This is Stephanie D'Auria. She is an Associate Professor of Sociology and also Chair of the Sociology Department. Stephanie has been teaching at Vanguard for the past 10 years. She is a first-generation college graduate with an undergraduate degree in human services from Cal State Fullerton and PhD from the University California, Riverside in sociology.
"I was taking prerequisite courses after finishing my time at Fullerton and there was a professor who was encouraging me to go to graduate school. They were building me up saying my grades were really good and I was smart enough to go. At that point, I had never been encouraged like that before, so I applied and eventually went based on that whim."
Stephanie was born in Apple Valley, California and moved to Virginia Beach until she attended middle school for her parent's job relocation. Her family would also spend time living in Missouri. Due to moving, it was difficult for Stephanie to establish lifelong friendships. She remembers growing up in a faith-based household with limited resources for basic needs. When she was younger, her dad repurposed an old chalkboard for her knowing she had a passion for learning and being in the classroom.
While she was completing her PhD, Stephanie had the opportunity to visit the California Institution for Women which is a lady’s penitentiary in Chino. There, she was introduced to a group called convicted women against abuse. An inmate-initiated and inmate-led group that provides a setting for incarcerated women to share their past experiences of abuse, victimization or legal cases. Stephanie is the first professor in Southern California to offer an Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program in a local jail.
"Oftentimes these women are abused and sometimes they cope in a negative way with either drugs or alcohol. Abuse is a common aspect for a female before they are incarcerated. We try to really build them up and motivate them against these negative coping mechanisms. With sociology, I believe Christ gives us a calling to be more compassionate and express our love to many people. I think with sociology it helps us study society and how we can make meaningful change."
During her time there, she met Professor Emerita Elizabeth Leonard who used to work in the sociology department at Vanguard, who retired in Ireland and passed away to be with the Lord. She asked Stephanie to apply for an open adjunct position teaching a couple of her classes. She was shortly hired and accepted the role. Since then, Stephanie is now married and has two young children. The family enjoys camping and visiting national parks. She considers her and her husband ‘foodies’ that enjoy trying different kinds of restaurants.
Vanguard is so thankful for Stephanie's heart in helping serve our society with compassion and educating students to do the same in their future careers.
- university news