Short Bio
Picture of Karen Suyemoto

Karen L. Suyemoto, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology and Asian American Studies and the Director of the Transnational Cultural and Community Studies graduate program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. In 2012, she was the inaugural 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. Her teaching, scholarship, and community coaction reflect her commitment to contributing to social justice and empowering those who have been oppressed, marginalized, or silenced. She is particularly interested in how people resist racism and promote equity and justice, individually or through education or community interventions.

Dr. Suyemoto’s courses focus on issues within psychology and ethnic studies related to racialization, culture, and diversity, with secondary foci on applications of psychology and qualitative methods. Current research projects include an ongoing project examining how resisting or challenging racism personally or systemically may moderate the negative psychological effects of experiencing racism for people of color; a project designing and evaluating intervention workshops to address racism related stress for people of color. She is also collaborating on a two-book project focused on teaching and learning about racism relationally, engaging both the emotional process and the interpersonal dynamics. Foci of recent graduate students within her research team include strategies for negotiating discrimination for Asian American women leaders, intergenerational values and mental health stigma in Asian Americans; the moderating effects of internalized racism on the relation of interpersonal racism and mental health for Asian Americans; and the development of White ally stances and action.

Previous publications have focused on inter-minority race relations, ally and advocacy development, training psychologists for cultural sensitivity, teaching for transformation and social justice, and feminist applications and connections with multicultural understandings in psychotherapy. Her scholarship includes two books, more than 40 articles and chapters, and over 100 conference presentations or posters, frequently in collaboration with students. Dr. Suyemoto is a licensed psychologist who provides diversity consultation, training, and mentoring both locally and nationally. Her consultation work particularly focuses on how ethnocultural responsiveness and racial justice can be developed through and integrated into higher education, and into psychological practice, research, and training.

Dr. Suyemoto 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. She 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 recently (2014 to 2017) served as AAPA’s delegate to the American Psychological Association Council of Representatives. She is currently serving as the Chair of the APA Task Force developing the new Guidelines for Race and Ethnicity in Psychology.

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