Pegue to Give Gaddis Lecture

Pegue.jpgCentral Methodist University alumna Shamika Renee Pegue will soon have the honor of giving the 2022 Merrill E. Gaddis Lecture at her alma mater. Held for the first time since 2019, the event will take place at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 10, on the fourth floor of the Inman Student and Community Center.

Pegue, a licensed and board-certified behavior analyst from Kansas City, will speak on the topic of “Socially Significant Problem Behavior: A Behavior Analytic Examination of Cultural Control.”

Pegue graduated summa cum laude from Central in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in psychology and sociology. It was during her time at CMU that she found her love for people and helping others through human service work while interning at Endless Options in Fayette and working as a medical detox attendant at Heartland Center for Behavior Health and Change in Kansas City.

In 2020, Pegue graduated with her Master of Science in Applied Behavior Analysis from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Prior to graduating, she conducted behavioral research with an emphasis in utilizing group contingency interventions in urban educational environments. While working on her thesis, she realized a growing need for behavior analysis to help solve real-world problems within the institution of education.

Currently, Pegue works as a behavior analyst at a long-term healthcare agency with adults diagnosed with either a developmental or intellectual disability. As a behavior analyst, she provides client and family support through staff training, conducting functional behavior assessments, and behavior support planning. It is Pegue’s ongoing work in mental and behavioral healthcare that continues to fuel her passion for underserved minority communities and is one of the many reasons she partnered with several Central Methodist alumni to create the non-profit organization Stand Up for Equity, of which she is the acting board president and vice president of operations.

As a first-generation college graduate, and one of only a few African-American women working in the field of behavior analysis in the state of Missouri, she has firsthand insight as to how cultural practices operating within social institutions can alter opportunities for minority groups. It is this knowledge she brings to the arena of social and cultural reform. Pegue aims to share this knowledge with others in hopes of inspiring the next generation of behavior analysts to join the call of social justice work.

Sponsored by CMU’s Kappa Chapter of Pi Gamma Mu, an international society for social sciences, the lecture is named in honor of Dr. Merrill Gaddis (1891-1958). Gaddis was a professor of history and later chair of the history and political science department. He served at the college for nearly 30 years.

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