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Ramapo Success Story

“During my first semester at Ramapo, I started working my first ‘real job’ in a program for adults with special needs. At that time, my mom was undergoing chemotherapy so needless to say, I was having a rough time handling all the major changes occurring in my life. One particularly stressful week, I couldn’t concentrate on a paper that was due for class. A week after handing it in, my professor spoke to me after class and said she was concerned, asking if there was anything on my mind. I remember feeling so comfortable and cared for, and I vented for quite some time to this caring professor. Flash forward six years later: that professor, Dr. Julie Norflus-Good, is the advisor to the Master of Arts in Special Education program that I currently am enrolled in.

In those six years, I graduated Magna Cum Laude from the Psychology/Education program. Ramapo gave me many fulfilling experiences to help decide what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up’. I had the opportunity to work in different schools, with many kinds of students, take classes related and completely unrelated to my major that helped me form interests and hobbies I still pursue today, with professors and peers that supported me unconditionally. Before my first teaching interview, I spent an hour on the phone with Dr. Good practicing questions and answers… and I ultimately got the job! I currently have my dream position of teaching K-2 resource room in an amazing district where I help create and run ABA-based social skills and recreational programs for kids on the spectrum. I plan on getting my degree in Behavior Analysis after my MASE.” – Shannon Knapp ’14, ’17 graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology under the Elementary Education program and completed her Master of Arts in Special Education at Ramapo. As an undergraduate, Shannon made the Dean’s List all semesters 2010-2016, was a Presidential Scholarship recipient, and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Shannon worked full time during her undergraduate and now graduate years and will start as a K-2 resource room teacher in Emerson, N.J., in September, doing ABA home therapy, and helping to run and create ABA-based recreational and social skills programs.