Alumna Assists Autistic Children in Central Florida

Amanda WalkerAs Amanda Walker, ’14, works towards becoming a board certified behavior analyst, she thanks her UCF psychology degree for the opportunities she has received thus far in her career.

Her hard work and dedication throughout her undergraduate experience at UCF paid off when she was accepted into UCF’s Applied Learning and Instruction Master’s program.

Along with being a UCF graduate student, Walker is also a Behavior Therapist and Assistant Program Director at the Doris Duan-Young Austism Center of Orlando. The center is designed for children of all ages and abilities and has everything from individual assessments to group play, as well as private, one-on-one training with their staff. Walker reaches out to other students at UCF interested in education and social sciences to offer them opportunities in the behavior analysis field.

Walker also enjoys teaching yoga classes to children with disabilities. She is a certified kid’s yoga instructor and is currently working on her 300 hour yoga teaching training.

Walker shared more on her time at UCF, her current position and her advice to UCF students and alumni.

 Why did you choose to attend UCF?

I chose UCF because of the sense of community it offers. I love how interested UCF is in making sure it’s students succeed not only during their time enrolled at the university, but well into their careers afterwards.

Were you involved in any extracurricular activities at UCF?

I was a teaching assistant for a Diversity in Psychology class, I was in the Psychology Society, and also participated in research for the wellness center.

What is your best UCF memory?

My best UCF memory would have to be graduating and receiving my acceptance letter to UCF graduate school. All my hard work made sense and I was so excited to continue my journey.

What is your favorite thing about your job?

Being able to offer children and adults opportunities that they otherwise wouldn’t receive.

What is your most memorable experience on the job?

My most memorable experience in my job was seeing the progress of my very first client. The impact that we are able to make on children and their families is something that will always be unforgettable. 

What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?

Get as much experience as you can. Volunteer. Don’t be afraid of the word “no”. Each step will lead you to where you want to be, no matter how small they seem. 

Now for some fun! Walker answered some fun questions to help us get to know her.

What songs would make up the soundtrack of your life?

Any of Tom Petty’s songs. You can’t go wrong with Tom Petty.

What do you do for fun?

I love culture, traveling, trying new things and I love my puppy.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done?

(Besides working on my masters, my behavior analysis certification, and working full time) Flying trapeze! I’m afraid of heights so that was way outside of my comfort zone.

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