Hi everyone! My name is Lang Duong and I am a senior from Greenville, North Carolina pursuing a B.S. in Psychology. My research interests include Asian adolescent identity development, mental health stigmatization in Asian cultures, and democratization of psychological resources to minority populations. While it may seem like I have held these interests throughout my undergraduate career, it was, and continues to be, a process.
I first became interested in working with adolescents during a global experience in Sydney, Australia where I was a psychology intern at the Rivendell Child, Adolescent, and Family Unit – a mental health facility and rehabilitation center for struggling adolescents with mental health disorders and school refusal. My experiences at Rivendell largely included creating interpersonal relationships with the adolescent patients, which lead to my increased interest in that population. I was able to narrow down my interests in adolescent development to Asian populations, specifically through my independent research project in Dr. Beth Kurtz-Costes’ Motivation and Identity Lab – my project focused on the impact of acculturative strategies on Asian adolescent development. My passion for reducing mental health stigmatization and disseminating mental health resources to minoritized populations came from my own cultural identity as a daughter of two Vietnamese-American immigrants. All of my research interests led me to my current Gil Internship placement at partnering organizations the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology (SCCAP) and Helping Give Away Psychological Science (HGAPS).
SCCAP is the 53rd division of the American Psychological Association with member specializations ranging from mental health disorders to social relationships. Their mission is to provide youth and their families with quality clinical resources derived from psychological research. Similarly, HGAPS is a non-profit organization based in Chapel Hill, NC whose sole mission is making psychological resources free and easily accessible to students, clinicians, educators, etc. through Wiki platforms. These two organizations are partnered through their association with my mentor, Dr. Eric Youngstrom – past-president of SCCAP and co-founder of HGAPS. Interestingly, the foundation for HGAPS’s mission came from Dr. Youngstrom’s mid-life crisis incited by a car accident that sent him flying a few feet into the air. This incident made him question how his research can help others when it’s behind a paywall, thus birthing the idea of HGAPS!
My responsibilities so far have largely included becoming a “Wiki Wiz” and orienting new members with the online application. In addition to learning the nuances of Wiki editing, I have created several standard operating procedures pages for and training new/incoming HGAPS members. With the skills I have acquired through Wiki training, I am assisting the organization’s WikiJournal launch this semester – these tasks include transferring and reformatting members’ manuscripts onto Wiki, creating a logo, gathering information from editorial board members, etc. Though I am contributing a lot of time to assisting HGAPS, there are also opportunities for me to be a co-author on manuscripts I’m translating onto Wiki, publish my own independent research article, and participate in a poster presentation.
While the virtual working environment has proven to be tough, my experience through the Gil Internship, and with HGAPS and SCCAP has been invaluable. Dr. Youngstrom has been a formative part of my internship experience through his attentiveness to my goals, as well as his interest in sitting on zoom with me for ~ 11 hours each week. Not only has this further validated my future interests and intentions to pursue a Clinical/Developmental Ph.D., it has enhanced my passion for the field and the mission to democratize scientific research for all. Although it has only been less than a month, I am so excited to see what else is in store for me this semester. Thank you to the Karen M. Gil Internship and HGAPS/SCCAP for this incredible opportunity!