Category: Blogs


My Short-Term Study-Abroad Experience in Naples and Campania

Caldwell Students for Short-Term Study-Abroad in Naples and Campania
Royal Palace of Caserta
Roman Colosseum
First Temple of Hera
Second Temple of Hera

By: Cosette Soshon

From Jan. 5 to Jan. 13, a group of 12 Caldwell University students and two faculty   members traveled to the Naples and Campania region of Italy for a short-term study- abroad experience.

Our journey started at Caldwell’s campus and took us to JFK Airport. From there it was on to Rome where we were able to spend a few precious hours in the Coliseum area and begin to form friendships. We took a train to Naples and met our wonderful tour guide and bus driver. After a long day of traveling, we arrived at the NH Ambassador Hotel in the historic section of Naples.

Our first day of touring involved exploring the city and getting to meet our second fabulous tour guide, who was extremely friendly and knowledgeable. That night many of us split up into groups of newfound friends, wandered the city and found places to eat and to converse. The following day we traveled out of Naples and into Caserta where we visited a royal palace that was the twin of Versailles Palace. After touring the grand interior, we were allowed to walk, bike, or ride a horse carriage around the exterior of the palace and explore its lush gardens.

On Friday, Jan. 9 we explored the Greek city of Cumae and encountered the Cave of the Sibyl, which once was a place for fortunetelling. We were awed by the Phlegraean Fields, or the Burning Fields, which is the crater of a collapsed volcano and smells of sulfur gas. Many of us had fun exploring the unique landscape and taking pictures while engulfed in the smoke. On Saturday we visited the Amalfi Coast, which appeared to be everyone’s favorite place due to the wonderful views of the Mediterranean, the gorgeous colors of the buildings and, of course, the shops.

On Sunday and Monday we were back to visiting ruins in the area of Paestum, which has one of the best-preserved Doric temples in the Greek world. The next day we visited the world-famous Pompeii, a Roman town frozen in time. Each day was filled with pictures of new experiences that were so different from life in the United States. Many of us have visited historic sites, but the ancient history of these cities certainly drew everyone’s attention.

For me, the best part of the trip was being able to break out of my shell and go somewhere new. I had been on trips before, but always with my parents, so going off on my own was a wonderful and important experience. It taught me to be independent and to have faith in the people I traveled with. Normally I enjoy the solitude of my room at home and occasionally go out with friends. However, having to find dinner each night in Italy forced many of us out of our comfort zones, and as a result we met new friends. During the trip, I became part of a group of five friends who always traveled with one another during the days and the evenings. We took many pictures, ate great meals and shared many stories and laughs. I will definitely remember this trip and the friends I made. I encourage other students to give study-abroad experiences a try. They’ll never know what they will find out about themselves and the world around them!

Cosette Soshon is a senior majoring in history.

The Italy: Naples & Campania Region short term study abroad trip was led by faculty members Dr. Rosann Bar of the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice and Dr. Sally Jo Weber of the Department of Foreign Languages.

The group also visited an archeological museum, made a trip to Sorrento,  learned about Italy’s water buffalos and had lunch at a farm where they ate buffalo.

Caldwell University offers students opportunities to study abroad for a semester or year or during available summer, winter, and spring sessions.  For more information about long and short-term study abroad opportunities, please visit and LIKE us on Facebook at


Understanding the Israeli-Palestinian Crisis

Dr. Domenic Maffei

Dr. Domenic Maffei

The Palestinian-Israeli crisis is one of the most heartbreaking and problematic tragedies currently unfolding. As a professor at a Dominican university, I am particularly troubled by this event. The Dominican tradition is dedicated to seeking the “Truth.”  But the “Truth” is not always easily discernible. In this case the “Truth” is clearly in the eyes of the beholder. As we watch the daily reports of human suffering, and the many failed attempts to alleviate the conflict, it is natural to ask why we can’t find a solution to this situation. As of this writing, the current phase of this conflict seems to be headed toward a conclusion as the Israelis clearly feel that their military objectives have been met.  To understand this conflict, in the short and long term, let’s look at it from both sides. A cost/benefit perspective would be particularly instructive.

What incentives do the Israelis have to end the conflict through a negotiated truce (the current truce, while negotiated by the Egyptians, is basically a result of internal Israeli decision-making)? Unfortunately, very little. Several factors stand in the way. Israel benefits from a preponderance of military might and technology. This is what is known in political science as an asymmetrical conflict: where one side dominates the physical and cyber battlefield disproportionately. This is manifested most cruelly and simply in the death toll: 1,800 Palestinians killed, as opposed to 67 Israelis as of this writing.  Clearly, Israel has a greater chance of achieving its military objectives.

Another factor preventing a negotiated peace is the lack of international pressure on Israel to come to the bargaining table. As much as the world may be outraged by the high civilian death toll, few tangible actions have been taken against the Israeli government. Ban Ki-Moon can complain until he is blue in the face, but unless the Israelis are hit with meaningful sanctions, they will continue their current policy. Sanctions are unlikely. As a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council, the U.S. will veto any such attempt.  This is doubly problematic, because at the same time that we support Israel, our influence has waned significantly.  Starting with the infamous Obama “I have to deal with him every day” off-mic comment in 2011, referring to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S.-Israeli relations have deteriorated dramatically. The result is that the U.S. will not forge an international coalition against the Israelis (as we are trying to do against Russia), while at the same time, we cannot use our traditional influence bilaterally to sway them. In addition, Hamas has lost many crucial allies in the region, particularly Egypt.  Lastly, the Netanyahu regime has benefited from across-the- board domestic public support. Even opposition leaders like Labor leader Isaac Herzog have sided with the current policy.  Thus all of these factors preclude an Israeli compromise.

What incentives does Hamas have to end the conflict and negotiate a truce? Unfortunately, very few.  Even though it is losing the conflict from a military perspective (its rockets, tunnels and leadership are being decimated), it has little choice but to continue. It seems clear that at this point Hamas sees this conflict as a fight for its very survival. From its perspective, every negotiated truce in the past (including the 2009 Egyptian-brokered accord) has simply continued the status quo and has not resulted in any appreciable gains (e.g., lifting the economic and geographic embargo of Gaza).  Thus the abandonment of the political path in favor of a military solution.  That the number of rockets fired into Israel has declined is more a product of practicality (Israel has destroyed them) than choice.

It seems that what Hamas is hoping for is global sympathy. Its strategy appears to be that the constant scenes of civilian deaths, U.N. refugee compounds attacked and collapsed buildings on bloody children will strike such indignation that the international community will get involved on its behalf. (That may be part of the reason Hamas is placing arsenals in mosques and among civilians.)  Vying for international support is not an unsound strategy; much of the world rallied around Hamas’s attempt to become a de facto member of the U.N.  Unfortunately for Hamas leaders, and for the reasons stated above, the international stars are not aligning in their favor.  This is not to say that there is no international pressure being levied against Israel, but it is insufficient to deter Israel from its immediate objectives.

So what is the take-away?  Given that both sides have positioned themselves against negotiation and toward military conflict, we see the outcome that has transpired: the fighting has stopped (for now) because Israel has unilaterally pulled back, feeling that it has achieved most of its objectives.  The question remains: without a long-term solution to the underlying issues (namely, Israeli security and Palestinian independence), how many will have to die the next time the calculations do not favor peace?

Dr. Domenic Maffei is a professor of political science at Caldwell University.

The views and opinions expressed in these blog posts do not necessarily represent the views of Caldwell University.  

Blogs, Featured News, News

What is 3D Printing?

By Heather Cook and Anthony Yang

3D printing has arrived at Caldwell University!  We now have two 3D printers and two 3D scanners in the Caldwell University Creation Station (CCCS).

What is 3D printing?

  • 3D printing is an additive manufacturing process where an object is created, layer-by-layer, from a 3D design or model.
  • The printers in the CCCS melt polylactic acid (PLA) biodegradable plastic or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and layers the plastic 100-300 microns at a time.
  • Many of the items can be printed in one shot. Because the item is “sliced” by the software into individual layers, most of the moving parts of the final object can be printed in place (e.g. adjustable wrenches, intricate hinges, chain links, etc).

What can I make with a 3D printer?

The primary use for 3D printers today is to create prototypes instead of production en masse. The motto is, “fail early and fail often.”  In the past, prototyping took a long time. You had to come up with an idea. Then you would send it to be produced. Once you got your prototype delivered, you would immediately notice that there were a few things wrong and you had to redesign it and send it back to be produced again. There would be a back-and-forth and it would extend prototype cycles to months, even years.

With 3D printing you can come up with an idea, print it out in a few hours, find out what is wrong with it and reproduce it the same day. You can make and modify multiple prototypes in a single day! This cuts the prototyping phase of a project to a fraction of what it was before. Months and years turn in to days and weeks. This rapid prototyping is changing the design and manufacturing industry. Some companies are even using 3D printers to print production items.

Here are just a few applications of 3D printing:

  • Medical models – Surgeons can print out models of a patients organs, based on medical imaging, in place to help visualize the best course for the upcoming operation.
  • Prosthetic limbs – Prosthetics that once would have to be customized to the individual could cost thousands of dollars. This presented a real problem for kids because they could grow out of them in less than a year. There are prosthetics that can be printed and scaled for just a few dollars, drastically reducing the cost to the patient and the family.
  • custom parts – If a plastic part breaks on an item that you own, you can print out another one.
  • Clothing – There are different types of plastics that can be used to print out clothing and fashion items.
  • Jewelry
  • Toys

How can I print something?

More details are coming soon on this. We will be making 3D printing available to students, faculty, staff and the community. You can use one of our scanners or bring a 3D file in and have it printed. Stay tuned for more information.

Heather Cook is the learning commons librarian at Caldwell University and led the team for the grant to fund the purchase of the 3D printer. Anthony Yang is the web developer at Caldwell University. 

Here is the 3D printer in action, printing a model of the human heart:

Funding for this Makerspace Initiative is provided by the New Jersey State Library and by LibraryLinkNJ, The New Jersey Library Cooperative, whose services are funded by the New Jersey State Library, which is responsible for the coordination, promotion, and funding of the New Jersey Library Network. Funding was also made available through a College Access Challenge Grant – Aim High Academy 2014 Contract.

Blogs, Featured News, News

What is Google Glass?

Google Glass at Caldwell University


Anthony Yang, Director of IT Operations and Digital Communications, wearing Google Glass

By: Anthony Yang

Technology is ever-evolving and we have seen huge leaps in computing and smartphone usage in the past few years. Desktop computers sales are dropping, laptop computer sales are flat, and smartphone sales are soaring. Smartphones are mobile computers. Most of the tasks for which we used a computer are now being delegated to our smartphones (e.g. answering emails, visiting web sites, searching, even creating content). Naturally with the maturation of smartphone development, there is a push to integrate technology even further in to the lives of the people who have adopted the smartphone. This year it will be all about “wearable” technology.

Wearable technology peripheral sales are surging this year with the release of smart watches, fitness monitors, virtual reality headsets, and of course Google Glass. Every major technology company that manufactures hardware has released or will release wearable technology. Google is trying to push it even further with its wearable computer known as Google Glass.

With an estimated 1.75 billion smartphone users by the end of 2014, people are looking to smartphones to end their dependency on desktop and laptop computers. But having a mobile computer in your pocket also allows for things that are just not possible with desktop and laptop computers. The smartphone camera is putting a serious dent in, if not overtaking, the point-and-shoot camera business. The explosion of social media sites like Instagram and Snapchat can be directly attributed to high quality photos that can be captured with a smartphone camera. We can instantly capture something in the moment and share it in real-time with our family and friends.

But how can we take it to another level? Samsung, Apple, Fitbit, Pebble and many others are trying to answer that question and we will see their best answers this year. In 2012 Google began allowing a select group of people to test the features of Google Glass to help improve the product for public release. Google Glass is essentially a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display. It has a camera for video and photos, GPS for location recognition and navigation, gyroscope for orientation recognition, voice recognition for verbal commands, a touch sensitive panel for navigating its menu system and much more. But features are not really useful on their own and what Google has done is integrate Google Now, Google’s answer to Siri, in to Glass. This really makes the biggest difference. Now all of your web searches, emails and web browsing behavior are used to serve you helpful information.

Your Google Now results can be displayed right on Google Glass. For example, when you receive an email from your airline with your flight itinerary, Google Now will glean that information, serve it as a card that will tell you your flight information and keep track of the on-time status of your flight in real-time. It will also keep track of the traffic to the airport from where you are and let you know when it is time to leave without being late. From there you can get navigational directions right through Google Glass.

Being invited to be part of the Google Glass Explorer program is very exciting. I want to thank CIO, Don O’Hagan for finding the funding for this project, because he knew how great it would be to have Google Glass at Caldwell University.  Without the support of Don and the leadership of the college this opportunity may have passed us by.  No one knows how Google selects candidates, but I am sure they aim to get a wide distribution of beta testers to explore new ways to use Glass. I can’t wait for our students to use Glass and experience firsthand its amazing capabilities.

So let’s answer some common questions. No, it is not a phone or tablet that you wear on your head, although you can make and take phone calls with it. Google Glass is mainly a device for sharing your experiences via video and photos, searching the web for answers, finding a place using GPS, and showing the world from your point of view.

Not many explorers are based in the higher education arena, and I’m sure that our students will think of some amazing ways to use it. If you are a student, and have a great idea about how to use Glass, submit your Google Glass idea to me at

It is my goal to regularly post about Google Glass features and the great ideas that our students come up with.

Anthony Yang is Caldwell University’s web developer.

Blogs, Nursing News

Nursing Department Hosts Blessing of the Hands Ceremony


Assistant Director of Nursing Brenda Peterson takes part in the Blessing of the Hands ceremony for nursing students.

The Caldwell University Nursing Department recently held its first Blessing of the Hands Ceremony beginning a new tradition for nursing students.

The ceremony was led by Sister Kathleen Tuite. O.P. along with the nursing faculty and President Nancy Blattner, Ph.D. OP.

The purpose of the ceremony is to provide a spiritual experience symbolically linking the art of nursing with the science of nursing practice. Nursing students are given the opportunity to reflect on the interconnectedness of humanity, the healing art of nursing, and the duty of the nurse to provide holistic care to all human beings.

The Blessing of the Hands ceremony allows students an opportunity to consider the importance of finding balance between their caring hearts and hands and the provision of nursing care that occurs within a healthcare delivery system, which is complex and driven by technology.

The ceremony provides faculty, administrators, and nursing students with the chance to engage in an interconnected process– hand-to-hand, heart-to-heart, and spirit-to-spirit. It reinforces the department’s commitment to valuing connectedness, collaboration and inclusivity, honesty and professional excellence in all interactions and relationships and it underpins the college’s commitment to its core values of respect, integrity, community and excellence. What a joyful experience for all!

Blogs, Featured News, News

At This Season of Great Joy Too Many Do Not Feel Joyous

By: Theodora Sirota Ph.D., RN

Dr. Theodora Sirota

Dr. Theodora Sirota is associate professor of nursing at Caldwell University

The Christmas holidays are fast approaching and many of us feel a heightened sense of happiness and anticipation as we look forward to taking time off from study and work, celebrating and exchanging gifts with family and friends, or simply experiencing the beauty and holiness of the season. However, it is important to remember that, for so many, this time of year brings too little joy and a good deal of pain and misery. The Christmas holidays are often the most emotionally difficult time of year for those suffering from mental illness, grief and loss, family stress, or occupational and economic hardship.

For the mentally ill, who make up at least 25% of the population of the United States, the holidays pose major challenges that can result in an escalation of psychiatric symptoms with risk for destructive behavior. Because the chronic mentally ill often have difficulty forming or sustaining social relationships, too many face the holidays with increased emotional stress from having little or no family or friends in their lives. Changes in routine schedules and possible homelessness can increase seasonal anxiety and depression. People suffering from alcohol or drug addiction are at greater risk for relapse due to the holiday stresses, and many do relapse each year at this time.

Christmastime is a potent reminder of past relationships and experiences and many people suffer deeply disruptive feelings of grief, despair, and depression at the holiday season as they recall the death or loss of loved ones. For those with complicated family relationships, and especially those who live with domestic violence, the holidays can intensify feelings of social pressure, guilt, depression, or anger with risk for increased destructive behavior toward self or others. Those facing occupational or economic hardship are at risk for stronger feelings of failure or inadequacy if they cannot participate as fully as they would like in the abundance of the season.

As we celebrate the joy that the holidays bring, let us not forget to take time to reach out to those in our schools, churches, or communities who may be suffering more at this season as a result of mental illness or social crisis. Encourage family and friends to work with churches and other community organizations to provide relaxed and comfortable activities for those who are lonely and without family ties. Volunteer at food banks or soup kitchens to bring a bit of sunshine into the lives of people who too often do not see a smile or greeting from others. Reach out with a visit or invitation to someone who is alone and lonely at this time of year. Support their spiritual needs by offering encouragement and assistance to attend religious services. Finally, let us all support charities that assist the mentally ill and those experiencing social challenges and learn all we can to better understand and aid those in need.

To learn more and to find resources go to: – The National Alliance on Mental Illness — Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Newark – Shelter our Sisters – Mental Health America – National Institute of Mental Health

Theodora Sirota PhD, RN, CNL, PMHCNS-BC is is associate professor of nursing at Caldwell University. An advanced practice psychiatric nurse, she teaches courses related to psychiatric- mental health nursing and nursing research and teaches clinically in hospital and community health settings. She is certified as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst and conducts a private practice in psychodynamic and cognitive behavioral psychotherapies in NYC.


November: A Time To Honor Family Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month and National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month.

Aneesha Jean, a nursing instructor at Caldwell University

Aneesha Jean M.S.N., RN is a nursing instructor at Caldwell University.

With the increase of the aging population in America, rising health care costs, and trends in health care, the need for family members to care for a loved one with long-term illness is great.

According to a study by the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP, 29 percent of the U.S. population, or more than 65 million people, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for that person.

Informal caregivers are a valuable resource for the care recipient and the entire healthcare system. But caregivers must understand that they risk experiencing burnout. They must be proactive about taking care of their own health. Caregivers who are overburdened and stressed are at increased risk for poor health, depression and abuse.

The key to managing caregiver stress is to recognize the warning signs including often feeling overwhelmed and tired or losing interest in enjoyable activities. Caregivers must develop positive coping mechanisms such as taking time for themselves and participating in respite activities.They must make their own health a priority and see their physicians regularly, eat well, exercise and get adequate sleep.

Caregivers should join a support group, which can be useful in gaining valuable information about caregiving and financial and social resources.  Caregivers can also benefit from reaching out to their local Area Agency on Aging, which is designated in each New Jersey county as the primary entity serving as a community based resource for older adults, individuals with disabilities and their caregivers.

If you are a family caregiver, take time to honor National Family Caregivers Month by reflecting on how you can take better care of yourself, which in the long run will make you a better caregiver for your loved one.


To find out more about managing caregiver responsibilities, go to: The National Alzheimer’s Association website at

or the State of New Jersey Department of Health and Human Resources website at


Aneesha Jean M.S.N., RN is a nursing instructor at Caldwell College. She was previously a clinical instructor at The Valley Hospital and taught gerontology for the Hohokus LPN Nursing Program. She served as director of wellness services and field nurse supervisor at the non-profit HomeCare Option.  She has been a community health educator and has provided trainings on health promotion and wellness for various groups. Aneesha has also worked at high schools in Passaic County teaching students the importance of good nutrition, exercise, and chronic disease prevention.

ABA News, Blogs

From Columbia, South America to the Caldwell University Center for Autism & ABA


Carolina Lenis, Master’s student in ABAMaster’s student blogs on how becoming a behavior analyst is her passion

By: Carolina Lenis, master’s student in ABA

My name is Carolina Lenis, and I’m currently pursuing my master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis at Caldwell University. I am originally from Colombia, South America, and I have been in the United States for about 7 years now.  When I completed my bachelor’s degree in psychology at a college in Colombia, I decided to come to this country to learn English; my plan was to stay one year. I came as an au pair with an exchange program, and a trip that was supposed to last a year turned into the journey of my life.  I was intrigued when I received an offer to be an au pair for a family in the States who had a teenager diagnosed with autism.- I had always been interested in learning more about individuals with disabilities. Before I arrived in New Jersey, Matthew’s mother described him to me as a very caring, smart and fun young boy who attended an amazing school based on a scientifically-validated intervention called applied behavior analysis (ABA).

During the first months, I had the opportunity to observe Matthew at school and learn how to teach him in different settings. At first, I started to go a couple of days a week and ended up volunteering at that school for almost a year. After the first month, I was amazed with the teaching methods at the school, how every learner had their own curriculum and behavior plan in place, and how well the teachers arranged everything to maximize every learner’s potential. I remember calling my family in Colombia and telling them, “I have found what I want to do in my life. I want to learn more about autism and ABA, and acquire the necessary experience to help individuals diagnosed with autism.”

After about three years, I started my master’s degree in ABA at Caldwell University. It has been a great professional and personal experience learning the science of behavior analysis, and I’m able to apply it during my practicum experience at the Center for Autism and ABA at Caldwell University. As a student of behavior analysis, I am able to help individuals diagnosed with autism to have a better quality of life by teaching social, leisure, communication, academic, and vocational skills. Every day is full of challenges, but it is a very rewarding career that I enjoy and I would not change for anything. Each child at the Center is unique, and we focus on their strengths and abilities to help them reach the highest level for individual growth, achievement, and independence through teaching based on ABA. Being a behavior analyst is my passion – Every day I look forward to teaching new things to learners and learning from them as well.


A Veteran’s Silent Suffering

Kathie Kelley


Kathleen Kelley MSN, RN, CNRN
Kelley teaches in the Department of Nursing at Caldwell University.

A recent report from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs revealed that an estimated 22 veterans die each day as a result of suicide. This alarming number reflects the need for nurses and health care professionals to understand a veteran’s silent suffering.
The dedication to healing injuries of our veterans is evident. We have all seen the pictures of a proud soldier, young and handsome, standing tall on his artificial limbs. A stoic Marine, his face burned and scarred, paying his respect to a fallen colleague. Treating physical injury can be rather straight forward. In medicine we have protocols and “best practices” that guide us through the management of even the most horrific injuries. We, as nurses, are taught to assess and prioritize our care to identify and intervene to stop what will cause our patient the most harm. Unfortunately, despite all of our strides in the treatment of injuries, the medical community has fallen short in recognizing an injury that is hidden, that has deeper scars than on the skin. This injury is to the souls and psyches of our veterans and it will take just as much dedication and attention to overcome.
Suicide amongst returning veterans is not new. The horrors of war and traumatic memories have plagued many of our service men and women for years after returning home. What has changed in the recent years is the rise in post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) combined with other injuries such as traumatic brain injury (TBI) that complicates the clinical picture, mental suffering and impairs coping mechanisms, contributing to depression, substance abuse and then, increased suicide rates. As health professionals, it is our duty to utilize evidence-based screening tools and employ best practices in each interaction with veterans to encourage early recognition and treatment for depression and suicidal tendencies. Recognition of the symptoms of PTSD starts the process of educating sufferers to understand the physical, mental and emotional effects of PTSD. We know that if a client understands the disease process, they can become an active member in their treatment. Studies by the Department of Defense have shown an increase in veteran’s self-referrals to mental health services after undergoing screening and discussion of PTSD symptoms with a clinician.
How can we help? Nurses and health professionals are answering the call of our veterans by educating ourselves and the public about this issue. Come learn more at a Veterans Day Symposium to be held at Caldwell University on April 5th, 2013 from 9am to 1pm in the Alumni Theatre. Sponsored by the Department of Nursing, these and other related issues will be presented and discussed. The symposium is free of charge, but the knowledge is priceless. Registration is required. Please contact DelcySzczepanski at (973)618-3155 or to register.

To find out more about this issue, go to:

ABA News, Blogs

Turning the Tables: Using Behavior Analysis for Good…My Own Good!

Sandra Bendokas

By: Sandra Bendokas

As I approach the end of my academic studies in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at Caldwell University, I am proud of what I have learned, the skills I have acquired, and what I am able to offer the children with autism who I serve. I spend most days, and more than a few evenings, studying and applying the principles of my field so that others may benefit from what ABA has to offer.

As a full-time worker in autism treatment/ABA, full-time graduate student, and full-time mother of two small children, I sometimes find myself lost in the needs of others. I’m sure I don’t need to convince anyone that raising children is time-consuming. If you have been, or are currently a student, it doesn’t take much to convince you of the enormous time commitment. And full-time work in any field is just that, full time! And I would argue the field of ABA demands even a little something more.

In light of all of this, it seems that I have lost track of some of my own needs. After having my second baby a year ago, I have struggled to lose the weight. Now you may think, she has great excuses, right? Work, school, kids…..I even had my parents move in with us after their house was destroyed in the hurricane! What better excuses could I have?! It was impossible for me to diet and exercise…right?

Well, I am going to stop the pity party right there. Life can be tough! We all know that. What is even worse is that I knew they were just excuses. If it was important enough, I would have done it. Enter my last elective for my required coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis. As I walked into class the first week, our professor asked, “Has anyone made a New Year’s resolution this year?” Not thinking much of it, I raised my hand and said that I wanted to lose the “baby weight”. And so it began….my journey to use the applied behavior analysis techniques with myself to lose weight.

It is probably important to tell you the topic of this class….it is called “Self-Management.” I realized that if I wanted to be successful, I needed to apply my skills in ABA, only to myself this time. Maybe all of my excuses are obstacles, and I need a better plan. I need to develop better strategies and set more reasonable goals.

So, as a part of this class, but more importantly, as a part of my new life goal, I decided to blog, and publicly post my plan, strategies, and progress toward my goal. I decided to share this as a way to become accountable for my behavior, and hopefully, increase my motivation to adhere to my plan and use the strategies I develop.

I will be updating my progress periodically and will let you know just how well I am able to turn the tables and use ABA for my own good. I would love your feedback, and if you have any questions, I would love to hear them!


Sandra Bendokas is a graduate student at Caldwell University currently pursuing her master’s in applied behavior analysis.