Autumn Kaufman '03
Job Title: Director of Partnerships
Hometown: Sugarcreek, Ohio
Employer: Commonwealth Autism
I work for a non-profit organization that forms collaborative partnerships with schools and community service providers across Virginia. I work with our partners to assess their needs and formulate a strategic plan to implement evidence-based practices for individuals with disabilities.
M.S. Behavioral Analysis and Therapy, Southern Illinois University-Carbondale
My Favorite Thing
I like that I have the flexibility of working with many partners with different needs – each day is unique and I love the variety! I am passionate about my organization’s mission and feel fulfilled that my work changing large scale systems will impact the lives of many people.
It’s All About Who You Know
Each professor I worked with was instrumental in shaping my career path. Dr. Steve Kramer provided an extra credit opportunity with a local family and the Cleveland Clinic, which shaped the profession I chose. Dr. Jeri Thompson introduced me to child psychology, and Dr. Tamara Daily ignited my passion for research as she guided my SCE group. Dr. Tim Smith was the catalyst behind my decision to attend graduate school and was a huge source of support throughout my time at Mount Union and to this day. Professor Keith McMahon was my academic advisor and encouraged a holistic approach to my double major. Professor Tim Hallaran encouraged a core group of us to form a solid community that supported one another. Professor Joel Collins encouraged me to explore new ideas and themes within my artwork and life by following my instincts and pushing my own boundaries and was always a source of support. Professor Jim Hopper laid a systematic and disciplined design framework for me to grow as an artist.
I worked for two semesters as a tutor for America Reads. Through Dr. Kramer, I was able to work as an in-home applied behavior analysis therapist as part of the outreach services provided by the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. I also worked a few semesters as an assistant to the faculty in the Department of Art, thanks to Professor Collins.
Following graduation in May of 2003, I began my M.S. at SIUC. I worked as a graduate assistant at Project 12-Ways. In this position, I worked with families who were involved with the child welfare system to preserve or reunify the family. We provided parent training and coaching within the families’ homes during the times of day that abuse or neglect were most likely to occur. This turned into a two-year pilot project for the Canadian government’s Ministry of Children’s Aide.
Liberal Arts Education
My admission to graduate school and appointment at Project 12-Ways was strongly tied to the fact that I received a liberal arts education. To the admission committee, it demonstrated that I was a well-rounded individual with experiences across multiple domains. I feel strongly that the people I met and experiences I had at Mount Union allowed me to be open to the ideas of others and receptive of thoughts different than mine.
While attending Mount Union, I was often working two or three jobs. To be able to also pull off a double major while doing this required intensive dedication, focus, and pressure to meet deadlines. I developed a very strong work ethic that has carried over to this day. The experiences and relationships that were a part of the Group Dynamics course and the Personal Growth and Adjustment course taught me valuable lessons that I often reflect upon. The honesty and openness of the weekly critiques as an art major prepared me to give and receive honest feedback.
Return on Investment
The experiences I had and the lasting network of colleagues and friends that I gained are priceless!
I feel strongly that the people I met and experiences I had at Mount Union allowed me to be open to the ideas of others and receptive of thoughts different than mine.