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Graduate Students

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Alyssa Christopher

Alyssa Christopher (they/them/she/her) is a first-year clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. They are originally from Lowell, MA and graduated from Centre College (Danville, KY) in 2017. While attending Centre College, Alyssa worked under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Goetz on research related to experiences of racial and ethnic microaggressions and overall student perception of campus racial climate. Alyssa was both a Bonner and Posse Scholar while at Centre. Most recently they worked as a clinical educator in the Belmont Adolescent Partial Hospital Program of McLean Hospital. Alyssa is interested in studying the impact of carceral systems on the psychological well-being of Black queer young adults and the presence of these structures within the mental health system. They are also interested in abolitionist and trauma-informed care, peer support, and other community-based approaches to healing.


Kaela Yamini

Kaela Yamini is a second-year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She is originally from Lawrenceville, GA, and graduated magna cum laude from the University of Georgia in 2020. During her time at UGA, she worked as a research assistant in the FRESH (Family Relationships, Emotions, Stress, and Health) Lab under the direction of Dr. Anne Shaffer and in the EMPOWER Lab under Dr. Isha Metzger. Their research focused on the intersection between racial socialization and emotion socialization in the development of black ethnic identity. Another project she worked on was the transition to parenthood in which she ran assessments with parent-child dyads. Kaela served as president of the UGA chapter of the NAACP. She was also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a recipient of the Presidential Award of Excellence at the University of Georgia. Outside of school, she served as a Court-Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Athens-Clarke County DFCS in which she worked with children in the foster care system. Kaela is interested in studying suicide ideation in African American adolescents.

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Darrick Scott

Darrick Scott is a fifth-year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research interests are in the psychological and cultural constructs that influence the symptomatology and treatment of specific mood disorders for Black Americans. He is particularly interested in how coping mechanisms and cultural values interact to impact Black American mental health outcomes.

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Shannon Hughley

Shannon Hughley (she/her/hers) is currently a clinical psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB). She obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts in Psychology with a mental health concentration and media, research, and professional writing minor from Spelman College in 2014. Upon graduation, Shannon was a post-baccalaureate research fellow in the psychiatry department at Yale University. She completed her Master’s Thesis on exploring the roles of racial identity importance, social support coping, and gender in the relation between racial microaggression distress and depression. Shannon is currently working on her dissertation, which focuses on developing and testing the feasibility of an Afrocentric intervention for racism-related stress. Shannon’s research interests center broadly around Black mental wellness and include mental health stigma, race-related stress, mental health disparities, and culturally-sensitive therapy. Shannon has completed clinical training at Trinity Boston Counseling Center, where she provided outpatient services, primarily catering to youth and youth workers, and worked with Trinity@McCormack, a school support program embedded in a Boston public middle school. Shannon’s training at Trinity was grounded in trauma-informed care, racial equity, and restorative justice. These practices greatly inform her approach to clinical work, research, and teaching. Shannon has previously taught Psychology of the Black Experience at UMB. She is currently completing her full-time pre-doctoral internship at Emory University Counseling and Psychological Services.

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Noor Tahirkheli

Noor Tahirkheli, M.A. is a Clinical Psychology Doctoral Candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston who recently completed her full-time clinical internship at Suffolk University Counseling, Health, & Wellness Center. Noor completed her Master's thesis on racism-related stress, racial collective self-esteem, and resistance and empowerment against racism among Black Americans. Noor is currently working on her dissertation study which is a qualitative study exploring Muslim American immigrant women’s experiences of negotiating acculturation. Her research interests include these topics, improving quality of and access to mental health care for Black Americans and people of color.

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Keira O'Donovan

Keira O’Donovan is a clinical psychology doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She completed her Master’s thesis on the effects of childhood adversity on young adult mental health functioning and wellbeing with an emphasis on exploring factors of risk and resilience. Her research interests include mental health treatment disparities and culturally responsive methods of clinical assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. Specifically, her interests focus on examining barriers in access to care for racial and ethnic minority clients with serious mental illness, as well as addressing mental health stigma, and ways to challenge systemic marginalization in clinical training and approaches to treatment. Keira has previously trained at McLean Hospital’s Behavioral Health Partial Program the VA Boston Healthcare System. She is currently completing her full-time pre-doctoral internship at the University of Maryland School of Medicine - Clinical High Risk for Psychosis Track.

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Samantha Duterville

Samantha Duterville is an advanced graduate student in the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She received her Bachelor's of Arts majoring in psychology and criminal justice from Indiana University. Samantha completed her third-year practicum at Harvard Street Neighborhood Community Health Center. Currently, Samantha is teaching undergraduate Abnormal  Psychology at UMass Boston. Her master’s thesis focused on whether there are ethnic differences in how Black American's experience race-related stress and endorsement of Racial Colorblindness. Samantha's research and clinical interests focus on the experiences and clinical implications of racism, mental health disparities, mental health stigma, and the a acculturative stress experienced and immigrant families.

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