Newsletter Article

The Diversity Science Specialization: Benefiting its Recipients and the Populations Served

Through the work of the Diversity Steering Committee, the Psychology Department has offered a Diversity Science specialization (est. 2008) 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, Jennifer Wang from Social Psychology and Personality and Eric Pedersen from Adult Clinical both earned specializations to enhance their PhD training. To understand the impact the specialization has had on students’ training, we asked these recent recipients how they benefited and/or improved their world knowledge on diversity.

Clinical student Eric, who is now on internship at the San Diego VA (substance abuse/PTSD track), considers the training invaluable. He comments, “The diversity specialization was a nice complement to the training I received through the clinical psychology program here. A focus of my training has been on attainment of cross-cultural competencies in clinical practice. On internship, I strive to create a supportive and culturally-sensitive environment for individuals from all backgrounds to openly discuss aspects of their cultural, ethnic, religious, sexual, and gender identity. ” By obtaining the specialization, Eric Pedersen feels more confident that he can engage clients from diverse backgrounds to cultivate relationships conducive to positive clinical practice.
Eric Pedersen
Jennifer Wang In addition to aiding clinical practice, Jennifer Wang believes the specialization has also enhanced her own line of research. She adds, “I think the specialization has also given me the confidence to know that I have gotten the appropriate breadth of knowledge on diversity within psychology and also in other fields, and has encouraged me to learn more about how to incorporate psychology and diversity as a long-term goal.” For Jennifer, the specialization has served as a catalyst for the cultivation of long term research goals on diverse populations. Overall, both students agree that obtaining the Diversity Science specialization has greatly enhanced their graduate training.

We look forward to awarding more specializations in the future, to stretch the thinking of our students and to have our students better serve the populations they seek to help.

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