Kristen Gillespie-Lynch


Kristen Gillespie-Lynch is a Professor of Developmental and Educational Psychology at the College of Staten Island (CSI) and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is the Director of CSI’s Advanced Certificate Program in Autism. When they were still in graduate school, an autistic colleague, Dr. Steven K. Kapp, and Dr. Gillespie-Lynch co-led one of the earlier studies about the neurodiversity movement. One of the key findings from that study was that people on the autism spectrum recognize unique benefits of being autistic but also desire supports to help them adapt. Therefore, she currently conducts participatory autism research, or collaborates with neurodivergent people, to adapt and evaluate programming to improve the lives of autistic people. She leads and evaluates a mentorship program for autistic college students at CSI (Building Bridges Project REACH) and online autism trainings that have been used to increase autism understanding and acceptance among students and educators internationally. In her first National Science Foundation (NSF) funded grant (2020-2024) as a Principal Investigator, she collaborated with a talented neurodiverse team of scholars, students, educators, and clinicians to help autistic young people develop employment skills through Game Design and Employment workshops. She is currently the Co-PI of a new NSF funded study (led by Drs. Martin and Riccio of the Education Development Center) through which they pair autistic college student mentors with autistic high school student mentees to promote employment-related skills and positive autistic identity development for both mentees and mentors. She was honored to be a founding advisor for INSAR’s Autistic Researchers Committee. She is a member of the editorial board for the journal Autism and a member of the research team for Project PEACES, a Spencer Foundation funded study (led by Drs. Nachman and Cox) that seeks to learn from autistic college students how they define success to support them more effectively. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or student researcher, please reach out to Dr. Gillespie-Lynch (



MA, Queens College CUNY

BA, Indiana University Bloomington

Scholarship and Publications
Kristen Gillespie-Lynch

Contact Information

Office: Building 4S Room 103
Fax: 718.982.4114