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About the Current Team
Melanie E. Brewster
Melanie Brewster, Associate 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. Her first book, Atheists in America, was published in 2014. She tweets about atheism, queer issues, and academia at @melysebrewster
I received my Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa and am currently serving as the Program Coordinator of the Ed.M. program in Psychological Counseling at Teachers College, Columbia University. I believe that there are multiple factors that impact human adaptation. Biological predisposition, social context, psychological health, availability of choices and freedom and the ability to exercise personal privilege influence an individual's life path and overall well-being. As a researcher, whose professional and personal identity is strongly influenced by multiculturalism and social advocacy, I am interested in understanding how these factors interact and predict psychological health. My scholarly interests lie in the pursuit of evaluating bio-psycho-social factors and their impact of individual differences and self-determination.
Furthermore, I am a licensed psychologist and my clinical interests include complex trauma, working with marginalized/minority populations, women's concerns, identity development, individuation and family of origin concerns. I approach my personal and professional life from a relational, feminist and multicultural framework and enjoy developing mutually empowering and empathic relationships with others. In my free time, I enjoy independent cinema, spending time with loved ones and pop culture.
Aaron Samuel Breslow
I am thrilled to be in my fifth year as a doctoral student member of Dr. Brewster’s identityLORE Team. I carry with me twelve years of experience in HIV prevention and care, as well as a fierce passion for social justice grounded in queer theory, feminism, and anti-racist ally activism. My work is an intersection of my research interests in HIV criminalization, minority stress, and community-led psychosocial intervention. I am currently fulfilling a clinical internship at Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine and have previously worked as a clinical extern at Columbia University Medical Center.
Ongoing projects I contribute to include investigations of: transgender minority stress and resilience; HIV/AIDS microaggressions; queer men’s Grindr use and subsequent body shame and internalized racism; and womanist-identified men of color in Counseling Psychology, amongst others. Most recently, we published a survey of 552 transgender adults exploring how people utilize resilience and activism to fight back against anti-transgender discrimination. I am collecting data for my dissertation about HIV criminalization, stigma, and empowerment - click here to participate if you are 18+ and HIV-positive!
Before coming to Teachers College, I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology at Brandeis University. Previous work includes various research and sexual justice gigs, including positions at: the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies & Training (NYC); the Desmond Tutu HIV Foundation (Cape Town, South Africa); Gay Men’s Health Crisis (NYC); Fenway Community Health (Boston, MA); and AIDS Walk San Francisco. I apply this foundation – as well as a critical grounding in bottom-up approaches to social change – to my research on Dr. Brewster’s team.
I am Anthea Chan, and I mainly go by Andy (either is fine). I am in the Clinical Psychology Masters program at Teachers College, and will pursue the Sexuality, Women and Gender as well as the Research Methods concentrations.
I am a gender-fluid kinky future scholar. My research interests are related to sex, and range from consent to the more extraordinary realm of the kink scene and alternative sexual practices. My forays into research in kink have so far been limited to reading anything I can get my hands on, taking classes on various skills and practices, and meeting people in the community.
I have written about and been actively involved in research in tangentially related topics, mainly intimate partner violence, intergenerational transmission of violence, and survivors' cyber safety. One of my main projects while at the Family Translational Research Group was to develop an algorithm in SAS to match anonymous web data from multiple time points in a longitudinal study of teen dating violence. I have presented a poster on first- and second-generation immigrant college students and the role of social support in mediating the relationship between acculturative stress and mental health symptoms.
Outside of my passion for research, I paint, look at pictures of cats, and occasionally try to learn foreign languages (mostly German, and some Russian). I read a lot, mainly works by queer and feminist theorists, but I also have a particularly strong passion for J.R.R. Tolkien and The Lord of the Rings.
I am a second year in the Ed.M Counseling Psychology at TC. My passion for studying oppression, resilience, and empowerment dynamics emerged while pursuing a B.A. in Philosophy with a double minor in Gender Studies and Psychology from Wagner College. My studies continued at Fordham University where I received an M.A. in Ethics with a focus on International Human Rights issues and Gender Politics. Throughout my academic career, I've worked at various LGBTQ centers across New York City, most recently at Rainbow Heights Club in Brooklyn. My academic and research passions include LGBTQ issues, feminist philosophy, consent, and applications of Compassion Focused Therapy. In addition, I am currently serving as the Co-director for the Sexuality, Women, and Gender project at TC under the guidance of Dr. Sandil, Dr. Brewster, and Dr. Athan.
Hi! I am a second year Masters student in the Psychological Counseling program. Previous to TC, I earned my BA from Marymount University in Psychology with a double minor in Gender Studies and Philosophy. I am also a graduate counseling intern and research assistant at the Kull Initiative for Psychotherapy and a counselor through the Mental Health Association of NYC.
I am interested in Queer Theory, Multicultural issues, and Intersectional Feminism in research and practice. My research interests in particular involve gender expansive communities, internalized heteronormativity, sex positivity, and intersections of marginalized identities. I aim to work towards research adn clinical practices that reflect feminism, liberation movements in psychotherapy, and multicultural competencies. Additionally, making research not only applicable to practice, but accessible to the public through education, outreach, and policy implementation is a passion of mine.
I am a fourth-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program here at Teachers College. I earned my M.A. & Ed.M from Teachers College in Mental Health Counseling and earned my BA from Muhlenberg College with a major in Psychology and a minor in Women's Studies. Most of my work, both clinical and academic, is shaped largely through Feminist, Multicultural, and Queer Theory.
I first joined Dr. Brewster’s team when entering my master's program and have been a member ever since. My research interests focus broadly on the life experiences of marginalized groups within a Minority Stress framework. I am particularly interested in research working with survivors of sexual and relational violence, individuals with learning disabilities, and members of the LGBTQ community. I am also interested in scale development and just developed a scale to measure individuals with learning disabilities perceived experiences of discrimination. Clinically I am fulfilling a year-long externship position at the Manhattan VA, where I am conducting psychodynamic and cognitive-behavioral therapy to veterans.
When I am not doing work you can find me in a barre class, eating some form of mac and cheese, or snuggling with my two fluffy cats.
I am a first year doctoral student in the Counseling PhD program. Previous to TC, I worked as a Research Associate at the IDEAS Center at the The Child Study Center at NYU Medical Center on various projects aimed at improving mental health services for children and families through implementation and dissemination science. I also worked for The Ackerman Institute’s Gender and Family Project in various capacities and continue to coordinator their research initiative. I graduated from NYU in 2012 in Applied Psychology and minored in Gender and Sexuality studies and Child and Adolescent Mental Health.
I’m interested improving mental health services for marginalized populations through research and working with populations negotiating identity, specifically, LGBT and refugee populations. I’ve also gained experience working in research with Bellevue's Survivor of Torture Program and the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies (CHIBPS), and doing casual non-profit work in with refugee populations in West Africa. When not learning from my amazing professors and colleagues, I can be found seeking out adventures, crafting cocktails, or finding time to go to the gym.
Hello! My name is Wei. I am a PhD student in the Counseling Psychology program here at TC and am absolutely thrilled to be joining identityLORE. I went to undergraduate school in the small town of Walla Walla, Washington (known for its wine and sweet onions), where I majored in Gender Studies and minored in Psychology. While in undergrad, I served as a Whitman Community Fellow for the Walla Walla-based Children’s Resilience Initiative. I also worked as a Residential Youth Counselor at the Seattle Children’s Home.
I am interested in studying how modalities of oppression (sex, gender, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, and so on) function in everyday life and in overtly constructed spaces such as wilderness therapy and the Internet. More broadly, I wish to study psychology as it intersects with feminist, queer, and minority-centered theory. I am fascinated by the contributions these theoretical frameworks have already lent to the field of psychology, and am passionate about exploring the ways in which these fields can continue to engage with each other.
Outside of academia, I enjoy video games, my three cats, sports, and the occasional afternoon nap.
Hello! I am a first year student in Ed.M. in Mental Health Counseling Program. I am an international student who was born and raised in Turkey. I earned my B.A. in Psychology from Koc University, Turkey in 2015 and moved to New York in the beginning of Fall 2016.
During my undergraduate studies, I had the chance to participate in various projects, which increased my awareness and sensitivity to discrimination and stigmatization against LGTBQ individuals and women. After graduating in 2015, I had an internship in the Women and Gender Studies Center of Koc University where I took part in a research project on the Influence of Feminist and Queer Theory on the Law Surrounding Consent. This involvement showed me, once again, how brutally the rights of marginalized individuals are violated each day, and how this has an extremely negative impact on their mental health. I am very excited about being a part of the IdentityLORE team, discover more about the issues affecting marginalized populations and contribute to research projects on topics that I genuinely care about.
In my free time, I love cooking, doing Yoga and taking long outdoor walks.
Research Affiliates Outside of TC
Team Alumni and Past Student Affiliates
Matthew A. Robinson, PhD (Staff Psychologist at McLean Hospital and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School)
Jessica Esposito, PhD (Staff Psychologist at Bronx VA; Adjunct Professor at Teachers College, Columbia University)
Aasha Foster-Mahfuz PhD (Supervisor for The Family Rehabilitation and Treatment Program at Montefiore Hospital)
Jacob Sawyer, PhD(Staff psychologist at University of Albany; SBIRT Grant Project Coordinator at The Center for Behavioral Health Promotion and Applied Research)
EdM and MA Students
Sarah Arango (now a doctoral student at University of Texas, Austin)
Taymy Caso (now a doctoral student at New York University)
Jacks Cheng (now a doctoral student at Indiana University, Bloomington)
Brian Keum (now a doctoral student at University of Maryland)
Stephanie Wong (now a doctoral student at New York University)
Sungsub (Billy) Choo