Anchorage, Alaska Skyline
Progress Blog:
This area contains real-time happenings pertaining to my academic and professional growth. I invite you to follow my progress. This is where I regularly post updates on milestones or developments in my career or thoughts that I have in the area of disability. Furthermore, for users with GMail accounts I have enabled commenting in this area. I encourage you to assist in the collective construction of my learning and experiential process. This can be achieved by leaving comments and engaging me in dialog. I understand the importance of collaboration and duly note the significance of community, especially when seeking to create something greater than yourself.

UAA Top 50 Alumni

posted Dec 31, 2016, 11:59 AM by Ezra Lockhart


It is again with great honor that I am acknowledged by my alma mater, the University of Alaska Anchorage. UAA showcased 50 alumni who are making waves all over the state and beyond in their most recent publication of Alumni Spirit. I am proud to be the second alumnus on the list. 

I am constantly amazed at where life has taken me. In 2000, I moved to Barrow to progress in my IT career and successfully reached the level of network and systems engineer. A car accident that left my mother blind changed everything. That change led to:
  • a desire to support those in need;
  • humility;
  • compassion for others, their situation, and their lived experience no matter how differences they are from me;
  • an understanding of the diverse forms of hardship;
  • an appreciation for the resiliency, perspective, and identity that hardship brings;
  • 13 years of service to individuals with physical, cognitive, and/or behavioral difficulties; 
  • a feeling of belonging to a local community and the greater world community; and
  • university degrees from Alaska and Australia.
I am forever grateful for the experiences I have had, both challenging and welcomed.

CYS & PhD Psychology

posted Sep 15, 2016, 4:58 PM by Ezra Lockhart   [ updated Sep 15, 2016, 4:58 PM ]

Well, there certainly has been some big changes in the last few months. I meant to update my ePortfolio sooner; however, life has been filled with new and exciting adventures. In July, I moved to the top of the world! The northernmost town in the North America, Barrow, Alaska. 

New Role
I accepted the position of Residential Manager at the North Slope Borough, Department of Health and Social Services, Intergrated Behavioral Health, Children and Youth Services. CYS for short. 

CYS is a coed level II, 14-bed emergency shelter, providing Behavioral Rehabilitative Services and Crisis Stabilization to children and youth ages 0-18 years. Our residents are from diverse ethnic and cultural backgrounds and are referred by Office of Children Services, Department of Juvenile Justice, Native Village of Barrow, local agencies and/or families in need of support or respite during crises. We also provide services to children and youth transitioning to or from treatment, foster care, or home. We provide services for local residents as well as residents from communities throughout Alaska. 

CYS employs a full time Clinician who, in addition to compiling comprehensive psychosocial assessments, provides individual, group and family therapy, and facilitates treatment team meetings. CYS staff works with local agencies, schools, clinics and the hospital to provide wide-ranging services as indicated by the individual needs of our residents. CYS is a therapeutic, nurturing environment accessible as a safe refuge and a bridge to personal and community resources. 

CYS promotes and supports the well-being of children and families through a program that is compassionate, culturally sensitive and incorporates modern theories of child and youth care. CYS and its diverse staff strive to achieve a standard of care that engenders optimum public trust and satisfaction. Here are pictures of the facility with a link to our website, which is maintained by the North Slope Borough, the local government.

CYS Website

Introduction: Health Department Newsletter
As this is my returned to Barrow, I was here back in 2000 and stayed for 5 years, I was welcomed back with an open arms and high praise. The Health Department newsletter featured both new Managers at CYS, Program Manager Elizabeth Madsen and me.


Where am I?
To get an idea of how remote and cold it is here take a look at this recent CNN report.

http://www.cnn.com/videos/travel/2016/06/01/alaska-the-last-frontier-kamau-bell-united-shades-of-america-orig.cnn

PhD Psychology Specialization: Addiction
I also have been busy in my graduate program. I was accepted and started courses at Northcentral University. I am working on my PhD in Psychology with a specialization in addictions. I will obtain a second masters on my way as I take courses to bridge into the PhD requirements. I have four foundation classes at the masters level to complete then I will start in on my doctoral level courses. I just completed my first course with a 97% and am half way through on my second. Wish me luck!


IBCCES: Featured Certified Autism Specialist

posted Jun 1, 2016, 1:23 PM by Ezra Lockhart

I am a Certified Autism Specialist which I received from an international credentialing body. I have been certified by the IBCCES continuously since 2014. Their credentialing process requires international board review and approval among other requirements.

A couple of months ago I was recognized as the first Alaska resident to voluntarily seek and obtain board certification. Further, I was interviewed and featured as CAS of the month (May 2016). I am honored by this recognition. I would like to thank my employer Catholic Social Services who will announce this accomplishment in their next local publication. Additionally, I would like to thank the families and clients I serve in the autism community.



Below is a copy of my interview with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards.

1) How has earning the Certified Autism Specialist been meaningful and satisfying?

I am proud to be the first practitioner in Alaska to earn the Certified Autism Specialist credential.  Earning this internationally recognized credential provides those that I serve reassurances regarding my expertise in the field of autism support. I consider myself a global citizen and have studied in both the United States of America and Australia. Locating and obtaining board certification at the international level was important to me. Towards that aim, I found IBCCES and their autism credentialing track. For these reasons I find my CAS credential meaningful and satisfying.

2) How has the CAS credential affected your professional growth?

I initially earned the Autism Certificate credential while working towards completing a master’s degree at the University of Sydney in Australia. After completing and publishing a dissertation on the topic of computer-based social and emotional skills training for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), I upgraded to the Certified Autism Specialist credential. Since earning my Certified Autism Specialist I have been accepted into a doctoral program to continue my research focusing on the ASD population.

3) How has your CAS credential been a benefit to your district/ organization/ or employer?

Catholic Social Services, Family Disability Services is able with confidence to connect me with their client population to address specific acute and chronic issues. Mentioning that the agency has a CAS onboard helps to encourage parents and guardians that those in their care will be supported to the utmost professional standard by a highly qualified practitioner.

4) How do you like to be recognized, acknowledged and rewarded for a job well done?

Receiving accolades of any kind is something I personally and professional appreciate. For my contribution to the autism community I received the Man of Excellence Award in 2013 from AHAINA Multicultural Center and the Seawolf Student Leader Award from the University of Alaska Anchorage, Student Life & Leadership. In 2015 I was presented an original painting from the Michael Tolleson Savant Art Center in Kent, Washington. The painting “Epiphany” was created by Michael Tolleson, an autistic savant. Creating a positive lasting impact to no matter the size to this community is my passion and career goal.

5) What is your greatest challenge or roadblock?

The greatest challenge I have seen in my 12 years delivering direct support is the ever constant changes in federal and state regulations governing Medicaid. I have witnessed how this drastically impacts from year-to-year access to and continuation of services for individuals who desperately need support. Working for a Medicaid provider agency I have seen across the board client support hour reductions that frankly break my heart as I understand how this will impact the quality of life and skill development for the clients I serve.

6) What makes you feel like a valuable contributor?

When working with clients one-on-one the constant feedback I get from their actions, achievements, and accomplishments makes me acutely aware of how valuable my contribution is to their overall success. Even when clients are struggling to achieve their goals the fact that they continue to try signifies for me the value of my practice.

7) What do you enjoy most about your job?

I enjoy seeing change in the clients I serve regardless of how incremental that change may be. My reward is in their success. It is rewarding to know that I have the opportunity to impact clients in such a way that will have for them lifelong positive effects.

UAA Alumni Class Notes

posted Apr 15, 2016, 1:39 AM by Ezra Lockhart   [ updated Jul 15, 2016, 8:40 PM ]

Earlier this week, the latest issue (Spring 2016, Issue 5) of University of Alaska Anchorage's Alumni Spirit was released. I was mentioned in the Class Notes (pg. 26) section. This is the part of the UAA Alumni Association's quarterly publication where notable alumni are featured. You can read the entire issue online by clicking on the cover image to the right.

Here is what was published:


A March in March

posted Mar 16, 2016, 12:26 PM by Ezra Lockhart   [ updated Mar 18, 2016, 11:09 PM ]

On the way to pick up my Master testamur in Australia we stopped off in Fiji. We planned a two night mini-vacation in Nadi before heading to New South Wales for The University of Sydney commencement ceremony.

Commencement 
It was quite the experience to be received at the University of Sydney. Usually students rent their gowns and hood. I had mine tailored a few months prior and brought it with me. Moments before the ceremony we found a fitter at the university to help affix the hood. I must admit I failed at all attempts to properly wear the formal article. I was assigned to sit in the front row. There were 5 from my cohort graduating and we were the highest degrees awarded for the Faculty of Health Sciences this year. Two graduands accepted their award in absentia. I ended up walking up to meet the Chancellor second. The Dean in her closing address mentioned me as the further awardee. Finally, I lead the academic procession for the entire graduating class which included undergraduates. This was quite the honor.
Cyclone Winston
Only days prior a cyclone raged through Fiji leaving behind devastation. Many locals lost their homes and were left without clean water to drink. Everyone was informed to boil tap water before drinking if any was accessible. I saw many large industrial plastic water tanks set up throughout Nadi to support civilians and local merchants. Out of respect for those who call Fiji home I did not take any pictures of the devastation. The Fijian government at the point of our arrival had yet to receive aid from their international allies. It was not until the end of our trip to Australia did they send over $15 million in cash aid and various other supplies. During our stay, I was more than happy to support the Fijian economy through selectively choosing Fiji Airlines, locally owned hotel, and local small businesses. We shopped at the local grocers and ate fresh produce. Tourism is a large part of the Fijian economy and mindful choices like these help.

Skydiving in Fiji
This was my first time in Fiji. Shortly after landing and shedding our luggage my wife and I went back into the sky on a small Cessna. We reached an altitude of 10,000 feet and completed a tandem skydive. The first for either of us.

Cessna, my wife and I

Preparing to jump 10,000ft Certificate

What is a Sunburn?
Another first for me: My first ever sunburn. In our excitement we made the mistake of swimming in the ocean for 3 hours straight smack dab in the middle of high noon. My poor wife who is very fair skinned suffered more than I. I was in disbelief. I am Aboriginal Hawaiian and grew up on the island of O'ahu. Never in my life have I had a sunburn. Now I understand what it feels like. I apologize to my brother for teasing him when we were younger. I get it now. I wonder if this is a result of the 24 years I spent in Alaska that has left me pale? Up here, although we get more sunlight throughout the year it is not the full spectrum found elsewhere. We did not let our condition ruin our trip, but we did have to stay indoors to recover.

Sightseeing in AU
While in Australia we took advantage of the trip to do some sightseeing. We stayed in Glebe and walked to many of the surround parks like Victoria Park. We spent most of our time in Darling Harbor. We toured Cockle Bay via a ferry and saw Circular Quay, The Rocks, Manly, Goat and Shark Island to name a few. We visited the Sydney Opera House, the zoo, aquarium, Madame Tussauds - Sydney, and local eateries. We took a day tour to the Blue Mountains and saw Wentworth and Katoomba Falls, the Three Sisters, the small town of Leura, Olympic Park, and a couple of aboriginal sites.

APIASF 100 Reviews
While overseas I still made it a point to continue my volunteer work. I marked nearly 100 essay applications for the Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund. I have been doing this for a few years now and the number of applicants keep growing steadily. I was a little disappointed in the quality of the applicant sample I drew this cycle. Many of the essays were well below the 500-word mark and had a text or tweet type feel it them instead of essays. I hope this was just an issue with the subset of the applicants I reviewed. The APIASF continues to feature me on their website. I am grateful and will continue to support their efforts in providing opportunities for Asian and Pacific Islander Americans to attend university. It is my personal thinking that higher education is an integral component to creating leaders of change. Critical thinking, broadened perspectives, and free exchange of ideas without anger and hate are hallmarks of higher educational institutions. Change leaders who learn and use these hallmarks have the tools necessary to create positive change in their communities. I wish those who applied success and hope our next change leaders are born from this.

Landmark: 1st Book & 5-year Anniversary

posted Feb 14, 2016, 3:01 PM by Ezra Lockhart

I am happy to announce my first book is available on Amazon. It is my hope that those who commit to Living Kindness affect positive change in themselves and those around them. Strong communities are shaped by the focused, intentional acts of kindness by its members.

First Book
Living Kindness: Your Footsteps Towards Being a Kinder Human is a way for you to consider how you can embark on a path of kindness. It is a keepsake where you have the chance to chart your focused, intentional acts of daily kindness. In this 30-day edition readers record in as few as a single sentence how they brought kindness into the world. An inspirational quote proceeds each day with the hope that readers are opened up to the importance of kindness and the many different forms that kindness takes.

After your 30 days of living kindness you are invited to share this keepsake with those who hold meaning in your life. Go to your mother or father, sister or brother, girlfriend or boyfriend, wife or husband and share with them the goodness in you.  You can present this to them as a symbol of your efforts towards being a better human.

Five Years at Family Disability Services
February 2016 marks another year of service to individuals and families who experience developmental disabilities. I am grateful to be in a position to assist others in achieving their life goals and improving their ability to accomplish activities of daily living.

This year what stood out to me the most is the lack of specific services geared towards assisting young adults with developmental disability transition to adulthood. The current paradigm focuses on early detection and intervention. The value of such provisions are not debatable given the immense research available on the benefits of early childhood intervention. However, as young men and women transition out of the educational system and into their family- and individually-defined adulthood the available supports systems thin out leading families grasping at straws. This is not to say that systems are not at all in place, but the options are limited and wait-lists long. There is definitely a need for increased options for this community here in Alaska.

Updates & Upgrades

posted Feb 4, 2016, 1:25 PM by Ezra Lockhart

Update: Fiji & Australia Travel

Tickets are in hand and in a month I will be working on my tan in Fiji before heading to Australia for the official commencement ceremony for my master's degree. I have not been to Fiji before and am looking forward to a mini-vacation prior to walking with my class. I would like to take a short hop over to New Zealand, but I am not sure if there is enough time. I will definitely be taking a bunch of pictures to post.


Press Interview
I was notified that I will be interviewed by the University of Sydney upon arrival. I was excited when I received a press packet and questionnaire. As I understand it the interview will be used to promote the Master of Health Sciences (Developmental Disability) degree program to prospective international students. There is a high probability it will appear on the USYD website, student handbook, and on program flyers. This is definitely an accomplishment to be proud of.

Upgrade: CDC I & CAS
I am happy to say that I have successfully upgraded both my Chemical Dependency Counselor Technician (CT) and Autism Certificate (AC) certifications. I am officially an Alaska board certified Chemical Dependency Counselor (CDC I) and an international Certified Autism Specialist (CAS). I have over 3,000 hours working with clients who experience substance abuse issues. I started working with individuals on the autism spectrum since 2011. I would estimate I have over 8,000 direct care contact hours in addition to over 1,500 continuing education hours. I strive to maintain the highest level of care in the support of individuals from these populations.

Ringing in the New Year

posted Nov 28, 2015, 12:25 PM by Ezra Lockhart

I am surprised at how quickly this year went by. For me, 2015 had many major ups and downs. However, in the face of it all, I was able to accomplish many things to be proud of.

2015 Highlights
The most significant accomplishment of this year was the completion of my master's program and dissertation at the University of Sydney. I finished my dissertation in record time after a 7-week delay due to a disabling family medical condition. I received a distinction mark on my dissertation, which places me within the top 4% to 12% of dissertations submitted to the Faculty of Health Sciences this semester. What an accomplishment!

I traveled to Kent, Washington back in June to meet Michael Tolleson of the Michael Tolleson Savant Art Center. Michael presented his painting 'Epiphany' to me for my contribution to the Autistic community (in Alaska). We spent most of the day together including a tour of his art center. The work he is doing with youth on the spectrum and his increasing international notoriety are awe inspiring.

In July, I was named Nick Begich Scholar and recognized for my service and scholarship in supporting the Autistic and Native Alaskan community. I obtained the first step towards becoming a Chemical Dependency Counselor. I become board certified in Alaska as a Chemical Dependency Counselor Technician. I barely missed the mark on hour requirements for the next level.

I was promoted to the leadership team at The Pathway Home as Clinical Associate Supervisor-Residential. In this capacity, I manage one of two 10-bed female only therapeutic group homes and support a 35-bed male only residential treatment center. All locations serve indigenous youth who experience behavioral and substance abuse issues.

Lastly, I obtained an instructor's certificate to teach Therapeutic Options, a crisis intervention, aggression prevention, and violence restraint curriculum. I received my training from the founder and Director, Michael Partie. Therapeutic Options is a positive behavior supportive and trauma-informed practice with multi-tiered preventive strategies designed to assist individuals who are in crisis or who may aggress. I have ran several workshops and certified over a dozen trainees.

2016 Plans
I have many things to look forward to in the upcoming year. In February, I will make 5 years at Catholic Social Services, Family Disability Services. I look forward to upgrading my certification to Chemical Dependency Counselor I (CDC I) and Certified Autism Specialist. I already submitted my CDC I application and there is a possibility this will occur before the new year.

I am in the process of adapting my dissertation for submission to the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disability and Sage Publication's 'Autism'. This requires reformatting, paring down to a 6,000-word limit, and a peer-review process. I am looking forward publishing my research and am trying my best to manage my time to achieve this goal.

In March, I will travel to Australia to participate in commencement. Earlier today I ordered my regalia, which is being custom tailored. Time permitting I plan to stop off in Fiji, New Zealand, and Tasmania. I thoroughly enjoyed my time studying at the University of Sydney and look forward to further academic pursuits.

Speaking of further academic pursuits, I am gathering material to apply to doctoral studies. There is a time crunch with assembling the admissions packets, since the US and AU academic calendars are different. The particular Ph.D. program I am considering has a quickly approaching deadline. I am approximately 70% into the process. I will not know until late April if I am accepted. However, I am hopeful.

Wish me luck in 2016!

Dissertation: Final Touches

posted Oct 22, 2015, 11:55 AM by Ezra Lockhart

There are only 4 weeks until I submit my dissertation for assessment. I am 10,300 word in on an 11,000 word max manuscript. Last year the hard limit was 12,000 words; I had prepared for that mark. However, as I approached 9,000 words I found out the new range was 10,000-11,000. I only just finished presenting data abstraction. I ended up moving large sections of data into appendices and continued writing. With less than 700 words to go for my discussion, the process in coming to an end. I have approximately 45 pages of content and 60+ if you include the appendices, which are actual data and not your typical survey or permission forms.

I spoke with a few degree holders and they commonly respond, "I bet you are relieved it's over" or they recount how dreadful and tiresome their experience was. I cannot say I have had a similar experience. I was dealing with a disabling family crisis that led to me starting my dissertation 7 weeks late. However, when I actually began planning and putting pen to paper I saw amazing progress. At first, I set aside 5 hours each morning to work only on my research. I then would finish out anywhere from a 9 to 13 hour work day. Although, overall I was physically exhausted when I came home, waking up the next morning to conduct research was replenishing and fulfilling. I felt pride and a sense of accomplishment. Who could ask for anything more?


Over the next 4 weeks, I will be putting the finishing touches on the implications to stakeholders section. Then I will work with my dissertation advisor, Patricia Howlin, on any revisions. I gave myself plenty of time. Overall, I am amazed at how quickly I completed this in light of all the hours I put in at work, family hardships encountered, and personal medical issues this year. I definitely feel capable dealing with whatever happens in life and coming out successful. Oh what a wonderful feeling.

After the assessment I will be looking to apply to doctoral studies. I have a few programs in mind. However, updates on that topic are for a different post.

On another note, I completed all my Chemical Dependency hours and submitted my application to upgrade to a Chemical Dependency Counselor I. I am not sure how long it will take the board to review my application, but I am looking forward to hearing back from them. Hopefully, before the end of the year I will have a CDC I.

My Journey Filled with Inspiration

posted Jul 18, 2015, 1:40 PM by Ezra Lockhart

As I reflect on what were my influences and the inspiring acts which contribute to my desire to aid individuals who experience disability I find that there are many. I did not until just now put majority of the pieces together. I also acknowledge that my journey is still in progress and await further inspirations. In me there is an overwhelming sense that society is missing out. The potential for contributions and enhancements to everyone's quality of life is real when we consider people who have been historically stigmatized and marginalized, what they can offer to all of society, and how to eliminate stigma and the omission of people who are thought of as different.

My Brother's Struggle (ADHD & LD)
When I was in grade school my mother was a special education substitute teacher who worked throughout Honolulu School District in Hawaii. My brother struggled with ADHD and a math learning disability. Our mother made it clear that medication was not right for her son and worked endlessly using behavioral interventions to aid my brother as a paraprofessional and concerned parent. He graduated high school without once being medicated thanks to her support.

My Foster Cousins
Growing up our home was opened to foster children. What I find most interesting is I never fully recognized or qualified this. I thought it was a cultural practice. We had many children coming in and out of our home which we considered cousins. These experiences solidified in me a overarching value and sense of community. Then when we moved to Alaska baby Nicole, a newborn affected by prenatal exposure to crack cocaine, was placed with us it clicked for me. We only had one more foster brother, Toby, after that while in Alaska. He unfortunately died shortly after reunification with his mother. 

My Mother's Struggle (Diabetes & Blindness)
Later in life, nearly 10 years ago, my mother became blind. She acquired gestational type-2 diabetes while carrying me and was insulin dependent from that point on. She developed diabetic neuropathy after I became an adult. She was involved in a car accident which partial detached her retinas. In combination with her diabetes her condition worsened leaving her fully blind from diabetic retinopathy. I was 24 years old and lived over 700 miles away when I received the call from the hospital. She was recently divorced, had no local natural supports, and I was the closest relative. I moved back to take care of her full-time. Working with her day and night without disability benefits drained my savings and ultimately led me to leave the IT industry.

Life of Service
As a result, I entered into a life of service. Initially I sought to education myself about disability support services for I could better aid my mother. I had to learn to navigate local health and social services in order to get us the help she was supposedly warranted. It took nearly two years and most of my savings to get her connected to services. Afterwards, I could not imagine my life without helping others. In this I found a career.

Fulfillment from Selflessness
I feel a sense of fulfillment when I recall the many individuals who experience a wide range of disabilities who I have assisted over more than a decade. 
At the height of my direct care practice, I worked as much as 125-hours weeks in non live-in positions managing multiple clients with disabilities. I would wake up and get ready a household of three wheelchair-bound adolescences taking care of all their personal hygiene and feeding. I would prepare them for their school day then head off to the next client. I would deliver in-home support for youth on the autistic spectrum which usually constituted ABA tutoring. Later in the day, I would meet a high school student at his school and ride with him back to his house and assist him with activities of daily living and prepare him to engage the community. I would plan outings and support him in the community based on socialization treatment goals. Lastly, I would support an elderly lady with advanced multiple sclerosis in the evening and overnight, usually on standby for acute cardiac events. Then I would wake up and start the routine over again

The selflessness and unconditional positive regard that I committed to for years is something that will always be with me. I am forever shaped by these experiences. However, sustaining that type of pace is unreasonable so I considered the aphorism "work smarter not harder". That is what led me to higher education and studying this field. The advantage this approach affords me is the opportunity to positively affect more individuals than I can with only my two hands and for this I am most grateful.

Life's Treasures
The most rewarding experience outside of taking care of my mother was my support of a team with Asperger's syndrome. I found he had much more opportunities available to him than others had afforded him. I aided him for many years as he graduated high school and entered college. We encountered resistance from social services, but with perseverance and strong advocacy he was able to accomplish his goals.

What treasures life has in store for us. I am grateful, honored and proud to do what I do. I also sincerely thank those who have similar experiences and chose to help the vulnerable, the stigmatized, the marginalized, and the excluded.

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