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Armando Bernal has taught special education for the past three years. In August, he will begin a resource special education teaching position for fifth graders in Conroe ISD. He plans on becoming a board certified behavior analyst and eventually join a behavioral clinic where he can teach more individuals who are in need of support and independence.

During his first year as a teacher he realized he needed to strengthen his skills and looked into a master’s program that specialized in special education.

I appreciated how Texas A&M’s master’s program was online as well as provided students with an applied behavior analysis certificate.

The master’s program at Texas A&M University provided insights into special education that he had not considered before. Armando had never heard of applied behavior analysis until he researched the degree and certificate he would be receiving. Upon completion of that research, he could not have been more thrilled that this was the university he had chosen.

Everything I learned from this master’s program has readily prepared me for a future in special education as well as prepare me for the board certified behavior analyst exam.

The most valuable lesson that he learned at Texas A&M is that a person’s potential cannot be measured by the obstacles put in front of them. Rather, it is dependent on the drive and determination that the person has to succeed. In his current profession and career he feels he can only do so much to provide the skills and knowledge needed for a student with special education services to reach a certain level of independence. It is up to the student to decide what they are willing to do in order to gain that independence.

Armando spent his time in special education while growing up to provide support and motivation for students. Showing them that a disability is not what makes an individual, but what the person does in spite of that diagnosis defines who that person is.

This degree strengthened my drive and purpose to do everything I can for these students and my only wish is that I can show my students that as long as they believe in themselves anything is possible and their independence can be attained.

My sister went to Texas A&M and graduated in 2005. She used to take me to all of the football games and taught me all of the traditions. These trips made an impact on me and so, naturally, Texas A&M was the only school I applied for when graduating from high school. I started my undergraduate degree in August 2011 where I joined and participated in the Corps of Cadets throughout my four years there.

I use my time in college to show my students that anyone is capable of going to college and achieving independence so long as they maintain their hope and determination to overcome any obstacle put in front of them.

I would be sure to tell anyone who takes part in this program that they are going to learn so much and it will open a door to a career path that otherwise would have been closed. More importantly, upon completion they will be have so much knowledge that will benefit any individual they work with. The cohort system provided not just a group of individuals to come together to further promote education, but also instilled camaraderie and friendships that will last much longer than the master’s program. That connection that comes with taking part in this program is worth everything put into it and will provide a cohort of individuals that can all look out for each other for the rest of their professional careers.

Armando Bernal

Resource Special Education Teacher, Conroe ISD