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Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology


The inaugural CYSEW Associate Director is Dr. Germán A. Cadenas, an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP). Dr. Cadenas identifies as an immigrant from Latin America and his academic work is community-based, with intersecting foci on the psychology of immigration and on critical consciousness as a tool for social justice. This includes the development and validation of strategies to support the psychological well-being, education, career/work, and health of immigrants and other underserved communities. He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Counseling Psychology and serves on the Advocacy Coordinating Committee (ACC) of the American Psychological Association.

Immigrant Rights, Mental Health, and Education Projects

Educational Interventions to Transform Schools into Safe and Welcoming Spaces for Undocumented Students and Families

This participatory action research (PAR) project is a collaboration with ImmSchools, an immigrant-led nonprofit that partners with educators and community leaders to ensure safe and inclusive schools for undocumented and mixed-status students and families in New York, New Jersey, and Texas. This collaboration is guided by a Community Advisory Board and by researchers who are currently or formerly undocumented immigrants. The project includes engaging in a multi-year (2022 – 2024) investigation of the efficacy of educational intervention programs on immigrant students, family members and educators. The project blends quantitative and qualitative methodologies, and it uses a natural experiment design to investigates the state context of K-12 education practices and policies regarding immigration, and their role in promoting or reducing immediate and long-term educational intervention outcomes. Findings from this project will support advocacy to inform and transform educational practice and policy at the institutional, district, state, and federal levels.

A Tale of Two Crises: The Compounded Effect of COVID and Anti-Immigration Policy on the Wellbeing of DACA recipients and Mixed-Status Families

This project is being undertaken by the Latinx Immigrant Health Alliance (LIHA) in collaboration with leaders from United We Dream (UWD), the largest immigrant youth-led national network advocating for immigrant rights. The overall goal of this project is to build collaborative efforts between expert professionals (i.e., psychologists, physicians, legal experts, social workers, educators) and leading immigrant organizations to implement a multidimensional approach aimed at informing and addressing the complex needs of DACA recipients and their loved ones in the midst of the COVID pandemic. The primary research activity is a longitudinal survey of DACA-/undocumented youths and their loved ones. Survey data are needed to: (a) propel scientific knowledge to understand the vulnerabilities faced by these at-risk immigrants and their networks, along with identifying strengths helpful to inform and implement interventions; (b) inform training and best practices among providers and organizations working with this population; (c) inform advocacy and policy efforts; and (d) provide avenues to reduce harm and facilitate coping associated with the dual stress of COVID and the possible ending of DACA.

Immigrants Resisting the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic by Advocating for Decent Working conditions, Immigrant Rights, and Ethno-Racial Justice

The current project assesses the ways in which immigrants resisted the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This project applies critical consciousness theory (Freire, 1973) and the Psychology of Working Theory (Duffy et al., 2016) to assess how immigrants responded to the effects of widespread marginalization to secure basic needs by striving to secure decent working conditions, and by becoming involved in efforts to advance justice for immigrants and ethno-racial minorities (e.g., Latinxs, Afro-Latinxs, African Americans). This project was conducted as part of the COVID-19 Communities of Color Needs Assessment implemented by the National Urban League, the National Latinx Psychological Association (NLPA), and commissioned by U.S. Congress. Collaborators from this project include researchers at Arizona State University, University of California Santa Barbara, Northern Arizona University, Marquette University, and University of Maryland College Park.