Meet Behavior Analysis Student Maria Villegas, ’18SW

Maria VillegasMaria Villegas is a BehaviorAnalysis@Simmons student from Newmarket, New Hampshire. A registered behavior technician, she says her mission in life has always been to help others. As an undergraduate she studied psychology, and later worked as a preschool teacher. Villegas enrolled in the program to continue to study human behavior and to prepare to become BCBA® certified. In the following Q&A, she discusses her interest in the field of behavior analysis and her experience with the program.

How did you first learn about the field of applied behavior analysis?
I first learned about applied behavior analysis as a teacher. I discovered the field when I was researching ways to improve the behavior of my students. I was thrilled when I discovered a scientific method to effectively improve and change behavior.

What were you looking for in a master’s program?
I was looking for a master’s program that was committed to providing a thorough and comprehensive education. I wanted to enroll in an online program that would fit into my busy schedule, but would still provide the social and interactive components of an in-person classroom.

What made you decide to choose Simmons’ program?
I chose Simmons because of its stellar reputation in the field of applied behavior analysis. During my application process, I was given a virtual tour of the classroom, and I fell in love with the online platform. I liked that I was in a small class and that the video feature allowed me to interact with my classmates.

What is your favorite aspect of the program?
My favorite aspect of the program is that I can watch the lectures at my own pace and that the class time is spent in small-group activities and discussions. I especially enjoy all of the hands-on experience we get with the material.

What has it been like attending classes online?
It has been better than attending classes in person. I enjoy using the interactive platform, and being able to attend school from home really fits in with my busy schedule.

What advice do you have for others considering this degree?
I advise that they come prepared to learn and form professional relationships with their future colleagues.

Why would you recommend this program to colleagues and peers?
I recommend the program because it prepares you for your work as a BCBA® by providing hands-on experience with the material. It allows you to complete your lectures at your own pace, and the interactive platform is an effective way to learn the material.