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Student Member-at-Large

 

 

Haleh Jortani, B.S.

Student Committee Chair (2022/2023)

Haleh Jortani is a 3rd year PsyD student in Clinical Psychology at Spalding University from Louisville, Kentucky. Haleh identifies as a second-generation Iranian-American. Haleh is very passionate about promoting diversity and increasing representation within Muslim, BIPOC, LGBTQ, and immigrant populations. Her clinical interests are in working with young adults that are experiencing anxiety, trauma, and multicultural stressors. Broadly speaking, Haleh’s research interests include the practice of cultural humility in university and classroom settings, identity intersectionality, and suicide prevention among marginalized populations Haleh is interested in helping immigrant individuals with power and privilege to gain awareness and explore ways they are upholding oppressive systems. She is currently a part-time crisis counselor for a non-profit organization dedicated to providing crisis intervention and suicide assessment to those in need. During her free time, Haleh enjoys cycling, dancing, exploring coffee shops in the city, spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and photography.  

Why AMENA-Psy? Haleh instantly found her professional home when she first came across AMENA-Psy’s website a year ago. Amena-Psy student committee has helped her imposter syndrome decrease and has gained many friendships across the country. Her passion is to provide support, network, and build a close community among AMENA-Psy members. Haleh is most excited about working with hardworking and passionate colleagues who share the same interests as her. 

 

 

2022 Student Committee

 

 

             

Sheila Rouzitalab, Psy.M.

Student Liaison Chair (2021/2022)

Sheila is a fifth-year clinical psychology doctoral candidate at Rutgers University Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology in New Jersey. Sheila is a second-generation Iranian American raised in southern California who is committed to serving MENA and immigrant communities through advocacy, education, and clinical services. Her research and advocacy interests broadly involve mental illness stigma, psychological help-seeking, access to mental health services, and community partnerships. Sheila’s clinical training thus far has centered on children, adolescents, and families as she values early intervention and prevention. In her free time, Sheila enjoys spending time with loved ones, being in nature, baking sweet treats, and learning embroidery!

Why AMENA-Psy? Sheila has been looking for a place to call her professional home and found it with AMENA-Psy! Sheila is grateful to have a space to connect with students and psychologists with similar cultural values and experiences, something she has been longing for since beginning graduate school. 

 

 

 

Mary Ann Armanious, B.A.

Student Liaison Collaborator (2022/2023)

Mary Ann is a second-year Clinical Psychology doctoral student at Azusa Pacific University in California. Mary Ann is a second-generation Egyptian-American who was born and raised in Southern California. She has recently developed a passion for serving minority populations, especially those that come from Arab/MENA backgrounds. Her clinical interests are targeted toward helping children, adolescents, and young adults that are experiencing a broad range of emotional, behavioral, and cultural issues. Regarding Mary Ann’s research interests, she is currently working on her dissertation that’s aimed at understanding the relationship between God representation and attachment. In her free time, she loves to watch movies, expand her vinyl collection, go thrift shopping, and venture to find new places to eat. Additionally, she looks forward to her trip to Egypt every summer to visit her family.

Why AMENA-Psy? Mary Ann joined AMENA-Psy to find a safe place where she can connect and relate to others, both culturally and professionally. She is excited to be part of a community that shares similar values in empowering the voices of those that come from Arab/MENA backgrounds. Mary Ann is looking forward to working with Sheila in her role as Student Liaison collaborator.

 

 

Neda Awad, M.S. 

Professional Development Chair (2021/2022)

Neda (she/her/hers) is a third-year clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of La Verne in California. She is a second-generation Palestinian-Iranian Muslim and was born and raised in Kansas. Throughout her academic and professional career, Neda cultivated a deep love, interest, and commitment to serve Middle Eastern populations and continues to do so through research and clinical opportunities. Neda’s dissertation is on MENA-American Muslim youth and how discrimination and Islamophobia impact their mental health, how this is mediated by ethnic identity and moderated by protective factors like parenting.  In addition to her role at AMENA-Psy, Neda serves as cohort representative and is a graduate student affiliate of the APA.  In her free time, Neda enjoys traveling, taking care of her plant babies, spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and the California sun.

Why AMENA-Psy? Neda joined AMENA-Psy as she was looking for a community to call home. She was interested in finding a family that shared her same passions and making life-lasting friendships. As the Professional Development Chair of the AMENA-Psy student committee, Neda is responsible for developing, coordinating, and presenting professional development opportunities and programs for AMENA-Psy students in order to facilitate the achievement of professional goals.

 

Natalie Hussein

Leadership Collaborator (2021/2022)

Natalie Hussein (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year psychology undergraduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research interests center around acculturation, family dynamics, and mental health, specifically in MENA and multicultural populations. Natalie is a second-generation Arab-American who was raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. In addition to her role on the AMENA-Psy Student Committee, she is also a national Robert E. McNair Scholar and will be pursuing her Ph.D. in Applied Developmental Psychology under Dr. Tiffany Yip at Fordham University upon graduation. In her free time, Natalie enjoys cooking, spending time with friends and family, weight lifting, making matcha lattes, hiking, spending time at the beach, and plant shopping. 

Why AMENA-Psy? Natalie immediately resonated with the AMENA-Psy mission when she came across the website in early 2020. Being a part of the Student Committee allows her to give back to a community where she feels she belongs. Natalie is most excited about helping AMENA-Psy bring visibility and advocacy to the AMENA community and learning from everyone on the student committee who are further along in their professional career. 

 

 

 

Nagham Abouzeid, B.A.

Leadership Collaborator (2022/2023)

Nagham Abouzeid (she/her/hers) is a Fulbright Scholar from Lebanon and an MSc. Candidate in the Child and Family Studies Department at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is minoring in statistics and she holds a Bachelor in Psychology from the Lebanese American University  (LAU). At LAU she founded the Gender and Sexuality Club in 2019 and organized events to raise awareness on women’s sexual health and gender and sexual diversity. She was also elected as a Student Council Member to the seat of Integrity and she worked closely with LAU’s Title IX Office to make campus a safer community for women. She moved to the United States in the summer of 2021. She is an aspiring PhD student in clinical psychology and children’s mental health. Her research focus is on children in diverse environments, specifically children who exhibit symptoms of acute behavioral disorders. Her publications discuss the importance of diversifying and decolonizing early childhood research by decentralizing the Western-White narrative.

Why AMENA-Psy? Nagham joined the AMENA-Psy community to amplify the voices of MENA scholars within the field, and hence, ensure the representation of MENA individuals, who have been long neglected by science. She cares deeply about the inclusion of MENA children in research on childhood development. Her work has been focused towards a more inclusive and socially-just approach to social science research. 

 

 

Khadeja Najjar, M.A.

Community Engagement Chair (2021/2022)

Khadeja is a fourth-year doctoral student of urban education with a specialization in counseling psychology at Cleveland State University. Passionate and invested in the minority, and notable MENA, development and advocacy both professionally and personally, Khadeja has dedicated her academic and professional career to the pursuit of better understanding issues and treatment of Arab American and Muslim American mental health. Her experiences as a native Clevelander and as a  Palestinian Muslim American her interests and dedication to culturally informed counseling and practice. This is reflected in her research interests, which lie in identity development, coping mechanisms, and psychological outcomes. Khadeja’s clinical training has overall been focused on children and young adults. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, enjoying music, and browsing the aisles of Target. 

Why AMENA-Psy? Khadeja is passionate about issues of Arab American identity and psychology. As such, it was only fitting that she find a place in her professional home, AMENA-Psy. She is elated to contribute to an organization with values that mirror her own, among a group of like-minded, motivated, and enthusiastic individuals. 

Isabella Tomei, B.S.

Community Engagement Collaborator (2022/2023)

Isabella (Bella) is a first-year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. student at Miami University. She recently obtained her B.S. from Fordham University in New York City. As a Lebanese American, her cultural and religious identity, values, and pride have served as the foundation for her professional aspirations. Bella’s research interests broadly pertain to ethnic-racial socialization (ERS), psychological well being, internalized perceptions, and intersectionality of Arab/Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) individuals in domestic and international settings. She is also interested in understanding intergenerational trauma, resilience, and coping mechanisms in such communities. Clinically, Bella aspires to provide and develop culturally sensitive, accessible treatment and community interventions that will adequately serve Arab/MENA populations and communities of color. She is currently a research consultant at Massachusetts General Hospital and previously interned in the advocacy office at the American Psychological Association (APA).

Why AMENA-Psy? AMENA-Psy provided a professional community where Bella’s Lebanese roots and immense passion for psychology seamlessly intersected. She is ecstatic about serving as the Community Engagement Collaborator within several domains, such as executing programming relevant to AMENA Psy students and members, partaking in community healing initiatives, and participating in advocacy efforts. In her free time, Bella enjoys spending time with family and friends, cooking a variety of different cuisines (including multiple Lebanese dishes), creative writing, and practicing Arabic.

 

 

Rebecca Moussa, M.S.

Clinical Practice Chair (2021/2022)

Rebecca Moussa (she/her/hers) is a fourth-year clinical psychology doctoral candidate(PsyD) at Antioch University New England. She completed her undergraduate studies in Lebanon, which further instilled her passion for exploring, representing, and understanding Middle Eastern populations. Her professional identity, interests, and goals stem from her Lebanese-American cultural identity and are grounded in psychoanalytic theory and principles. These guide many of her clinical and research interests, such as the different aspects of language, the unconscious activation that occurs through verbal and non-verbal processing, dissociative phenomena, intersubjective figurative language, aspects of intersectionality and identity, and hidden identities. In addition to AMENA-Psy, Rebecca is the co-student rep of Antioch’s Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology; a student rep on the Board of Directors of Section I (Psychoanalytic Practitioners) of APA Division 39; the Graduate Student Liaison on the American Board and Academy of Psychoanalysis; a member of Division 39 Graduate Student Committee; and the secretary of the Developing Professionals Committee for Psychotherapy Action Network (PsiAN); and a member of the PsiAN Steering Committee. In her free time, Rebecca enjoys hiking, skydiving, paragliding, skiing, cooking, and baking. 

Why AMENA-Psy? Rebecca joined AMENA-Psy to continue expanding and spreading knowledge and awareness around working with AMENA populations. She is excited to work with like-minded and passionate individuals to continue attending to the needs of the AMENA population at large, as well as understanding and attending to AMENA student needs.  

 

 

Yoanna Ishak, B.A.

Clinical Practice Collaborator (2022/2023)

Yoanna is a second-year clinical psychology doctoral candidate at Azusa Pacific University in Southern California. Yoanna is a second-generation Egyptian American raised in Southern California. She is passionate about serving MENA and immigrant communities because of her own experiences serving Egyptian Americans and Egyptian Immigrants. She understands the need for mental health services and the restoration they can bring.  Her research and advocacy interests generally encompass adverse childhood experiences, and intergenerational trauma. She is currently working on her dissertation regarding the prevalence of adverse childhood experiences among Egyptian Americans and Egyptian Immigrants. Yoanna’s clinical interests are centered around children and adolescents in a variety of different settings. In her free time, Yoanna enjoys being outside hiking or roller-skating, exploring different cafes or restaurants, and listening to podcasts on true crime. She enjoys being with her friends and family but also prioritizes being with herself and journaling or writing. Additionally, Yoanna is involved in her community and her church which contributes a great deal to who she is.

Why AMENA-Psy? Yoanna feels fortunate to find a community within AMENA-Psy because of the sense of empowerment she feels. She is surrounded by individuals who have similar stories and understand the need for mental health advocacy within AMENA groups. Yoanna is excited to serve on the Student Committee and looks forward to her role as Clinical Practice Collaborator.

 

 

 

Raneem Kurzum, M.S.

Mentorship Chair (2022/2023)

Raneem is a second-year doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at the University at Albany. He completed a master's degree in clinical mental health counseling while serving the international student community as an advisor in immigration, personal, cultural, academic, and career-related matters. Throughout his studies and professional responsibilities, Raneem developed a passion for Arab-American psychology, immigration, sports psychology, ecotherapy, and cultural diversity in therapy. As such, his research interests touch on those domains as well as coping with trauma among Arab-Americans, sources of resilience, and multicultural counseling self-efficacy and competence. His wide array of clinical interests includes working with Arab-Americans, college students, international students, athletes, and those hoping to address trauma, anxiety, or depression in therapy. Raneem identifies as a Palestinian-American from New York with dual citizenship. In Raneem’s free time he can be found hiking, traveling, meditating, biking, climbing, skydiving, or engaging in some other exhilarating activity. Feel free to speak with him in Arabic; he always enjoys an opportunity to practice.

Why AMENA-Psy? Raneem is part of the AMENA-Psy Student Committee because he loves to build community among Arabs and Arab-Americans both within and outside of the field of psychology. In community we can inspire one another to continue pursuing our shared ideas and goals. AMENA-Psy is a space Raneem sees as his professional home.

 

Laura Taouk, M.A. 

Mentorship Collaborator (2022/2023)

Laura is a fifth-year doctoral candidate in the clinical psychology program at American University and a second-generation Lebanese American. Her dedication to mental healthcare is rooted in an awareness of the intergenerational impacts of migration and trauma on MENA families and communities. Laura is passionate about issues of (and resiliencies within) cultural and individual diversity. As a therapist, she is committed to delivering culturally sensitive care, facilitating safe and inclusive spaces, and meeting the unique needs of MENA clients. Laura’s research interests are broadly related to risk factors for anxiety and depression. She is currently working on her dissertation project, which focuses on MENA American identity and wellbeing.

Why AMENA-Psy? Laura joined the student committee to connect with members of AMENA-Psy and contribute to efforts that advance the well-being of MENA communities. As Mentorship Collaborator, Laura hopes to facilitate mentor-mentee relationships that help students benefit from the knowledge, experiences, and support of those who came before them.

 

 

 

 

Zainab Hachem, M.A.

Research Co-Chair (2022/2023)

Zeinab Hachem is a third-year doctoral student in applied social psychology at Portland State University. She is a second-generation Lebanese American and a first-generation college student. Zeinab is broadly interested in researching ethnic-racial identity through a biopsychosocial lens, as well as understanding the impact of factors, such as discrimination, stigma, close relationships, intergroup relations, diversity initiatives, and other evidence-based interventions. Born and raised in Dearborn, Michigan, Zeinab’s upbringing in an ethnic enclave and related lived experiences as an ethnic minority gave rise to a host of questions regarding ethnic-racial identity development among ethnic-racial minorities, which eventually inspired her to pursue a career in psychological research where she could spend her time understanding this developmental process within a biopsychosocial framework. She is committed to advocating for racial/ethnic equity, increasing Arab/MENA representation in psychological research, and working within Arab/MENA and other ethnic-racial communities to increase awareness and understanding of factors that can lead to healthier biopsychosocial outcomes. In her free time, Zeinab enjoys reading, biking, hiking, traveling, yoga/strength training, crocheting, learning about different cultures and languages, as well as spending time with loved ones. 

Why AMENA-Psy? Zeinab highly identifies with her Lebanese heritage and as the only Arab in her program, she struggled greatly with imposter syndrome and feeling a sense of community. In short, it was hard to envision herself in a field where she did not know or see anyone who shared her cultural background. Zeinab learned about AMENA-Psy two years into her doctoral program and upon joining, immediately felt a sense of community, which has only increased in the past year of participating in AMENA-Psy events and the mentorship program. AMENA-Psy has given Zeinab so much in the way of community and confidence as a researcher. She hopes to give back to the AMENA-Psy community through her position on the Student Committee and looks forward to continuing the organization’s advocacy efforts in increasing Arab/MENA inclusivity in the field of psychology.

 

Katherine Sadek, B.S.

Research Co-Chair (2022/2023)

Katherine is a second-year Counseling Psychology doctoral student at the University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). She completed her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). Her experiences growing up as a second-generation Egyptian-American inspired her interest in MENA psychology. As a researcher, her interests center around ethnic and racial minority mental health outcomes, including somatization and paranoia, and help-seeking attitudes and behaviors, particularly among Arab/MENA communities. As a clinician, Katherine is currently training at UT Austin’s Counseling and Mental Health Center (CMHC) where she works with ethnically diverse students on various issues. Katherine is particularly passionate about improving the integration between research and practice and improving awareness and attitudes (i.e., decreasing stigma) towards seeking psychological help. In her free time, Katherine enjoys yoga, reading, weight lifting, and improving her Arabic vocabulary.

Why AMENA-Psy? Katherine is thrilled to be a part of AMENA-Psy because of the important work the organization is doing to increase the representation of MENA groups in the psychological field. Also, as a part of the research committee, she is excited about increasing awareness and highlighting the extant research through different modes of communication. Doing so will lead to advancing the field and mitigating repetitive work so that the new wave of researchers and clinicians can effectively expand the knowledge base and fill gaps in the literature. This will also shed light on those in the field who deserve recognition for their work, which is especially important for MENA/minority communities!

 

 


Student Committee Veterans

We would not be where we are now without our previous students who served on this committee


 

 

On occasion, the SC recruits AMENA-Psy student members who are interested in a specific project or initiative to serve on a committee. Through community and teamwork, we accomplish great things

#WeAreMENA Campaign Committee

Sarah Alsaidi, Bahaur Amini, Rebecca Moussa, Zeina Soued, Mary Rogers, Nuha Alshabani, & Autena Torbati

 

Contact Student Committee

amenapsystudents@gmail.com