SASP BEST Scholarship Winners - 2023 Award Year
SASP and Div. 16 support students from under-represented cultural backgrounds as they endeavor to become a part of the inspiring profession of School Psychology. SASP and Div. 16 are aware of the financial pressures that graduate students experience and thus, through generous support from Div. 16, the BIPOC Equity in School Psychology Training (BEST) Scholarship Program was created to provide monetary support to aid students from diverse cultural backgrounds entering the school psychology field. Each year two incoming student awards in the amount of $500 and two advanced student awards in the amount of $1,000 are awarded.
Yuna Seong is a School Psychology PhD candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her B.A. in Sociology with minors in Applied Psychology and Professional Writing from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Yuna’s clinical and research interests are in social-emotional learning interventions and culturally responsive, trauma-informed service provision. Currently, Yuna is working on her dissertation titled “Addressing Racialized Trauma in Schools: A Critical mixed-methods Analysis of a School-based Trauma Intervention” and completing a clinical externship at the Child and Family Institute.
Brandi Hilliard is currently enrolled at the University of Florida studying school psychology on the PhD track. Her primary research interests relate to improving educational equity and educational outcomes for minority students. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the educational and mental health experiences of Black youth, adapting school disciplinary policies to address racial disparities in school discipline, and implementing culturally competent social, emotional, and behavioral (SEB) interventions. She is currently in my second year in my program working under Dr. Joni Splett. In her lab, she works on a variety of research projects but primarily on Project Thrive which aims to analyze disproportionality within mental health and behavioral referrals between Black and white students. Her professional goal is continuously changing but revolves around creating spaces for Black students. This might manifest in becoming a mental health counselor at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU), working in juvenile justice centers to offer individualized support for students pushed out of the classroom, or private practice.
Marketta (Kita) Adams
Kita Adams is a first-year student in the School Psychology doctoral program at Louisiana State University. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Spanish and African studies from NC State University in 2021. Her current research interests include designing and evaluating behavioral interventions with a focus on positive/prosocial behavior in schools with Black and Latino students who display problem behaviors using a cultural-ecological framework. Prior to attending LSU, Kita served as an AmeriCorps member working with the NC State College Advising Corps to provide postsecondary education access and advising to high school students from a rural, low socioeconomic background. Outside of her academic life, she enjoys traveling, live music, going on nature walks, and spending time with friends.
Advanced Honorable Mention
Johnson is a PhD Candidate in Temple University’s School Psychology program and a Doctoral Intern in Health Service Psychology at Loudoun County Public Schools. Prior to graduate school, Johnson worked in various educational roles for several years, which included working as a teacher, a Pre-K classroom evaluator, and within educational nonprofits. Clinically, Johnson is personally vested in working with children who have selective mutism, twice-exceptional (2e) students, and refugees. As a child of refugees, Johnson aims to address the numerous challenges refugees face as they resettle in their new home country. These challenges often include discrimination, financial disruptions, and language barriers (just to name a few). His research interests include best practices in working with refugee students, highlighting the need for cultural brokers, addressing xenophobia in schools, and demystifying cultural healing practices. Johnson is dedicated to advocating the unique needs of migrant students and fostering a more inclusive educational system.
Juan Diego Carmona
Incoming Applicant Honorable Mention
Juan Diego is a second-year Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. He is originally from Guilford, Connecticut, and graduated with a bachelor’s in psychology and a minor in women’s studies from the University of New Hampshire. His research interests include culturally responsive interventions, social-emotional learning, and mental health impacting culturally and linguistically diverse students. He is particularly interested in how interventions and mental health interact in children and families with complex support needs. In the future, he sees himself working with autistic youth and families from underrepresented backgrounds. Currently, he serves as the chair of the student-led diversity committee, SPACE (School Psychology Advocacy Collective for [Racial/Social] Equity) at Teachers College. He is also a recipient of the Zankel Fellowship where he works with underserved youth in East Harlem.