Dr. Laura Johnson, Ph.D. (Associate Professor)
Laura R. Johnson is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Mississippi. She conducts and supervises research; trains students in the Ph.D. program, and teaches multicultural, environmental and clinical psychology, an interdisciplinary course on ecology and youth in Tanzania, and intercultural communication for the Croft Institute for International Studies. Laura’s research is transnational – it spans cultural, conservation and peace psychology with a focus on positive youth development, community participation, and intercultural relations in a changing global environment. Laura has received two US Fulbright grants for research in East Africa (youth developmental assets and action for the environment and peace, integration of primary and traditional care for depression), and two National Geographic Conservation Trust grants (scientist mentoring youth to conduct biodiversity assessments in Uganda and Photovoice for Forest Conservation on Mt Kilimanjaro) and an IIE grant to provide intercultural training. Since 2000, Laura has been a research partner with Jane Goodall’s global environmental program, Roots&Shoots and Wildlife Clubs of Uganda, and Uganda Youth Development Link (UYDEL). She is an alumni of American Psychological Association’s Committee on International Relations in Psychology (CIRP) (2008-2010) and is currently serving as chair of the long-range strategic planning committee of APA‘s international division (#52) and has served on editorial boards of journals including Intercultural Relations and Ecopsychology. Likewise, she has been a reviewer in International Perspectives in Psychology: Research, Consultation, and Practice. Laura has written several book chapters on multicultural and international psychology, and ethnopolitical conflict and multiple journal articles. Laura co-founded supervises the Cultural Connections project for international students and the Lambda support group for GLBT students. She has been an international student in Kenya (87-88) and a Peace Corps volunteer in maternal child health in Papua New Guinea (93-95) and a nutrition and health program officer for the Mississippi Forum on Children and Families (94-95). Laura received her Ph.D. from the University of Louisville (2003) and completed her internship at the Refugee Health Program of Colorado. She is on the Board of Hope Revival Orphan and Vulnerable Children NGO in Mara, Tanzania and the Rafiki Development Fund, Musoma, Tanzania and Bush2Base.
Tanja Seifen, M.S. (Graduate Student)
Tanja joined the multicultural psychology lab at the University of Mississippi as a graduate student in clinical psychology in 2014. Tanja was born and raised in Germany, where she received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in the field of psychology from the University of Bonn. Most of Tanja’s research at UM has focused on adjustment and psychological well-being of international students, and she has facilitated several support groups for international students on campus. However, Tanja has also done some research in the area of parent training and providing brief interventions for families in rural Mississippi. For her dissertation, Tanja is exploring the role of sexual knowledge and assertiveness in college students’ level of sexual competence and satisfaction. Clinically, Tanja has received extensive training in providing evidence-based treatments to families with limited resources from rural backgrounds. Her career goal is to provide clinical services for children and families with complex presentations and diverse backgrounds. In her spare time, Tanja enjoys traveling and exploring new places, as well as spending time with her family and her little pug Elvis.
Enoch Sackey, M.A. (Graduate Student)
Enoch is a third-year student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. He is from Cape Coast, Ghana. He received his Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. Enoch pursued his M.A. in Human Development at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway, where he worked with immigrant youth and refugees. Enoch’s master’s thesis examined the agency and social positioning of children who simultaneously worked and attended school in rural and deprived communities in Ghana. His research aimed for understanding the socio-cultural conception of child work in Ghana and the relevance of the United Nation’s ILO Conventions on Child Labor to the lives of these children. He is broadly interested in research on the lives of deprived and underserved populations. Currently, his ongoing research projects include the following: Pathways to Civic Engagement among African American Youth; Determinants of Meaningful Study Abroad Experiences; and De-layering of HIV/AIDS Co-stigmas.
Rachel Marsh, B.A. (Graduate Student)
Rachel Marsh graduated from the University of Mississippi in 2016 with a B.A. in psychology and a minor in environmental studies. A Texas native, Rachel is always on the search for a bowl of queso that is as delicious as the texmex back home in Dallas. Rachel began her work in international psychology while studying abroad in Tanzania, Africa as an undergraduate. While in East Africa, Rachel assisted with a research project funded by National Geographic that utilized various frames of psychology to encourage collective youth action and she helped to facilitate a disaster mental health seminar for community members in Stone Town, Zanzibar. She is currently in her second year of the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at the University of Mississippi. Rachel has focused on environmental psychology, positive youth and emerging adult development, and collective youth action throughout her research and clinical career. In particular, Rachel’s research interests pertain to positive youth development and its role in cultivating civic and social responsibility and encouraging engagement and activism in youths and emerging adults. In addition to her research, Rachel currently works as a clinical graduate assistant at the University Counseling Center. When not hard at work, Rachel can usually be found at home snuggling with her dog Rocco, cooking some recipe she found on Pinterest, or at the local yoga studio practicing some new pose.
Christian Courson, B.A. (Graduate Student)
Chris joined the lab at the University of Mississippi as a graduate student in 2016. Chris was born and raised in northern Mississippi where he received his Bachelor’s in psychology with minors in Biological Sciences and English from the University of Mississippi. Chris’s research interests include spirituality and nature-related interests. For his thesis, Chris is investigating the relationship between nature experiences, connectedness to nature, and levels of spirituality. In terms of clinical experience, Chris has been working at the Baddour Center in Senatobia, Mississippi, which is a residential facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, Chris has facilitated a support group for LGBTQ+ and their loved ones. One of his major interests in terms of clinical goals is to work with children and adolescents. This interest in children and adolescent psychotherapy naturally lends itself to an interest in assessment as well. Personally, Chris enjoys spending time with his wife and two miniature dachshunds, Abigail and Pepper.
Sukhmani Pal, M.S. (Graduate Student)
Sukhmani is from Gurgaon, India. She completed her bachelors and masters in clinical psychology from India. After her masters’, she worked as a therapist in New Delhi for a year until she joined the Ph.D. program at the University of Mississippi in 2017. Her master’s thesis was on religious fundamentalism, right-wing authoritarianism, and homophobia among Hindus. She plans on taking that research forward and continue studying cultural differences in gender-related prejudice. Apart from Psychology, she is also really passionate about animals and their well being.
Chang Hee Han, B.A. (Graduate Student)
Chang Hee joined the multicultural psychology lab at the University of Mississippi as a graduate student of clinical psychology in 2018. Thanks to his parents, he lived a nomadic lifestyle that sent him from one country to another during his formative years, which eventually brought him to the U.S. where he received a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Franklin & Marshall College. Chang Hee’s past research interests include quantitative analysis of culture-related variables, acculturation stress, and depression. His career goal is to become a caregiver who can recognize and give adequate attention to various cultural cues. When he is not working, Chang Hee usually practices music, reads books, or takes photos.
Dontae Knox, B.A. (Graduate Student)
Dontaie spent most of his youth in the small town of Blue Mountain, Mississippi. He ventured off for four years and received his Bachelor’s in Psychology and Theology from the University of Notre Dame. While there, he studied depression in a marital therapy research lab. On a study abroad trip to Israel, he became curious about the use of spirituality as a potential psychological aid against depression and anxiety among refugees. Dontae returned home to join the Ph.D. program at the University of Mississippi in 2018. His future research interests include the relationship between spirituality, depression, and anxiety in adolescents and young adults. During his leisure time, Dontae prefers to explore new music as well as watch, film, and play all things related to sports, especially basketball. He hopes to one day provide counsel to current and former student-athletes on high school and college campuses.
Sara (SA) Friday (Undergraduate Student)
SA is a senior undergraduate studying Psychology and Biology. SA met Dr. Johnson her sophomore year while taking her multicultural psychology course. She enjoyed the course so much, she decided to join Dr. Johnson in Tanzania the following summer to study abroad. During her time in Tanzania, she collected data for the Faces of the Mountain Project. In the Multicultural lab, SA has continued analysis and dissemination of the Faces of the Mountain project. Last spring, she prepared and presented at the Society for Cross-Cultural Research conference on the benefits and challenges of involving students in undergraduate research abroad. Her experience in Tanzania fueled her interest in multicultural studies. Since returning, she has served as a teaching assistant for multicultural and environmental psychology. SA is involved in many student organizations, such as NAACP, Students Against Social Injustice, and the Feminist Majority. She has a passion for positive youth development and enjoys working with children. She volunteers at a local non-profit Leapfrog twice a week. At Leapfrog, she tutors in reading and phonics, giving children the skills and confidence they need to succeed in school. She serves as a troop leader of daisy girl scouts, acting as a mentor for kindergarten and first-grade girls. In the future, SA hopes to bring her experience and passion back to Africa. She is currently in the process of applying for the Peace Corps.
Lake Wilkinson (Undergraduate Student)
Lake Wilkinson is a senior Psychology major at the University of Mississippi. When he was accepted to college, he was not entirely sure what he wanted to study. Psychology had always been something that interested him, but it wasn’t until he took his first psychology class that he decided it was what he wanted to do. Apart from school, Lake loves spending time with his friends around Oxford, taking outdoor trips around the country, and playing in a band here in town with his roommates. After he completes his undergraduate degree at the University of Mississippi, Lake hopes to go to graduate school and further his education in the field of Psychology.