Excellence Through Diversity Scholars Fellowship Recipients

Name: Camara Chea 

Camara is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Counseling Psychology doctoral program. A California native, she was born and raised in the Central Valley. She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she majored in Intensive Psychology with a minor in Sociology. Camara cites her opportunities outside the classroom, in working with a diverse student body, as being transformative to her personal development and trajectory. In her role as a Resident Advisor for two years, she helped foster a safe and inclusive environment for other students through guidance and programming. As a Peer Educator at her university counseling center for four years, she worked to increase mental health awareness and combat stigma by outreaching to her campus community via workshops, events, and publicity. In addition, her experiences on social Psychology research teams similarly stimulated her strong interest in social justice. As the daughter of Cambodian genocide refugees, Camara is especially interested in addressing mental health disparities in various communities. Her research interests include Asian American mental health and well-being. In her free time, Camara enjoys spending time with her family and friends, finding good discounts, watching films and funny videos, and staying active. In her short statement, she shares: “I was drawn to the Counseling Psychology doctoral program at the University of Utah for a number of reasons. As I pored over the program website and handbook, many things captured my attention, such as the program’s commitment to multicultural perspectives and social advocacy, the comprehensive research and clinical training, the emphasis on professional identity and development, and the strong alignment of my research interests with Dr. Karen Tao. Upon visiting the program after receiving my acceptance, I was amazed at the collaborative sense of community and support I could already feel with the program faculty, staff, and other students, especially with my future advisor. Along with the location of Salt Lake City itself and the extensive pubic transportation system, these warm interactions only affirmed my desire to join the U of U community, and by the end of my visit, I knew that this program was the best fir for me.

Name: Rodalyn David  

Originally from Rockland County, NY, Rodalyn is a graduate of Lincoln University of PA in Psychology (2009) and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in Higher Education Administration (2013). As an undergraduate, she developed a strength for research investigating the health behaviors of African American college students, their perceived access, along with their emotions and cognitive reactions to treatment. In 2009, it was here at the University of Utah in the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) that she gained exposure to a research-intensive, yet humanely supportive environment. While serving as an advisor for students at several predominantly White institutions (PWIs), her need to study the health outcomes of African Americans in the college environment grew due to the current racial climate.

Rodalyn was attracted to the Education, Culture, & Society program because of Dr. William Smith’s work on Racial Battle Fatigue. She hopes to uncover the role of ethnic identity in perceptions of racism, coping, and peer support, with the foundations of the psychological, physiological, and behavioral impacts of race-related stress in the academic and career experience. The open door in ECS to draw from outside disciplines will aid in her goals to build partnerships that effectively intervene on college campuses.

Emerging Diversity Scholars Fellowship Recipients

Name: Eliot Sykes

Originally from Massachusetts, Eliot has lived in Utah since 2004. In 2011, he completed my master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Utah. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education in the Education, Culture and Society (ECS) Department. His research focuses on black masculinity, early childhood education and curriculum and instruction. When Eliot is not studying he enjoys building bicycles, motorcycling, surfing, skiing and playing soccer. As a student in the ECS, he has enjoyed working with his professors and colleagues in and outside of the classroom. Professors in ECS have offered him new perspectives on issues in education, provided thoughtful critiques to push his thinking and have served as mentors in helping him to grow as an academic writer. The community of students Eliot has had a chance to engage with have also helped him push him in my thinking and provided space for his own ideas to develop. Overall, the faculty, staff and students in ECS have assisted him in his growth and understanding of education and his place within the field.

Name: Elias Javier Flores

As a first-generation American born to Mexican parents, Elias Javier Flores had a rather large city upbringing often mixed with small town encounters. He has lived in multiple Latin American countries including Mexico, Guatemala, and Colombia to name a few. The living and transportation condition in these countries have led him to focus on public transportation, pedestrian and bicycle planning, as an area of interest. Prior to enrolling at the University of Utah, he worked for several planning organizations dealing with city and transportation planning issues. Most recently, he has worked with the Utah Transit Authority, looking at bus stops throughout the entire transit system and how they affect customer trust and ridership. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Geography from Brigham Young University.

Name: Isidoro Guzman

Hometown: Ojai, California

Undergraduate University: University of California, Santa Barbara

Isidoro was born and raised in the small Southern California town of Ojai, California. After high school, he went on to study Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara where afterwards, he went on to get my Masters in Mexican-American Studies at San Jose State University. Currently, Isidoro is completing his doctoral work within the Department of Education, Culture, and Society where my research is focused on communities of color who have engaged in autonomous movements, the development of autonomous education for self-governance, and decolonize curriculums. My love and passion for this research has been influenced by a number of experiences and people that range from my parents, my Latinx community, my professors, close friends, and comrades who have pushed me as a son, a student, a thinker, and a community member. Without the knowledge that those experiences and people have imparted within me, my journey and privilege as a doctoral student would have been intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually incomplete and for that I am eternally grateful. That said, I am also extremely grateful to have joined the Department of Education, Culture and Society. as it has provided to be a place that has really nurtured my intellectual curiosities. I think ECS’s strongest quality is that it is a department that houses very likeminded groups of students and professors that understand and think through the site of education in a holistic manner; and who genuinely believe in its importance as a site that Cana be at the forefront of social, ecological, and political change. All in all, it’s been a blessing and a privilege to be a part of this department.