Anthony D’Augelli to outline career of research supporting LGBT people

Marjorie S. Miller
October 19, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Anthony D’Augelli, professor of human development and family studies at Penn State, will present the 2016 Pauline Schmitt Russell Research Lecture, “The Kindness of Strangers: Conducting Research on LGBT Lives,” at 4 p.m. on Nov. 8 at the Bennett Pierce Living Center, 110 Henderson Building, on the University Park campus.

The event, sponsored by the College of Health and Human Development, is free and open to the public. A reception will be held at 3:30 p.m.

D’Augelli is a national and international expert on the lives of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. His conceptual and empirical work in these areas has inspired a new generation of researchers dedicated to the study of LGBT issues.

D’Augelli’s presentation will describe the chronology of his research, which began in the mid-1980s and continues today. He will discuss the inspiration behind his research, the complications of conducting this research, and the impact of his work.

“The Kindness of Strangers” refers to D’Augelli’s experience discovering a hidden and apprehensive population of LGBT people to study, and how they risked family rejection, victimization and hate crimes by sharing their personal experiences and making their sexuality known.

His work is the foundation for a new generation of social scientists seeking federal support for research on LGBT people.

“I was trying to do research on a population that at the time, was hard to reach and afraid to be known,” he said. “Finding samples was difficult. Many of these early study subjects were harmed by others, so to recall their experiences was particularly painful for them. I made it clear to participants in my research that I would be an advocate for them.”

In addition to the study participants who came forward to help make D’Augelli’s work possible, the “Kindness of Strangers” also refers to agencies across the country that helped him apply for and receive federal funding for his research. One agency included the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York, which provides counseling and legal assistance to LGBT youth.

“Being part of the LGBT community has been crucial,” D’Augelli said. “I have a personal commitment to the community through contributing to this growing field of research and accurately portraying LGBT lives. Social change builds on this cumulative research.” 

D’Augelli started his work with the LGBT community as a faculty adviser to Penn State’s LGBT student group in the late 1980s; he served for 10 years. In that role, he heard students’ stories of abuse on campus as well as painful challenges faced while students were still in high school. This was the impetus for his first studies.

He started collecting information about students’ experiences on campus to convince administrators to take these students' lives seriously, and to be responsible for assuring them both safety and security. He published his first research paper on the experiences of Penn State students in 1989.

Since then, much of D’Augelli’s research has appeared in community and clinical psychology journals. Out of 175 publications, 108 are lead-authored. He has co-edited four edited volumes that summarize the state of the research on LGBT people.

Additionally, D’Augelli has taught the HDFS 250 Sexual Identity over the Lifespan course in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies for more than 25 years.

In 2016, D’Augelli received the Outstanding Service Award (Faculty) presented by Penn State’s Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Equity.

D’Augelli received his bachelor of arts degree from New College of Hofstra University, and his doctoral degree in clinical/community psychology from the University of Connecticut. He joined HDFS in 1972.

The Schmitt Russell Research Lecture is delivered each year by the most recent recipient of the Pauline Schmitt Russell Distinguished Research Achievement Award, which recognizes the career-long research contributions of a distinguished faculty member whose research has had a profound impact on an identified field of study.

The award was established by Leo P. Russell, a 1941 industrial engineering graduate, to honor his late wife, Pauline Schmitt Russell, who received her home economics degree from Penn State in 1948.

  • Anthony D'Augelli

    Anthony D'Augelli

    IMAGE: Penn State

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated October 20, 2016