2011-2012 APA interns: Students at the United Nations
By Janet Sigal, PhD
The UN intern program solicits applications from full-time graduate students in the New York City area with an interest and relevant experience in international psychology issues. The interns work on planning events and assisting the APA team in its NGO committee work.
Magdalena Galazyn is a third-year doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She received her MA from Columbia University in Applied Psychology. At Columbia, she conducted her master’s thesis research on affluent mothers’ life satisfaction, their parent-child relationship satisfaction, and their role orientation. Additionally, Magdalena has worked in several research labs, conducting research and publishing in areas such as loss and trauma, addictions, mental illness, and social perception. Currently, Magdalena is teaching Abnormal Psychology at Hunter College and conducting research on issues of development and learning, particularly those of immigrant children and families, with a broader understanding of the nature of contemporary globalization processes. With this diverse experience she hopes to contribute to the United Nations mission, but more importantly, Magdalena hopes to gain additional experience on international policies, practices and research on behalf of children and youth.
Christina Kirkman, a New York City native, is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology at the City University of New York (CUNY). Christina received her BA in Psychology and Italian from Georgetown University and her Master’s in Developmental Psychology from Columbia University, Teachers College. Christina is an Enhanced Chancellor's Fellow at CUNY and has taught undergraduate courses in Human Development and Child Psychology at Hunter College since the fall of 2009. Her primary areas of interest and research are human development in atypical contexts, developmental pathways of risk and resilience, processes of decision-making, self-regulation and cognition in context, and theoretical and methodological approaches to measuring global human development. Christina is honored to be joining the APA team at the United Nations for the next year. Her primary interests in working at the UN lie in the promotion of psychological science and research as fundamental information for our increasingly globalized world and for the opportunities inherent in psychologically informed policies, education and programs of prevention and intervention, on both national and international levels.
Joana Kyei is entering her second year in the Clinical PsyD program at Rutgers University’s Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP). She was born and raised in Ghana and attended the University of Ghana for her undergraduate training in Management & Psychology, and her Master’s training in Clinical Psychology. Her professional interests include crisis and trauma interventions, the influence of personality and religious belief systems on coping, female empowerment, and systemic approaches for developing a structured mental health delivery service in Ghana. She is currently working with Dr. Monica Indart, a GSAPP assisting professor, on a pilot initiative to introduce trauma-informed care into the public mental health system in New Jersey. Joana’s motivation for working with APA at the United Nations is to contribute to APA’s advocacy efforts and to gain invaluable experience with an organization dedicated to alleviating suffering and promoting global peace & development.
"The APA-UN internship will provide a unique experience toward my professional goal of restructuring the mental health system in Ghana (where there is no formal recognition of psychologists in the mental health sector) to include other helping professions beside psychiatry in the provision of mental health care. A collaboration with other NGOs in giving psychology a voice will also enable me to transfer this model to other developing countries, beginning with the West African region and helping the millions of people who choose to suffer in silence rather than be labeled a 'lunatic.'"
Fahad Rahman is a Fulbright Scholarship recipient currently pursuing his Master's degree in Clinical Psychology at Columbia University Teachers College and plans to continue his education and training to the doctoral level. He received an undergraduate degree in social sciences from the Lahore University of Management Science (LUMS), specifically focusing on Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology. Fahad is particularly interested in gender, violence and prejudice against minority groups, as well as cross-cultural differences in mental health. He also serves as a peer counseling fellow at the International House in New York City and conducts research on emotions at the Teachers College. Though he is originally from Islamabad, Pakistan, Fahad has also lived in the UK, Yemen, Texas and California before moving to New York.
While conducting research work in Pakistani mental health institutions, Fahad discovered a dire need for research on the cross-cultural differences between psychological concepts and practices. He believes this internship is ideal because it enables him to learn and apply psychology to cross-cultural and international issues. He is passionate about the global study of social ills related to gender — such as domestic violence, discrimination against gender nonconformists, and gender-based inequalities in social institutions — and believes the APA at the UN program provides an ideal setting for him to not only apply his education to the issues he feels strongly about, but to also learn more about these issues in a professional setting.