Blandin grant expands opportunities for American Indian psychology students at BSU

Submitted photo features BSU InPsyT students and teachers.

Bemidji State University’s Department of Psychology recently received a $250,000 grant from the Blandin Foundation to support a scholarship program for Indigenous students.

According to a release, the grant will fund BSU’s Indigenous Students in Psychology Training, or InPsyT, which was launched for a pilot cohort of six students in August 2021.

Initially funded for one year, the Blandin grant will expand the program for the next three to four years.

The InPsyT program prepares American Indian students for careers in psychology through mentorships with Indigenous psychologists and mental health professionals.

Grant funds will be used to increase enrollment, retention and graduation of American Indian psychology students at BSU and will help support them in their transition to the workforce or into graduate programs.

Cohort members receive $500 scholarships and culturally-specific research and training and are able to attend the annual Society of Indian Psychologists conference.

Program co-founder Dr. John Gonzalez ‘99, professor of psychology, says the InPsyT program will not only benefit Indigenous students but will also provide him the opportunity to give back to the next generation of American Indian psychologists.

“I feel like I am coming full circle in my career having started here at BSU as a psychology major,” he said. ”I wouldn’t be back here without my mentor Dr. Russ Bennett, professor emeritus of psychology; I wouldn’t have my PhD without a program like this at my graduate school; I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so many things in my career without others supporting me and providing me with guidance, mentorship and opportunities. It is a real honor to have this chance to give back in this way.”

Cohort members must be a declared psychology major, have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be an enrolled member or descendent of an American Indian tribe.

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