Karen L. Suyemoto, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She received her B.S. in Clinical Psychology and English from Tufts University in 1987 and her Ph.D. (1994) from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. After completing her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco (Department of Psychiatry in the School of Medicine), she held Assistant Professor positions at Saint Mary's College of Maryland (1995-1998) and Northeastern University (1998-2000) before moving to her current position.
Dr. Suyemoto's teaching, scholarship, and community coaction reflect her commitment to contributing to social justice and empowering those who have been oppressed, marginalized, or silenced. Her courses focus on issues within her joint disciplines related to racialization, culture, and diversity, with secondary foci on applications of psychology and qualitative methods. With her research team, she focuses her scholarship on the processes of resisting oppression from both privileged and marginalized statuses; on meanings, constructions, and operationalizations of identities and concepts related to power and privilege; and on connections between research/theory and practice in order to contribute to mental health and social justice.
Current research projects include: an ongoing project currently in data collection and preliminary analysis examining the effects of racism for people of color and how taking action to resist or challenge racism personally or systemically may moderate the negative psychological effects of experiencing racism; and a project in collaborative development designing and evaluating intervention workshops to address racism related stress for people of color. Previous publications and presentations have focused on inter-minority race relations, training psychologists for cultural sensitivity, teaching for transformation and social justice, and feminist applications and connections with multicultural understandings in psychotherapy. Foci of current graduate students within her research team include effective services for promoting Asian American mental health and well being; intersectionality, racism, and sexism for Asian American women; intergenerational trauma for southeast Asian refugees; experiences of transracial/transnational adoptees; and the development of ally stances and action.
Dr. Suyemoto is a licensed psychologist. She has provided consultation and training focusing on diversity and anti-racist therapy and education both locally and nationally. She has contributed leadership and service to national and regional associations such as the New England Center for Inclusive Teaching, the Association for Asian American Studies, and the American Psychological Association’s Minority Fellowship Program. Dr. Suyemoto has served as President of the national Asian American Psychological Association [AAPA] and was one of the first co-chairs of the AAPA Division on Women. She currently serves as the AAPA observing representative to the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives. In 2012, she was the first recipient of the Joan H. Liem Award for Outstanding Doctoral Mentoring. In 2013, she was recognized as a White House Champion of Change: Asian American Pacific Islander Women and also received the Asian American Psychological Association's Distinguished Contributions Award.