Bright Harbor Healthcare

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Congratulations Robert Austin, Field Instructor of the Year!!!!

By: Alysha Simmons, Intern


My time here at Ocean Academy has been such as asset to me both professionally, and personally.  All the staff and students have accepted me with open arms, allowing me to be a part of their community.  I credit this partly to Rob Austin, my supervisor.  He saw my strengths and let my flourish in them.  Rob was supportive, and encouraging, guiding me through my time here.  He has been so amazing that when the opportunity to nominate him for Field Instructor of the Year, it was a no brainer.  Thank you to Rob and the entire faculty here at Ocean Academy for all that you have done for me, and allowing me to be a part of your team. Following in my nomination letter that won Rob Austin, Field Instructor of the Year from Stockton University.


I am nominating my supervisor and fellow Stockton alumni Robert Austin LCSW for supervisor of the year.  Through my time here at Ocean Academy Rob has provided exceptional supervision.  Rob has treated me not as an intern but as a fellow social worker.  He has done so by including me in clinical team meetings with the psychiatrist, inviting me to sit in on manifestation determination meetings, and IEP meetings.  I was fully encouraged to participate in these meetings and my input was valued by Rob and the other participants in these meetings.  He has introduced me to other professionals who provide resources in the community such as; CMO’s, district case managers, psychiatrists, probation officers, schools counselors, and other mental health professionals.  Mr. Austin has brought me into his network of other professionals, so that in the future I am familiar with them, and can tap into their services and expertise.  Rob has fostered my confidence so that I am capable of interacting with these other professionals in an appropriate manner, and see them as my peers.

One example of how Rob has brought me into his professional life is when he included me in a professional development conference.   He serves on the committee that hosted the conference and thought it would be a great learning experience for me to attend.  I was able to network with other professionals at the conference, as well as assist him in facilitating the event.  The most valuable part of the day for me was when I was able to sit in on Rob’s presentation with the families.  I watched him demonstrate empathy, active listening, and community resource linkage.  Most importantly I saw him demonstrate his clinical skills, and his rapport with the consumer who easily engaged with him.  While in the halls I overheard participants graciously expressing their gratitude for the information that Rob had provided to them, and the empathy he had shown.  After the conference he made sure to go over the events and information with me to highlight the important skills that were displayed.

My time at Ocean Academy would not have been as pleasant or productive if it were not for Mr. Austin.  I am forever grateful for the wonderful opportunities he has provided me with.  He has shown me new ways to build rapport with oppositional students, and to empower them using a strength based approach.  I have gained knowledge on how each student contributes to the community here at school.  I myself have been welcomed into this community with the assistance of Rob’s leadership, and knowledge.  Mr. Austin’s openness to teach me, his expertise, and ability to bring out my strengths has not only set an amazing example for me but has also prepared me to work further in the field of social work, and mental health.  I will never forget the experience that he has given to me, and I am forever grateful to have had such a wonderful supervisor who turned into a wonderful colleague.