Ph.D., Counseling Psychology
The Perfect Environment for Studying Multiculturalism
When Tiffany Chang visited the IU School of Education to attend a counseling psychology conference, she was impressed by the research work of the faculty and students she met.
“Their research interests really meshed with what I was interested in studying, which is Asian American mental health and multicultural counseling,” says Tiffany. “Also, the campus seemed like a dynamic place to continue my graduate studies.”
Tiffany is now a third-year Ph.D. student in counseling psychology, and her first impressions of the IU School of Education are now her reality. “There is such a focus on multiculturalism here. The community is very diverse. Bloomington in general is really open and eclectic. In our first-year cohort there are two international students, both from China, and it’s nice to hear their perspectives on different issues. When you counsel people, everyone has different backgrounds and cultures, and it’s been helpful to get the opportunity to hear about these students’ experiences in my classes.”
After finishing her undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Tiffany decided to go into education because she wanted a career where she could have a direct impact on people’s lives. She chose a master’s degree program in counseling psychology at Illinois State University, and it opened up the possibility of teaching to her.
“I had the opportunity to teach a class, and I really enjoyed the experience, and I started thinking about the educational aspect of counseling psychology and actually becoming a professor. I find the practitioner aspect of counseling to be rewarding because you can help others through challenges in their lives. There is a lot of relevant research being conducted in counseling psychology now, and I think the research can be translated to practice to benefit clients.”
“What I like most so far is the relaxed nature here. Faculty treat you like colleagues, and they are all very encouraging. Their advice is to enjoy the process of graduate study, not to just focus on the end goal.”
For her research interests in Asian American mental health and multicultural counseling, IU is proving to be the perfect environment. “What I like most so far is the relaxed nature here. Faculty treat you like colleagues, and they are all very encouraging. Their advice is to enjoy and focus on the process of graduate study rather than just the grades you receive. They encourage us to have a holistic experience. My research interest is in Asian American mental health and mulitcultural counseling, and I’m looking forward to working with Dr. Chung, who studies multicultural issues in counseling and LGBT issues, and Dr. Wong, who studies Asian American mental health and suicide prevention.”
“The school here is very diverse. In my program at IU, there are four females and three males. It’s nice to have the male perspective in the classroom when discussing various topics. Our group is also diverse in age—from early 20s to mid-30s. This, along with the opportunity to hear about the experiences from international students, makes this a great place to learn and gain awareness of other cultures and perspectives.”
In addition to the diverse classroom experience, Tiffany is also enjoying the diversity of the Bloomington community. “I went to an International Food Fair a few weeks ago and I was impressed by the various cultures that were represented—Turkish, Indian, Thai, Mexican, and many more. It was nice to see the community come out. It was a mixture of IU students and Bloomington residents. There is more integration here with the students and the community than in other places I’ve lived.”