APA at the United Nations

APA Interns at the UN in 2009-2010

Meet four students who are assisting APA's UN-NGO team

APA United Nations Representative Janet Sigal, PhD, introduces APA’s four student interns. The UN intern program, in its second year, solicits applications from full-time graduate students in the New York City area with an interest and relevant experience in international psychology issues. The 2009-2010 interns, selected from over 40 applicants, volunteer with the APA UN team approximately one day a week. They work on planning events and assisting the APA team in its NGO committee work.

Jane Dewey

Jane Dewey, UN InternJane Dewey is a 4th year counseling doctoral student at Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Her research interests include: Muslim mental health in the United States, the intersection of religious identity and culture, the LGBTQ experience of religious identities, and the experience of clergy who self-identify as LGBTQ allies.

Jane’s aim for clinical training has been to gain as diverse and comprehensive a training experience as possible. Her placements have included conducting psychological testing and providing therapy to adults in inpatient settings (Kings County Hospital Center in Brooklyn), providing therapy for students and participating in outreach programs (Montclair State University), and providing play therapy and testing for children in a therapeutic Head Start program in the Bronx.

Jane’s serving as an intern at the UN matches her goals of promoting social justice and multicultural awareness through advocacy. Her activities as an intern have included assisting in the planning and implementation of the International Day of Older Persons and Psychology Day planning. She has attended several thought-provoking UN sessions on topics such as moving rhetoric to action, and human trafficking. She serves on two working groups: a working group on violence against children that is part of the NGO Committee on UNICEF, and a working group on the status of women.

Nita Makhija

Nita Makhija, UN InternNita Makhija is a second year doctoral student in Seton Hall University’s Counseling Psychology Program. She completed her EdM degree at Teacher’s College, Columbia University, and her BA in Psychology at Boston College. Her work and clinical experiences include her current externship at Newark Beth Israel Hospital and time at Casa Acogido in Cusco, Peru, both of which treat children and adolescents who have been sexually abused; being a case worker at the COMPASS school in Jamaica Plain, MA, a school that helps elementary and middle school students with emotional and behavioral difficulties; working with adults and children with developmental disabilities in Trinidad and Tobago; counseling children, adolescents, and their parents in a community center in New York City; and testing and research with suicidal individuals and individuals suffering from Major Depressive Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, and Alcohol Dependence as a research assistant at the New York State Psychiatric Center. Nita’s research and clinical interests center on women and children’s traumatic experiences, and trauma within immigrant and refugee communities.

Since joining the APA United Nations program, Nita has had the opportunity to attend meetings with the Mental Heath, Family, and Violence Against Children committees all of which focus on the importance of advocacy for their target groups. She has also provided support to the New York NGO Committee on Ageing’s International Day of the Older Persons program, spotlighting the need for activism for this population. Her experience thus far as an intern with the APA-United Nations program has been informative and enlightening, leading her to view our field in ways that are outside the scope of the traditional role of psychologists. She looks forward to continued involvement with the program and to broadening her knowledge in how psychologists can work towards providing a voice for underrepresented groups.

Cidna Valentin

Cidna Valentin, UN InternCidna Valentin is a third year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology PhD Subprogram at the Graduate Center and City College of the City University of New York. While in her current program, Cidna had the honor of being a fellow at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at City College. Originally from West Philadelphia, PA, Cidna first pursued a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Teachers’ College, Columbia University after completing her undergraduate degree at Hampton College in Virginia.

With a strong interest in psychological HIV research, Cidna has held various positions at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. For her dissertation, Cidna plans to investigate the psychological effects of HIV and specifically the impact of trauma and chronic stress on women of color living with HIV/AIDS.

As an APA UN intern, Cidna looks forward to integrating her research interests in health disparities with her growing knowledge about international policy development. Cidna has been involved in activities of many NGO Committees, including the NGO Committee on HIV/AIDS, the NGO HIV subcommittee on affordable drugs, the NGO Committee on Mental Health, and the NGO Committee on the Family.

Yuki Shigemoto

Yuki Shigemoto, UN InternYuki Shigemoto is the Special Projects Technology Intern for the 2009-2010 year. Yuki received his BA in Social Work from Rikkyo University in Japan. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Penn State University in Harrisburg, PA. His research interests include disasters, PTSD, and posttraumatic growth after adversity. He has presented at several national conferences.

Yuki plans to start a blog for the working groups of the NGO Committee on the Family and for the Violence Against Children Working Group of the NGO Committee on UNICEF. He also plans to develop a list serve for the APA UN team and digital instructional materials.



The APA UN NGO team will solicit applications for APA interns for 2010-2011 in February, 2010 with a Call for Applications. They welcome applications from all graduate students in the New York City area who are interested.