UN Matters

APA’s NGO representatives at the United Nations welcome new members and interns in 2012

Three new representatives join APA’s NGO team at the UN, while five graduate students begin the 2012-2013 internship.

APA's nongovernmental organization (NGO) representatives at the United Nations are joined by three new colleagues who will represent APA at the UN, as well as five new graduate student interns who will serve during the 2012-2013 academic year. The APA UN program solicits applications from psychologists and full-time students in the New York City area with an interest and relevant experience in international psychology issues. APA-appointed representatives serve a five-year term where they collaborate with other NGO representatives and APA offices to identify issues, organize programs and draft statements that bring psychological science and a psychological perspective to bear on global policies and programs. Roseanne Flores and Rashmi Jaipal have been selected as representatives to the Economic and Social Council, and Farnaz Kaighobadi has been selected as a Special Projects Associate. The 2012-2013 student interns are Sepideh Alavi, Shuchang Kang, David Kerner, Jarell Meyers and Ceren Sönmez. They will focus on supporting the work of the APA UN team by working side-by-side with the representatives on projects initiated by UN NGO Committees that focus on child rights, families, elimination of racism and other forms of xenophobia, sustainability, HIV/AIDS prevention, protection of vulnerable girls and LGBT rights, using psychological science and practice. Intern recruitment for the 2013-2014 year will begin in March 2013.

New NGO representatives at the UN

Roseanne L. Flores, PhDRoseanne L. Flores, PhD is an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Hunter College of the City University of New York. She received her PhD from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. She is a developmental psychologist by training and was a National Head Start Fellow in the Office of Head Start in Washington, D.C., in 2009-2010. In addition to her work at the Office of Head Start, Roseanne also worked at the Institute of Education Science in the National Center for Education Research creating a template for the dissemination of assessments instruments developed from research in the field. Prior to coming to the Office of Head Start, Dr. Flores was a Visiting Scholar at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., where she worked in the areas of assessment, research and policy. More recently she served as a reviewer for the Race to the Top Early Learning Challenge grant. She is currently serving as a member of the APA Committee on Children, Youth and Families. She was a member of the 2011-2012 APA CWP Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology. Dr. Flores has expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, statistics, testing and measurement, and linguistic, cognitive and social development of children across various ages and cultural groups. Some of her current research examines the relationship between environmental risk factors, such as community violence, SES, obesity and food insecurity on the health and educational outcomes of minority children.

Rashmi Jaipal, PhD Rashmi Jaipal, PhD is professor of psychology at Bloomfield College, N.J., specializing in cross-cultural psychology. Her areas of interest are immigration and acculturation, psychology and sustainable development, cultural conceptions of health and healing, indigenous psychologies, crosscultural communication and implicit culture. Dr. Jaipal is the founder and director of the Center for Cultures and Communication at Bloomfield, as well as a Diversity Internship program and Diversity Training Certificate at the college. She runs cross-cultural communications training workshops both on and off-campus, and is developing the center into a bridge between the local and the global. She has started a new initiative at the center called Alternative Visions for the Future, which looks at alternative ways to build sustainable societies, drawing from diverse and indigenous cultures. She received her PhD in clinical psychology from the New School for Social Research in New York in 1995, and worked for some years as clinical coordinator in a rehabilitation program for the homeless mentally ill on the lower east side of Manhattan. For her doctoral dissertation Dr. Jaipal looked at cultural differences in moral perspective between India and the United States. Dr. Jaipal‘s appointment begins in January 2013.

Farnaz Kaighobadi, PhDFarnaz Kaighobadi, PhD is a postdoctoral research fellow at the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute. She received her PhD in experimental psychology from Florida Atlantic University. Prior to her appointment at the HIV Center, Dr. Kaighobadi conducted research at the Evolutionary Psychology Lab at Florida Atlantic University, investigating predictors of men‘s violence against women in intimate relationship. Currently, Dr. Kaighobadi‘s research addresses psychosocial and situational predictors of sexual violence within same-sex relationships with implications for HIV infection risk. She is also the principal investigator on a pilot study investigating the structure and composition of a social network of men who have sex with men in South Africa, and the effects of that social network on perceived social support, safer sex behaviors and HIV testing behaviors. Dr. Kaighobadi‘s research interest in general is focused on the intersections of sexual risk behaviors, sexual violence and STI/HIV infection risk within same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.

2012-2013 student interns at the UN

Sepideh AlaviSepideh Alavi, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, is currently attending Columbia University‘s Teachers College in pursuit of a master‘s degree in clinical psychology and education. Sepideh received her BS degree in psychology from Portland State University. Prior to her graduate studies, she conducted a cross-cultural investigation of psychotherapy in Iran. Sepideh has also worked as a research assistant at the Oregon Health and Science University‘s Behavioral Neuroscience department where she conducted neuroimaging studies to further explore the impact of family history on the developing adolescent brain. Currently, she is a research assistant at Columbia‘s Loss, Trauma and Emotions Lab and conducts research on emotion regulation. Though Sepideh was born in the United States, she was raised in Tehran, Iran and has lived for several years in Canada, Oregon, California and Texas prior moving to New York City. With the APA U.N. team, Sepideh seeks to broaden her perspective on mental health related international policies, practices, and research, while expanding her perspective on cross-cultural stigmas associated with mental illness, raising awareness for global issues such as gender inequality, promoting equitable power relationships and implementing peace-making activities.

Shuchang KangShuchang Kang, Teacher’s College, Columbia University, is currently an MA student in clinical psychology at Teachers College, Columbia University. Originally from China, she obtained her BS from Lingnan University in Hong Kong. Shuchang‘s research interests include children with post-traumatic stress disorder and cross-cultural research. After experiencing the disastrous earthquake in Sichuan in 2008, she hopes that she can help the children who suffered from the traumatic event. Shuchang is looking forward to the internship opportunity with the APA-U.N. team and hopes she can share her cultural knowledge and past experience to help the team promote psychology and global mental health. She is also excited to work with and learn from other brilliant team members, and become involved with the various mental health related NGOs at the United Nations.

David KernerDavid Kerner, Montclair State University, is currently a general psychology master‘s candidate at Montclair State University. In May 2011, David graduated from Indiana University where he majored in psychology with a concentration in Italian language. As a high school student, he was able to develop his interest in national politics while serving as a page in the United States Senate. David‘s interest in international affairs and education has led him to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, lead groups of international students on study abroad trips to New York City, and most recently assist in Montclair State University‘s Teaching In English Program at Taishan Medical University in Tai‘an, China. David looks forward to joining the APA team at the United Nations, and working with psychology graduate students from all over the world to apply his knowledge of psychology to international affairs.

Jarell MyersJarell Myers, Fairleigh Dickinson University, is a fourth year extern in the clinical psychology doctoral track at Fairleigh Dickinson University. He was born in Silver Spring, Maryland but has lived most of his life in Kingston, Jamaica. His past research focused on internalizing and externalizing outcome behaviors of abused girls. Since then he has taken a sincere interest in working with children resulting in co-leading a play therapy and social skills groups. Most recently, Jarell has participated as a counselor in a camp geared towards aiding children with obsessive-compulsive disorder. He is currently preparing his dissertation proposal which will focus on the family system, specifically how differences in culture and socioeconomic status may affect successful parenting styles. This year, along with interning at the U.N., he will be working at Westchester Jewish Community Services where he will be providing services for children and families of primarily West Indian and Hispanic backgrounds. Working this year at the U.N., he hopes to learn and gain insight into the family through sitting on the family committee and aid in the dissemination of information from a psychological perspective through Psychology Day.

Ceren SonmezCeren Sonmez, Teacher's College, Columbia University, is a second year graduate student in the clinical psychology master of arts program at Teachers College, Columbia University. During her graduate studies in Turkey, her home country, she investigated self-defining memories in order to understand the development of the self-concept through autobiographical memories. She is currently interested in global mental health and aims to research depression and its treatment in developing countries. Ceren aspires to implement intervention programs in those countries, evaluate their effectiveness and influence change in policies based on the results. Having the opportunity to have a close look at UN workings, attend briefings, and plan and organize psychology-related events with APA U.N. NGO Team members will be a distinguished experience for Ceren.