UN Report

Selecting APA's UN Intern

In the spring of 2008, the APA UN NGO team learned from Dr. Florence Denmark, Main Representative, that APA’s Committee on International Affairs in Psychology (CIRP) had approved adding volunteer Student Intern positions to the team.

by Janet Sigal, PhD, APA United Nations Representative

In the spring of 2008, the APA UN NGO team learned from Dr. Florence Denmark, Main Representative, that APA’s Committee on International Affairs in Psychology (CIRP) had approved adding volunteer Student Intern positions to the team. The APA team and the Office of International affairs quickly collaborated to design and disseminate an ad encouraging advanced psychology majors and psychology graduate students to apply. The stated requirements for the position included effective interpersonal and communication skills, being culturally sensitive, and being able to work collaboratively with others. Applications, which were due a month later, had to include a statement of interest in the position, relevant experience, a CV, and letters of recommendation.

Somewhat to our surprise, considering the imminent due date, the APA team received many applications. These were screened initially in terms of two criteria: Applicants had to be full-time students; and applicants had to live in the NYC area. The APA team added a number of responsibilities as part of the positions, including being available every Thursday to attend meetings at the UN, attending UN briefings, attending APA UN NGO meetings once a month, and participating in the planning and implementation of major UN events including Psychology Day at the UN and the International Day of Older Persons among others.

Following the initial screening, a subcommittee of the APA team, including Dr. Denmark, Dr. Deanna Chitayat, Dr. Corann Okorodudu, Dr. Janet Sigal, and Dr. Norma Simon conducted nine interviews at the UN. Members of the subcommittee were consistently impressed by the interest in the position as well as the quality of the applicants. The decision was difficult but the committee is extremely pleased with the three excellent candidates who were selected to be our first APA UN Student Interns.

Rojita Abujam is currently a graduate student in the Masters Program in the Psychology Department, at New York University. Rojita was raised in India and received a BA in Psychology from Delhi University in India. She has been an Adjunct Instructor at NYU’s Opportunity Program, and also a Teaching Assistant in the Psychology Department. She is currently interning at the Manhattan Psychiatric Center as a Research Assistant and has interned in the Psychiatry and Child Health departments at a hospital in India. She can be reached at rga231@nyu.edu

Kaori Kato is currently a doctoral clinical student in the PsyD Program at Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University.  Her major is Clinical Psychology with a minor in Neuropsychology and a concentration in Geropsychology. She was raised in Japan, and has a particular interest in cross-cultural issues in depression and psychopathology in the elderly. She received a BA from the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, and an MA in Music Therapy from Drexel/MCP Hahnemann University in Philadelphia. She has worked at the Jacobi Medical Center, Bellevue Hospital Center, Parnes Clinic, and Mount Sinai Medical Center. She can be reached at krorikato@att.net.

Lee Vuong is currently a doctoral clinical student in the PsyD Program at the Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology of Yeshiva University. She received her BS degree in Psychology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Lee was born in Hong Kong, China, and moved to the United States when she was 2. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college. She attended the MA Program at New York University, and is now a fourth year doctoral student at Yeshiva University. She has a strong interest in multicultural issues such as the psychological health of immigrants as well as factors affecting interracial marriage. She has had research experience at the Bank Street College Institute for Child Care, and has been an extern at the National Institute for the Psychotherapies and the Brooklyn Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Lee can be reached at leelee.vuong@gmail.com