Student's Corner

Meet your new Student Advisory Board members

New representatives seek to increase student membership and develop projects to benefit student members of the section.

By Lindsay Huffhines and Grace Bai

The Student Advisory Board is excited to welcome and introduce its new officers. Over the course of this year the board will be working to provide opportunities and resources for students in the field, including an event at the APA convention in August. The board also will work closely with the section to develop projects benefiting students, professionals and diverse populations affected by child maltreatment. In this issue of the Insider, we not only hope to alert the field to the accomplishments and aspirations of the student officers but also to encourage other students with their secrets to success.

Lindsay Huffhines, student representative

Huffhinesis a second-year doctoral student in the child clinical psychology program at the University of Kansas. She primarily is interested in how child maltreatment results in chronic health conditions and the role of psychosocial factors in mitigating these problems. Huffhines is currently working on a project examining how foster family support and environment affects chronic conditions, health service use and inflammation over time in maltreated foster youth. Huffhines envisions herself in an academic medical center where she can work with children experiencing physical and mental health problems while establishing a research program focused on the social and biological processes contributing to health outcomes in maltreated children.

Secret to Success: Finding some joyful little thing every day, whether it be yoga, running, eating a good meal or enjoying a walk on campus — these things remind me of the bigger picture when graduate school gets overwhelming, and I'm able to renew my sense of purpose and get reinvigorated about what I'm doing.

Grace Jhe Bai, student co-representative

Bai is a fourth-year doctoral student in the child clinical psychology program at Loyola University Chicago. Her research interests include protective factors that promote resilience and better mental health outcomes among youth in foster care as well as coping behaviors of children with maltreatment. Bai is currently conducting program evaluation research to improve the well-being outcomes of children and families with child welfare involvement. Bai plans to continue her work with youth and families in foster care as she pursues a research and clinical career focused on promoting resilience among youth in foster care.

Secret to Success: Being mindful about all of my work, personal life, my vision and self-care has kept me calm, grounded and motivated to keep going. Taking my camera with me to photograph and cherish each meaningful moment has been refreshing and rejuvenating as well.

Amy Leonard, senior policy officer

Leonard is a graduate student in the school psychology doctorate program at North Carolina State University and a JD candidate at Campbell University School of Law. Her areas of research center on the relation between child family/home environment and child outcomes (e.g., academic, social or emotional). Leonard currently is in the early stages of a research project examining implementation variables involved in a large-scale utilization of a positive parenting intervention. Upon completion of her JD and PhD, she hopes to continue this work as either a researcher or a practitioner involved in educational advocacy, working to ensure that parents are well-informed of the rights of their children in the school setting.

Secret to Success: Being active outside — playing tennis or basketball, hiking or even playing tag or ball outside with my little niece and nephew (they went to one basketball game last year and now they think anything involving a ball is called “UNC vs. Miami”). After long days of writing, reading or working with data, getting outside always helps to put me in a better mood and keeps me motivated.

Stephanie Gusler, junior policy officer

Gusler is a first-year graduate student in the child clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Kansas. Gusler is interested in the impact of child maltreatment on children's developing attribution styles and how children's attributions for maltreatment or trauma may impact the development of poor psychological adjustment or risk for revictimization. She is currently working on a project examining the impact that cumulative trauma has on attribution styles of youth in foster care. Gusler aims to have a research career in which she can contribute to the child maltreatment literature while informing clinical practice and policy.

Secret to Success: Remaining passionate about what I do and focusing on the broader implications that my work can have keeps me motivated to continue working hard and pursing my interests. Also, remembering that it is okay to take time for myself and to find things outside of academics that I enjoy.

Faith Summersett-Ringgold, diversity officer

Summersett-Ringgold is a third-year clinical psychology doctoral student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. At Northwestern, Summersett-Ringgold works in the mental health services and policy program. Her current research focuses on the effectiveness of trauma-informed programs targeted to maltreated youth in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems. Ultimately, she intends to become a professor and clinician at an academic medical center where she will continue to pursue her research interests in child trauma and resilience among disadvantaged youth while also teaching and mentoring students.

Secret to Success: I try to maintain a positive outlook and I often practice cognitive restructuring techniques to maintain this outlook. Also, when school obligations become overwhelming, I make sure that I exercise daily to keep my stress levels down.

Elizabeth Miller, communications officer

Miller is a doctoral student in the child clinical psychology program at the Pennsylvania State University. At Penn State, Elizabeth works with Sandra Azar, PhD, on studies examining a social cognitive model of parenting risk. Her dissertation will extend this work by examining how social information processing and economic stress contribute to parenting risk in disadvantaged rural fathers. Miller also is interested in externalizing problems in maltreated youth and the intergenerational transmission of maltreatment and externalizing problems. She plans to continue her work with fathers and rural families as she pursues a research career focused on psychological factors and processes contributing to risk and resilience in disadvantaged parents.

Secret to Success: Working when I'm working and not working when I'm not. It's easier said than done, but it makes a huge difference in both the quality of my life and the quality of my work.

Michelle Brown, newsletter officer

Brown is a graduate student in the child psychology program at the Institute of Child Development at University of Minnesota and is completing a joint-training track with clinical psychology. Brown primarily is interested in how social and physiological factors such as social support, parenting and physiological reactivity/regulation impact the developmental trajectory of maltreated and victimized children. She is currently working on a project that examines how cognitively in-tune maltreating mothers are with their young children over time compared to nonmaltreating mothers. She is also working on a project that examines factors that influence the likelihood of revictimization in young adults. In the future, Brown would like to conduct prevention and intervention studies with maltreated and victimized children in a university setting and provide treatment for these populations.

Secret to Success: I am a firm believer in “you make time for what you want to make time for.” Despite the business of being a PhD student, I exercise five times per week, cook almost every day, volunteer and hold leadership positions with multiple organizations (many which are not related to graduate school and career) and talk to my loved ones daily with few exceptions. I have learned over the years that if I commit to making time for what I want to make time for, no matter how much I feel I need that extra hour for grad school, everything will fall into a place and what needs to get done will get done.