Education - Page 1 - Accelerated master’s programs

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Accelerated master’s programs
Programs provide fast-track to career advancement

By Linda L. Esterson, Contributing Writer

Hope Ellis is a board-certified behavior analyst at Verbal Beginnings, a center providing Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with disabilities in Columbia.

Ellis, originally from Sykesville, earned her undergraduate degree in human services management from Stevenson University, and during her junior year applied to be part of an accelerated program in partnership with McDaniel College. The program enabled her to enroll in graduate courses during her senior year and complete requirements for a master’s degree in human services management in just one additional year.

As part of the accelerated program, Ellis resided at a community living home run by Target Community & Educational Services, which operates such house programs in Carroll and Montgomery counties. As a Target Scholar, Ellis spent her fifth year of study as a community living manager at the Cranberry House in Westminster, providing direct care for clients when she wasn’t at McDaniel. The program paid 75 percent of her graduate school tuition, an annual stipend, and room and board, in exchange for working and living at the house. Community living managers supervise the lives of adults with complicated issues and disabilities, and manage a staff around the clock, according to Tom Zirpoli, president and chief executive officer of Target Community & Educational Services. Zirpoli also serves as education services program coordinator for graduate programs in human services management at McDaniel College.

The resident students gain care experience through on-the-job training as well as their