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Melanie Elyse Brewster

Professional Background

Educational Background

University of Florida (APA accredited), Ph.D Counseling Psychology
         Concentration: Sexuality, gender, and race
         Dissertation: The roles of cognitive flexibility, bicultural self-efficacy, and minority stress in the mental health
                              of bisexual individuals.

University of Utah (APA accredited), Pre-doctoral Clinical Internship
University of Florida, M.S. Psychology University of Florida, B.S. Psychology                  
University of Florida, B.A. Criminology

Scholarly Interests

Mental health correlates of discrimination and stigma
Intersections of personal identities (e.g., sexual orientation, gender, race, religion)
Social justice in the workplace
Atheism and nonreligious identities
Measurement development and evaluation

Selected Publications


Brewster, M.E. (2014, May/June). Atheists in America. New York, NY: Columbia University Press. Purchase here.



Bold denotes Teachers College student collaborators

Sandil, R., Robinson, M., Brewster, M.E., Geiger, E., & Wong, S. (in press). Minority stress and acculturation for South Asian LGB individuals. Cultural Diversity & Ethnic Minority Psychology

Brewster, M.E., Robinson, M., Sandil, R. Esposito, J., & Geiger, E. (in press). Arrantly absent: Atheism in psychological science from 2001-2012. The Counseling Psychologist

Brewster, M.E., & Sawyer, J. (in press). Atheism and the American family. In L. Ganong, M. Coleman, & G.J. Geoffrey (Eds.). The Social History of the American Family. New York, NY: Sage.

Smith, L., & Brewster, M.E. (in press). Counseling in the Context of Poverty, Homelessness, and Classism. In P. Pedersen, J. Draguns, W. Lonner, J. Trimble, & M. Scharron del Rio (Eds.). Counseling Across Cultures, 7th Edition. New York, NY: Sage Publications

Brewster, M.E., Velez, B.L., Esposito, J., Wong, S., Geiger, L., & Keum, B. (2014). Moving beyond the binary with disordered eating research: A test and extension of objectification theory with bisexual women. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 61, 50-62.

Robinson, M. A., & Brewster, M. E. (2014). Motivations for fatherhood: Examining internalized heterosexism and gender-role conflict with childless gay and bisexual men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 15, 49-59.

Brewster, M.E., Moradi, B., DeBlaere, C., & Velez, B.L. (2013). Navigating the borderlands: Cognitive flexibility, bicultural self-efficacy, and minority stress in the lives of bisexual individuals. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60, 543-556.

Brewster, M.E. (2013). Atheism, Gender, and Sexuality. In S. Bullivant & M. Ruse (Eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Atheism. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Velez, B. L., Moradi, B., & Brewster, M.E. (2013). Testing the tenets of minority stress theory in workplace contexts. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60, 532-424.

DeBlaere, C., Brewster, M.E., Bertsch, K., DeCarlo, A., Kegel, K., & Presseau, C. (2013). The protective power of collective action for sexual minority women of color: An investigation of multiple discrimination experiences and psychological distress. Psychology of Women Quarterly. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/0361684313493252

DeBlaere, C., & Brewster, M.E. (2013). Diversity Across the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Community. In E. Fisher & K. Komosa-Hawkins (Eds.), Creating Safe and Supportive Learning Environments: A Guide for Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Questioning Youth and Families (pp. 73-88). New York, NY: Routledge.

Moradi, B., Martin, A., & Brewster, M.E. (2012). Disarming the threat to feminist identification: An application of personal construct theory to measurement and intervention. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 36, 197-209.

Brewster, M.E., Velez, B.L., DeBlaere, C., & Moradi, B. (2012). Transgender individuals’ workplace experiences: The applicability of sexual minority measures and models. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 59, 60-70.

Brewster, M.E., & Moradi, B. (2010). Perceived anti-bisexual prejudice experiences: Scale development and evaluation. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57, 451-468.

Brewster, M.E., & Moradi, B. (2010). Personal, relational, and community aspects of bisexual identity in emerging, early, and middle adulthood. Journal of Bisexuality, 10, 1-25.

DeBlaere, C., Brewster, M.E., Sarkees, A., Moradi, B. (2010). Conducting research with LGB People of Color: Methodological challenges and strategies. The Counseling Psychologist, 38, 331-362.

Huang, Y. P., Brewster, M. E., Moradi, B., Goodman, M. B., Wiseman, M., & Mennicke, A. (2010). Content analysis of literature about LGB of Color: 1998-2007. The Counseling Psychologist, 38, 363-396.

Moradi, B., Wiseman, M., DeBlaere, C., Goodman, M., Sarkees, A., Brewster, M.E., & Huang, Y-P. (2010). LGB of Color and White individuals’ perceptions of heterosexist stigma, internalized homophobia and outness: Comparisons of levels and links. The Counseling Psychologist, 38, 397-424.

biographical information

Melanie Brewster, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University, earned her Ph.D from the University of Florida. Her research focuses on marginalized groups and examines how experiences of discrimination and stigma may shape the mental health of minority group members (e.g., LGBTQ individuals, atheists, people of color). Dr. Brewster also examines potential resilience factors, such as bicultural self-efficacy and cognitive flexibility, that may promote the mental health of minority individuals. To date, most of her research has centered on the experiences of sexual minority people. Specifically, Dr. Brewster has focused on groups who occupy the "margins of marginalized populations" -- including bisexual individuals, queer people of color, and transgender persons. Her first book, Atheists in America, is due out June 2014 from Columbia University Press.

honors and awards

Research awards

2012    Women of Color Psychologies Award

Presented annually by the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP) and the Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35 of APA) to the best paper that advances scholarship with women of color.

2012    Psychotherapy with Women Award

Presented annually by the Society for the Psychology of Women (Division 35 of APA) to a manuscript on the broad topic on psychotherapy with women on the basis of scholarly rigor, clinical impact, theoretical creativity and innovation, methodological skills, clarity and style of presentation, in addition to its relevance and importance to psychotherapy with women.

2011    Outstanding Major Contribution Award

Presented annually in recognition of the most outstanding Major Contribution published in The Counseling Psychologist

2011    Barbara Kirk Award

The Barbara A. Kirk Award is presented annually by the American Psychological Association Society of Counseling Psychology in recognition of outstanding student-initiated research

2011    Award for Distinguished Student Contribution

Presented annually by the Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues (Division 44 of the American Psychological Association) to a graduate student in psychology who has made a distinguished contribution to research or practice, or who has performed exceptional service to the Division. Recipients of this award represent the future of this Division, and have taken leadership early in their careers to advance LGBT issues in psychology.

2011    Outstanding Counseling Psychology Graduate Student Award

University of Florida Psychology Department; conferred annually upon a doctoral student in counseling psychology for excellence in research and professional work

2010    Outstanding Graduate Student Award

American Psychological Association Society of Counseling Psychology Section for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues

2010    Transgender Research Award Honorable Mention

American Psychological Association Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues

2010    Ted Landsman Award

University of Florida Psychology Department; conferred annually upon a doctoral student in counseling psychology whose projects or initiatives promise to promote an understanding of, or contribution to, positive human growth

2009    Rainbow Alliance Research Award

University of Florida; conferred annually upon graduate students at UF for excellence in research on behalf of LGBT persons

2008    Bisexual Foundation Grant

American Psychological Association Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues; conferred annually upon an emerging scholar in bisexuality research


Travel awards

2012    American Psychological Association Division 17, Early Career Psychologist Travel Grant

2011    University of Florida College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

            University of Florida Department of Psychology

2010    American Psychological Association Science Directorate

            University of Florida College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

            University of Florida Department of Psychology

2008    American Psychological Association Science Directorate

University of Florida College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

            University of Florida Department of Psychology

2007    University of Florida Department of Psychology

            University of Florida College of Liberal Arts & Sciences


professional presentations

current projects


6. Jones, N., Brewster, M.E., & Jones, J. (revise and resubmit). The sexual minority ally development scale.

5. Brewster, M.E., Velez, B.L., Mennicke, A., & Tebbe, E. (revise and resubmit). Workplace gender transitions: Consensual qualitative research investigating the experiences of transgender employees.

4. Esposito, J., & Brewster, M.E. (under review). Shedding light on the invisibility of chronic illness: Stigma, outness, and links with psychological well-being

3. Keum, B., Wong, S., DeBlaere, C., & Brewster, M.E. (under review). Asian American men’s body image, acculturation, and drive for muscularity

2. Foster, A., Brewster, M.E., Velez, B.L., Eklund, A., & Keum, B. (under review) Footprints in the sand: Demographic and psychological profiles of religious, spiritual, and atheist LGB individuals

1. Gushue, G.V, Brewster, M.E., & Walker, A.D. (under review). Motivation and colorblind racial attitudes. 


9. Brewster, M.E., Velez, B.L., Foster, A., & Esposito, J. The mediating role of religious coping in the minority stress to psychological well-being link

8. Moradi, B., Tebbe, E., Brewster, M.E., Budge, S., & Arango, S. (proposal accepted for a Major Contribution in The Counseling Psychologist). Content analysis of literature about transgender issues from 2000-2012.

7. Berg, E., & Brewster, M.E. Relationship styles, attachment, and LGB minority stress

6. Jones, K.N., & Brewster, M.E. A content analysis of Safe Zone training materials

5. Brewster, M. E., Sawyer, J., Eklund, A., Hammer, J., Palamar, J., Foster, A., & Lenaburg, S. Developing the Measure of Atheist Discrimination Experiences (MADE)

4. Breslow, A., Brewster, M.E., Wong, S., Velez, B., Lenaburg, S., & Jones, K. A test of minority stress theory with people of transgender experiences

3. Brewster, M.E., Velez, B., Breslow, A., Wong, S., Lenaburg, S., Jones, K. A test of objectification theory with women and men of transgender experiences

2. Brewster, M.E., Sandil, R., DeBlaere, C., Eklund, A., Breslow, A., & Cheng, J. Grinder use, minority stress, and objectification experiences of sexual minority men.

1. Foster, A., Walker, A., Eklund, A., & Brewster, M.E. Understanding asexual people of color.

personal news

Yes! I will be accepting one doctoral student for Fall 2014. No need to email me to express your interest.  I look forward to reviewing your applications. LGBTQ-identified students, please consider applying for this scholarship through TC.

Please check out my research team website and the Sexuality, Women, and Gender Project website (co-founded by me and Drs. Sandil and Athan) for more information about current projects, student work, and social justice initiatives.


Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity (APA Division 44), Editorial board member

Psychology of Women Quarterly (APA Division 35), Entry reviewer

American Psychologist, Ad hoc reviewer

The Counseling Psychologist (APA Division 17), Ad hoc reviewer

Psychology and Sexuality, Ad hoc reviewer

Journal of Homosexuality, Ad hoc reviewer

International Journal of Transgenderism, Ad hoc reviewer

CCPJ 4064: Theories of Counseling

Approaches to counseling; theories and research findings; educational, vocational, and personal counseling; typical problems; illustrative cases.

CCPJ 5062: Career Counseling and Development

General concepts of career development and methods of assessment in career counseling. This course also highlights various issues related to the career development of diverse client populations in light of contemporary socio-political phenomena. Materials fee: $40.

CCPJ 5371: Foundations of counseling

Permission required. Limited enrollment. Prerequisite: For majors section, admission into the Ed.M. program in Psychological Counseling or Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology, CCPJ 4064 completed or taken concurrently; for non-majors section, CCPJ 4064 recommended but not required. A laboratory experience for counselors and others in the helping professions. Practice in clarifying, understanding, and responding to personal communications. Graduated exercises and videotapes are used to develop counseling and interviewing skills and desirable counselor attitudes. Special fee: $30.

CCPJ 5372: Foundations of counseling skills II

Permission required. Limited Enrollment. Continuing laboratory experience for helping professionals in further development of basic counseling skills with emphasis on increasing ones self-awareness and self-reflective ability. Practice and experience in attending, influencing and helping skills through in-class discussions, experiential activities, weekly journals, and counseling/clinical integration. Exploring assets and defenses that may facilitate or hinder therapeutic transactions.

CCPJ 8900: Dissertation Advisement

Individual advisement on doctoral dissertation. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term.

Documents & Papers

Atheists in America: Narratives from an Invisible Minority is a book that aspires to tell the stories of diverse individuals who identify as atheist in the increasingly conservative religious climate of the United States.

Download: Reposted Atheists in America Call for Submissions [PDF]

Centers and Projects

Sexuality, Women, and Gender Project

Founded in 2012, the Sexuality, Women, and Gender Project (SWG) was created to envision and implement the next wave of theories and practices to improve well-being in persons at the intersection of the above identities and social locations. This forum is located at Teachers College, Columbia University, a world-renowned training ground for the next generation of educators, researchers, practitioners, administrators, and activists. SWG’s mission is to play a vital role in the creation of research initiatives, innovative curriculum, and institutional programming on campus and with partners beyond.

Melanie Elyse Brewster appeared in the following articles:

Diversity Hits the Books (6/3/2014)

2011 Year in Review (4/13/2012)

Working on the Margins of the Marginalized (12/20/2011)