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Here we highlight the extraordinary work of our members, both those recognized by SCRA and those who have won awards from the APA.
In her dissertation Dr. Francesca Esposito focused on understanding the lived reality of those experiencing immigration detention in Rome’s Ponte Galeria center, the largest Italian detention facility. Dr. Esposito incorporated community psychology principles into an ecological, multilevel framework, effectively situating her project in the appropriate research literature and providing a compelling context for her work. Her findings have significant implications, which she discussed thoroughly, providing recommendations for policy changes. Her clear links to community psychology theories and applications, the extent to which her work advances community psychology applications, her methodological rigor, and her compelling evidence that immigration detention should be abolished for all led the SCRA Dissertation Awards Committee to select Dr. Esposito’s dissertation as the Outstanding Community Psychology Dissertation of 2020.
Dr. Christine Rosales in her dissertation studied Latina women to identify key links between structures of oppression and wellness, specifically examining the relationship between everyday resistance and freedom dreams. Participants were engaged through workshops, a zine making event, and interviews. Dr. Rosales provided strong links to existing community psychology literature, using an ecological metaphor, Emergent Strategy (Brown, 2017), and a decolonial framework. Her emphasis on radical self-love, radical hope, freedom as everyday resistance, with her innovative findings and contributions led the SCRA Dissertation Awards Committee to select Dr. Rosales’ dissertation as the Outstanding Wellness Dissertation of 2021. Dr. Rosales’ future goals include further developing herself as a scholar-activist, reconnecting with ancestral knowledges, and deepening community relationships with folks who are dreaming and creating a more socially just world.
Dr. Urmitapa Dutta is Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Massachusetts Lowell. Following in the footsteps of her parents and foremothers, she was drawn to education as a space for struggle, re-imagination, and transformative social change. Through different facets of her pedagogical endeavors, Urmitapa works to promote epistemic justice, facilitate sociopolitical education, and foster student capacities to understand and resist intersecting vectors of colonialism, racism, imperialism, neoliberal capitalism, and heteropatriarchy in their lives. This work is inextricably intertwined with her decolonial feminist praxis alongside grassroots activists to (co)create communities of resistance and care against coloniality and state violence. Beyond formal institutionalized spaces, Urmitapa actively democratizes research and theory to foster critical consciousness in her communities, while uplifting knowledges of communities at the frontlines of decolonial and anti-racist struggles. She has also advanced community psychology scholarship on social justice and decolonial pedagogies, often through collaborative publications with students and activists.
Dr. Andrew D. Case is an assistant professor with appointments in the Department of Psychological Science and the community psychology concentration of the Health Psychology PhD Program at UNC Charlotte. He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses on community psychology, health psychology, and diversity. His scholarship spans two areas. First, he conducts basic research that clarifies the roots of racial disparities in health, with a specific focus on racism and socioeconomic status as fundamental causes of the disproportionate disease burden borne by Black people in the U.S. Second, he conducts applied research on the critical race theory/Black feminist concept of “counterspaces” and the potential of these settings for enhancing well-being in the face of adversity. His additional contributions to the field include: co-authoring the newest edition of the textbook, Community Psychology: Linking Individuals and Communities; serving on the editorial board of the American Journal of Community Psychology; and, being an inaugural member of the SCRA Research Council.
Dr. Jessica Shaw is an Assistant Professor in the Community and Prevention Research Program in the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Psychology Department. Relying on community partnerships, Jessica uses research and evaluation to improve systems that respond to and interface with those affected by gender-based violence. Jessica’s work has been funded by the U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women, National Institute of Justice, and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. She has presented her research at the White House, and has served as a subject matter expert on several national committees focused on improving system responses to sexual assault. Jessica’s work is informed by a strong commitment to social justice and action, paying particular attention to the ways in which gender-based violence disproportionately impacts some individuals and communities. Through her research, Jessica hopes to continue to challenge and combat structural oppression.
Dr. Ashmeet K. Oberoi is an Assistant Professor of Professional Practice (Clinical Line) and the Director of the Community and Social Change Program in the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies at the University of Miami. Additionally, she serves on the SCRA Executive Committee as Member-at-Large for APA programming. In each of these roles, she has made several contributions to the field of community psychology through teaching and mentoring for community psychology, scholarship of practice and policy advocacy, and service to SCRA. Her focus is on understanding and creating settings that build community, where individuals with diverse identities participate in intentional engagement across their differences to challenge existing oppressive structures and white supremacy. She has published her work in a variety of outlets including the American Journal of Community Psychology, Journal of Prevention & Intervention in the Community, and the Journal of Adolescent Research. Dr. Oberoi is the recipient of "2020 University of Miami Excellence in Civic Engagement Award”.
Dr. Joseph P. Gone is a professor in the Faculties of Medicine and of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, and the Faculty Director of the Harvard University Native American Program. SCRA has been Dr. Gone’s primary intellectual home since the late 1990s. Dr. Gone’s scholarship has helped to reimagine mental health services for scholars, practitioners, and American Indian community leaders. He has elaborated a promising new approach to making mental health services more fully accessible, culturally appropriate, and demonstrably effective for alleviating disabling distress among American Indians through research partnerships with Indigenous communities. Attention to issues of power, includingthe coloniality of conventional mental health knowledge and practices and the therapeutic potential of American Indian cultural traditions are centered in Dr. Gone’s conceptual and applied work. Throughout his career, he has cultivated a distinctive scholarly vision that is anchored in community psychology and interdisciplinary; engaged with broad theoretical currents while remaining resolutely relevant in practical terms; and addressed the broad intersections of culture and mental health while remaining steadfastly committed to advancing the well-being of American Indian nations and other Indigenous peoples.
Heather McGhee has demonstrably enacted the guiding principles and values of Community Psychology throughout her career. During her time in leadership at the nonpartisan think tank, Demos, Heather influenced the direction of national policy around voting rights, student debt, and the minimum wage, among many other economic policy issues. Heather has testified in Congress, drafted legislation, and developed strategies for organizations and campaigns that improved the lives of millions. Her new book, The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together, is taking the policy world by storm as we speak. Heather currently serves as chair of the board of Color of Change, the country’s largest online racial justice organization, and volunteers for numerous other boards of philanthropic and social justice organizations. She holds a B.A. in American Studies from Yale University and a J.D. from the University of California at Berkeley School of Law.
Dr. Sinead Younge is a professor of psychology and director of the Social Justice Inquiry and Praxis Institute in the Andrew Young Center for Global Leadership at Morehouse College. Sinead first joined SCRA as a Michigan State University graduate student and has received invaluable mentoring throughout her career. As a member of the Morehouse College faculty, Sinead has had the privilege of working with students from the Atlanta University Center and beyond.
Historically Black Colleges/Universities (HBCUs) such as Morehouse College have a long tradition of contributing to community psychology. Sinead continues in that tradition by mentoring traditionally underrepresented undergraduates, graduates and postdoctoral fellows. Sinead’s research focuses on health equity. She endeavors to support, train, mentor, and advocate on behalf of the next generation of community psychologists, whose focus is on racial equity and social justice.
Negrete is finalizing her PhD in Community Psychology from the University of Virginia and will begin a tenure-track faculty position at Wesleyan University in fall 2021. Andrea is a recipient of this award due to her sustained commitment to collaborative and community-based antiracism as a scholar-activist. Her research investigates the impact of immigration enforcement and threat of deportation on young adult immigrants. Additionally, Andrea has worked with local activists and Latinx-serving organizations to organize efforts to end a local jail’s partnership with ICE and acted as a trained legal observer through the National Lawyers Guild for local demonstrations and protests. Dedicated to the immigrant community, Andrea has volunteered for several community-based programs in Charlottesville such as Sin Barreras, the Latino Health Initiative, COVID Cville Community Cares, and the Hands Off Maria campaign to address issues impacting the local undocumented immigrant community and provide support to asylum seekers.
Nicholas Grant centers anti-racist praxis in his research, teaching, service and applied work. He is earning his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is currently conducting a pre-doctoral internship at The Consultation Center at Yale University School of Medicine. His youth participatory action research dissertation, #PowerUp, examines sites of resilience to gun violence, centering African American youth and conceptualizing resilience as a feature of the community itself. He has sustained community-university partnership with oppressed communities across multiple community-based research and evaluation projects. His commitment to anti-racist praxis extends to working within the university by taking on leadership in supporting the Psychology Department at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign as well as the Yale Department of Psychiatry to address equity in their programs. Lastly, they have applied their anti-racist praxis in the classroom implementing an empancipatory pedagogical approach and challenging students to think structurally.
Ann Marie Beals (they/them) – Ann Marie is a Two-Spirit mixed-blood African Nova Scotian and First Nation Mi’kmaw from Mi’kma’ki territory, and a PhD student in the Community Psychology Program at Wilfrid Laurier University, situated on the unceded lands of the Anishnaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Attawandaron Peoples. Ann Marie’s vision of anti-racist praxis is deeply influenced by their own identities and strong cultural roots within Black and Indigenous communities. Ann Marie’s work embodies anti-racist praxis through collaborative efforts around oral digital storytelling and its importance as a form of testimony, knowledge sharing, and archival knowledge-keeping of histories, geographies, and realities. We use this award to highlight Ann Marie’s work on the multi-phased ProclaimingOurRoots.com project. Ann Marie serves in leadership roles in the Climate Justice Partnership and Towards Equity and Accessibility in Municipal Climate Action research program. Their dedication to community encompasses future scholars, as they strive for equity through student-led groups.
Brian Christens studies civic participation and systems change efforts, including why various forms of civic action lead to different outcomes, and the relationships between participation in social action and other aspects of human development. He is the author of Community Power and Empowerment (2019, Oxford University Press), which connects research on psychological and organizational empowerment processes with a framework for understanding and altering community power structures. He is currently co-editing a special issue of the Journal of Community Psychology on community organizing. He serves as an associate editor of the American Journal of Community Psychology, and editor of the Contemporary Social Issues book series published by the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and Cambridge University Press. Brian is an associate professor and director of graduate studies in human and organizational development at Vanderbilt University.
August John Hoffman’s work has focused on underserved groups, building community, and improving the environment through community gardening, outdoor environments, and green space programs. His publication record includes multiple published books (13) and 36 journal articles. He brings together students and community members, providing resources, skills, and knowledge through the implementation of ecologically sustainable programs. His service to the community has yielded positive effects on students and community members, and his work has increased availability and access to healthy foods. His action strategies for promoting a community’s wellbeing through access to green spaces and gardening are innovative and unique. August Hoffman’s community service and volunteer work throughout the last several years has been both transformative and inspiring to students and community residents. His community gardening action projects are innovative and have galvanized communities, empowered people and helped residents develop a sense of community. Such gardening projects have taken place locally (e.g., the Red Lake Tribal Nation and recently a project to create a sustainable vegetable garden at the Boy's Totem Town Detention facility for underserved youth in St. Paul, MN), nationally (e.g., Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which residents created a garden to honor the victims of the tragic shooting), and internationally (e.g., working with Guatemalan women to develop a community garden). Such action projects exemplify the values and principles of community psychology.
Manuel Riemer is a professor of community psychology (CP) and sustainability science at Wilfrid Laurier University. He has made substantial contributions to CP in the area of global climate change and sustainability. He applies CP principles, theories, and tools to address issues related to sustainability, including global climate change mitigation and resiliency, with a special interest in engagement and promoting a culture of sustainability in organizations and communities. Dr. Riemer is the director of the endowed Viessmann Centre for Engagement and Research in Sustainability (VERiS) and the Community, Environment, and Justice Research Group (CEJRG). He has edited a special issue on CP and global climate change in AJCP (with Stephanie Reich) and another issue on youth engagement in environmental action in Ecopsychology (with Livia Dittmer). He has also co-founded the SCRA Environment & Justice Interest Group and has advocated for greening the Biennial. Dr. Riemer has also been a strong advocate for featuring the important work of community psychologists across the globe, including co-editing the book International community psychology: History and theories (Reich, Riemer, Prilleltensky, & Montero, 2007). Other contributions to CP include the third edition of Community Psychology: In pursuit of liberation and wellbeing (Riemer, Reich, Evans, Nelson, & Prilleltensky, 2020), serving as the Co-Chair for the 17th Biennial Conference of SCRA, and as the Chair of Section 3 (CP) of the Canadian Psychological Association. One nominator described Dr. Riemer as the “prototype of the ideal colleague: Bright and talented, methodic, responsible, reliable, humorous, productive, and attentive to process and values.
Christopher Sonn has made distinctive contributions to knowledge and practice of community psychology that are recognized nationally in Australia and globally. His contributions have focused on the lived experience of migrant populations, racialized people, and other marginalized groups in Australia and South Africa. Through his numerous publications, he has contributed to the understanding of apartheid through the lenses of liberation and community psychology, in addition to understanding the psychosocial and political praxis of apartheid. More broadly, Christopher’s work has influenced our understanding of multiple areas within community psychology, including decolonization, identity, adaptation and liberation of immigrants, and Indigenous populations. He has also made significant contributions to theory and research on psychological sense of community, an area most central to community psychology. Christopher has utilized and developed innovative and culturally appropriate research approaches, including participatory action research strategies, arts-based research, and qualitative and quantitative methods with diverse populations. Through applied and community/industry-engaged research he seeks to develop knowledge to address social issues, promote health and wellbeing, and to create receptive and nurturing social environments that foster a sense of community, belonging, and inclusion. Christopher is co-author of numerous publications that appear in leading journals and books including the book Social Psychology and Everyday life (2nd ed.; 2020), and co-editor of Decoloniality, Knowledge Production and Epistemic Justice in Community Psychology (forthcoming). He is also an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Community Psychology and Community Psychology in Global Perspective. Christopher is co-chair of the 8th International Conference on Community Psychology in Melbourne, Australia, which is aimed at fostering and sustaining solidarities across countries, contexts, and settings to address oppression and injustice at local and global levels.
Judah Viola has made unusual and outstanding contributions to community psychology in administration, teaching and consultation. Judah’s administrative contributions have helped establish an innovative community psychology doctoral program at National Louis University. This program is most distinctive for its effectiveness in reaching, educating and graduating talented doctoral students of color. The National Louis University program has enlarged the possibilities for doctoral education in community psychology. As a teacher, Judah is a superb facilitator of student growth. He has an engaging teaching style, asking each student about their interests and then building his lesson around those interests. Judah’s books on consultation and careers in community psychology are each unusual and outstanding resources for students. Consulting Community and Nonprofit Organizations (2010), edited and written with Susan McMahon, provides guidance and examples of how to conduct a consultation and how to develop a consultation practice. Doctoral students and many others around the country have found it a most useful volume. Diverse Careers in Community Psychology(2017), edited with Olya Glantsman, is a distinctive collection of insightful accounts of the wide variety of positions community psychologists may be qualified for, presented by one or more occupants of each position. Lastly, Judah’s evaluation consultation with a number of leading not-for-profit and state agencies has enabled those organizations to be more informed and has provided guidance for future directions, an important impact.