Active Minds Blog » people of color Changing the conversation about mental health Wed, 25 May 2016 12:46:22 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Meet Tao Liu Tue, 23 Feb 2016 13:59:33 +0000 Tao is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Tao and her fellow scholars here.

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Hello everyone! I am Tao Liu, a fourth year doctoral student in counseling psychology at Indiana University Bloomington. I was born and raised in a village in Hebei Province, China.

Growing up in a poor family in rural China, I was continuously exposed to inequalities related to poverty, mental disability, rural residency, and female status.  I questioned why women still had to do more house chores after a day of hard work than men, wondered why a homeless man with schizophrenia was only ridiculed but not cared for, and doubted the negative attitudes directed toward my parents when they went to the city in farm clothing.

I even doubted the right of teachers to spank students as a form of discipline.  Listening to my grandparents’ stories of being victimized in World War II, I often wondered how the wounds of collective and personal trauma can be healed.

All these experiences led me to counseling psychology. After I came to the United States, I encountered racial dynamics in a way that shook my identity of being Chinese.  I was afraid that my accumulated cultural heritage from China was worthless, and that I needed to redefine who I am.  Seeking support from my Asian and Asian American friends, I found that men and women experience stereotypes and discrimination differently.

One thing that struck me was related to Asian men and women’s attractiveness. While Asian and Asian American women are popular in the dating market, Asian and Asian American men face particular difficulties to be perceived attractive and find partners.

Reading the discrimination literature, I found that the current Asian American discrimination measures do not differentiate the distinct stereotypes experienced by men and women. From my personal interaction with my Asian male friends, I also learned that often times discrimination transforms into a threat to their masculinity: being perceived not attractive or masculine enough affects how they perceive themselves as men.

This is how my dissertation, as well as my Emerging Scholars project, came about.

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In my study, I am looking at how Asian American men experience discrimination in a distinct way that is different from Asian American women and other men of color.

In the pilot stage of my study, I have interviewed some Asian American men inquiring their personal experiences of discrimination. Based on these interviews and current literature, I and my research team developed a draft measure for Asian American men’s experience of gendered discrimination.

I also consulted scholars in the fields of Asian American psychology and revised the measure based on their suggestions. In my current project, I will examine the validity and reliability of the measure, and explore its relationships with psychological distress, somatic symptoms, individualism/collectivism orientation, and general discrimination. Currently I am in the stage of data collection. At the end of March, I will start analyze the data.

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Emerging Scholars Fellowship: Meet Alfred Delena Tue, 02 Feb 2016 14:38:45 +0000 Alfred is a researcher in the 2016 class of the Emerging Scholars Fellowship. Read blog updates from Alfred and his fellow scholars here.


Keshshi! ​Ho’ Alfred Delena le’shina. Hom annodi: K’yak’yali:kwe deyan Dowa:kwe a:wan ch’ale. Hom a:łashshina: a:chi Vanessa dap Larry Delena le’shina. Ho’ Shiwi.

Translation: Hello! My name is Alfred Delena. My clans are Eagle and Child of the Corn. My parents are Vanessa and Larry Delena. I am Zuni. 

As a sign of respect in my culture, this is the proper way of introducing myself (formally) to you in my Native language, Zuni.

I am currently a 5th year undergraduate student, majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Education at Stanford University. This academic year, I have also been writing an honors thesis through the Graduate School of Education’s interdisciplinary program.

My thesis, which is also my project for the Emerging Scholars Fellowship, focuses on exploring the social, emotional, and mental well-being of university undergraduates. More specifically, my research seeks to understand what students of color at a highly selective university believe are the factors that affect their general sense of well-being.

My interest in this topic stems a lot from my own experience of being a student of color, who also happens to come from a first-generation and low-income background. The journey for me, much like this project, has gone through an evolution of its own. From humble beginnings to blessed opportunities, I have been so grateful to forge a path that couples my experiences and passions together with my vision for helping create a world that reflects and reconnects back to its humanity.

From being caught between a battle of two worlds—a world that I had come from, a world that I had only known my entire life until I had to enter this new world, a world that I thought was reserved only for the rich and elite, a world that I thought didn’t have a place for someone like me—to maintaining peace and balance between both worlds. From wandering through deserts of depression and desolation, feeling lost and alone, to stumbling upon oases of light and hope.

This journey continues to inspire me to help create a positive change with regard to promoting the value of well-being and positive mental health on the college campus for diverse students.

It is through these experiences that I am humbled and honored to be doing this work. For I see this endeavor as a big undertaking and as something bigger than myself. In doing this project and writing this thesis, I hope to listen and to understand to order to better serve as a contribution to help start a campus-wide conversation about positive mental health.

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