She’s Done It All: Meet Samantha Zaldivar
Samantha Zaldivar is currently the Clinical Director at VIA Roanoke. Samantha has been with the organization for over 14 years, starting as an in-home therapist for BRAAC back in 2004 while she was getting her graduate degree in counseling to be a guidance counselor.
She took a break from BRAAC to work as a guidance counselor at Roanoke City Public School, but realized that she missed the organization as well as the field of behavior analysis. When Angie called to ask if she wanted to come back, it was a resounding YES! Samantha returned as a program director in 2008, and she says that BRAAC changed the course of her life. She still remembers the first client she worked with, a 2-year-old little boy with autism receiving early childhood intervention who is now a sophomore in college living in Wisconsin.
Early in her career, Sam set out to become a guidance counselor, but her introduction to behavior analysis at BRAAC inspired her. She loves the ability to build relationships while working hands-on with students and clients while also fulfilling her interest in research and analysis.
Since coming to BRAAC, she has done it all! Sam started out in-home, left to work as a guidance counselor, and then returned to lead as a program director traveling to consult in different school districts, and finally leading as clinical director at the center.
When asked what the most rewarding part of her job has been, she said it has evolved over the years. At first, it was working with the families and students. Now, after 14 years, Sam says that she has been here long enough to see the full evolution of students and families go from crisis to stability. As a clinical director, she loves supervising up-and-coming BCBAs and working with the new generation of behavior analysts in the organization. She is thrilled to be able to share expertise and experience of application with them in the field while helping them hone their skills and knowledge to become confident analysts in the field.
Samantha is excited to share that the merger between St. Vincent’s Home/BRAAC and VIA has brought forth a bunch of new projects. She is collaborating with Einar Ingvarsson and Julie Patterson in Charlottesville and working with them to grow supervision and new hire training systems over the next few months, to the benefit of the entire organization.