June 9, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Amanda Young Brott of Springfield, formerly of nearby Jacob, was honored last month at the annual commencement ceremony with the Distinguished Alumnus Award at John A. Logan College.

Brott is a 2000 graduate of JALC, having earned an Associate of Arts degree, and 2004 graduate of Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. There, she earned her Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis and Therapy. 

In the same year, Brott became nationally certified by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board.  She also earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Rehabilitation Services from SIUC in 2002.  

At Logan, Brott earned her degree while enjoying the stage of O’Neil Auditorium.  She began work at the Hope Institute in Springfield as a behavior analyst in the summer of 2005.  

The Hope Institute is a private residential school serving children with autism and other developmental disabilities. At Hope, Brott works with children on overcoming problematic behavior that may impede learning as well as teaching them more appropriate alternative behaviors.  She presently serves as Assistant Chief Operating Officer. 

In this role, she oversees and works to maintain communication among parents, educational, clinical, and residential programs.  She implements Total Day Learning and works with adult agencies to secure appropriate placements for children aging out of Hope’s programs. She is committed to ensuring youth and staff safety through increased collaboration among Hope staff members from multiple departments.

“Amanda Brott has accomplished outstanding success and distinction in her chosen field,” said JALC President, Dr. Mike Dreith. “And she has engaged in humanitarian service that has proven beneficial to society.”

Brott thanked Cheryl Thomas, biology instructor and Life Science chair at JALC, for nominating her for the award.

“It’s been said that if you do what you love, you will never work a day in your life. I’m an incredibly lucky lady who hasn’t worked in 10 years,” she said. “I help teach children become more independent.”

Citing the late North Carolina State men’s basketball coach Jim Valvano as her inspiration, Brott said she “has a heck of a day” virtually every day because she “laughs a little; thinks a little; and cries a little every day.”

Brott said the children she works with typically have an IQ of 30 or less, are non-verbal, often austistic, and cannot be managed well by family members and school officials.

“These kids’ parents have made the tough decision to drop their child off forever in my care or our staff’s care. What seems like the tiniest things (like saying ‘Mom’ for the first time or typing an e-mail one letter a time on the keyboard) are often great successes for these kids.”

Brott said her passion foundation was established while a student at Logan.

“Spending time on the stage at O’Neil Auditorium is where I got to play and have a whole lot of fun. I learned I needed a career that would allow me to be goofy and creative. I was also a student worker my entire time at Logan in the disability support services office. That is where I learned what my career trajectory would be. I knew that I wanted to work to change the lives of people who couldn’t do things on their own.”

Brott told the graduates to pursue their passion.

“Do what you love and love what you do,” she said. “I hope this day forward that you don’t work another day in your life.”

Brott and her husband, David, have two children, Samuel and Matilda.

 

"We are a diverse learning and teaching community committed to improving individual life and society through high-quality, accessible educational programs and engaged learning opportunities."

Core Values: •RESPONSIBILITY •RESPECT •INTEGRITY •COMPASSION •SERVICE

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Dr. Steve O’Keefe at 618-985-2828 ext. 8569 or email at steveokeefe@jalc.edu.