Robyn Stein DeLuca is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Stony Brook University where she’s taught Women’s Studies through the lenses of psychology and healthcare for over fifteen years. DeLuca studies the psychology of pregnancy, including postpartum depression and the psychosocial consequences of cesarean delivery. For two years, she was the Executive Director of the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program at Stony Brook. In 2015, DeLuca received a graduate certificate in Religious Studies and Education from the Harvard Divinity School. She teaches and speaks often about the role of women in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
My Definition Of Success | In general, success to me has come to mean being a positive force in the world. Whether it’s my professional or personal life, being someone who provides useful information, guidance, or love or friendship is what makes me feel like a successful human being. I think when I was younger I thought of success more in terms of personal accomplishments, rather than what I could contribute to others.
My Highlights | In my career so far, serving as a faculty member in the Women’s Studies Program at Stony Brook University for 15 years was one of the most creative, empowering times of my life that provided tremendous opportunities for growth for myself and my students. It was a thrill to be able to do research and teach about topics I was passionate about, and engage students in new kinds of thinking.
In my personal life, I’m super-proud of my two children, Caroline and Jamie, who in my humble opinion, are terrific people. Mothering them has been a great gift in my life.
The Difference Between Good And Great | I think the two biggest differences are that people who are great at what they do have passion and commitment. There is nothing like loving what you do to propel yourself to greatness. But, that being said, achievement takes enormous commitment, despite any ups and downs that may come. A powerful work ethic goes a long way.
A Key Talent | One strength that has been critical to my success is learning how to ask for help and advice. When I was younger, asking for advice felt like it meant I didn’t know things I should, and I hesitated. But I eventually pushed myself to approach experts in whatever I was pursuing. It was scary at first, but incredibly useful. People who are successful in their field usually are a) very happy to share their experience and wisdom and b) have information that will save you from wasting your time spinning your wheels. Their achievements can provide inspiration and a road map for your goals.
How I Use My Mind | For me, being organized and thoughtful about what I want has been useful. You can’t achieve goals if you don’t know what they are. There was a time when I knew I was ready to try something outside academia but wasn’t sure what. Giving myself the time to dream/ponder/research brought me to the conclusion that I wanted to do more public speaking, and write books about women’s reproductive health for the general public. Once I was able to nail down some specific goals, I went to some experts for advice, and then made a flexible timeline for accomplishing steps towards them.
No one achieves by accident. Doing some self-reflection every so often to make sure I’m doing what I need to, and that I still want the end result, keeps me realistic and focused.
Lessons I Have Learnt | Achievement is almost never a straight line from A to B. We take detours, change paths, and even change goals. We grow and become different people, and have to make adjustments mid-course. In this day and age, no one has only one career, or spends their employed life working for one company. The trick is to become comfortable with some uncertainty, and know that for the most part, one decision will not define your life.
Performing At My Peak | Preparation. It may sound boring and basic, but when you’ve done your homework, your natural abilities can flow.
My Future Dreams And Ambitions | There is so much I want to do. I want to write a few books bringing a positive message about women’s reproductive and psychological health. I have long dreamed of developing a childbirth education program that helps women have satisfying birthing experiences. I want to dispel stereotypes so everyone’s potential can be unleashed. Turning 50 has been an energizing event for me. I see the world as wide-open with possibilities.
I Am Inspired By | My parents come to mind first, Stan Stein and the late great Barbara Stein. They have lived their lives with tremendous integrity and brought a steadfast work ethic to everything they did. My longtime mentor, Dr. Marci Lobel, continues to inspire me with her blazing commitment to lift up those around her.
The Legacy I Would Like To Leave | I would love to leave a legacy of a thoughtful, caring woman who used her intellect to highlight the truth of women’s personal and professional potential.
Useful Links |
Watch Robyn’s TED Talk: