UM Higher Education Alumna Krystal Thurman Berry (Ed.D. 18) has been appointed by Gov. Phil Bryant to the Mississippi Autism Board for a four-year term, ending June 30, 2022.
Thurman Berry, who also serves as the assistant director for training and professional development for the Mississippi Community College Board, will serve as the parent/family member representative of the Autism Board, which licenses Applied Behavior Analysts and Assistant Behavior Analysts in the state.
“This Board has a narrow, but important purpose geared toward helping some of our most vulnerable Mississippians receive the services they need,” Thurman Berry said. “I’m looking forward to offering my perspective as a parent and scholar practitioner to further the Board’s mission.”
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a process involving the systematic application of interventions, such as positive reinforcement, based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors among individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disorders. Studies have demonstrated many children with autism experience significant improvements in learning, reasoning, communication and adaptability when they participate in high-quality ABA programs.
Thurman Berry earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from Arkansas State University. She received a Doctor of Education in Higher Education from the University of Mississippi School of Education in 2018. Her dissertation topic was titled “Experiences of Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in Mississippi Community Colleges.”
Thurman Berry has spent 15 years serving in various roles in higher education, including 10 years in Finland with guest lecturer positions in the Netherlands and Russia. She held teaching positions at Arkansas State University, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences and Lapland University of Applied Sciences. Prior to her current role, Thurman Berry served as a curriculum specialist and training and processional development specialist at the Mississippi Community College Board.