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Strong Stories: Kelli Middleton

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HometownLudowici, Ga. Degree Class of 2014
B.S. in Psychology

Kelli Middleton

Qualified Autism Services Practitioner, Reaching Milestones

What did you love most about Armstrong and why? 
In the beginning, it was definitely the Liberty Center because it was a firm foundation for my education. The classes offered there gave me the prerequisites that I needed to finish my degree. I was also able to give back to my student body as their math tutor for three years under the direction of Mrs. Dorothy Kempson and Mr. Peter Hoffman. It was then that I fell in love with Armstrong, its people and everything it had to offer. 
As my college career progressed, I moved up to the main campus, and the psychology department became my new home. It enabled me to fall deeper in love with my field of study through the influence of wonderful and experienced faculty and staff.

How did Armstrong help you succeed in your field? 
Through the upper level psychology course entitled Learning and Behavior, better known as rat lab, I gained vast knowledge in the field of behavior analysis. I was able to take text based learning and apply it to real life learning through the lives of the rats. I have built upon that knowledge and now provide applied behavior analysis therapy to children on the autism spectrum.

Who was your favorite professor and why? 
This is the hardest question to answer! At the Liberty Center it would definitely be Dr. Thomas Votau. I took his Abnormal Psychology class as an elective and decided to change my major to psychology after the first day of class. He instilled in me a love for psychology. He made me see my potential within the field. 
Then, within the psychology department, there are so many that I could name, but if I had to choose, it would be Dr. Mirari Elcoro. I took her Learning and Behavior course my graduating semester. She pushed me to become the student I never thought I could be. She instilled fundamental teachings in me that I use every single day at my job, and she is the reason I have my job today. We were catching up one day around three months after I graduated, and she sent me the job opening that Reaching Milestones had. I applied, used her as a reference and got the job. It has been rewarding ever since.

Why did you decide to attend Armstrong? 
My older sister, April Gardner, is actually an Armstrong alum as well. She started out at the Liberty Center and finished at the main campus with her B.S. in radiologic sciences. I spent time with her at both campuses and was able to see her love for the people and educational practices that Armstrong had to offer.

What is your favorite memory of your time at Armstrong? 
My favorite memory would have to be walking through campus in the fall with my core group of friends to get a cup of coffee from Starbucks. Those friends are still in my life today and I owe that to Armstrong.

Did you do any extracurricular activities and/or internships that were particularly memorable? 
I was able to participate in Dr. Nancy McCarley and Dr. Joshua Williams' research team within the psychology department and that was something I loved deeply. We were able to present our research at the national Southeastern Psychological Association conference. Also, through my time at the Liberty Center, I was able to be a student worker and serve as a math tutor. Math has always been something I loved, and being able to help other students succeed always gave me fulfillment.

What is your best advice to current Armstrong students? 
Gleam everything you can from your professors. They have so much knowledge that they can instill in you, but it is your job to study it and apply it. So, study hard, and soak up every moment because before you know it, it will all be ending.

Why are you proud to be an Armstrong alum? 
I am proud to be an Armstrong alum because it provided me with the best education and experiences to prepare myself for my bright and successful future. I will forever be grateful for Armstrong State University and everything it taught me.