Know Your Professor: Gretchen Dittrich
We are pleased to welcome Gretchen Dittrich to our Behavior Analysis faculty this year. She comes to us with degrees from the University of Nevada, Northeastern, and her Ph.D. from Simmons - and brings her research interests in behavioral medicine, functional analysis of complex behaviors, social skill training, the application of behavior analytic methodologies to higher education, and verbal behavior. Dr. Dittrich currently teaches several courses in the master's and doctoral programs. We wanted to know a bit about her life outside the classroom, so we asked:
- What drew you to Simmons?
- The doctoral program in behavior analysis offered the opportunity to work with some of the leading researchers in the field, and offered a comprehensive and rigorous course load.
- What do you like most about living and teaching in Boston?
- I love the rich history in Boston and New England. There are so many interesting historical landmarks and places to visit -- and it's amazing to see places that have been described in history books first-hand.
- Boston is a large city, but it also is a great community, and people pull together to help each other in times of need, but also to cheer for the home teams. There is a great deal of camaraderie that can be seen whenever a game is on, and this is something you don't see at the same level in many other cities and states. It makes you feel welcome.
- Fill in the blank: What I love most about Simmons is ___________?
- That it's a smaller college. This allows students to have better access to their professors and to really get to know their classmates and other people within the College. This is an opportunity that most students do not have in larger universities.
- Do you have a hidden talent?
- I am a competitive pool player, and play on several pool teams through the APA and UPA billiards organizations. I regularly compete in regional and national pool tournaments, as well as tournaments to raise money for various charities within New England. I have won several state championship tournaments, with a partner and on a team, and placed 9th in the nation in 2009 during a male/female doubles tournament for the APA billiards organization.
- What do you enjoy most about working with Simmons Behavior Analysis students?
- I enjoy watching students' progress through the program. Students begin with a lot of questions, and as they work through the courses, they become more confident, ask challenging questions, start focusing on research, and become well-rounded behavior analysts. Their progress is very rewarding.
- In addition, we have very talented faculty in the department, who specialize in many different areas in the field. This is beneficial for the students, as it provides them opportunities to learn about the myriad applications of behavior analysis directly from specialists in the field.
- What advice would you give students considering a career in Behavior Analysis?
- Be an active member of the field. Get involved in research. Take what you are learning in class and apply it to your own life. Get as much experience as possible, and try to collaborate with experts in the field. Attend conferences to broaden your skill set. But most importantly, stay current with the literature, and disseminate information whenever possible.