Connections: Growth between Communication, Education, and Software for Youth, Families, and Professionals

I became interested in computers science and entertained the idea of becoming a software engineer years ago when first beginning my Master’s in Education degree at the University of Central Oklahoma. My focus was in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Art education. I also have always loved literature and history. At that time, I could not see the direct connection between my love of education, other interests, and computers. I was not able to envision how becoming a software engineer could bridge those interests and roles.

My current role as a Behavior Therapist has changed that. I am now employed with a company specializing in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for children and adults with Autism. Within my first week on the job, I began to piece together how technology could directly influence learning and communication between my clients (primarily children), families, and the professionals providing services. They all have different communication needs and all the children I work with are bright learners who land on various points of the Autism spectrum. I feel honored to work with my clients and their families and have an opportunity to teach strategies to cope with behaviors and develop communication skills. The work I perform does not just involve using software for communication needs. It also involves collecting sensitive and private data on children’s medical needs and outcomes. This has enabled me to think about other forms of electronic communication and data collection, such as security, speed, and maintaining HIPPA requirements for collecting and sharing sensitive information.

I want to attend the Holberton school because I recognize the quality of education Holberton provides while also having high expectations for the students attending the program. As an artist and educator, the project based learning is something that I am very familiar with on a personal and professional level. From a professional perspective, I currently provide strategies to my clients on how to communicate in a natural setting, on a daily basis. This must occur within the confines of ABA strategies because many of my clients have sensory processing disorders, information processing delays, and a host of other medical issues. So first, I help the client and families recognize what they need to survive daily, then on how to work around obstacles that develop, with the client’s abilities, and the client’s potential for growth. From a personal perspective, I use project based learning while making art. When working on series I decide not just what materials to use but how to adapt them to a specific piece. Often, I work with new materials/mediums or will explore how to use the mediums differently. Sometimes, my exploration doesn’t quite work out the way I expected. When this occurs, I go back and figure out what worked, what did not, and why. Another reason why I would like to attend Holberton is the financial support. I have worked in the non-profit and education field for many years providing direct services. That does not pay well but provides an opportunity to watch people grow and directly impact their lives in a positive way. What I found attractive was that attending Holberton would allow me to learn the skills I need without taking on additional debt. I am determined to provide for my family and move us forward without putting additional financial stress on our lives right now.

I am greatly attracted to the educational program Holberton provides as well as their commitment to students while acknowledging the role of women within the tech community. I initially did not believe that the tech world had a place for me and what I wanted but by working with clients with Autism, I am able to see how my love of education, teaching, and learning fits into this field. I am grateful for the opportunity to apply to Holberton.