Newsletter Article

Diversity Science Specialization Stretches Thinking and Supports Diversity

Through the work of the Diversity Steering Committee, the Psychology Department has offered a Diversity Science specialization.  Initially offered in 2008, the specialization is designed to enhance graduate training for psychology students. Completing the specialization helps students understand how the experiences of diverse populations can be utilized to advance the student’s major area of study and cultivates an understanding of the relationship between diversity and psychological issues.

This past year, Kelly Koo from the adult clinical area and Ben Drury from the social psychology and personality area each earned specializations to enhance their Ph.D. training. To understand the impact the specialization has had on students’ training, we asked these recent recipients about their experiences after obtaining the specialization.

Recent clinical graduate Dr. Kelly Koo finds the specialization contributed to her graduate training in two key ways. She found that the specialization was a good way to formalize all of the work she has done addressing issues related to diversity. She comments, “The diversity specialization institutionally formalized all the hard work I did on diversity issues and research throughout my graduate training.” Additionally, she finds that the specialization is a good way for the department to communicate its commitment to diversity. She comments, “It is important to me that my institution not only supports this work but that it also proudly communicates their support for diversity work to others.” For Dr. Koo, the specialization adds to graduate training by providing students the tools they need to help approach issues related to diversity while also communicating that the department values diversity.

Ben Drury offered a similar assessment of the value of the diversity specialization. For Drury, the specialization helped increase his ability to think critically about the problems, as well as the solutions, to diversity-related issues. Drury comments, “The Diversity Specialization has helped me become more aware of the breadth of issues related to diversity and how we can be supportive of diversity-related policies, while also being critical of the way they are often carried out.” The Diversity Specialization thus provides graduate students an additional opportunity to hone their critical thinking skills with a focus on diversity.

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