people from the building to the parking spots. I got off on a little tangent, but [Laughing] UTSA is just beautiful and I love the city so much and everybody's so kind. You can walk down the street and just make new friends, new connections, follow the smells. When I walk to the children's hospital from campus, because it's very close, it's maybe half a mile if that, I walk and I go through the Market Square, which is an old Mexican market square where they have little stores and restaurants and popup eateries and it's just awesome. When I walk there in the mornings, it smells like pastries and just delicious food. When I leave afterwards, it smells like amazing fajitas. I'm always like, "Oh, should I go have lunch there today?" You can just walk around the city and explore and follow your senses, I would say.

Shauna Costello (41:57):

[Laughing] Well, that sounds amazing and now I am hungry. [Laughing] I just had a snack, but oh my goodness, I am definitely hungry now. I will definitely comment on the parking thing as well. Once I got to grad school and not everybody gets a GSA. I understand that, but at my school, if you had a GSA, you got to park where the faculty parked. Your parking situation changed and it was life changing. I completely second the parking thing. Parking is a big factor and I never would've thought to bring up parking. [Laughing] It is a big thing. We've covered a lot today, we've covered everything. Faculty research, practicum, student experience, application, admissions process, the location, the community feel of UTSA. What else do you want to make sure of some of these potential students, if anything, you'd like them to know about the school, or the program, or the area?

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (43:13):

I also want to let everyone know about an awesome grant that we just got funded through the Office of Special Education Programs. It's called Project Early and the goal of Project Early is to increase the quantity and quality of culturally responsive early childhood specialists and specifically board certified behavior analysts and school psychologists trained to identify and provide interventions for infants and toddlers at risk or diagnosed with Autism spectrum disorder. Scholars who participate in Project Early will cross train in applied behavior analysis and school psychology in early childhood subject matter with the goal to prepare scientist practitioners to identify early signs of Autism and how to administer and provide culturally responsive and developmentally appropriate treatment. Scholars who participate in this project will have rotations at the Autism Treatment Center and the Children's Hospital of San Antonio, as well as conducting a variety of competencies in the city of San Antonio Early Head Start program. Graduate student scholars who will participate in Project Early, will be provided with a paid internship at the Autism treatment center and other financial incentives actually totaling over $25,000. These monies include tuition stipends, technology stipends, a $500 summer stipend, monies to purchase research materials, and $1,000 going towards their travel budget. Upon completion of the program, these graduates will be eligible to sit for qualifying exams necessary for state and national credentials. We will be accepting about five applied behavior analysis scholars and about five school psychology scholars. We are actually open for applications. We are set to begin admitting our first cohort for students in the fall of 2022. This will be within the masters program these students are already applying for, but it's going to provide cross and interdisciplinary training across both of these disciplines leading to longstanding collaborations across service providers who work with individuals with Autism. If you are interested in this opportunity, you can apply or fill out the interest form at or if you go to our webpage and you click on education, you'll see a link for Project Early right there. If you listen to this and you're like, "This sounds like a good fit," or that you even just might be slightly interested, email me or email Dr. Neely or email Dr. Kirkpatrick. We are always meeting with students. We always make sure to make ourselves very available so that we can answer any and all questions you have. I'm gonna steal this from Dr. Neely, but she always says there's no limit on questions. I feel like it's something that resonates throughout your time in the program and just in general. We're always open to have conversations, answer questions, just meet informally. We really do make ourselves available to our students and our prospective students. If you have any questions or you just want to hear more about our program, feel free to reach out to us.

Shauna Costello (47:04):

Just to make sure everyone knows that Dr. Macnaul's email will be in the podcast description. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out and a link to the program will also be there as well. Explore more, ask your questions. From my personal experience, the faculty has been very responsive and I just want to thank you again for sitting down with me and talking with me and teaching me more about the program and about the area and all of these different experiences the students get to have. Thank you so much.

Dr. Hannah Macnaul (47:45):

Yeah, absolutely. It's been my pleasure. I think you're doing a great thing and any help we can be to students trying to navigate the graduate school process, I think is so valuable. Thank you to everyone who listened, and thank you so much for your time and for having us on here. It's been a blast.

Shauna Costello  (48:09):

Thank you for listening to this episode of Operant Innovations and as always, if you have questions, comments, suggestions or feedback, please feel free to reach out to us at



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