Alumni at a Glance: Shannon Carty ’13
After graduating from Cornell with degrees in education and geology Shannon Carty ’13 started teaching and went on to get a master’s of science degree in applied behavior analysis. She received an award for her applied research on whether wild animal populations could have their behavior modified without direct human interaction.
“The answer was yes, and I kept my backyard squirrels out of my red bird feeders for a solid six months following my research,” Carty said.
Resides in: Louisville, Kentucky
She says people often ask her how she made the jump from geology to human behavior and she answers, “Measurement. Both sciences are tasked with measuring something nearly incomprehensible, but with good definitions and the right instruments, both make it work.”
Today, she works for the Kentucky branch of Centerstone in the Developmental Services Division.
“I’m a behavior analyst that works with low-income families to improve the standards of living for children of different ‘neuro tribes,’” Carty said.
She works to reduce dangerous or isolating behaviors and increase life skills by changing the environment around an individual.
The Cornell alumna has a lot to be proud of, but the achievement she is most proud of is the impact she’s made on individual lives.
“One of my clients has gone from an average of 13 acts of aggression per day down to an average of two per day. His caregiver no longer worries about having to send him to an institution as he gets older. Another client was suspended from school seven times last year due to his meltdowns. He’s currently on zero meltdowns per week, is doing great in school, and recently joined the boy scouts,” Carty said.
Carty’s favorite class at Cornell was Educational Psychology with Professor of Education Kerry Bostwick, and she attributes One Course At A Time with her adept ability to work fast.
“I am a whiz at paperwork. You have three hours to write up a plan for treatment? No problemo.”
Her fondest memory was being part of the Murder Mystery every year in Pfeiffer.
Her advice to Cornell students is to “follow your strengths, but also follow your weaknesses. There are jobs where those weaknesses become your greatest strength. What Cornell will teach you most is how to adapt with a short time limit, and how to learn a skill or subject quickly.”