Julyse Migan-Gandonou Horr
Director of Applied Behavior Analysis Program and Assistant Professor of ABAJanuary 23, 2024 - Felley Lawson
With a toddler and a newborn, Dr. Julyse Horr and her husband, Corey, are in that early phase of parenthood when sleep is a rare treat and your most valuable currency can be Cheerios and Goldfish crackers.
In the midst of being mom at home to Calliope-Reine, 2 1/2, and Penelope-Jeanne, 5 weeks old, Horr has embraced a role in her professional life that’s required her to nurture new graduate programs through their infancy at Ouachita.
Horr (rhymes with “saw”) is the director of Ouachita’s low-residency master’s degree programs in applied behavior analysis, the science of behavior and learning. ABA-based therapy is recommended as an effective evidence-based treatment of choice for autism spectrum disorders. But nationwide, there’s a critical shortage of ABA practitioners, known as Board Certified Behavior Analysts®.
Ouachita’s graduate program in ABA – the first in Arkansas – began in May 2020 to help address this shortage. A Master of Science degree program came first; Horr, a Doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst® and Licensed Behavior Analyst, joined the faculty as a visiting professor that fall in time to work with the inaugural cohort. In January 2022, Horr became ABA program director.
The ABA program is housed in Ouachita’s Patterson School of Natural Sciences, where Dr. Tim Knight ’84 serves as dean.
“I don’t know anyone more passionate about their vocation than Julyse Horr,” said Knight. “She is a fantastic teacher and even better colleague. Our ABA program is successful because of her leadership.” The flexibility of the program’s online format allows Horr to teach from her home in the suburban
Tampa Bay, Fla., area, where her family attends Palm City Church and where Horr maintains a consulting agency.
In addition to teaching Ouachita’s first three ABA cohorts, Horr has overseen the development of a Master of Arts degree in ABA, launched in August 2023 with a group of six that includes professionals working in areas outside of autism and developmental disabilities. Under her leadership, the M.A. and M.S. pathways now offer new curriculum, research opportunities and comprehensive test prep for the notoriously challenging BCBA® exam.
For both the M.S. and M.A. pathways, Horr is committed to “training the next generation of compassionate, quality-driven scientist-practitioners.”
“ABA is a science, and this program is preparing our students to be scientists,” Horr said, “but I also want them to be understanding of clients and families and to be patient with them.
“As behavior analysts, sometimes we can get arrogant because we are the experts on behavior as a subject matter,” she added. “So my motto as a clinician – and what I used to tell families of clients I worked with – is, ‘I know behavior, but you know your child. Let’s work together and help me help you.’”
More than 40 Ouachita ABA graduates serving families as BCBA®s and 22 current students learning in the field already are making a difference in the lives of many.
“I am incredibly proud of our ABA graduates for their hard work, dedication and perseverance,” she said. “They’ll make Ouachita proud by using the science of behavior with commitment, integrity, humility, compassion and a love of Christ to serve and be a blessing to many individuals and families.”
By Felley (Nall) Lawson '88, communications & marketing manager
You Also Might Like