Danielle Concepcion, Monique Nakamura, and Brooke Pangelinan—each of whom graduated from the University of Guam’s Master of Science in Clinical Psychology (MSCP) program this year—have been accepted into prestigious doctoral programs in the U.S. mainland. They will start their programs this fall.
“Doctoral programs in psychology are generally very competitive and programs in clinical psychology are especially competitive. Students must have high GPAs, good GRE scores, and strong backgrounds in research and applied clinical work to get in,” said Dr. Iain K.B. Twaddle, professor of Clinical Psychology and chairman of the MSCP program.
He said UOG’s MSCP program helps students gain the experience necessary to make their applications competitive. Concepcion, Nakamura, and Pangelinan have each presented their master’s thesis research at international conferences and have had extensive clinical experience conducted through Isa Psychological Services Center, the Violence Against Women Prevention program, the Department of Corrections, and the Superior Court of Guam’s Client Services and Family Counseling Division.
Concepcion, a mentee of Twaddle, was accepted into eight schools but ultimately accepted an offer into the accredited clinical psychology doctoral program at the California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University in Los Angeles (CSPP-LA).
She will work toward a Doctor of Psychology as part of CSPP-LA’s Multicultural Community-Clinical Psychology emphasis area under Dr. Lisa Liu, whose research focuses on multicultural, ethnic minority, and diversity issues and Asian American mental health.
Concepcion is also the recipient of a $15,000 IMPACT Scholarship from the school, the top award amount possible under that scholarship with others starting at $2,500.
Concepcion’s long-term plans are to work in a community-based setting providing mental health services to low-income families, ethnic minorities, victims of trauma, victims of war and violence, and other marginalized and disadvantaged populations.
“I want to come back and practice here,” she said. “I was born and raised on Guam. This is my home.”
Nakamura has been accepted into a competitive social psychology program with a 6% acceptance rate at the University of Minnesota.
“The University of Minnesota has one of the top psychology programs, including social psychology,” said Dr. Yoshito Kawabata, Nakamura’s psychology professor and mentor at UOG.
She will pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree under the school’s Chairman of the Department of Psychology, Dr. Jeffry A. Simpson, who conducts research on close relationships through attachment theory in his Social Interaction Lab.
She received a full tuition waiver with a monthly stipend for five years.
Her long-term goals include teaching research methodology in university classes and conducting longitudinal studies, or repeated observations, of ethnic minority couples and how past literature has impacted them.
After completing her doctoral studies, Nakamura said she plans to continue to collaborate with researchers on Guam.
Pangelinan, another mentee of Twaddle at UOG, was accepted into six doctoral programs but ultimately accepted an offer into a selective clinical psychology doctoral program at the University of Tulsa in Oklahoma. The program has been accredited since 1991.
She will be working toward a Doctor of Philosophy degree in the Study of the Prevention, Adjustment, and Resilience to Trauma and Adversity Lab, otherwise known as SPARTA, under Dr. Lisa Cromer, who was awarded an American Psychological Association award for Outstanding Early Career Achievement in Trauma Psychology.
“I wanted to work with Dr. Cromer because she was really interested in me doing something that I was passionate about, which is being able to do research that is relevant to Guam and the Micronesian region,” she said.
Her long-term goal is to return to Guam to work in a non-profit community-based organization serving Pacific Island populations.
“It has always been my intention to come back and be able to serve the community,” Pangelinan said.
Former MSCP graduates have also used their higher education to benefit Guam.
Eunice Perez, the first graduate of UOG’s MSCP program, received her master’s in clinical psychology in 2011. She went on to earn her doctorate in clinical psychology from Saint Louis University in 2016. She returned home to Guam and is now working as a clinical psychologist at the Guam Behavioral Health & Wellness Center.
2014 MSCP graduate Camarin Meno was then accepted into the doctorate program in clinical psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Twaddle said that Meno plans to return home to Guam to work as a clinical psychologist when she completes her studies in 2021.
For more information about the Master of Science in Clinical Psychology program at the University of Guam, contact Dr. Iain Twaddle at 735-2882 or firstname.lastname@example.org. (PR)