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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.
Dr. Shabnam Javdani
Dr. Javdani has made significant contributions to understanding and reducing health and mental health disparities among young people, families living in poverty, and those who are disenfranchised by the criminal and juvenile legal systems. She has made important contributions through her focus on intervention and systems change approaches that help to discern what programs and policies work under what conditions. She has also demonstrated exemplary service to SCRA and local, state, and national community equity initiatives.
Dr. Ryan Kilmer
Dr. Kilmer has demonstrated a strong and consistent level of work to develop knowledge and the shared understanding of community processes and practices to make a difference in people’s lives. He has also contributed to the field through his exemplary teaching and mentorship of the next generation of community psychologists. His service to SCRA includes building bridges to the Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice through joint conference programming and interdisciplinary collaborations.
Dr. Nathan Todd
Dr. Todd has made significant contribution through his research on religion and social justice, and racial privilege and race-related attitudes. He has demonstrated through his research that religious congregations, interfaith groups, and campus ministries can serve as useful vehicles to promote social justice. His research also furthers understanding of the interplay between religion, racial privilege, and social justice attitudes.
Dr. Nellie Tran
Dr. Tran has demonstrated exemplary service to SCRA and other professional organizations, as well as through research and teaching. She has pushed for organizational change to bring awareness and provide solutions to issues of marginalization and made a difference in the lives of students and colleagues of color. Her outstanding research has had an impact on the field and society. She has served as an exemplar for incorporating community psychology principles into service, research, and teaching.