Alumni Spotlight: Beth Garrison
Beth Garrison is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Behavior Specialist in the state of Pennsylvania, and a Licensed Behavior Analyst. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Temple in 2007 and a Master’s Degree in Education in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) from Temple in 2009. During her undergraduate years, she participated in the Temple Honors program, the Honors Psychology program, and Psi Chi. The Honors Psychology program helped her realize which career path she would soon pursue.
Under the guidance of Dr. Philip Hineline, Beth was able to conduct research on Behavior Analysis and its applications for children with autism. She began this work as an undergraduate in the Psychology Honors program, then continued it through her Master’s program practicum. She studied play and language skills, joint attention, as well as staff training and development, through evaluating various ABA classrooms in the Greater Philadelphia area. While working towards her Master’s degree, Dr. Donald Hantula became her advisor, and through his mentorship, she was introduced to other applications of Behavior Analysis – mainly in the business sector – such as staff development and performance feedback.
Following Beth’s graduation from Temple in 2009, she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, working as a Lead ABA Therapist and Behavior Specialist Consultant. With guidance form her workplace mentors, Beth was trained and promoted to become the Director of Training and Development. This position gave her the opportunity to supervise staff, as well as, design and implement competency based trainings for staff.
From here, Beth transitioned into Clinical Director, where she managed a team of clinical supervisors and clinical care coordinators, and served as a clinical lead for ABA programs for children diagnosed with developmental disabilities. Shortly after, Beth was invited to become an adjunct instructor for Temple University, teaching undergraduate coursework in Learning and Behavior Analysis as well as Careers in Psychology classes. She has been teaching in the department since the Fall 2015 semester. Beth loves teaching at Temple and reports that it truly is her “happy place.”
The next pivot in Beth’s career presented itself as the CEO of the Autism Cares Foundation’s Adult Services Division. She is grateful for the Autism Cares Foundation and its Board of Directors for teaching her the essential functions of a CEO. In this role, Beth was charged with developing and maintaining quality clinical services for adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities in the state of Pennsylvania. After honing her skills, Beth was able to launch Shaping Development, LLC, and organization that is committed to individual, staff, and organizational development. It grants Beth the flexibility to practice ABA with multiple populations, as well as allowing her to continue applying her consultation and coaching skills within the business world.
Beth later decided to form a second company, Operant Coffee, LLC, as a means to combine her passion for changing human behavior for a better world with her passion for coffee. She notes that “Our roasters are committed to "Saving the World" with sustainable behavioral business practices, and during the production of roasting and blending our coffee, they compost, recycle, and limit waste. This provides us with a product that is not only of high quality, but also environmentally friendly”. She also provides a fun “operant” fact on every label.
Beth credits her Temple experience with providing her with a network of professional connections and mentors, while nurturing her passion for ABA research and practice. She encourages current students to “relax and enjoy the ride.” She explained that things will happen, your career path may pivot, but that you should stay true to the things that you find reinforcing!