ABA Alumni Spotlight - Sara Passaro
July 16, 2021 | Heather Fletcher
Sara currently holds two master's degrees, one in Social Work and one in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). After 10 years of working in social services, she discovered ABA while she was working as a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) for extra income alongside her social work career.
Around this time, Sara and her husband were moving often for his job and she recognized that credentialing in the field of ABA was easier to keep up with across state lines. This prompted her to return to school for a second master’s degree in ABA. “I decided that I was already working with populations who had developmental delays and that ABA would be complementary to the work I was doing,” she explained.
Sara signed up for her online degree at UWF while she was still living in Pensacola. She officially began the program while residing in Texas and moved mid-semester to Jacksonville where she finished the program. She earned her BCBA credential one year ago and provides ABA therapy for individuals aged 2-21.
“Comparing UWF’s online program to completing my first master’s degree in person, I felt like UWF’s online program was incredibly well designed. I actually had several opportunities that I didn’t with my first masters, like being a graduate assistant,” she says. “Everyone was so nice and accommodating, I never felt as if I was missing out on anything. For where I was in life, it worked perfectly.”
A highlight of her time at UWF was working as an online graduate assistant. She enjoyed getting to know students, reading their work and delivering feedback. In the future, she hopes to teach at a University level and to continue this rewarding aspect of work.
“ABA and my social work background have enabled me to meet people at their level and explain the positives of what can change for their children with these services and what resources exist that they didn’t know about before.” Sara enjoys working directly with families and states that ABA has enabled her to have a positive impact when interacting with people.
Her advice for others considering entering the field of behavior analysis is to “Make the commitment and take advantage of whatever opportunities and resources at your disposal. You get out of it what you put in.”