Membership Highlights and Reflections

Membership Corner: Tangela Roberts, PhD, and Jenna Brownfield

Highlighting our members and their amazing work.
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By Nick Grant, PhD

The Membership Corner is a new contribution to the Div. 44 Newsletter that aims at highlighting our members, their work and their relationship with the division. If you would like to volunteer to be highlighted in a future edition of the Membership Corner, please contact Editor Nick Grant for more information.

Tangela Roberts, PhD

Headshot of Tangela Roberts, member of Div. 44 Tangela Roberts (affirming pronouns: she/her) is an assistant professor at Western Michigan University who earned her PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Massachusetts Boston. Tangela identifies as a Black, bisexual woman and recently started her new position after completing her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Maryland, College Park counseling center. Originally from Alabama, Tangela has lived many additional places while pursuing her education, including New York, while completing her undergraduate degree, and Wisconsin, while obtaining her master's degree. In her first position since completing of her PhD, she is really enjoying her new role and feeling very supported in her transition to the early career psychologist (ECP) stage of her professional life. Tangela's professional interests include bisexuality, as well as mental health, community support and identity development in people of color. Her top professional goal is reaching tenure, but to her what is most important in her professional work is being someone who is engaged in the community in which she is working for and with.

In her free time, Tangela has two main hobbies: cooking and spending time with her pets. She enjoys spending time at home but even more so appreciates the opportunity to spend time working with food to make delicious creations. Home life for Tangela also includes the chance to spend time with her pets, one cat and two pet ferrets, which she deeply adores. Recently she was gifted a classic car by a family member and now spends part of her free time reading about and working on her new "old" vehicle with the goal of making it her own. A fun fact about Tangela is that not once but twice in the same year she was invited to the White House during the Obama Administration to engage in discussion about research on bisexual communities. A significant moment during these visits is when Tangela had the opportunity to meet President Obama and he told her to "keep up the good work." This goes to show that you may never be able to guess who your research will reach.

To learn more about Tangela and her involvement with Div. 44, please read her responses to our Membership Corner Questionnaire:

  1. How did you first get involved with Div. 44?

    I first got involved with Div. 44 while I was a PhD student at the University of Massachusetts Boston. My advisor, Sharon Horne, PhD, connected all of the students who were interested in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questions (LGBTQ) research to the division. I remember attending the division's annual fundraising dinner at convention one year and looking around to see all of the great researchers (James Croteau, Tania Israel, Kimberly Balsam, to name a few) that I cited in almost every paper. Even though I was just a student at the time, other people seemed really interested in me and my ideas. That support, along with the recommendation of Sharon Horne, is what attracted and kept me in Div. 44. 
  2. What is your favorite aspect of being a member of Div. 44? 

    I love having the opportunity to connect with other LGBTQ people of color who are researching our communities. It's been an amazing combination of becoming inspired and feeling supported. As an early career psychologist (ECP), I'm in this new phase of interacting with students who have a passion for this work. Seeing students who want to take LGBTQ psychology to new heights is my absolute favorite part of being an ECP and a member of Div. 44. 
  3. What type of LGBT-oriented work do you do currently or have you done in the past?

    In my current position as an assistant professor of counseling psychology at Western Michigan University, I will be teaching a course focused on LGBTQ issues in counseling. I'm also engaged in a research, which explores mental health in LGBTQ people of color communities, with a specific focus on bisexual people of color and Black LGBTQ communities, as well as activism and mental health. 
  4. What do you consider some of the most important current research/education/policy/clinical topics in LGBT psychology?

    The most critical issue across all facets of LGBTQ psychology is the increasing threats to the safety of transgender women of color. I strongly believe that this issue crosses the lines between research, education, policy and clinical concerns. As a community, we are witnessing the fatal results of the combination of transphobia and racism, and as a community, we have no choice but to utilize our professional skills to take a stronger stance in support of our trans family. 
  5. What areas of Div. 44 have you been involved in, and what areas do you hope to see grow in the future?

    I'm currently serving as co-chair of the Div. 44 Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (CoRED). In the future, I hope to see more LGBTQ people of color in the division (students, general members and leadership). I hope that others will be able to look at the division and see themselves reflected. 
  6. If you were not in your current field, what would you want to do for a living?

    I've wanted to be a psychologist for so long that it's hard to imagine what else I would do. If I had to do anything different, I think I would find ways to spend more time with my fur babies. I like the idea of owning a ferret shelter.

Jenna Brownfield

Headshot of Jenna Brownfield, a member of Div. 44 Jenna Brownfield (affirming pronouns: she/her/hers) is a graduate student in the University of Missouri-Kansas City's PhD program in counseling psychology. Currently, she is completing her pre-doctoral internship at the University of Minnesota's Student Counseling Services. During her graduate training Jenna has worked with Chris Brown, PhD, whose research focuses on cultural dimensions of career development, domestic violence, sports psychology and ethical issues. Jenna was first drawn to working with Brown based on her research on the experiences of transgender individuals. Based on Jenna's research training and professional interests, she developed her own research focus on the experiences of bisexual people. When taking breaks from her studies and tending to her own self-care, Jenna enjoys all things Buffy and is active with a local dance studio in her area. She shared that one of her favorite indulgences is peanut butter and very much enjoys a dollop of peanut butter on top of a peanut butter cup as a special treat.

In the future, Jenna hopes to continue focusing her work on supporting LGBTQ people and communities and is beginning to explore opportunities to continue working with LGBTQ young adults in the field of college counseling. Jenna is passionate about community building, creating space and offering opportunities that are affirming to LGBTQ people. Based on her own positive experiences in graduate training, she also has interests in training future generations of mental health professionals.

To learn more about Jenna and her involvement with Div. 44, please read her responses to our Membership Corner Questionnaire:

  1. How did you first get involved with Div. 44?

    I first joined Div. 44 as a student-affiliate when I was finishing my master's degree in counseling psychology. I wanted to continue on with my doctorate, and I hoped joining the division would assist me in becoming familiar with current LGBTQ psychology and gain a sense of community with LGBTQ psychologists and trainees. 
  2. What is your favorite aspect of being a member of Div. 44?

    I really enjoy the community it provides. Some of the more valuable moments for me of NMCS or APA have been discussions led by Div. 44 members. 
  3. What type of LGBTQ-oriented work do you do currently or have you done in the past?

    Currently I am on internship at the University of Minnesota's Student Counseling Services. As part of my internship, I co-facilitate an Understanding Self and Others process group for queer and questioning students (which is referred to as QSO). I also assist in outreach requests that come from the university's Gender and Sexuality Center. Examples of this work consist of tabling at resource fairs for queer and trans students and co-presenting on ways to engage in community and self-care in the face of oppression.

    I am also wrapping up my dissertation, which looks at bisexual people's experiences with outness, feelings of authenticity and their well-being. I think this topic is of particular importance, given the degree to which bisexual people are told their identity is not real or is an inauthentic way of being. Thus, examining how bisexual people resist these messages and achieve authenticity for themselves is meaningful to me. 
  4. What do you consider some of the most important current research/education/policy/clinical topics in LGBTQ psychology?

    Too many to name them all here. I think overall there needs to be further support of the diversity that exists within the LGBTQ community in research, education, policy and clinical settings. More support for and more listening to queer and trans people of color, bisexual people, trans people, non-binary/genderqueer people, asexual people, etc. I believe there needs to be more dismantling of the oppressive practices we perpetuate onto each other that have been learned from larger (cis-het) society. 
  5. What areas of Div. 44 have you been involved in, and what areas do you hope to see grow in the future?

    I have been involved with the Bisexual Issues Committee as a student representative. Through this role I was able to assist with bringing light to some bisexual-specific national events such as Bisexual Visibility Day (Sept. 23) and Bisexual Health Awareness Month (BHAM; in March).

    In the future I hope to see further engagement of students/trainees in the division. I have seen increased effort to provide student-affiliates with more engagement in the division over the past year and want to see this flourish even more. 
  6. If you were not in your current field, what would you want to do for a living?

    If I were to leave the psychology field and do something else, I think I would want to be a dance instructor or maybe do some kind of work in LGBTQ youth services.

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