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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!