‘This place changed my life’: Alumna excels as therapist, author, entrepreneur

Penn State Abington alumna Quintana Tucker

Penn State Abington alumna Quintara Tucker's degree in psychological and social sciences led her to a rewarding career working with individuals on the autism spectrum and their families as a therapist and coach. She also founded two consulting firms to support staff in the field.

Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa.  — The skills Quintara Tucker developed as a psychological and social sciences major at Penn State Abington fuel her success as an applied behavioral analyst (ABA) working with children on the autism spectrum and as an author, trainer and entrepreneur. 

“I held four jobs and commuted 45 minutes each way from New Jersey to get to Abington, so I had to develop the self-discipline to succeed. This place literally changed my life. I left Penn State Abington knowing who I was and knowing what I was capable of,” Tucker, who graduated in 2015, said.  

And Tucker has proven that she is capable of a great deal. She has earned her credentials as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, International Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Specialist, along with a master’s degree in developmental psychology. She is an author, speaker, coach and entrepreneur who supports ABA professionals in public schools, clinics and home settings. 

“I developed a training manual for staff working in special education classrooms around the country. I approach it as a Black woman using a multicultural, compassionate stance. Volume two was just released for paraprofessionals in public school settings, and the next one is for registered behavioral techs,” she said. 

Tucker and her sister founded ABA Sissyahs LLC, which provides ABA students and professionals with support, mentorship and supervision. 

Through a separate consulting business, she provides multicultural, trauma-informed and natural environment coaching on ABA strategies that parents can implement in their homes to encourage communication, daily routine and self-help skills, community involvement and job coaching. 

This place literally changed my life. I left Penn State Abington knowing who I was and knowing what I was capable of.

—Quintara Tucker , Class of 2015

Tucker’s passion for coaching brings her back to Abington regularly where she supports students who — like herself — are the first in their families to attend college, and she received an award from Abington’s I’m First program for her dedication. She also serves on the Abington Alumni Society Board, and she speaks on an ethics panel led by a faculty member. 

“There were times I didn’t think I was going to make it out of Abington, so I come back to spread positivity,” she said. 

As an accomplished Abington student, Tucker was inducted into several honor societies while participating in undergraduate research with a faculty mentor and serving as a peer counselor, president of one student organization, and events coordinator for another. 

“By putting myself out there and getting to know myself better, I gained the leadership skills I use now so I encourage the students I work with to do the same. I tell them that you define your own success, and you define your own failure,” she said. 

Tucker is pursuing a doctorate in applied behavior analysis, which she plans to complete next year. 

“I want to see where life takes me after I finish my doctorate, but my ultimate goal is to be a college professor. I was influenced by so many of the greats at Abington,” she said. 

About Penn State Abington

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st-century public higher education within a world-class research university. With more than 3,100 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 25 majors, accelerated master's degrees, undergraduate research, the Schreyer Honors College, NCAA Division III athletics and more.