Success Stories

Isabelle Molteni earns CTABA Award on way to obtaining her ABA degree


Isabelle Molteni

Isabelle Molteni

Western Connecticut State University graduate student Isabelle Molteni is about two months away from graduating with her Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) degree. A registered behavior technician at Prism Autism Education and Consultation in Farmington, Molteni decided to pursue an ABA degree at WCSU because many of her coworkers have graduated from the program and told her how the courses helped them with their fieldwork hours and clinical applications to their learners’ interventions. “I also liked that it was asynchronous, where I could learn at my own pace and refer back to lectures and literature when needed,” Molteni said.

As part of her coursework, Molteni recently attended the Connecticut Association for Behavior Analysis (CTABA) conference, where Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) from across the state network and build connections, listen to professionals present on applicable topics to achieve continuing education credits, and learn more about recent literature and how it can be applied in practice. At the conference, Molteni presented a poster on social avoidance and relapse, comparing individuals with autism to neurotypical individuals. The poster reported on the results of Molteni’s work in a research lab on campus run by WCSU Professor of Education and Educational Psychology Dr. Adam Brewer.

Dr. Antonia Giannakakos-Ferman reached out to me and other students in the program, to ask if we wanted to be a part of a research lab,” Molteni said. “I thought this was the perfect opportunity to expand my experience in the field and learn more about the research process. Dr. Adam Brewer runs this research lab and provided us with the opportunity to present the research at CTABA.”

In addition to the opportunity to highlight the research, Molteni was nominated for and received the Rachel D’Avino Outstanding Student Award during the conference. “Dr. Giannakokos-Ferman, Dr. Brewer, and my clinical supervisor, Hannah Aliberti, nominated me for the award,” Molteni said. “I was honored to be a recipient of the Rachel D’Avino Outstanding Student Award, which is given every year at CTABA to honor Rachel, who was accruing her supervision hours to become a BCBA, and unfortunately, lost her life in the Sandy Hook tragedy. She truly is a hero, and I am so honored to have received this award!”

Moleteni said being nominated for the award is indicative of the environment in WCSU’s ABA program. “I have received an immense amount of support throughout my time in this program,” she said. “The application activities and assigned research articles helped to expand my knowledge on each topic outlined in the task list. Dr. Giannakakos-Ferman and Dr. Brewer have been my biggest supporters throughout the program and they have provided me with amazing opportunities, including the research lab, to flourish in this field. Without them, along with my other supporters in the ABA program, including Dr. Stephanie Kuhn, I would not be where I am today.”

Molteni looks forward to what the future will bring after her May graduation. “Once I obtain my BCBA certification, I would like to explore the different contexts in which behavior analysts work,” she said. “I have experience in the clinic, but I would like to try working at a school or home-based setting. I would like to obtain a job where I could move up into a leadership position because I love to help others and collaborate on client goals and programming. I am particularly interested in feeding disorders and food selectivity, so if I can get proper training in this clinical area, I would like to be more competent in this specific aspect of ABA.”

Since Molteni was referred to WCSU’s ABA program by her coworkers, she was asked what she would tell future coworkers about her experience. “This program is a great fit for anyone who wants more research experience and connections in the ABA field,” she said. “Since there are a handful of professors, they really get to know each of their students, and they want their students to succeed. I also thought the content was very impactful on the clinical side of the field, and I was able to apply a lot of this material when discussing potential interventions with my supervisor. Because the program is asynchronous, I was able to manage my time very well, while working full-time and doing extra fieldwork hours at home, which enabled me to find a stable work-life balance.”



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.