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Paving the Way: Reflections on the I am Psyched for Asian Pacific Heritage Month Event


Dr. Shari Miles-Cohen (Sr. Director, APA Women’s Programs Office); I am Psyched for AAPHM Honorees Drs. Alice Chang, Kerry Kawakami, Geeta Rao Gupta; and Dr. Arthur C. Evans (APA CEO)

This continues our series of posts in the We’re Psyched! blog space. The purpose of this space is for undergraduates, graduate students and post-docs to share engaging topics surrounding new research, current social issues and timely thinkpieces related to women of color in the field.

By Dwayne Bryant (School Psychology Doctoral Student, Howard University)

Last month, I was fortunate enough to attend the American Psychological Association’s I am Psyched! for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month event honoring prominent psychologists who are women of Asian descent. Each honoree was presented with an Inspiring History, Inspiring Lives citation by Dr. Arthur C. Evans (APA’s Chief Executive Officer) for their work towards transforming society for the better and for having broken barriers in their respective professional careers.

  1. Alice Chang, PhD, is the first Asian American and first ethnic minority woman to serve on the APA Board of Directors. Currently living in Tucson, Arizona, she is also a scientist-practitioner and founder of the Academy for Cancer Wellness, a nonprofit organization benefiting individuals diagnosed with cancer, and their relatives and friends.

  2. Kerry Kawakami, PhD, is editor of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology: Interpersonal Relations and Group Processes, a professor of psychology at York University, and the first woman of Asian descent to serve as editor of any  journal.

  3. Geeta Rao Gupta, PhD, is a social psychologist and is currently Executive Director of the 3D Program for Girls and Women, as well as being a Senior Fellow at the United Nations Foundation. She has dedicated her career to improving the lives of women and girls around the globe.

Each panelist inspired me in many ways, but certain aspects of their stories stood out the most. Dr. Chang inspired me to follow your help and to overcome cultural barriers that restrict you from reaching your greatest potential. Without much support from family, she persevered, made connections, and defied the odds to become the first ethnic minority woman to serve on the APA Board of Directors. Dr. Kawakami inspired me to work with those who bring good energy. Life is too short to stress yourself while working on projects that you are passionate about. Dr. Gupta inspired me to use my oppression as a source of strength. Never let those who use their powers for evil dim your light or spirit. Overall, each of these women has and will continue to be an inspiration to those who follow them.

You can watch the full video of the I am Psyched for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month panel discussion below:


Don’t miss our next I am Psyched! Heritage and Awareness Month event! Please join us at the I am Psyched! for LGBTQI Pride Month event on June 12 from 1:00-3:00 pm (ET), where we will honor three prominent women of color psychologists who identify as LGBTQI, for their career achievements.

  1. Connie S. Chan, PhD, is the first woman of color who identifies as LGBT to be appointed as a tenured professor and as associate dean at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston.

  2. Beverly Greene, PhD, ABPP, is the founding co-editor of the APA Society for the Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity book series Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian, Gay & Bisexual Issues.

  3. Oliva M. Espín, PhD, is a pioneer in the practice and theory of therapy with women from different cultural backgrounds, particularly immigrant/refugee women.

Get your tickets here! If you cannot attend in person, watch the livestream.

If you have any questions, feel free to email


Dwayne Bryant is a fourth-year doctoral student at Howard University studying School Psychology. His research interests are social media and digital technology. Most recently he gained experience in providing psychotherapy at a behavioral health clinic in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. This experience provided him with a sense of confidence in his field of study.  Over the last two years he has worked on research projected gear towards the advancement of women in STEM fields. He is currently working as an intern in the APA Public Interest Directorate on the issue of women and STEM. He has a passion for advocacy and fairness for all people. In the future, he plans to open a private practice and a learning and recreation center in his hometown of Oak City, NC.

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