Changing lives through behavior analysis

Chelsea Mazies is a senior psychology major intent on becoming a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.

When searching for colleges, she searched for “world’s prettiest campus” and found Berry College, located in Rome, Ga. It was a long trip from her home in Chicago, but as soon as she came to campus, met the swim coach, learned about the LifeWorks program and the small class sizes, she was ready to make her decision.

Though she wasn’t sure originally what she wanted to study, she knew she wanted to serve others. After her first psychology class, she had an idea that it could be a good fit. Once she took Intro to Behavior Analysis she knew she’d found her calling.

Chelsea landed an internship at the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University and spent 40 hours a week working with nonverbal children. Helping a child who had never previously spoken, greet his mother out loud for the first time was the highlight of her summer. It further cemented in her mind the fact that she had picked the right profession—becoming a behavior analyst.

One of her greatest mentors throughout her journey has been Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Ray Joslyn. For more than a year, they have been doing research together at Rome Middle School, trying to search for a way to reduce classroom disruptions to improve the learning environment. She’s also currently collecting data at the Appleseed Development Center, for research that is headed for publication.

“Chelsea has been an integral part of my school-based research and has been an outstanding student in the psychology department. Her interest in helping children and adolescents of various backgrounds makes her an ideal prospective behavior analyst. She has seen firsthand what working in this field will entail,” Dr. Joslyn says.

In addition to her classroom work, Chelsea is also a Head Resident for Berry’s largest traditional residence hall. Alongside Stephen Wyatt, her supervisor and biggest supporter during her last three years, she oversees 17 resident assistants and approximately 390 students.

She has already been accepted to several graduate schools, but recently accepted an offer from Western Michigan University where she will join the “Learning About Behavior” lab under the advisement of Dr. Jessica Frieder. Dr. Thom Ratkos, assistant professor of teacher education at Berry and another important mentor, was also a member of this lab before joining the Berry community. After completing her master’s degree she plans to come back to Georgia to sit for her exams to become a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst.

Of her time at Berry, Chelsea says, “It’s one of a kind. You’re not going to find the experience anywhere else…You’re not going to find the teachers who have this much to pour into you and want you to succeed more than anything. You’re not going to find the student work program anywhere else; that’s just Berry’s thing. You’re not going to find a more beautiful campus… If you’re interested in Berry, it’s the only one you’re going to find like it. If you really want to be involved, you’re going to have every opportunity to be.”

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