Asian American Research Team
AART Past year graduate students
Graduate Researchers
Picture of Thanh Nguyen Thanh Nguyen M.A., is a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, and an APA Minority Fellowship Program reappointed-fellow. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her Master’s of Arts in Special Education from San Francisco State University. She also completed her Clinical Psychology master’s thesis, which examined early intervention service disparities among Black and Latinx children with autism. Thanh’s clinical and research interests center on reducing health service inequities among children of color with developmental disorders and their families, particularly those from underserved Southeast Asian refugee and immigrant communities. She aims to address systemic barriers to early diagnosis while simultaneously increase access to ethnoculturally responsive/congruent behavioral health care. Thanh has provided clinical services at Tufts’ Center for Children with Special Needs and Aspire Health Alliance, MA, with an emphasis on working with children and families from underserved backgrounds (e.g., low-income Asian American immigrants). She is currently working on her dissertation proposal that will focus on understanding the family relationship processes experienced by Asian American adults from Confucius heritage and immigrant family background, within the context of having a sibling with autism.
AART 2009
Doctoral Alumni
Picture of Alissa Hochman Alissa Hochman (PhD, 2019)
Current position: Visiting Professor, Psychology Department, Muhlenberg College
Dissertation title: Dismantling an Intervention Aimed at Increasing White People's Knowledge And Understanding of Racial Justice Issues
Thesis title: Being and Becoming an Ally: The Lived Experience of Social Justice
Alissa Hochman’s expertise centers on issues of race and racism, and the process of becoming an ally, and has provided training for clinicians and teachers on integrating ally consciousness and development into education, training, and therapy. She is also actively involved in advocacy to reduce gun violence and address the inequality with which inner city gun violence is addressed; she has testified at the State House and participated in initiatives aimed at educating teens about gun violence.
Picture of Chuck Liu Charles (Chuck) Liu (PhD 2018)
Current position: Assistant Professor, Wheaton College
Dissertation title: The Impact of Personal and Familial Confucian Values on Mental Illness Stigma and Help Seeking Attitudes Among Asian Americans From Confucian Cultures
Thesis title: The Effects of Racism Related Stress on Asian Americans; Anxiety and Depression Among Different Generational Statuses
Chuck Liu’s research interests include the intersection of culture and mental health among Asian Americans, as well as the impact of racism on mental health. His pre-doctoral internship training at I Ola Lahui Rural Hawai'i Behavioral Health sparked an interest in how psychologists can reach underserved populations that avoid traditional outpatient clinics by serving in integrated behavioral healthcare settings. He completed a post doc through I Ola Lahui, flying weekly to Hilo as a psychologist in a family medicine clinic. Dr. Liu is a past fellow of the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program and is a member of the Asian American Psychological Association. In his free time, he gardens with his family in the beautiful Manoa Valley and enjoys hunting for tropical fruits.
Picture of Danielle Godon Danielle Godon-Decoteau (PhD, 2018)
Current position: Visiting lecturer in the Psychology and Education Department at Mount Holyoke College.
Dissertation title: Examining the moderating role of internalized racism on the relation between racism-related stress and mental health symptoms in Asian Americans
Thesis title: Sense of belonging and sense of exclusion in Korean transracial adoptees (Mount Holyoke)
Danielle Godon-Decoteau is interested in the study of race, ethnicity, and culture; racism; and Asian American mental health. One facet of Danielle’s research explores the experiences of transracial international adoptees (i.e., people of color who were adopted from abroad by white European American families). Her other major area of research is on the relation between internalized racism and Asian American mental health. Danielle utilizes both quantitative and qualitative methodologies in her research and hopes to produce scholarship that promotes social justice. She currently serves on the board for the Division of Asian Americans with Multiple Heritages (Asian American Psychological Association) as well as co-chairs the Adoption Research and Practice special interest group of Division 17 (American Psychological Association). In the past, Danielle has served on the board of Boston Korean Adoptees, Inc.
Picture of Fanny Ng Fanny Ng (PhD, 2017)
Current position: Clinical Psychologist at the Cancer Center at Bellevue Hospital, New York, NY.
Dissertation title: Strategies for Negotiating Intersectional Discrimination Related to Racism and Sexism of Asian American Women Engaged in Leadership
Thesis title: The Relation of Racism-related Stress to Racial Identity, Ethnic Identity and Racism-Related Empowerment in Asian Americans
Fanny Ng recently completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Veteran Affairs Northern California Healthcare System, having completed her pre-doctoral internship at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA. Her clinical and research interests include the impact of race and racism on mental health and the integration of psychology into primary care settings as a way of increasing access, understanding, and utilization of mental health services by communities where mental health stigma and resource issues may be significant barriers to getting services. Fanny has a keen interest in organizational leadership within psychology, seeking to connect clinical and research experiences with governance, public policy, and social justice advocacy currently and in the future. She was a recipient of a Minority Fellowship from the American Psychological Association and has served on the Asian American Psychological Association's (AAPA) Board of Directors as the elected Student Representative, as the President and Treasurer of the AAPA Division of Students, and as the student representative for the American Psychological Association’s division 35 section 5, the Psychology of Asian Pacific American women.
Picture of Shruti Mukkamala Shruti Mukkamala (PhD, 2015)
Current position: Senior Staff Psychologist, University of California, Irvine Counseling Center
Dissertation title: The Intersectionality of Racism and Sexism for Asian American Women
Shruti Mukkamala is a former international student who has been living in the U.S. since more than a decade ago. Her experiences of being a first-generation immigrant and a woman of color in the U.S. have deeply impacted her personal identity and professional interests. Her current role involves working clinically with students at the UCI campus. She is also involved in training and supervision, outreach and consultation with the greater campus community at UCI. Her research interests are broadly focused on intersectional discrimination and its impact on mental health and lived experience.
Picture of John Tawa John Tawa (PhD, 2013)
Current position: Assistant professor in the Psychology and Education Department at Mount Holyoke College.
Dissertation title: The Influences of Social Identities and Resource Competition in Blacks’ And Asians’ Social Distance: A Virtual World Method
Dr. Tawa's research focuses on race-relations between Black/African Americans and Asian/Asian Americans. In addition, he is interested in the use of virtual technology for the behavioral measurement of intergroup relations. For his dissertation, Dr. Tawa used the virtual world, Second Life, to examine how resource competition affected the social distances between Black and Asian participants' self-resembling avatars. Dr. Tawa is a past fellow of the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program and recipient of the Asian American Psychological Association Division of Students 2008 Student Researcher Award. He is the proud father of two daughters, Amaya and Kalia.
Picture of Vali Kahn Vali D. Kahn (PhD 2012)
Dissertation title: The Social Negotiation of Ambiguous In-Between Stigmatized Identities: Investigating Identity Processes in Multiracial and Bisexual People
Vali D. Kahn (1975-2019) completed her internship at Massachusetts Mental Health Center, Division of Public Psychiatry of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Department and her post-doctoral fellowship at the Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School. Following her post-doc, she worked as Associate in Psychology at the Cambridge Health Alliance/Harvard Medical School, as an adjunct professor at Lesley University, and in private practice in Cambridge, MA. She was an insightful and deeply empathic therapist whom professional colleagues, clients, friends, and family knew as a courageous, honest, strong, sensitive, and compassionate person. She is deeply missed by all who knew her.
Picture of Stephanie Day Stephanie C. Day (PhD , 2010)
Current positions: Licensed Psychologist and Research Health Scientist – Center for Innovations in Quality, Effectiveness, and Safety (IQUeSt), Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston, and the South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC); Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM)
Dissertation Title: Adopted Korean Women: The Influences of Becoming a First-Time Biological Mother on the Negotiation of Racial Identities, Ethnic Identities, and Cultural Orientations
Thesis Title: Asian American Youth: Development, Empowerment, and Racial and Ethnic Identities
Dr. Day’s research and quality improvement efforts focus on increasing access to mental health care for rural and underserved Veterans using technology to deliver or extend care. She applies a multicultural lens to the implementation and evaluation of technology-based innovations (i.e., video telehealth to home, web-based programs, mental health apps) and the examination of rurality as a cultural factor related to utilization of video telehealth to home among Veterans.
Picture of Nancy Lin Nancy J. Lin (PhD, 2010)
Current positions: Licensed clinical psychologist and owner of Go to Sleep San Diego, a private practice in San Diego, CA, providing therapy for people suffering from insomnia, trauma, depression and related problems.
Dissertation Title: Journeys to Self and Identities: Cambodian and Southern Sudanese Refugee Experiences
Thesis Title: Legacies of Trauma: The Cambodian American Experience
Dr. Lin is a past fellow of the American Psychological Association Minority Fellowship Program. She completed her internship and postdoctoral training at the VA San Diego Healthcare System (VASDHS) and served as staff psychologist and researcher of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), insomnia, and the use of videoconferencing for therapy (telehealth). From 2010-2011, she was Director of the VASDHS’ PTSD Clinic for Veterans of the Global War on Terror and Assistant Professor at UCSD School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry. In 2011, she was invited to work at the Department of Defense, serving as staff psychologist at Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support (OASIS) Program, the Navy’s flagship residential PTSD treatment program. In 2014, the Naval Medical Center San Diego designated her an Associate Master Clinician. Dr. Lin has also worked with the Veterans Medical Research Foundation investigating the effectiveness of office- versus home-based therapy to Veterans with PTSD. She has taught at San Diego State University’s Counseling and Educational Psychology Department’s Community-based Block (CBB) Master’s Program focusing on trauma and cultural diversity, and at the University of Southern California's School of Social Work on military culture and trauma.
Picture of Phuong Nguyen Phuong T. Nguyen (PhD, 2009)
Current positions: Associate Professor, Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Baylor College of Medicine; Director of Psychology Services, Ben Taub Hospital
Dissertation title: Examining the process by which social interactions with various racial and ethnic peer groups influence the development of racial and ethnic identity in second generation Vietnamese American Adolescent Males.
Thesis title: The Development of a New Musical-Mood Induction Technique and its Use to Study Mood-Congruent Memory. (Stephen F. Austin University)
Phuong T. Nguyen completed his predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School. He currently alsoserves as the Training Director for the BCM Psychology Internship Program and the BTH/BCM Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, which includes the country’s first formal psychology postdoctoral fellowship track specializing in anti-human trafficking work. At BCM, Phuong enjoys a mixture of leadership, training, clinical, and research activities. Given his refugee background, his clinical and research interests stem from his desire to better understand and address psychological difficulties experienced by historically under-served and marginalized groups, especially racial and ethnic minorities, refugees, internally displaced and homeless individuals, and human trafficking survivors.
Picture of Julie AhnAllen Julie AhnAllen (PhD, 2006)
Current Position: Associate Director of Diversity & Inclusion and Director of Training at Boston College, University Counseling Services
Dissertation Title: Development of Racial and/or Ethnic Identities of Asian American Women and White European American Men Experiencing Interracial Dating
Thesis Title: Relationship between Physical Appearance, Sense of Belonging, Feelings of Exclusion, and Racial/Ethnic Self Identity Among Multiracial Japanese-European Americans
Dr. AhnAllen’s clinical and training interests are on unique mental health needs of students of color and other marginalized groups on college campuses, culturally responsive training and practice, racial trauma, racial and ethnic identity development, immigration experiences, and Asian American psychology. She is a member of Asian American Psychological Association and Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers.
Picture of Grace Kim Grace S. Kim (PhD, 2006)
Current Position: Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Counseling Psychology & Applied Human Development, Boston University Wheelock College of Education & Human Development
Dissertation title: The co-construction of racial and ethnic identities and self-esteem in Asian American youth: Effects of belonging and exclusion
Thesis title: Belonging, exclusion and construction of racial and ethnic identities among adult Korean transracial adoptees
Dr. Kim’s research has two foci: Social Justice Education and Asian American Psychology. With regards to social justice education, she explores how students understand meanings of diversity, how to effectively teach diversity and social justice, and how to train future professionals to be more culturally humble and competent. With regards to Asian American psychology, she researches negotiation of racial and ethnic identities, experiences of belonging and exclusion, and mental health in Asian Americans. She explores lived experiences of diverse Asian Americans, such as transracial adoptees and immigrant families. Dr. Kim is a past fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) Minority Fellowship Program, the Institute for Asian American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) Leadership Fellows Program. Currently, she is a fellow of AAPA, the co-chair of AAPA Leadership Fellows Program, and the president-elect of APA Division 35 (Society for the Psychology of Women), Section 5 (Psychology of Asian Pacific American Women). She also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Asian American Studies, Women and Therapy, and The Counseling Psychologist.
Masters Alumni
Picture of Zainab Salejwala Zainab Salejwala (M.S.)
Current Position:Lecturer at UMass Boston and Writing Specialist at Northeastern University
Thesis title:Amplifying and Addressing LGBTQIA student of color needs and voices
Zainab is an alumnus of the Critical Ethnic and Community Studies Program (formerly Transnational, Cultural and Community Studies). Previously as a Graduate Assistant, they helped with programming and evaluation for the Honors R25 Caregiver, Child, and Community Health summers program in which undergraduate students gain exposure to interdisciplinary research. Currently, Zainab is using their capstone to inform their teaching in a Critical Reading and Writing course through Academic Support Program that focuses on social identity and intersectionality. Zainab is also a Writing Specialist through Foundation Year, which is a gateway college program for Boston Public School graduates who are first generation, students of color, and come from low-income backgrounds. Zainab is passionate about helping marginalized students succeed within higher education, whether through teaching, mentoring and/or research.
AART 2012