MA Program Featured Alum: Elizabeth Robinson
Beth graduated from SUNY Brockport with her Master’s degree in Psychology in 2011. She currently lives in Rochester with her husband and 2 kids- Maddie, a sassy and sweet 8-year-old and Cayden, a determined 5-year-old. She is looking forward to spring and summer and all the outdoor fun our area offers!
What is your current position and what do you find the most fulfilling about it?
I am currently honored to be employed with Proud Moments ABA as a Licensed Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). I enjoy working with individuals diagnosed with Autism and their families. Many of our kids are newly diagnosed and parents are very open to ideas, guidance and support through the ABA program. I absolutely love seeing the progress, however big or small it is!
Please describe your path from SUNY Brockport to your current position. What was the most valuable lesson you learned while at SUNY Brockport?
After attending Ohio Wesleyan University for my undergrad in Psychology and University of Rochester for a Board-Certified Associate Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), specializing in Autism I spent years in the field working as a Behavior Specialist at Hillside. I was encouraged to continue my education and become a fully certified BCBA, however that would require a Masters level education. Many BCBAs work toward their degree, focusing only on Behavior Analysis however I was interested in more than that. I attended SUNY Brockport to earn this degree in Psychology, which gave me knowledge of how Behavior Analysis overlaps with many other disciplines and schools of thought. I then completed my requirements for full BCBA accreditation through Florida Institute of Technology and passed the Boards.
I truly believe that my time at SUNY Brockport helped me understand how to work better on an interdisciplinary team. It is incredible to sit with other professionals across the areas of psychology, mental health, and psychiatry to better understand the whole child, rather than just behaviors. I continue to work with students and parents how everything interrelated to implement the most effective interventions for individuals with Autism.
What is your favorite memory from your time at SUNY Brockport?
I had a lot of “real world” experience when I went back for my Masters at SUNY Brockport. I enjoyed hearing different perspectives on how I could immediately apply what I was learning as well as the perspectives of the students that were newer to the field. I truly felt supported throughout the whole process, given I was an untraditional student, later in my career.
What advice would you give to current SUNY Brockport students? Any special advice for our psychology majors? psychology graduate students?
Ask questions with an open mind! I really enjoyed other perspectives and it pushed me to question and improve what I was doing on a daily basis. This immediate application helped me learn and push myself beyond the classroom. The professors were great at challenging my thinking in a respectful and helpful way!
What learned skills and/or experiences from your time at SUNY Brockport were the most transferable or useful in your current position?
I would say time management, along with dedication to a goal were the two most valuable lessons that were immediately transferable. You don’t know what you can do until you are pushed! I was privileged to be able to complete a full research thesis which was published a few years later in Behavioral Interventions Journal. This hard work and dedication to a goal was a struggle while working full time as well as starting a family, however the accomplishment in the end was amazing!
Can you describe an obstacle you faced in your career so far (academic or professional)? How did you overcome or manage?
Behavior Analysis was a new concept for many agencies and individuals I worked with, so I had the honor/challenge of educating them on the benefits of ABA on the interdisciplinary team. While at Hillside I transferred and was promoted to many positions in which my supervisors were very supportive in creating my own job descriptions based on what was needed and was best for individuals being served. This ranged from traditional direct care for highly aggressive youth to parent training and agency development. I am currently in a position at Proud Moments ABA where we continue to grow and contribute to the community through “out of the box” thinking. I continue to stretch boundaries and look at benefits to the client rather than narrow job descriptions.
Anything else you would like to share?
If you are debating- why not? Psychology is useful in many aspects of today’s society from Real Estate to Psychiatric care, Human Resources or Childcare. This program can truly be adapted to what you are interested in, and the professors are always willing to individualize study and encourage your interests!