University of Missouri
205 Portland Street
Columbia, MO 65211


BCBA Spotlight: Meet Ali Cooper

After receiving an autism diagnosis, there are many different services available to serve the spectrum of needs that vary from person to person. One intervention offered at the Thompson Center is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Over the next few weeks, we’ll introduce the Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) that make up our Applied Behavioral Intervention Services (ABIS) division. Read our latest spotlight to meet Ali Cooper!

How long have you worked for the Thompson Center?

I have worked at the Thompson Center since 2015. I was a Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) from 2015-2017 before I started in my full-time position as a Behavior Analyst.

What are your main job duties?

As a Behavior Analyst, I am responsible for designing, implementing, and monitoring behavior analytic programs to improve socially significant behavior for clients in our clinic. I also supervise students in the Master of Applied Behavior Analysis program through the University of Missouri.

Where are you from?

I grew up in Quincy, IL and currently live in Columbia, MO.

What is your educational background?

I have an undergraduate degree in health sciences, a master’s degree in special education, and received a master’s certificate of applied behavior analysis, all from the University of Missouri.

Where did you work before you came to the Thompson Center?

I worked several jobs before becoming a behavior analyst. I worked as a barista at Lakota Coffee Company, and I was a direct support professional and a job coach at Alternative Community Training (ACT).

What is your favorite thing about working at the Thompson Center?

I enjoy seeing my clients make progress the most. I also love all my coworkers and the support we provide each other.

What got you interested in working with people with autism?

I completed an internship in my senior year of undergraduate school and became interested in working with people with autism through that.

What do you wish more people knew about ABA?

ABA a scientific approach to understanding behavior. It is not one specific intervention but a variety of procedures that can be individualized to suit the needs of clients and families. There are a so many ways to use and apply ABA-based principles.

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned in your time working at the Thompson Center?

It’s so important to have collaboration and variety of perspectives in this work. I appreciate that this easy to do here at the Thompson Center.

When you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing?

I like spending time with my dogs, walking or running, playing tennis, and reading.