Recent Graduates

Psychology

Angela Bonavita ’18

Bonavita, a behavior technician for Autism Allies in western Massachusetts, credits the unwavering support she received from her professors with giving her the confidence to push beyond her limits academically and professionally. Today, in addition to her duties at Autism Allies - where she makes home visits to families of children with autism and implements behavior plans under the supervision of board-certified behavior analysts – she has been conditionally accepted to Bay Path University’s accelerated master’s program in applied behavior analysis.

“Thanks to the knowledge and resources provided to me by the professors in the program, I was given the tools I need to move forward with my education and become confident in my future as a behavior analyst,” Bonavita said. “I owe an immense amount of my success to Dr. Martasian and the rest of the psychology department faculty - both full time and adjunct - as I would not be prepared to take on the world and the future of my education without their support and guidance.”

Bonavita said the broad range of classes she took during her academic career at Salve introduced her to a variety of career paths, but it wasn't until she took Introduction to Applied Behavior Analysis with Dr. Sheila Quinn that she truly discovered her passion for psychology. “Of all my experiences as a psychology major, what has made the most impact on me has had to be the relationships I was able to build with both students and faculty within the department,” she said. “I was never afraid to take a leap of faith, whether academically or professionally, because I knew that I had an incredible support system.

“I would advise incoming students to be open minded about new experiences or classes based on their interests, and to not be afraid to take that leap of faith if they feel it is right for them,” she added. “Being open to new ideas and experiences will ultimately lead you to your true passion.”

Elizabeth Janick ’17, ’18 (M)

A desire to work with youth led Janick to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Salve. During her sophomore year, she applied for a job at Momentum, a behavioral health agency that provides services to children with special needs throughout the state of Rhode Island.

“I took an entry-level job working with children with intellectual disabilities simply to gain experience in the psychology field,” she said. “During that short summer working with Momentum, I fell in love with applied behavior analysis and knew that was the specific field that I needed to focus my degree in.”

That experience led Janick to enroll in Salve’s combined bachelor’s/master’s program for psychology and applied behavior analysis. She earned her bachelor’s degree in 2017 and completed her master’s degree in 2018.

“Two years later, I still love the work I do with Momentum,” Janick said. As a lead therapist, she is responsible for implementing treatment plans with clients in schools, homes, community settings and in the clinic. She also records and collects data on clients and works with behavior analysts to conduct assessments and develop treatment plans.

“My Salve education is giving me the tools and knowledge to make a difference in clients’ lives,” Janick said. “I am able to take the concepts and strategies taught and apply them to current and future treatment plans. My education has given me the preparation to take the next step in my future, to become a board-certified behavior analyst.”

Janick said she is applying the concepts learned in her applied behavior analysis courses in her career and everyday life. “I have been able to make better suggestions for changes or additions to my clients’ treatment plans, and I have been able to apply concepts I learn immediately,” she said.

Alexis Jankowski ’18

During her four years at the University, Jankowski masterminded the quintessential Salve experience. By fully engaging in the psychology program’s personalized opportunities in academics, independent research, faculty mentoring and fieldwork, she crossed the Commencement stage on a clear trajectory toward achieving her future aspirations.

She is attending Boston College’s Lynch School of Education to earn her master’s degree in mental health counseling while working at Berklee College of Music as a graduate assistant in its Office of Housing and Residential Life. A Ph.D. in clinical psychology is perhaps further down the road.

“Looking back on my time at Salve, I think that it is remarkable that each professor has helped to shape my academic and future careers outside of just being a professor that I have learned from in class,” Jankowski said. “This is one of the wonderful things about Salve, and it happens outside of the psychology department as well – the faculty and staff here really care about their students and want to see them succeed in whatever they do.”

Jankowski worked closely with several faculty at Salve, including as a research partner with Dr. Arthur Frankel and Dr. Sheila Quinn. She praises the insight and experience shared by Dr. Kevin Fontaine, who guided her independent study last semester in abnormal psychology. And she thanked both Dr. Kaitlin Black, and her four-year advisor, Dr. Paula Martasian, for all the “guidance and wisdom” they shared on everything from course selection to graduate school decisions to life in general.

“The faculty in the psychology department have been such a big part of my success here, and each of them have shaped my experience in some important way,” she said. “They pushed me to pursue the things that I want to do.”