Bios

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G. E. Kawika Allen, PhD


Professor G. E. Kawika Allen was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Joseph R. and Moana R. Allen. Dr. Allen's Polynesian heritage is Hawaiian and Tongan (Makaiwi and Kamea/Bloomfield ancestry). He is the last of nine children, six biological and three adopted. He was raised in Waianae, O'ahu. The Allen family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 1981.

Professor Allen received his BS in speech/organizational communication and his MS in counseling psychology at the University of Utah. He then received his PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri–-Columbia (a top-ranked program) and completed his predoctoral clinical internship at Duke University. His research areas involve culture-specific and appropriate psychotherapies and interventions for Polynesians/Polynesian Americans, as well as examining the intersections of religiosity/spirituality, coping/collectivistic coping, depression, anxiety, and psychological well-being/adjustment among Polynesians/Polynesian Americans. Professor Allen leads the Poly Psi Team research efforts involving Polynesian American Psychology Research. He is currently an assistant professor in the counseling psychology doctorate program at Brigham Young University.

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Mark Beecher, PhD


Mark Beecher is a clinical professor and licensed psychologist with a joint appointment with BYU's Counseling and Psychological Services and the BYU Counseling Psychology and Special Education Department. He completed his PhD in BYU's counseling psychology program and has been full-time at BYU since 1997, working in the University Accessibility Center and in Counseling and Psychological Services before obtaining his current joint appointment. He became interested in multiculturalism early in his graduate education, primarily while working on several projects related to Native American students' experiences preparing for and functioning in post-secondary education. He also spent several months at BYU–-Hawaii helping to develop multiculturally adapted assessment procedures for students with learning and/or attention disorders. Professionally, his interests include individual and group psychotherapy, multiculturalism, disability issues, and eating disorders. In his free time, Mark loves being with his wife and daughter doing just about anything. He loves the outdoors and finds great peace being with family and friends in the mountains, deserts, and oceans.

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Jared Cline


Jared Cline is a doctoral student in counseling psychology at Brigham Young University. He was born in Fairfax, Virginia, and raised in Farmington, Utah. He completed his bachelor of science in psychology with a minor in statistics at Brigham Young University. Jared worked as a mentor for two years at residential treatment centers in Utah during his undergraduate work and before starting his PhD. He is broadly interested in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) as a method of practice as well as other mindfulness-based treatments. His research interests include ACT, psychotherapy outcomes, and multicultural psychology. Jared is married to Brooke Cline, and they have one newborn daughter named Paige. Jared enjoys backpacking, camping, fishing, biking, hiking, and generally enjoying the outdoors.

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Hoku Conklin, PhD


Professor Hoku Conklin is an assistant clinical professor at Brigham Young University. He grew up in Southern California and has also lived abroad in New Zealand and Australia. He identifies as Polynesian and is of Maori/Hawaiian background. He completed his undergraduate studies in psychology at Brigham Young University–-Hawaii and his PhD in counseling psychology from Brigham Young University. He completed a predoctoral internship at the University of Utah Counseling Center, a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego Counseling and Psychological Services, and is currently a licensed psychologist practicing individual, group, and couples counseling in BYU Counseling and Psychological Services. Professor Conklin has a strong interest in multicultural counseling and research and is proud to be affiliated with the Poly Psi Research Team conducting Polynesian American Psychology Research.

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Jonathan Cox, PhD


Jonathan Cox was raised in Orem, Utah. He attended Brigham Young University and graduated with a BS in psychology in 2001 and a PhD in clinical psychology in 2008. His clinical internship was at the University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute. Following his internship, he worked for the University of Utah in the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health Clinic for four years, obtaining licensure as a psychologist in 2009. In 2012, he was hired as an assistant clinical professor at the Brigham Young University Counseling and Psychological Services. He currently lives in South Jordan, Utah, with his wife and two children.

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Bango Gancinia


Bango Gancinia is a doctoral student at the Brigham Young University’'s counseling psychology program. He was born and raised in Honoka’'a, a small sugar cane plantation town on the Big Island—-the island of Hawaii. He is Filipino and Hani Hawaiian. Bango is the youngest of three children. As a first-generation student, he completed his BA in psychology at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. He later obtained his MA in community counseling from Washington State University. Clinically, Bango has been a facilitator for addiction recovery groups, has worked as a case manager, and has done individual, family, and group counseling. His primary research interests include multicultural psychology, help-seeking stigma, and humor, specifically among Polynesians. During his free time, he enjoys playing music, fishing, cooking, camping, and spending time with his family.

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Derek Griner, PhD


Derek Griner is a licensed psychologist and holds a joint-faculty appointment with Counseling and Psychological Services and the counseling psychology doctoral program at Brigham Young University. He has worked in several settings, including the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, BYU–Hawaii, Arizona State University’s Counseling and Consultation, and BYU’s Accessibility Center. Derek’s interest in multiculturalism swelled when he lived in Seoul, Korea, and volunteered in several mental health hospitals. He is committed to furthering knowledge surrounding diversity, has conducted research in this domain, and has received APA’s Division 17 Outstanding Contribution to Scholarship on Race and Ethnicity Award, as well as APA’s Jeffrey S. Tanaka Memorial Dissertation Award in Psychology. Professionally, his interests include culturally modified therapy, Polynesian culture, and group counseling. Derek is married, has two beautiful daughters, and when not at work can be found with his family hiking, climbing, camping, and generally being outdoors.

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Ofa Hafoka


Ofa Hafoka was born and raised in Kahuku, Hawaii, to Lucy and Finau Hafoka. Her heritage is Tongan, her mother is from Talafo'ou, Tonga, and her father is from Fo'ui, Tonga. She is the fourth of five children. She received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Brigham Young University–Hawaii. She did an internship at Liahona High School in Tonga. She is currently a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at Brigham Young University. She is married to Tuni Kanuch.

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Davis Kane


Davis Kane is a doctoral student in Brigham Young University’s counseling psychology program. Davis was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i, was raised on the leeward side of O’ahu, and is the second youngest of two full and two half-siblings. He is also hapa (half-Hawaiian and half-Caucasian), whose Hawaiian ancestral lineage consists of Lawai’'a (Kane lineage), Kahuna (Malo lineage), and Ali’'i (Malo lineage).

Davis received his bachelor of science degree in psychology from Brigham Young University–Hawaii in April 2014. Shortly after receiving his undergraduate degree, he spent a year working as a basic skills trainer for North Shore Mental Health in La’ie, Hawaii. His primary research interests include multicultural psychology, religiosity/spirituality, and psychological well-being among ethnic minorities, specifically Polynesians. During his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, reading, and hiking.

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Jessica Kirchhoefer


Jessica Kirchhoefer is a doctoral student of counseling psychology at Brigham Young University. She was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Alexandria, Virginia. She received her BS in psychology from Brigham Young University and worked in substance abuse and community mental health before beginning her graduate degree. Jessica’s research interests include group psychotherapy, measurements, computer-mediated effects on mental health, and multicultural issues, specifically concerning Latinos and international students. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading, watching sports, and spending time with her husband.

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Jason Lefrandt


Jason Lefrandt is currently a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at Brigham Young University. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Aiea, Hawaii. He is the third of five children and is half-Japanese, part-Indonesian, and part-Dutch. He finished his BS in psychology and MS in marriage and family therapy at Brigham Young University. He has done an internship with Solace Emotional Health, treating pornography addiction, anxiety, and depression with families, married couples, and individuals. He is married to Kelsey Lefrandt. He and his wife enjoy critiquing restaurants and films (not professionally), going on hikes, playing sports, and exploring new places.

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Alexandria Kamalei Parker


Alexandria Kamalei Parker is an undergraduate student in the psychology program at Brigham Young University. Kamalei comes from a mixed ethnic background of Hawaiian, Chinese, Filipino, and Caucasion heritage. She was born and raised in Pearl City, O'ahu, and is the oldest of four children. In 2014, Kamalei served a full-time church mission in the Dominican Republic where she learned Spanish and discovered more family and friends. Kamalei was recently married to a local from the islands and they have enjoyed starting a new life together in Utah.

Kamalei became interested in studying school psychology while at BYU. She has loved working with children her entire life, from teaching swimming lessons in the pool, to working with students who have special needs, to even babysitting. She plans on going to graduate school to become a school psychologist, then taking this degree back home to Hawaii in order to help improve the academic environment for children in public schools.

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Lisa Scott


Lisa Scott graduated from BYU with a B.S. in psychology in 2015. She has presented papers and posters as well as published in the areas of multicultural sensitivity, women's issues, and spirituality. She has also worked within several clinical settings including a mental hospital, inpatient treatment center, and wilderness therapy. Her current interests include gender issues and multicultural sensitivity. She is currently a doctoral student in counseling psychology at BYU.

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Selesitila Tenney


Selesitila Tenney is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University. She is studying psychology and is debating between counseling psychology or social work at this time (Poly Psi Team has her leaning more toward counseling). She was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. She was raised in Sydney, Australia, until she was 13. Ever since 2009, her family has lived in Orem, Utah. She is of Samoan/Maori descent. She served her mission in Scottsdale, Arizona, speaking Spanish, where she served among the Hispanic community and ended her mission on the Apache Reservation, where she grew to love and learn all about other cultures while also gaining a deeper love and appreciation for her own. These experiences inspired her to want to work with her Polynesian community, and the Poly Psi Team gives her the perfect opportunity to do so. Tila has a passion for Polynesian dancing, jamming on the ukulele, writing, and being with family.

Jessica Vea


Jessica Vea was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Bonnie and Tapiaka Vea. She is of Tongan/Hawaiian/Japanese descent. Her father is from Kolofo’ou, Tonga and her mother is from Hau’ula, Hawaii. Jessica is the fourth of six children. She was raised in her mother’s hometown of Hau’ula.

Jessica served a full-time service mission in several African countries, including: Zimbabwe, South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. Her love for culture grew while serving the African people and continues to grow within her own heritage. The traditions and culture of her Polynesian ancestry are so rich and she wants to help them succeed through research with the Poly Psi Team. She loves spending time with her family, especially her nieces and nephews. She enjoys the outdoors and sports. Jessica Vea is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University. She is studying psychology and minoring in business management.