Bahaur Amini, M.S.
Bahaur is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the counseling psychology program at the University of Kansas. Throughout her professional and academic career, Bahaur has committed her efforts in contributing to psychological research of and practice with Middle Eastern populations. Her professional interests and goals developed from her own cultural identity and journey as a Middle Eastern graduate student. As a second-generation Iranian-American raised in an Islamic household in Southern California, she learned to navigate the intersectionality of worlds with colliding cultural expectations and beliefs. Awareness for the multiplicity of her social contexts has shaped her interests and goals for the advancement of multicultural counseling and social justice initiative. Her research interests broadly capture the impact of childhood/adolescent trauma on mental health functioning and relationships in adulthood, cultural and social identity development, sense of belonging, wellbeing and resiliency. In addition to her leadership roles within AMENA-Psy, she is a Student Liaison for Division 45's Student Committee and the student representative of Division 17, in which, she was awarded the 2018 Student Affiliates of Seventeen Representative of the Year. This year, Bahaur will be applying for internship and is looking forward to the next chapter of her graduate career. On her free time, Bahaur enjoys spending quality time with her family and friends, listening/dancing to Persian music, planting herbs, and laying out in the sun. Her favorite part about serving as the AMENA-Psy student-member-at-large is working alongside a group of resilient, intellectual, and motivated students who share a common goal; to create change through education and leadership. Her vision for this role is to inspire, empower, and support MENA psychology graduate students for generations to come.
2020 Student Committee
Danna Bismar, M.S.
Danna is a doctoral student in the Minority Wellness track of the Counseling Psychology Program at the University of North Texas (UNT). She is American by nationality and Syrian by origin. Her upbringing as a child of immigrants led her to develop a particular interest in cultural diversity and multicultural identity development. Currently, Danna’s research is focused on taking a strength-based approach to explore the cognitive and affective components and outcomes of bicultural identity integration among adult children of immigrants. In her clinical work, Danna enjoys serving and facilitating healing for individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds and walks of life. She believes in honoring each person’s lived experiences and familial and cultural contexts. She recently relocated to NYC and will be doing her fifth-year external practicum at NYU’s Center for Counseling and Community Wellbeing (CCCW). The opportunity to serve the community with peers on the Student Committee who are also committed to the advancement of knowledge, research, and practice related to MENA populations has been among the most enriching graduate school experiences for Danna. Not only has AMENA-Psy become a professional home for her, but also a community of life-long friends
Jaleh Davari, M.A.
Jaleh is a 5th-year doctoral student in the counseling psychology program at Georgia State University. Jaleh was raised in Washington State, has a mixed ethnic background, and identifies as a 2nd generation Iranian American. Her research is on mental health stigma with a particular interest in the help-seeking behavior of racial/ethnic minorities, including immigrants and MENA communities. She recently completed practicum at the Atlanta VA’s Trauma Recovery Program providing prolonged exposure and cognitive processing therapy treatments to veterans with PTSD. She enjoys traveling, live concerts, getting outdoors, exploring Atlanta with her fiance and friends, and is a proud dog mom. Now in her second year on the AMENA-Psy Student Committee, Jaleh takes great pride in having a space where she can advocate for other MENA psychology students while helping to increase the visibility of this population.
Alissa Der Sakissian, M.Ed.
Alissa is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Clinical, Counseling, and School Psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) with an emphasis in School Psychology. She is a native of Los Angeles and a first-generation Armenian American. Alissa’s research experiences center the unique needs of immigrant youth, such as the impact of acculturation and mental health stigma on somatization among Latinx and MENA students. By furthering this research, Alissa hopes to improve system-based interventions that address ethnic disparities in schools. Her dissertation will focus on the influence of transgenerational trauma and cultural bereavement on mental health outcomes and on potential barriers to treatment among Armenian genocide descendant youth. In her clinical work, Alissa seeks to improve the cultural considerations in the school-based assessments, screeners, and counseling services and hopes to create a space of learning and healing for all students. Alissa will complete an externship for the upcoming school year at the public continuation high school in Glendale, CA. Alissa's service to the AMENA-Psy Student Committee since January 2019 has allowed her to develop community with like-minded students and to collectively advocate for social justice within the field of psychology.
Qurat-ul-ain Gulamhussein is a 4th-year Ph.D. student in Counseling Psychology at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities. She was born and raised in Tanzania, after which she and her family moved to New York. She is invested in better understanding the intersectionality of diaspora, home, and belonging as we shift from one context to another. As such, her research revolves around identity, resilience, and psychological well-being for immigrants, particularly Muslim communities. She is also interested in the racialized mechanisms and outcomes of Islamophobia as it impacts Muslim and MENA communities in the United States and worldwide. Qurat-ul-ain identifies as a Khoja, South Asian, Muslim woman. And finds herself fortunate to have lived and studied in the SWANA region, including Jordan, Morocco, Oman, Turkey, and the UAE. She is part of the AMENA-Psy Student Committee because she is committed to supporting MENA communities. AMENA-Psy has provided her a space to connect and exchange ideas with other individuals with a shared mission of having the MENA community guide us in supporting both their needs and strengths. In her free time, Qurat-ul-ain enjoys creative writing, reading historical fiction, and practicing her Arabic and Turkish with friends!
Sarah Alsaidi, M.Phil.
Sarah is a doctoral candidate in the Counseling Psychology program at Teachers College, Columbia University. Her research focuses on identity, microaggressions, and coping response strategies for people of color and allies. Sarah is also interested in the impact of discrimination on sense of self and well-being among marginalized groups including Muslim and Arab Americans as well as the influences of culture and religion on mental health stigma and help-seeking behavior. Sarah is the co-founder of the Mental Health Awareness Conference at Teachers College, dedicated to learning about barriers to help-seeking and multicultural competencies among ethnic and racial minorities. Sarah has served as a consultant to several campaigns and programs including a Mental Health Awareness Initiative and The Women’s Empowerment Initiative also known as AYWA. Sarah’s dissertation research focuses on developing and implementing Microintervention Anti-bias Workshops that teach microintervention strategies to help prepare and arm targets and allies with strategies to disarm microaggressions. Sarah is currently on her Internship year at the VA New York Harbor Healthcare System. In her free time, Sarah enjoys non-fiction writing, photography, and quality time with family over a cup of Yemeni tea. As a Muslim Yemeni-American woman, Sarah is deeply tied to her ethnic and religious roots and driven by her desire to fill gaps in the psychological literature and increase representation. Sarah is research and advocacy oriented and AMENA-Psy an avenue that combines these interests and allows her to put research into practice.
Emily El-Oqlah, M.A., MFT
Professional Development Chair
Emily El-Oqlah Al-Zoubi (she/her/hers) is a fourth year doctoral student at the University of Memphis in the Counseling Psychology Doctoral Program. She is a native Memphian, a second generation Arab-American of Jordanian descent, multiracial, Muslim, and enjoys traveling to New Orleans as often as she can. Her qualitative dissertation study is on the experiences of LGBTQ+ U.S. Muslims, utilizing queer, postcolonial, and indigenous theories and methodologies. Largely, her clinical and research interests are focused on Muslim mental health, LGBTQ+ populations, serving communities of color, and decolonizing the mental health field. She will begin her clinical internship year at the Memphis VA Medical Center this fall. AMENA-Psy has been a space to find connection and home within the larger field of Psychology. Emily is happy to serve AMENA-Psy alongside a team of wonderful colleagues and friends, with the hope of increasing MENA topics and representation within Psychology, while serving MENA student needs.
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