Denise Gaines understands the challenges of working in pediatric medicine. Her work requires compassion, patience and dedication.
She also understands the joy of using those traits to help others.
Gaines graduated from Kaiser University in Clearwater last year with a BA in Psychology. She currently works as a Registered Behavior Technician at the Florida Autism Center.
“I decided to go to Kaiser, and it opened a lot of doors for me. I have always been involved with children and have worked in the field of psychology. “I learned a lot working there. You grow and learn while you are.”
Gaines, who works as a Registered Behavior Technician, supports the care of children with autism and helps develop behavior analysis services. Gaines explains that every day is a gift, learning more about each child who participates in the program and about the personality traits that make them who they are.
However, the skills she learned have proven useful outside of her role as an RBT.
“My niece, she’s on the autism spectrum and it really resonated with me. I really want to be able to help people with disabilities in my life,” Gaines said. “A lot of people think it’s holding them back, but that’s what makes them phenomenal.”
Reflecting on his experience at Kaiser, Gaines remembers the hard work and determination it took to receive his diploma. During her enrollment, Gaines held a full-time job. She also participated in her work study program. This also allowed her to work on campus, helping with event preparation and administrative tasks for faculty and staff.
Gaines says the flexibility of her class schedule allowed her to keep working and keep moving toward a career as a mental health professional.
“I’m proud of myself to see that I passed the certification. I worked really hard to be able to come this far,” Gaines said. “I feel that it has definitely given me the opportunity to excel.”
Gaines will attend Kaiser University’s state commencement ceremony in February. She has stated that her family is proud of her accomplishment.
“I came here when I was 2 years old. I’m from Miami, Florida. My mom came here as a single mother and raised us on her own. I was the first to get one,” Gaines said. “My mom never graduated from high school, so seeing me cross the stage with her bachelor’s degree is really big for her mom. It’s a big deal for her.”
Gaines says he plans to continue his education and is considering a master’s degree. She hopes to eventually work as a mental health counselor for children with disabilities.
Kaiser University is a private, independent, non-profit university serving approximately 20,000 students across 21 campuses in Florida, online, and two international sites. Co-founded by Chancellor Arthur Kaiser and Evelyn Kaiser in 1977, Kaiser University now offers over 100 of his degrees from associate to doctoral level. Kaiser University is a designated Hispanic Service Provider and a member of the Association of Hispanic Colleges and Universities, ranked #1 in the United States for Social Mobility by US News and World Report in 2023. I was.