Bahaur Amini, M.S.
Student Committee Chair (2020/2021)
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 to contribute to psychological research of and clinical 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. Most recently she received the 2020 Student Affiliates of Seventeen Award for Dedication to Social Justice and Liberation in Counseling Psychology. Bahaur was recognized for her sustained leadership as Student Member of AMENA-Psy and anti-racist advocacy and solidarity with others. This year, Bahaur is looking forward to the next chapter of her graduate career, internship! Her favorite part about serving as the AMENA-Psy student-member-at-large is working alongside a group of students who share a common goal; to create change through education and leadership. She is grateful for the many meaningful relationships she has made with students and professionals in the organization. AMENA-Psy is her professional home. Her vision for this role (Student Member) is to inspire, empower, and support AMENA psychology graduate students for generations to come. She is excited about the plans SC has in store during her last year serving as Chair of the committee. 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.
2021 Student Committee
Mentorship Program Chair (2020/2021)
Qurat-ul-ain Gulamhussein is a 4th-year Ph.D. candidate 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 AMENA 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 AMENA communities. AMENA-Psy has provided her a space to connect and exchange ideas with other individuals with a shared mission of having the AMENA 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.
Research Chair (2020/2021)
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 (2020/2021)
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 is currently completing her clinical internship year at the Memphis VA Medical Center. 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.
Ida Taghavi, M.A.
Student Liaison Co-Chair (2021/2022)
Ida is currently a fifth-year Clinical Psychology Ph.D. candidate at University of California, Santa Barbara. She is a first-generation-born Iranian-American. As a researcher, she studies risk and resilience among vulnerable populations, in order to inform the development of empirically-supported interventions. More specifically, she is interested in how mindfulness and mind-body approaches promote resilience and well-being. As a clinician, she is passionate about working with multicultural, underserved, and vulnerable populations that are exposed to trauma and adversity, and providing integrated healthcare. Ida is in the process of applying to doctoral internship programs and is looking forward to attending one next year. In addition to her leadership role within AMENA-Psy, she is a Student Representative for APA Division 45. During her free time, Ida enjoys listening to music, hiking, doing yoga, singing, spending time with friends and family, obsessing over her cats, and exploring cities. Ida found it healing for her to be a member of AMENA-Psy over the last few months, particularly because of the sense of community that it has created for her, and the ways in which it has inspired her to devote more of her work towards MENA populations. As a Co-chair Student Liaison of AMENA-Psy, she is looking forward to promoting MENA representation in psychology, creating connections between AMENA-Psy and other professional and multicultural organizations, and supporting the professional development and mental health of MENA communities.
Sheila Rouzitalab, Psy.M.
Student Liaison Co-Chair (2021/2022)
Sheila is a fourth-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! 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. Sheila is eager to serve on the Student Committee and looks forward to her role as Student Liaison Co-Chair with Ida!
Khadeja Najjar, M.A.
Community Engagement/Social Media Chair (2021/2022)
Khadeja is a third year doctoral student of urban education with a specialization in counseling psychology at Cleveland State University. Passionate and invested in 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.
Rebecca Moussa, B.A. (2021/2022)
Rebecca Moussa (she/her/hers) is a third-year clinical psychology doctoral student (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 representative of Antioch’s Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology; a student representative on the Board of Directors of Section I (Psychoanalytic Practitioners) of APA Division 39; a member of APA Division 39 (Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology) Graduate Student Committee; and the chair of the library committee for the Psychotherapy Action Network (PsiAN). In her free time, Rebecca enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, and baking. 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.
Haleh Jortani, B.S. (2022/2022)
Haleh Jortani is a 2nd year PsyD student in Clinical Psychology at Spalding University. Haleh identifies as a second generation Iranian-American Muslim. Growing up in Kentucky has led Haleh to become very passionate about promoting diversity and increasing representation within Muslim and immigrant populations. Her clinical interests are in working with children, adolescents, and young adults. 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. More specifically, Haleh has high interest in investigating the protective factors that can decrease stress in Middle Eastern populations such as critical thinking, self-care, coping methods, and resilience. Haleh has also recently become interested in social justice and helping immigrant individuals with power and privilege to gain awareness and explore ways they are upholding oppressive systems. She is currently a 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, exploring coffee shops in the city, spending time with her family and friends, traveling, and photography. Haleh instantly found her professional home as she first came across AMENA-Psy’s website a few months ago. She is very grateful that there is a platform that is dedicated to providing support, promoting various opportunities, and bringing awareness to AMENA communities within the mental health field. Haleh is most excited about working with hardworking and passionate colleagues who share the same interests as her.
Hatice Gürsoy, M.A. (2021/2022)
Hatice Gürsoy is a first year international doctoral student in the Applied Developmental Psychology program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychological Counseling from the Marmara University, Istanbul, Turkey. Hatice’s research interests are mainly revolving around the positive development of minority children and the role of culture in parenting practices. She is particularly interested in how cultural, familial, societal, and individual factors play a role in shaping diverse youth’s identity development and positive adjustment (e.g., positive youth development, civic engagement). In her free time, Hatice enjoys spending time with friends, finding coffee shops or bakeries, FaceTiming, painting watercolor, and creating embroidery patterns. Hatice has described AMENA-Psy as an avenue for both professional and personal development where she can truly feel surrounded by like-minded and welcoming colleagues. Growing up she had a strong sense of belonging to the AMENA population, and she believes that now it’s her turn to give back to this community by serving for them in one of the most prominent associations.
Neda Awad, B.A. (2021/2022)
Neda Awad (she/her/hers) is a second 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 research interests include, but are not limited to, multicultural humility and health psychology. Specifically, she is interested in the impact of microaggressions on marginalized groups in terms of physical and mental health. 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. 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 to make life lasting friendships. Her role at AMENA-Psy is to assist and work closely with the Professional Development Chair alongside a team of wonderful and hardworking individuals.
Natalie Hussein (2021/2022)
Natalie Hussein (she/her/hers) is a third-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 has the career and academic goal of obtaining a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology 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. Natalie immediately resonated with the AMENA-Psy mission when she came across the website in early 2020. AMENA-Psy is a place where she felt heard because people of her shared background were pioneering a field of research specifically for AMENA communities. 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.
Contact Student Committee
We would not be where we are now without our previous students who served on this committee