American Psychological Foundation

Esposito to study multiple sclerosis and social support

The second annual Scott and Paul Pearsall Scholarship has been awarded to Jessica Esposito, a third-year doctoral student in the counseling psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The $10,000 scholarship supports graduate work that seeks to increase the public’s understanding of the psychological pain and stigma experienced by adults who live with physical disabilities. Esposito will use the funds to study patients with multiple sclerosis and how social support and disclosure of the disease to others mediate stigma and psychological well-being.

In addition to submitting her findings to scholarly journals and presenting her research at academic conferences, she plans to disseminate her work into the popular media, including Columbia University’s public communications outlets, Twitter, and The New York Times Health section.

Esposito received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and fine arts from Stonehill College in 2008 and earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College in 2011. She is the Research Director of Melanie Brewster’s Marginalization, Mental Health, and Empowerment Team. Jessica’s research focuses on minority stress, specifically with individuals who have invisible chronic health conditions.

APF Theodore Blau Early Career Award goes to Olatunji

Bunmi Olatunji, PhD, is this year’s recipient of the Theodore Blau Early Career Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of early career professionals working in clinical psychology. Olatunji is associate professor in the department of psychology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University, where he also serves as the director of clinical training.

His research involves multilevel examination of cognitive behavioral theory and therapy for anxiety disorders and has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Anxiety Disorders Association of America. He has published more than 150 journal articles and book chapters.

Since 1953, APF has been supporting innovative research and programs that launch careers and seed the knowledge base on critical issues around the globe. For more information, please visit the APF website.

Sustaining psychology for the next generation

Jean Lau Chin, PhD, knows how crucial early support can be in the life of a young psychologist — that’s why she contributes to APF “as a primary vehicle to support and sustain psychology for future generations.”

Chin had an early fascination with why and how some people succeed, despite adversity, while others fail. Coming from a working class immigrant family, Chin recognized that “chance opportunities can often be life transforming.” Her own chance opportunity came when her high school Honors Program Chair encouraged her to pursue a college education at Brooklyn College in New York, N.Y.

From there, Chin followed a career path her family never would have dreamed of: receiving her EdD from Columbia University, going on to become executive director at South Cove Community Health Center, dean at Alliant International University and Adelphi University, and becoming a notable researcher, academic and clinician in the areas of multiculturalism and diversity, psychotherapy and women’s issues.

Now, with her $15,000 gift to the APF Dorothy W. Cantor Leadership Institute for Women in Psychology Fund, Chin will “make a difference in targeting the unique needs of women leaders.” The fund supports the institute, which aims to help female psychologists, including those from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds, develop leadership skills to advance in academics, clinical positions and other professional settings. Chin is hopeful that the institute will put more women on the path to leadership and that their excellence will not be viewed as an exception, but as expected in the field.

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For more information about APF's funding programs, visit APF, or contact APF Program Officer Samantha Edington at  (202) 336-5984.