Dr. Joy Asamen, professor of psychology at the Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) was honored by the National Council of Schools of Professional Psychology with the Ethnic and Racial Diversity Award for 2008. The award is presented once every two years to an individual who has made significant contributions to the enhancement of ethnic and racial diversity.
Dr. Asamen was selected for her sponsorship of GSEP's biannual Multicultural Research Conference for graduate students in psychology throughout the Los Angeles region, as well as her work as one of the founding members of GSEP's Multicultural Research and Training Lab.
"Joy has worked tirelessly to promote ethnic and racial diversity for many years at GSEP," commented Dr. Robert deMayo, associate dean of psychology at GSEP. "I am thrilled to see her work honored by a leading national organization in our field."
A group of prominent scholars in southern California were invited by the Graduate School of Education and Psychology's Diversity Council to discuss the ethnic variables that impact immigration to the U.S. The event focused on the Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Vietnamese populations and brought together students, faculty, staff, administration and local guests at THE BRIDGE: Cinema de Lux, at the Howard Hughes Promenade.
The panelists included José Zapata Calderón, Ph.D., who serves as a professor in Sociology and Chicano Studies at Pitzer College; Vu H. Pham, Ph.D., who has organized several public programs on Vietnamese Americans at the Smithsonian Institution and other cities where significant Vietnamese American communities exist; and Maryam Sayyedi, Ph.D., who serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton and is versed in the psychology of Middle East women and families. Reyna García Ramos, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Education at Pepperdine University served as the master of ceremonies and Miguel E. Gallardo, Psy.D, Assistant Professor of Psychology at Pepperdine University served as the moderator and led the panel through questions crafted by the Diversity Council and those in attendance.
José Zapata Calderón, Ph.D., serves as a professor in Sociology and Chicano Studies at Pitzer College. Calderón is the son of immigrant farm workers from Mexico. The United Farm Worker's Union has honored him with their "Si Se Puede" award for his life-long contributions to the farm worker movement. As a community-based participant ethnographer, he has published numerous articles and studies based on his community experiences and observations.
Vu H. Pham, Ph.D., is a partner of Spectrum Knowledge, Inc., a research, consulting, and training organization. He currently serves as a researcher in the Asian American Studies Center at the University of California, Los Angeles and was the researcher/writer for the Vietnamese American exhibition at the Smithsonian Institution. Pham has organized several public programs on Vietnamese Americans at the Smithsonian and other cities where significant Vietnamese American communities exist. He received his doctorate degree in History from Cornell University with emphases in Asian American Studies, modern Vietnam, and organizational culture. Pham's specialties include the areas of culture, organizational development, and leadership.
Maryam Sayyedi, Ph.D., serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Counseling at California State University, Fullerton and maintains a private practice in Irvine, Calif. She is versed in the psychology of Middle East women and families. Sayyedi is the founder and director of OMID Multicultural Institute for Development, which takes a multicultural, integrative, and multilevel approach to providing comprehensive mental health services, education, and training. Sayyedi is bilingual and fluent in Farsi (Persian).
On February 7, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology (GSEP) welcomed Father Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., President of the Loyola Institute for Spirituality, to speak to students, faculty, staff, and guests on how he integrates faith into his professional work as a Latino theologian, writer, and activist. As part of the Voyage Project Speaker Series Entitled: Multicultural Perspectives on Vocation, Faith, and the Pursuit of Community, Father Deck stated that his faith and culture was a motivator for the life he has led. "Religion and spirituality are strong motivators and part of the solution to struggles in life," said Father Deck. "Religion and spirituality are one of the most powerful parts of people's lives. Often, academia has seen religion and spirituality as only a topic to study, and not implemented faith to change ones thoughts of themselves and their environments."
Father Deck also touched on conflict and resolution. " Religious people may tend to feel that politics and conflict is bad," Father Deck said. "But to me there has been a passion to tap into politics in the social and economic realm."
As a native of Los Angeles Father Deck is known for his textbook on Hispanic Ministry titled, "The Second Wave: Hispanic Ministry and the Evangelization of Cultures." This book won first place in the professional book category of the Catholic Press Association Awards. Father Deck has edited four other books and written more than fifty articles on Hispanic ministry, faith, and culture and Catholic social teaching.
In addition to the speaking engagement at GSEP, many of Father Deck's published articles, books, and online journals are on display at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus Library.
Serving others is the foundational value and fundamental responsibility of both educators and mental health professionals. On October 26, the Graduate School of Education and Psychology's Diversity Council welcomed Dr. Jennifer Abe-Kim, whose experience and background reflects how professional lives can be used to authenticate this value. Dr. Abe-Kim is associate professor of Psychology at Loyola Marymount University (LMU), and Associate Dean of the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts at LMU. She has served in a number of capacities at LMU, including acting director of the LMU Asian Pacific American Studies Department, and chair of the University's Intercultural Faculty Committee.
Dr. Abe-Kim has been affiliated with the National Research Center on Asian American Mental Health since its inception in 1988. She has conducted extensive research related to cultural competence in mental health service delivery, particularly as it relates to mental health service use among Asian Americans. Her research topics have also included explorations of religiosity, spirituality, culture, and help seeking.
Dr. Abe-Kim's speech entitled, "Struggle, Juggle, and Plunge: Journeying with Spirit at the Margins," expounded on her own life experience and influences, and her efforts to reconcile her identity and to work towards wholeness.
The next Speaker Series is set for Tuesday, February 7, 2006 at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus, and will feature Father Allan Figueroa Deck, who will speak on how he has integrated faith into his professional work as a Latino theologian, writer, and activist.
Photo Caption: From left to right, GSEP professor Shelly Harrell, keynote speaker Dr. Abe-Kim, GSEP professor Reyna Garcia Ramos, and GSEP Associate Dean of Psychology Robert deMayo.
In continuing with the Diversity Council Speaker Series events, Dr. Maria Pilar Aquino, associate professor of theology and religious studies at the University of San Diego was invited to discuss "The Function of Religion(s) Today: Justice and Reconciliation."
In addition to her role as associate professor of theology and religious studies, Dr. Aquino is associate director of the Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism at the University of San Diego.
During her address, Dr. Aquino challenged the audience to think about two statements, one made by Bishop Desmond Tutu, "no future without forgiveness," and the second relating to an individual and spiritual process, "no forgiveness without reconciliation."
The next Speaker Series event will be held in September at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus.
The Graduate School of Education and Psychology and the Center for Faith and Learning hosted Catherine Meeks, Ph.D. at the West Los Angeles Graduate Campus on November 10, 2004, for the inaugural Diversity Speaker Series Address.
Dr. Meeks holds a Ph.D. in Jungian Psychology from Emory University. She serves as executive director of the Wesleyan Center for Community Engagement and Service, and is also executive director of Aunt Maggie's Kitchen Table, a family resource center located in a public housing facility in Macon, Georgia. The primary function of Aunt Maggie's Kitchen is to work with parents and children in the Macon community, who are plagued by poverty, violence, AIDS, homelessness and teen pregnancy.
Dr. Meeks' speech, Walking A Mile in My Neighbor's Shoes: Creating New Boundaries Through Faith and Diversity, encouraged students, faculty, staff and university guests to develop a "diversity collage." Dr. Meeks instructed the audience to design their collages with pictures representing items each individual feels fondly, indifferent, and coldly towards. The collage would then be a visual representation of how diverse items in an individual's life can co-exist – the first step to creating a diverse environment.