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After initially majoring in Elementary Education as an undergraduate, Dr. Gustman realized during their fieldwork placements that more than teaching, they were really drawn to listening to students' life experiences and stories. He quickly realized that for a lot of children and youth, so many other situations and events took priority over their day-to-day formal education. He saw how the behaviors of students changed when they had a solid relationship with even just one adult. As a result, after much consultation with Dr. Stephanie Carlson, a dearly appreciated mentor and professor, Dr. Gustman switched their major to Psychology, and made plans to continue directly to graduate school.
The rest of Dr. Gustman's education, experiences, qualifications, publications, and presentations are summarized in their vitae, presented below.