2013 Participant Bios

2013 Leadership Academy

Jennifer Chain

Jennifer Chain is a Counseling Psychology Ph.D. student at the University of Oregon. She was born in Shandong, China and grew up in both her country of origin and Sacramento, California. She went to Smith College for her B.A. in psychology, where she found her passion for social justice and her voice. Her primary research interest is in culturally specific protective factors against mental illness. She is currently collaborating with teachers and families in the Anchorage School District to study the social emotional strengths of American Indian and Alaska Native youth. She is a Graduate Teaching Fellow for the Center on Diversity and Community (CoDaC) at the University of Oregon. At CoDaC, she works with a diverse team of faculty and staff to promote equity, inclusion and access in higher education.

Anita L. Mihecoby

Anita L. Mihecoby is a Numunu (Comanche) tribal member, Chicana, and doctoral candidate at New Mexico State University. Anita is a Research Initiative in Science Enhancement (RISE) Scholar trained in biomedical sciences since her undergraduate and masters level education at California State University Los Angeles; where she majored in psychology, researched the significance of ethnic identity on well being, minored in biology and sociology and studied abroad in Hawaii and Queretaro, Mexico. Her passion for social justice advocacy fosters multiculturalism in counseling psychology research and practice. Anita is developing a four-directions counseling psychology theory and model for being well. She is examining the efficacy of a mind-body intervention to reduce stress symptoms. Anita’s dissertation will evaluate the association of complex post-traumatic stress disorder and various physical and psychosomatic disorders among a primary care patient population. Anita co-instructed indigenous counseling and multicultural psychology courses with her Washo Tribal mentor, Dr. Lisa Grayshield. Together, Grayshield and Mihecoby (2010) published “Indigenous Ways of Knowing [IWOK] as Philosophical Base for the Promotion of Peace and Justice in Counseling Education and Psychology.” As a Comanche Tribal Council member and the Native American Concerns Group student representative of the Association for Multicultural Counseling and Development ACA, Anita serves the interest in laying the foundation for IWOK as a viable paradigm to approach health and well being.

Oscar S. Escobar

Oscar S. Escobar is a second year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Indiana University-Bloomington. He is originally from the Bronx, New York. He completed his Bachelors in Psychology from Rutgers University and his Masters in Counseling Psychology from Arcadia University. His professional interests include social justice, substance use treatment, and multicultural counseling. His research interest focuses on substance use, vocational psychology, and multiculturalism.  After completing his doctorate he hopes to obtain a tenure-track faculty position at a research I university. Oscar is excited about attending the SCP Leadership Academy and feels this opportunity will allow him to take a more active role in the work being done by the SCP community.

Phillip Keck

Phillip Keck is a second year doctoral student at Ball State University. Originally from Richmond, VA, he earned undergraduate degrees in Marketing, Economics, and Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University.  Prior to graduate school, he spent time working in business, traveling, and teaching English in South Korea while narrowing a focus for postgraduate work.  He maintains an interest in cultural experience and has since conducted work in Iceland alongside fellow students of the department.  He is a Marshall Diversity Scholar at Ball State as a result of his efforts with students with disabilities, including acting head coach of the BSU power soccer team and the proposal, development, and implementation of an undergraduate course in disability and rehabilitation.  His current research explores the role of character strength in people with chronic illness and disability, undergraduate education in rehabilitation and counseling, and evidenced-based practice in counseling psychology.  Future goals include an academic appointment, serving an applied role in a hospital rehabilitation setting, and planning a life well-lived with his wonderful new life partner.

Juliet Meggs

Juliet Meggs is a second year doctoral student in the University of Tennessee’s Counseling Psychology doctoral program. She is significantly involved in LGBT activism, winning the University of Tennessee’s LGBT Student Leadership Award for her continuing transgender activism. Similarly, her embarrassingly nascent research interests include exploring transgender identity development in young adults. She intends to pursue a career in clinical practice and is currently a bit too interested in existential psychotherapy for her own good (although her interests in LGBT issues, trauma, social justice, and interpersonal theory are at entirely appropriate yet substantial levels, if you’re wondering).

Alisia (Giac-Thao) Tran, Phd

Alisia (Giac-Thao) Tran received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Minnesota in 2012. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Counseling and Counseling Psychology programs at Arizona State University. Her program of research focuses on discrimination, cultural socialization, and minority psychology and mental health. Her work is influenced by numerous areas (e.g., counseling psychology, public health, cognitive psychology) and draws on diverse research methodologies (e.g., experimental and survey designs). Her clinical interests are in Pediatric Psychology and Neuropsychology. She has had the honor of receiving a best research poster award and service award from the Asian American Psychological Association; serving as a mentor for the St. Paul Public Schools Multicultural Excellence Program; and being a Hmong Studies Fellow through the University of Minnesota/Henry Luce Foundation.

Danice L. Brown, PhD

Danice L. Brown received her Ph.D in Counseling Psychology from The Ohio State University in 2008.  She completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Illinois at Chicago Counseling Center. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Clinical Adult Psychology Graduate Program at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.  She participated in the Minority Fellowship Program Psychology Summer Institute in 2009.  Danice currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Black Psychology and was recently appointed to the Division 17 Awards and Recognition Committee. Her research interests include African American mental health concerns, cultural socialization, and multicultural issues in psychotherapy and higher education.

Bryana French, PhD

Bryana French is a tenure-track Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri with a joint appointment in the Educational, School, and Counseling Psychology Department and the Black Studies Program. She received her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois’ at Urbana-Champaign and completed her predoctoral internship at the University of Maryland’s Counseling Center.  She is a past APA MFP SAMHSA Fellow and served as a MFP policy intern for SAMHSA’s Office of the Administrator; she also received awards from APA Division 45’s Toy Caldwell-Colbert Distinguished Student Service Award and APA Division 35 Section 1 Graduate Student Research Award.  Her research focuses on adolescent sexual coercion particularly among African American youth. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the complexity of adolescent sexual coercion and the myriad of subtle and overt mechanisms that pressure or coerce youth to have sex when unwanted.  Her mixed methods research is informed by ecological frameworks, which aim to delineate the gendered, cultural, and contextual associations between sexual coercion and HIV/STI risk among Black adolescents. Bryana is also involved in evaluation research for middle school violence prevention and faith-based teen dating violence interventions.

James L. Lyda, PhD

James L. Lyda, Ph.D., is currently a licensed staff psychologist at Student Health & Counseling Services at the University of California, San Francisco. In addition to clinical work, he chairs the outreach committee, and is the campus coordinator for the University of California system-wide Student Mental Health Initiative grant. Dr. Lyda earned his Ph.D. from the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Oregon in 2008, where he was awarded an APA Minority Fellowship. He completed his pre-doctoral training at University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Counseling & Consulting Services, and his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley Counseling & Psychological Services. He has been working in university mental health since 2003, conducing individual, personal, career, and academic counseling, group counseling, and couple counseling, with diverse student populations. Dr. Lyda’s professional focus has been on mental health and wellness outreach to undergraduate, graduate and professional students, with a particular focus on underserved/underrepresented populations, suicide prevention, stigma reduction, and crisis intervention. He has also worked with university faculty and staff to develop innovative ways students can access services, and to enhance the university community response to students of concern. Dr. Lyda’s areas of research and scholarship include multiracial/multiethnic identity, and Latino and African American men in higher education. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, Angela, and is an avid sports fan and traveler.

Cynthia E. Guzmán, PhD

Dr. Cynthia E. Guzmán is a post doctorate fellow at the Pueblo of Laguna Indian reservation in New Mexico. She recently earned her Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from New Mexico State University and is fulfilling her dreams of working with underserved populations. Her recent focus lies in the design and implementation of a grant that allows the Pueblo of Laguna to have an intensive outpatient treatment program where criminal justice involved women and girls, with co-occurring disorders, may be offered treatment rather than a sentence in detention. Dr. Guzmán’s research interests focus on mental health of underserved populations, particularly Latina women and girls, and she is highly involved in the National Latina/o Psychological Association.  She has received several recognitions, including the American Psychological Association’s Division 35/Section III’s Latina Student Scholar Award and the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the National Latina/o Psychological Association.