New grant creates new opportunities for American Indian psychology students

Bemidji State University’s Psychology department recently received a one-year, $9,981 innovations grant to launch a scholarship program for Indigenous students studying psychology.

With a pilot cohort of six students, the Indigenous Students in Psychology Training, or InPsyT, will prepare American Indian students for careers in psychology through mentorships with Indigenous psychologists and mental health professionals.

Cohort members will receive a $500 scholarship and will explore psychology and behavioral health as it relates to American Indian populations, train in Indigenous research methodologies, as well as attend the annual Society of Indian Psychologists conference.

Program co-founder Dr. John Gonzalez ‘99, BSU alum and 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. Though the grant funds a single InPsyT cohort, department leaders anticipate securing additional funding to continue the program.


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