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McNair Scholar 2017Mary K. Onchiri

Mary K. Onchiri is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is majoring in Psychology and Family Social Science with a minor Spanish. Mary’s research interests include mental health disparities among minorities and the factors contributing to low mental health service utilization. She hopes to obtain a Ph.D. in counseling psychology.

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My dream is to become a Professor of Psychology and conduct research that influences mental health policy. As a researcher, I will strive to create and implement culturally sensitive psychological treatments for minority and marginalized communities.

Research project

The Effect of Social Conditions on Psychological Distress in Minneapolis Neighborhoods

Abstract: This study investigates how neighborhood is associated with psychological distress and the indirect effects of discrimination, perceived safety, and community cohesion. Data come from the 2014 Survey of the Health of All the Population and the Environment (SHAPE), which reports on the overall health of adults and children in the Twin Cities. Specifically, this study analyzes data from 3,323 respondents from four Minneapolis neighborhoods. The results from a binary logistic regression indicate that discrimination, perceived safety, and community cohesion indirectly affect psychological distress in three out of the four neighborhoods. When assessing education, age, and income, the results demonstrate that all neighborhoods are significant. The findings indicate that policy aimed toward eliminating discrimination and promoting community cohesion could improve mental health outcomes in certain Minneapolis neighborhoods. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Richard M. Lee, Ph.D. is a Professor of Psychology and Asian American Studies at the University of Minnesota. He was born and raised in Connecticut. He is the youngest of three sons raised by immigrant parents from South Korea. He attended Simon’s Rock College of Bard, Boston College (B.A.), and Virginia Commonwealth University (Ph.D.), followed by a predoctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Davis.

Professor Lee is a fellow of APA Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) and Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Culture, Ethnicity and Race) and the Asian American Psychological Association. He is a founding member of the Asian Caucus of the Society for Research on Child Development and the Diversity Committee of the Society for Research on Adolescence. From 2011-2013, he served as President of the Asian American Psychological Association. He is the current Editor for Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology (2015-2019).