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Augustyn receives President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Research Achievement

June 7, 2021
Augustyn receives President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Research Achievement

Profile photo of Megan Augustyn

Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice and Graduate Advisor of Record Megan Augustyn has won the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Research Achievement. Augustyn’s research has gained national acclaim for its impact on criminology and criminal justice and has helped establish UTSA as a premier research institution. 

"It is a rewarding, comforting feeling to know that my colleagues recognize the time and effort that I have put into my research agenda as well as the efforts that I have made to help UTSA become a Tier 1 institution," says Augustyn. "It gives me additional motivation to strive to achieve new goals."

Augustyn’s research focuses on three interlapping themes: the consequences of criminal justice on behavior, the consequences of criminogenic life events and substance abuse on development, and the continuation of problematic behavior across generations. She incorporates a variety of life course principles to better investigate the causes and consequences of crime and other health risk behaviors. 

With an increase of 100 citations over the past year and an h-index of 11, Augustyn’s research is quickly gaining national recognition. In the past year alone, Augustyn has received two grants from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), the top federal funding agency for criminology and criminal justice research. 

The first grant allows Augustyn to expand on her work using data from The Rochester Youth Development Study. Her research follows a birth cohort and their first-born children to examine both individual and inter-generational effects of criminal justice involvement, most notably with the impact of opioids and the COVID-19 pandemic. Augustyn’s efforts secured $1.88 million to continue the study, the largest external award received by the College for Health, Community and Policy. 

Augustyn also secured over $745,000 from a NIJ GREAT grant for her project to inform programming services and improve retention rates for students who are victims of crime. The current study follows a cohort of 2,400 freshman college students at minority serving institutions to examine both how often students report victimization both on and off campus and the financial costs associated. 

In honor of both these projects, Congressman Will Hurd (TX-23) commented: 

“These research projects benefit the university, its students and faculty and provide expert information and advice to policymakers and officials at all levels of government. I’m proud the Department of Justice recognizes the incredible potential of UTSA.”

Outside of Augustyn’s external research projects, she has secured over $60,000 in funding from the San Antonio City Council and the Orsinger Foundation for her applied research involving a local child maltreatment prevention program, Promotoras/Por Los Ninos. For these efforts, Augustyn was recruited as a consultant and evaluator for the Mobile Mental Health and Wellness Collaborative, a first-of-its-kind mental health service program helping children and adolescents in San Antonio. 

Augustyn has published a book chapter, two peer-reviewed book chapters and 27 peer-reviewed journal articles, seven of which were published in the past year after her promotion to associate professor. Underscoring the impact of her research contributions, Augustyn has served on the editorial boards of both the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency and Justice Quarterly, two of the top journals in the field of criminology and penology. 

Despite Augustyn’s extensive research projects, her service to her department is notable. She  currently serves as chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice’s Graduate Program, Graduate Program Comprehensive Exam Committee and Program Development Committee. She is also a member of her department’s Learning Assessment Committee. 

“Collectively, it is clear that Dr. Augustyn’s scholarly work is putting UTSA on the national map and assisting in its drive to achieve tier one status,” says Richard D. Hartley, professor and chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. “Her projects bridge gaps between academic and practitioner arenas, and create meaningful research opportunities for our students, both graduate and undergraduate.” 

The Research Achievement Award for tenured faculty recognizes individuals who have conducted a sustained program of high quality, high impact research that has translated into national and international recognition and has made a substantial contribution to the faculty member’s field.