Dr. Brandon Velez is an Associate Professor of Psychology and Education in the Counseling Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. He earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Florida in 2014. Dr. Velez's research focuses on the associations of experiences of discrimination and identity-related attitudes with psychosocial outcomes (e.g., psychological distress, well-being, job satisfaction, body image) among people with marginalized identities. He is also interested in the ways that multiple forms of oppression (e.g., racism, sexism, heterosexism) may contribute additively, interactively, or intersectionally to the psychosocial functioning of people with multiple marginalized identities, such as sexual minority people of color. An emerging area of interest for Dr. Velez is how counseling psychology can best foster and support graduate trainees' involvement in social justice-related training. In his free time, Dr. Velez enjoys spending quality time with friends and family, reading science fiction and fantasy novels, and catching up on TV.
Further details about Dr. Velez's publications, presentations, and current research projects can be found in his CV.
Dr. Velez currently teaches the following courses:
CCPJ 5062: Career Counseling and Development
CCPJ 5070: Evaluation and Research Methods in Counseling Psychology
CCPJ 5164: Multicultural Counseling and Psychology
Christian (he/him/his) is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology PhD program. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago and then spent three years at Northwestern University as a program evaluator on various projects focused on HIV prevention, health disparities, and health justice in service of queer and trans* youth of color in Chicago. Christian originally joined the Stigma, Identity, and Intersectionality research team in Fall 2018 when he joined Teachers College to pursue his master’s degree in Clinical Psychology. Broadly, his research interests focus on how systems impact the mental and sexual health of people with more than one marginalized identity, with a particular interest in those who are marginalized based on race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, and national origin. He plans to explore these interests formally through the doctoral program’s concentration in Bilingual Latinx Mental Health and a Teachers College-wide advanced certificate in Sexuality, Women, and Gender. Outside of his academic and professional interests, Christian enjoys staying highly caffeinated, winning Broadway ticket lotteries, bingeing TV shows, and soaking up sunshine.
Michael (he/him/his) is a first-year doctoral student. He recently completed a Masters of Education in Mental Health Counseling (Counseling Psychology) at Teachers College, Columbia University. During that program, he fulfilled his fieldwork requirement at Terence Cardinal Cooke, a nursing care center in East Harlem. He serves as Director of Career Counseling at Columbia Law School’s Office of Career Services, where he has worked for the past several years. His research interests center on the career development and mental health of people with marginalized identities. He has served as an adjunct professor and career advisor at St. John’s University School of Law. Before working in career counseling, he worked as an attorney. He graduated from Columbia Law School (J.D.) and Brown University (B.A., Philosophy). Michael is interested in cooking, trying new foods, and spending time with his niece and nephew.
Kiara Manosalvas (she/her/hers) is a fifth-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and a Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling from Boston College. Before beginning her doctoral degree, she worked as a research assistant at Brigham and Women's Hospital, where she helped develop medical institutions' organizational measures to become trauma-informed. In this role, she advocated for survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, and human trafficking attempting to access and navigate the health care system. Kiara is currently working as an intern at the Manhattan VA. Her broad research interests include sexual violence towards women of color, clinical training and supervision of social justice-oriented mental health providers, and culturally affirmative, bilingual mental health services for Latinx populations. Aside from her academic interests, Kiara enjoys singing and musical theatre, thrift store shopping, exploring independent bookstores, and alternating between red wine and strong coffee.
Emmett (he/him/his) is a first-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at Teachers College. He earned his undergraduate degree in Psychology and Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In the past few years, he has worked as a research coordinator for various health equity projects and as a mental health counselor at a private practice. Emmett has engaged in research around experiences of minority stress, disordered eating, body image concerns, and protective factors in transgender and gender expansive (TGE) populations. He will be expanding upon this research at Teachers College and hopes to learn more about the lived experiences of minority stress and resilience among TGE populations who hold multiple marginalized identities. In his leisurely time, Emmett enjoys consuming copious amounts of coffee, bike riding, and reading for fun.
Tori (she/her/hers) is a first year masters student in the Mental Health Counseling EdM program. Originally from North Carolina, she recently earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. While at Emory, Tori worked for three years as an undergraduate laboratory research assistant in both the Goodman Laboratory and the Hamann Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory. She was also the lead undergraduate researcher on a sociology research team studying gendered cultural rituals as well as a research intern for the Institute of Organizational Mindfulness. Her independent research focuses on the intersection of gender, identity and mental health applied to the collegiate student-athlete population. She currently works as Columbia’s Assistant Director of Women’s Basketball Operations and plans to pursue a career which provides both research and mental health care to the collegiate sports environment.
Chiamaka (she/her/hers) is a first-year masters student in the Mental Health Counseling EdM program. She graduated from Baylor University with a BA in Sociology and Spanish after which she worked in non-profit settings with a focus on providing accessible behavioral health care to local Black and Latinx communities in Fort Bend County, TX. She has also worked with survivors of domestic violence, intimate partner violence and sexual assault, connecting them to legal resources and community-based financial assistance. Partnering with the Fort Bend Women’s Center and the University of Houston, she worked as a Research Assistant analyzing the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on DV/IPV/SA survivors’ access to mental health care. Her research interests focus on sociopolitical barriers to accessible mental health care and psychological outcomes of those with intersecting minoritized gender and sexual identities.
Danielle (she/her/hers) is a first year masters student in the Psychology in Education, Clinical Psychology program at Teachers College. She spent the first two years of her undergraduate degree studying clinical psychology at C.U.N.Y. Hunter College before transferring to, and graduating from, George Mason University in 2021. While pursuing her undergraduate degree she worked as a crisis counselor on the Trevor Project’s suicide hotline. During this time she was able to provide a safe space and care for LGBTQ+ youth across the country facing homelessness, suicidal ideation and abuse. This informed her research interests which include LGBTQ+ mental health and wellbeing, treatment of queer patients in medical settings and the connection between borderline personality disorder diagnoses and sexual minority women. Danielle’s goal post graduation is to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and focus her work on queer adolescents facing instability.
Santosh (he/him/his) is a first-year master’s student in the Ed.M. and M.A. program in Counseling Psychology at Teachers College. Prior to this, he was a peer support worker at a private practice in India, assisting clinicians in their interventions working with gay and bisexual men, imbibing his lived and learned experiences with clinical practice. His research interests center on the relationship between mental health and stigma, minority stress theory, intersectionality, the duality between oppression and privilege, and building resilience in sexual minority populations within highly-collectivist cultures – particularly South Asia. Outside of work, Santosh is interested in all things aviation and geography-related.
Anthony (they/them)– originally from St. Louis, Missouri– is a first year masters student in the Counseling Psychology EdM program at Teachers College, Columbia University. During their undergraduate experience at Xavier University of Louisiana, they earned their BA in Spanish Language and Literature with their minors in Afro-Latin American and Caribbean Studies as well as Psychology. As an undergraduate freshman, they conducted their first research project which focused on the concept of toxic masculinity as it relates to non-queer, African American males and its impact on the self-reported mental health statuses of the participants. Through the course of their undergraduate career, they participated in other research projects which centered on themes such as the exploration of the morena in Spanish Literature, the examination of racism in Spanish speaking countries, and the elucidation of enslaved women’s resistance efforts. Overall, as a Black, trans-nonbinary scholar, Anthony’s principle goal in research is to expand the literature on the historical, cultural, social, and political barriers faced by marginalized individuals that are often overlooked and omitted from mainstream psychological discourse. Outside of academia, Anthony enjoys reflecting on their own internal processes and engaging in Afro-religious practices. Aṣẹ!
Olivia (she/her) is a first year student in the M.Ed. Mental Health Counseling program. She graduated from Northeastern University (Boston, MA) in 2021 with a B.S. in Psychology and minors in Business Administration and Human Services. During undergrad at Northeastern, she worked as a Research Assistant in the Lifespan Emotional Development Lab (LEDLab) running both at-home and in-lab studies looking at older adults’ affect regulation. Additionally, she worked in an inpatient psychiatric hospital for two years as a Mental Health Associate (MHA), which has informed much of her clinical interests. Her current personal research interests range from risk factors for inpatient readmission, to talk therapy and psychosis, to the LGBTQ+ community as a whole. Olivia also works part time doing marketing for Constant Therapy, an app which provides at-home speech and cognitive therapy to those who have suffered strokes or traumatic brain injuries.