Other Concentrations

Applied Developmental Psychology Concentration

Shannon Zish, 2013

Shannon Zish

What work are you doing now?

I founded a therapy center named Unspoken Thoughts with an office in Tysons Corner, Virginia, but we serve students throughout Northern Virginia, Montgomery County, Maryland, and Northwest D.C. We teach students to communicate using augmentative and alternative communication methods, consult with local schools, and supervise home programs.

What do you like about it?

Most of our students are diagnosed with autism and struggle with motor control, impulsivity, and maladaptive behaviors. Despite these hurdles, we teach them to communicate and to gain more control over their body. We host small groups to allow students previously isolated an opportunity to interact with peers and build valuable friendships. I also train and supervise an amazing team of therapists and interns to work with students and develop their own skills.

How did your degree in the college prepare you to do this work?

My courses at Mason introduced me to areas of research I was previously unaware of and that I now reference to build educational and behavioral plans for students. The practice of literature reviews and summarizing articles now helps me to articulate research findings to families, educators, and interns.

What advice would you give current students about developing their careers?

My best advice is to gain experience in your anticipated career before you graduate. Intern at multiple placements and accept every opportunity to learn more about what you enjoy and what you want to avoid in a career. Then, make sure your courses and experiences align you for the job and career that you will enjoy and flourish in. The best internships provide not only the experiences that lead to a future career, but also the experiences where you learn what you never want to endure again.


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