Stephanie Augustin, Ed.D, LBA, BCBA ’04 is a Licensed and Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 10 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities and autism. She began working in group home settings as a behavior specialist after completing a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from Adelphi University. She has worked in academia as an ABA instructor at the graduate school level and has worked in K-12 school settings as a behavioral consultant. Her post-master’s clinical training in behavior analysis training was completed at FIT.
Stephanie is the co-founder and Director of Operations of Blossoming Behavior Applied Behavior Analysts. She was awarded a doctor of education in March 2019 from Northeastern University for her dissertation entitled “A phenomenological analysis of autistic children receiving applied behavior analytic services: A culturally and linguistically diverse parents’ perspective.” Her research and practice interests include disseminating applied behavior analysis to under-served groups and culturally diverse populations.
What inspired you to dedicate yourself to a life of improving the mental health of those with developmental disabilities and autism?
I fell into the field because my younger brother was diagnosed with a developmental disability, and later autism, when I was in high school at KMHS. At that point, I knew that I wanted to become an advocate for children like him who were from culturally diverse backgrounds. It was difficult for my mother to understand what was happening to him because of her cultural background (we come from Haiti), and I thought it was so important for me to be able to bridge that gap for her and other families like us.
How do you think your time at Kellenberg Memorial helped to prepare you for your career in behavioral health?
I don’t think Kellenberg positioned me to enter this field specifically, but I do remember during career day one year a medical doctor came in to discuss what she did in her job. I was incredibly motivated at that point to also be a woman in science.
Our country is experiencing unprecedented turmoil due to the global pandemic and the appalling realities of deeply embedded systemic racism. Do you have any advice for current students or alumni who are internalizing their emotions during these deeply troubling times?
As a woman of color, this has been a very triggering time for me. I’ve had to do a great deal of self-reflection to get to an understanding of what this means for me as a human as well as how this impacts my place in the world. I think that ultimately, it is important to have these incredibly difficult conversations in the workplace, at school, at home, and with friends, because only through dissecting our own deeply embedded belief systems and biases will we be able to break through to the other side.
Do you have any favorite teachers/club moderators/coaches from your time at Kellenberg Memorial?
I have a lot of great memories of my teachers and coaches at Kellenberg. I have especially fond thoughts of Mrs. Korzekwinski (she was the first teacher I met when I arrived in the 6th grade). I also often laugh at the words that I remember from PSAT prep with Mrs. von Schoenermarck (e.g. when I say “circumlocution” or “loquacious” during a conversation.) My favorite classes ever taught were with Mr. and Mrs. Dugal! And I can’t forget Mrs. Villani – she was super funny and we made a time capsule in the 7th grade.