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Important Identity-Based Considerations for Supporting Minoritized STEM Students' Mental Health

This session aims to highlight the unique and nuanced mental health considerations of specific minoritized groups of STEM students. In doing so, we hope to elevate the need for tailored approaches to supporting students’ mental health versus using a one-size-fits-all approach.


We are delighted to have panelists with expertise in supporting the mental health and/or STEM advancement of the following groups of students:  Native American, Latine, Black, Asian, LGBTQ, and students with disabilities.  This session aims to highlight the unique and nuanced mental health considerations of specific minoritized groups of STEM students.


In this session, we will have a series of three mini-talks in the first 75-mins that highlight the specific, most salient issues impacting the mental health and wellness of respective minoritized groups, coupled with recommendations for those within STEM departments (e.g., faculty, advisors, graduate program director, etc). We will have another series of three mini-talks in the second 75-mins of the event focusing on a different set of minoritized.  In the first half of the session presenters will discuss the important considerations for Native American, LGBTQ, and Latine students and in the second half of the session we’ll discuss considerations for Black, Asian, and disabled students / students with disabilities.

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Dr. Tahirah Abdullah

Dr. Tahirah Abdullah is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is also core faculty and a seminar leader at the Center for Multicultural Training in Psychology, a pre-doctoral internship training program. She is co-founder of BARE Mental Health & Wellness, through which she provides workshops to promote mental health and wellness within Black communities, while also providing consulting on implementing anti-racist practices for systemic change in mental health centers and other businesses and institutions. Dr. Abdullah serves as a research mentor for several undergraduate and doctoral students through the Black Mental Health Advocacy and Research Team, whose research focuses on the impact of racism and discrimination on mental health, resisting racism, barriers to help-seeking for mental health problems, mental illness and mental health treatment stigma, and understanding Black Americans' therapy experiences. Dr. Abdullah aims to use the knowledge gained from her research to improve the quality and accessibility of mental health services and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and mental health treatment.

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Dr. Sherry Wang

Dr. Sherry C. Wang is a licensed psychologist, researcher, and anti-racist educator. She is an Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) at the School of Education and Counseling Psychology at Santa Clara University. Her research is rooted in advocating for the voices of underrepresented groups (e.g., BIPOC, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ+ populations) and she focuses on the ways in which sociocultural determinants (e.g., access to healthcare services, social support and community attitudes) contribute to ethnic and racial health disparities. At the national governance level, she serves on the American Psychological Association (APA) Council of Representatives, as a representative for Division 45, the Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity, and Race. Additionally, she chairs the Asian American Psychological Association’s (AAPA) Division on Women.


Ms. Rachel Figard

Rachel Figard is a Ph.D. candidate in the Ira Fulton Schools of Engineering's Engineering Education Systems and Design Program at Arizona State University (ASU). She received her M.S. in User Experience from ASU and B.S. in Industrial Engineering from North Carolina State University. Her research focuses on the lived experiences of disabled students in engineering, design justice, and the impact of institutional policy and practice. In the fall, she will join the University of Georgia's College of Engineering as an assistant professor.

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Dr. Tiffany Smith

Dr. Tiffany Smith (she/her) is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and is also a descendent of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Dr. Smith has served as the Director of Research and Career Support for AISES since July 2021. In this role, Dr. Smith manages several grant-supported research related projects, and conducts research related to Indigenous students and professionals in STEM disciplines. She provides oversight, strategic leadership, management, and overall direction of AISES’ research and related projects. Additionally, Dr. Smith serves as adjunct faculty for the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Prior to coming to AISES in July 2021, Dr. Smith worked for 16 years in various aspects of higher education. Dr. Smith has presented nationally on Indigenous higher education topics at several academic conferences. Furthermore, she served as the National Chair for NASPA’s Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Community (IPKC) from 2021-2023 and as a part of the ASHE Indigenous Scholars Collective since 2018. Dr. Smith was recently recognized as a part of the 2024 class of NASPA Pillars of the Profession, the 2023 IPKC Distinguished Service in NASPA award, and the 2021 NASPA Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year award. Her scholarship focuses on utilizing Indigenous methodologies and her own Tsalagi (Cherokee) epistemology in seeking to decolonize academic spaces, particularly in STEM fields. Dr. Smith completed her Ph.D. in Adult & Higher Education in 2019 from the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Smith lives in Blanchard, Okla., with her partner Zach, and two children, Tytan (9) and Mya (4).


Dr. Núria Jaumot-Pascual

Nuria Jaumot-Pascual, PhD, is a Research Scientist at TERC. She is co-PI of two projects studying the experiences of Indigenous people in STEM higher education and careers. She specializes in qualitative meta-synthesis and visual methods. She holds a doctorate in Qualitative Research and Evaluation Methodologies from the University of Georgia.


Dr. Lisa Flores

Lisa Y. Flores is the Frederick A. Middlebush Chair of Social Sciences and Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychological Sciences at the University of Missouri. She has expertise in the career development of women and Latinx and the integration of Latinx immigrants in rural communities. She has published over 125 journal articles and book chapters and presented over 250 conference presentations in these areas. She is co-editor of 3 texts in vocational psychology/career development. She has been PI and co-PI on grants totaling $5.1 million from NSF, USDA, and US Department of Education to support her research. Dr. Flores’ research aims to understand the impact of psychosocial, cultural, and contextual variables on the educational and vocational decisions and satisfaction of Latinx in engineering. Over the past 15 years, her work on broadening Latinxs’ participation in engineering fields has been consistently funded by the National Science Foundation.


Dr. Flores is Incoming Editor of the Journal of Latinx Psychology and Legacies, Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology (2023-Present), and Traditions Forum Editor of The Counseling Psychologist (2019-Present). She is past Editor of the Journal of Career Development (2005-2022), Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology, and has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Vocational Behavior, The Counseling Psychologist, Journal of Counseling Psychology, and Career Development Quarterly  She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association (Divisions 17, 35, 45) and has received several honors for her work, including the Best in Science Award from the Society of Counseling Psychology, Distinguished Career Award from the Society of Vocational Psychology, the Shining Star Award from the National Multicultural Conference and Summit, the John Holland Award for Outstanding Achievement in Career or Personality Research from the Society of Counseling Psychology, and early career professional awards from both the Society of Counseling Psychology and the National Latinx Psychological Association.


Dr. Roberto L. Abreu

Bio coming soon


Dr. Cassandra McCall

Cassandra McCall, Ph.D., an Assistant Professor in the Engineering Education Department and Co-Director of the Institute for Interdisciplinary Transition Services at Utah State University. She has earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in Civil Engineering and a Ph.D. in Engineering Education. In her work, Dr. McCall leverages emergent qualitative approaches and Universal Design for Research practices in exploring the intersections of disability, identity formation, and cultural implications within engineering and academia. She has led two National Science Foundation funded projects focused on increasing the participation of disabled people in engineering and STEM. Her award-winning research has been recognized by premier journals in engineering education both nationally and internationally. She identifies as visually-impaired and partially blind and integrates her experiences into her work as a researcher and educator with a disability

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