Behavior Analysis Association of Mississippi

By Kayla Bates-Brantley, Hallie Smith,
Garret Yeager & Stephanie Mattson

Mission and History

The Behavior Analysis Association of Mississippi (BAAMS) is a non-profit corporation under the laws of the State of Mississippi, promoting ABAI’s mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice. Our mission is to promote and support the practice, research, education, and dissemination of behavior analysis throughout the state of Mississippi. BAAMS serves as a scientific and professional reference group for all in the State of Mississippi who identify themselves as scientists or practitioners in disciplines which embrace the principles and practices of behavior analysis. BAAMS works to identify and promote the use of effective, humane, and ethical behavioral procedures in meeting the educational and habilitative needs of persons that are typically-developing and persons with developmental disabilities within the State of Mississippi. Additionally, BAAMS advises political, legislative, and policy-making bodies with respect to all matters pertaining to behavior analysis in the State of Mississippi and organizes and sponsors an Annual Convention, which serves as a forum for presentation of scientific progress, technological advancements, and clinical practice, as well as discussion of the affairs of the organization. BAAMS was founded on February 7, 2015 and became an affiliate state chapter of ABAI in 2015.


BAAMS is governed by an Executive Committee comprised of a president, past president, president-elect, treasurer, secretary, ABAI & APBA Representatives, the ad hoc student representative, and four members of the duly designated regions of the State.

President Garret Yeager, BCBA, LBA

Past President Hallie Smith, Ph.D., BCBA-D

President Elect Kayla Bates-Brantley, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA

Treasurer Robyn Brewer, BCBA, LBA

Secretary Hailey Ripple, Ph.D., BCBA-D

ABAI Representative Stephanie Mattson, Ph.D., BCBA-D

APBA Representative Kayla Crook, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Region I Representative Anna Claire Waldrop, BCBA, LBA

Region II Representative Laura Katherine Barker, BCBA, LBA

Region III Representative Amanda Kirk, BCBA

Region IV Representative Greg Standford, BCBA, LBA

Student Representative Ryleigh Sampey

Elections for all officers and representatives are conducted in December after the annual BAAMS conference each year, which occurs annually in November. Present, past president, president-elect and student representative serve terms lasting January-December for each year. Treasurer and sectary serve 2-year terms. While ABAI, APBA
and region representative serve 3 year terms.


There are three types of membership with BAAMS: Full Members, Affiliate Member, and Student Member. The criteria and benefits of membership include:

Full Member (including original Founding Member of BAAMS): Any individual holding (a) at least a Bachelor’s degree in behavior analysis, psychology, education, or related field, with training or professional experience in behavior analysis and whose full time professional commitment includes teaching, research, and/or practice in behavior analysis or (b) BACB certification (i.e., BCBA-D, BCBA, or BCaBA). Full members may vote and hold office.

Affiliate Member: Any member evidencing interest in the discipline of behavior analysis, but lacking formal training therein, may apply for this class of membership. Affiliate members are entitled to all benefits except for (a) the right to vote on matters of interest to the organization, and (b) the right to hold office. Affiliate members may serve as members on BAAMS committees.

Student Member (including original Founding Student Member of BAAMS): Any individual pursuing formal training in the discipline of behavior analysis, which may include programs in behavior analysis, psychology, education, or a related field but not yet gainfully employed therein on at least a half-time basis may apply for membership in this category. Such application must be accompanied by an endorsement on letterhead by a program coordinator or program official certifying the applicant’s student status. This application will be reviewed in a manner similar to the review of those candidates for Full Member status. Student members may neither vote nor hold office, though they may serve as members on BAAMS committees. BAAMS has 70 active full members, 1 affiliate member and 85 student members as of February 28, 2023. Member meetings occurred throughout the year at region meet-ups in addition to an annual meeting held at the BAAMS conference on October 24th and 25th , 2022.

Meeting Activity

The 2022 Annual BAAMS Conference took place in-person at The Mill in Starkville, Mississippi on October 24th and 25th. Members could acquire 10 CEs, 1 Ethics CEs, and 1 Supervision CEs: totaling 12 available CEs for the conference. With 202 participants; speakers included:

Alice Shillingsburg, PhD, BCBA-D, LP—Keynote Strengthening Gestures: A Critical Component to Building Robust Communication Skills for Autistic Children.

Kevin Ayres, PhD, BCBA-D- What We Teach Is More Important Than How We Teach It.

Juliana Aguilar, PhD, BCBA, LBA Harnessing Your Cultural Responsiveness Superpowers.

Alice Shillingsburg, PhD, BCBA-D, LP: Workshop: Assessing and Programming to Promote Generative Language.

Amy Gravino, M.A.: Sexuality and the Spectrum: Lessons on ABA, Dating, and Love, Autism Style.

Supervision Panel: BCBA’s from Across Mississippi .

John Michael Falligant, Ph.D., BCBA-D: Assessment and Treatment of Severe Problem Behavior: Barriers, Solutions, and Considerations for Practice.

Shane Spiker (Positive Behavior Supports, Corp.)—Reframing Dangerous Behavior: Avoiding Assumptions and Creative Problem Solving.

Valerie Volkert, Ph.D., BCBA-D, Associate Professor (Pediatrics): Outpatient Strategies to Address Feeding Problems for Children with Autism.

Samantha Hardesty, Ph.D., BCBA-D: Applications of OBM on the Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Neurobehavioral Unit.

Caleb Stanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D: Application of Relational Frame Theory to Teach Skills to Individuals with Autism.

Student Research Symposium
The 2023 BAAMS Conference is currently scheduled for October 26th and 27th, 2023 and will be held at The Mill in Starkville, Mississippi.

Other Activity

BAAMS Executive Committee for 2021/2022 made it a priority to clarify the goals of the EC. direction of the association by developing a formal goals and directions. “The mission of the Behavior Analysis Association of Mississippi is to promote and support the practice, education, research, and dissemination of behavior analysis throughout the state of Mississippi.” Objectives and/or core values were developed within the 2021/2022 term to drive our mission.

The BAAMS Executive Committee for the 2021/2022 year made it a priority to set goals and objectives that would be prioritized for the organization within year. A progress report across our five goals can be found below: Goal #1: Increase membership of full members by 10% across the calendar year. Comparison points will be enrollment on December 31, 2021 and December 31, 2022. Objective #1: Increase social media posting to twice per week and maintain frequency across the calendar year.

Objective #2: Send targeted emails to LBA’s across the state who are not current members of BAAMS to encourage participation.

Completed April 1, 2022

Objective #3: Send Qualtrics survey to current members to collect data on current level of commitment to BAAMS and solicit feedback and ideas for what they would like to see BAAMS provide/offer members.

Goal for Completion:

December 1, 2022

Goal #2: Increase member involvement throughout the year instead of just conference attendance. 

Objective #1: Each region will host two meet-ups during the course of the calendar year (outside of the meet-up to take place at the annual conference). One meet-up should take place in March and the second should take place in July. Data on attendance will be taken at both meet-ups.

Region 1: Hosted one event

Region 2: Hosted two events

Objective #2: Host one virtual CEU event outside of the annual conference.

Completed May 20, 2022; Coffee and Conversations event in Tupelo

Goal #3: Complete new website renovation and change systems/platforms for membership enrollment and conference registration.

Objective #1: Continue to provide Montana Banana with information and feedback per their request.

Completed: July 11, 2022

Goal #4: Assist or participate in one advocacy project/initiative during the calendar year.

Objective #1: Discuss and write unified letter of support for HB 530 and SB 2444 and submit to representatives. Completed March 1, 2022

Objective #2: Seek out additional opportunities to support initiatives of others in the state to advocate for ABA services (e.g., Medicaid reimbursement, policy change, awareness). Completed October 10, 2022.
Goal #5: Increase conference attendance by 10%. Objective #1: Send targeted emails
to members starting 3 months leading up to the conference and send one monthly leading up to the conference—Completed.
Objective #2: Maintain current number of sponsors, speakers, and CEU’s offered from the
2021 Conference—Completed and exceeded.
Objective #3: Develop a conference planning committee in March 2022 of EC members, or members at large who may be interested in planning and execution of conference-related tasks—Completed. BAAMS as an organization outlined areas of focus for the 2023 term with support of practice, research, education and dissemination remaining at the forefront of the organization. Goals for 2023 term are in preparation.

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