About Me

A bit of background about me... I grew up in Patchogue as the youngest of four. My bookshelf was always full and organized (while the rest of my room was a mess). I have been an avid writer and painter throughout my life, going to New York State Summer School for the Arts in 1997 for visual arts. In 6th grade a teacher of mine sent something I wrote in to be published. When it was, it changed the seriousness with which I took writing - I have been writing ever since. When I was in high school I wanted to be a number of things from a physical therapist to an oceanographer to a furniture maker. When I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was a library page at the public library for a number of years as a teenager and later worked in a bookstore in Rehoboth Beach, DE for a bit. I was also everything from a party store employee to a live-in nanny in Montauk to a hostess to a personal assistant. 

I attended Suffolk County Community College for two years (where I played DIII volleyball and participated in the Honors College) and then went to LIU Post (where I played DII volleyball for a year and participated in the Honors Program). I hold a BA in English (with a minor in history), a MA in History (from LIU Post), a CAGS in Higher Education Administration and Leadership (from Northeastern University), and a MS in Library Science (from LIU Post). My Honors thesis in college was titled, "The Self in Travel Literature." 

After college, I began working in higher education, first in the business school and then eventually moving to a clinical psychology doctoral program, where I worked for over 13 years as the assistant director (mostly focused on admissions, accreditation, outcomes assessment, and student resources). In addition to that work, I taught Freshman English, Adolescent Literature, and Introduction to Writing courses at SUNY Empire, SUNY Old Westbury, and LIU. I also worked as a Writing Instructor at the SUNY Old Westbury Writing Center for two years. In January of 2019 I started my second career in education, as a high school librarian. I have worked at Oceanside High School, Bard High School Early College - Queens, and Bayport-Blue Point High School. Since the fall of 2023, I have been at Brentwood High School. I am also still a part-time academic specialist with a SUNY school, where I have been since 2017. Every once in a while I am also a freelance editor (mostly for nonfiction chapters and dissertations in the social sciences). 

I have published a number of book reviews in academic journals, articles in trade journals, am co-author on a peer-reviewed article, and am a co-author on a non-fiction book (on completing research projects (theses/dissertations) in applied psychology and education programs), which is under contract with Oxford University Press and should be out later this year- it is is going into production next week. 

But the fun stuff? I spend my free time reading, walking and listening to audiobooks, painting, writing, trying not to kill stuff in my garden, building stuff (shelves, fences, gardens), and hanging out with my kids. I like to go for long walks and hikes and just keep moving. LEGO is a favorite. I have a huge board game library at home. I am a huge fan of stand up comedy, and I love going to see live comedy. I love reading realistic fiction with a kick of mystery. I also love memoirs of comedians. My favorite authors are Joan Didion, Pam Houston, A.S. King (newly added), and Zadie Smith (to name just a few). One of my favorite all-time books is, "My Grandmother Told Me to Tell You She's Sorry" by Fredrik Backman. I have recently been reading a lot of anthologies of YA short stories (and often ugly crying as a result of them). I am a big fan of audiobooks and listening to authors read their own work. If you haven't heard Jason Reynolds read his books, you are missing out. For non-fiction, I love science-related history. 

I live on Long Island with my two teenage sons and my best friend's daughter... and my dopey pitbull. Last year I lost my best friend suddenly -- she died of a heart attack just two years after her husband died of the same. Their daughter came to live with me. And now a lot of my writing is about grief and about processing and about the absurdity of both of those things. 

"Tacky Tourist" Day

Mad Hatter Day 10/6

Sally, a classic

Hook... Hooked on Books

My clan

My Life Wife

Keep Skeptical, People.



M.S. Program in Library & Information Science 

Certificate in Advanced Graduate Study in Education Leadership Management (45 doctoral-level credits) 

MS Program in Secondary Education (30 credits completed), 2009-2010 

MA, History, 2008 

BA, English, History minor, Honors Thesis: “Self” in Travel Narratives, 2005 

Liberal Arts, Honors Program


College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program: Admissions Consultant, 2019-2020; Assistant Director, 2014-2019; Accreditation Consultant/Writer, Genetic Counseling Program, 2019; Program Coordinator, 2008-2014; Executive Secretary, 2006-2008 

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Department of English: Adjunct Instructor, First Year Writing, Fall 2018 

College of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Department of History: Research & Teaching Assistant to the Chair, 2006-2014 

College of Management, Department of Marketing & International Business: Secretary, 2005-2006 

Writing Instructor, Writing Center (part-time), 2017-2019; Adjunct Instructor, English Composition I (non-fiction), Fall 2018; Adjunct Instructor, English Composition II, Adolescent Literature, Fall 2018; Adjunct Instructor, English Composition II, The Short Story, Spring 2019 



Vidair, H.B., Gustafson, P.L., & Feindler, E.L. (expected 2024). The Thesis and Dissertation Guide for Doctoral Students in Applied Psychology & Related Fields. Oxford University Press. 

Vidair, H.B., Kobernick, C.L., Teitelbaum, N., Gustafson, P.L., Feindler, E.L. (2019). A Systematic Review of Research on Dissertations in Applied Fields of Psychology. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 13(4). 

Michalski, D.S. & Gustafson, P.L. (2018). Implementing a Centralized Application Service. NAGAP Perspectives, 33(3), 33-34. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2018). Losing a Student, NAGAP Perspectives, 30(1), 24-30. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2016). The Graduate Application: What Signals Are We Sending? NAGAP Perspectives, 28(1), 23-26. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2016). Review of “Fundraising and Institutional Advancement: Theory, Practice, and New Paradigms” by Noah D. Drezner and Frances Huehls. Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 38(1). 

Gustafson, P.L. (2015). Review of “Reconstructing Policy in Higher Education: Feminist Poststructural Perspectives” by Elizabeth J. Allan, Susan Van Deventer Iverson, and Rebecca Ropers-Hulman (eds). Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement, 19(4), 209-212. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2015). Review of “Why Higher Education Should Have a Leftist Bias” by Donald Lazere. Review of Higher Education, John Hopkins University Press, 38(4), 16-17. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2015) Review of “Admissions for the 21st Century” by Robert J. Sternberg. NAGAP Perspectives, 27(2), 16-17. 

Gustafson, P.L. & Avivi, A. (2014). Navigating Graduate Program Choices in Mental Health Fields for GEM Professionals and Their Prospective Students. NAGAP Perspectives, 26(4), 13-17. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2014). Review of “At the Intersection of Education, Marketing, and Transformation” by Sabra Brock. Review of Higher Education, 38(1), 180-182. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2014). Knowing what you are accepting them into: Developing meaningful communications between graduate admissions staff and graduate program faculty. NAGAP Perspectives, 26(2), 17-19. 

Gustafson, P.L. (2005). “Self” in Travel Narratives. Unpublished Honors Thesis, Long Island University. 


Ripley, J., Nadkarni, L, Rodriquez, G., Gustafson, P.L., Gathercoal, K., Gant, C.C., and Perl, Robert, (2018). "Student Debt in NCSPP Affiliate Programs: Without a fairy godmother, responsible students prepare for lives of service.” Presented at the 2018 National Council of Schools of Professional Psychology (NCSPP) Mid-Winter Conference. 

Gustafson, P.L. (April 2015). What Signals Are We Sending? The Relationship Between Application Components and Retention. Presentation at National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA. 

Gustafson, P.L. & Intravia, E.E. (April 2015). Professional Writing in Graduate Enrollment Management. Presentation at National Association of Graduate Admissions Professionals Annual Conference, New Orleans, LA. 

Gustafson, P.L. (July 2014). E-Portfolio Implementation and Competency-Based Student Evaluation. Presentation to Outcomes Assessment Committee, LIU Post Campus.