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 (‘Ohi’akūikalani/Kawelu/Kulihia 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 spiritual, cultural, and indigenous ways of healing in psychotherapy including 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 Psychology Research. He is currently an assistant professor in the counseling psychology doctorate program at Brigham Young University.



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Keona Chandler


Keona Chandler was raised in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu and comes from Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Native American, and Caucasian ancestry. She is a fluent Hawaiian speaker and is the 3rd of 5 children. She is here at Brigham Young University earning her BS in Psychology with a double minor in Family life and Sociology. In her free time, she likes reading, cooking, fishing, and spending time with friends and family.



Rachel Chapman

Rachel Chapman


Rachel Chapman is a doctoral student at Brigham Young University’s counseling psychology program. She was born in Oklahoma. Her father was in the military for 20 years, causing the family to move around some in her early childhood. However, they found home in a small Air Force town outside of St. Louis where she was raised. She is the second oldest of four. As a first-generation student, she completed a BS in social work at Brigham Young University-Idaho in social work as well as a master’s in social work from the University of Oklahoma. Rachel has worked as a social work intern at the OU Counseling Psychology Clinic, as well as a clinical social worker in schools in rural Oklahoma. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, and listening to music.



Sami Chun

Sami Chun


Sami Chun is a doctoral student at the Brigham Young University's counseling psychology program. Although he was born in American Fork, Utah as the son of one Korean and one Austrian immigrant, he has spent much of his life traveling around and living in other countries in the world. While living in Germany as a youth, he visited many European countries, including his mother's native country of Austria. After moving back to Utah for a few years, he visited his Father's native country of Korea and also moved to Japan for a 2-year service mission. After returning to attend BYU for his undergraduate degree, he toured many other countries while performing as a member of the International Folk Dance Ensemble. As a result of his experiences, he is fluent in German, Japenese, and English. Sami's areas of psychological interest center around incorporating multiculturalism and spirituality in therapeutic care. Sami recently completed his undergrad in psychology during which he worked as a research assistant with Dr. Kawika Allen and co-authored a chapter about spirituality in psychology with Dr. Brent Slife. In Sami's free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and siblings by playing music and video games.



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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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Elizabeth Ann Cutrer-Párraga, PhD


Elizabeth Ann Cutrer-Párraga was born and raised in a small farming town in Northeast Florida located on the St. Johns River and close to the Atlantic Ocean. She grew up learning how to take care of farm animals and training horses. She is the third of five children and claims her upbringing lent itself to learning balance at a young age (working hard on the farm - chilling on the beach.)

Dr. Cutrer-Párraga started work at Brigham Young University as an assistant Professor in 2017 in the Counseling, Psychology and Special Education (CPSE) department. Her research interests include: intensifying literacy instruction models focused on cultural fit for historically marginalized students, the intersection of literacy instruction and reading anxiety, and relational coaching processes between mentors and mentees for professionals in school-based settings - including the practice of cultural humility. Additionally, Dr. Cutrer-Párraga studies the strategic use of stories to support the social and emotional well-being of children who struggle with reading. Dr. Cutrer-Párraga graduated with a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill with a focus on diversity, intervention, literacy and qualitative research methods. Dr. Cutrer-Párraga also worked at the Frank Porter Graham Child Research Institute as the Intervention Director of the Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI) under Dr. Lynne Vernon-Feagans.



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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.



Cameron Hee

Cameron Hee


Cameron Hee is currently a doctoral student in Brigham Young University’s marriage and family therapy program. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, and was raised in Kalaoa on Hawaiʻi Island. He is the oldest of three children and is of Hawaiian (Kamauoha/Palaile ancestry), Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish descent.

Cameron completed his BS in psychology at Brigham Young University-Hawaiʻi and his MS in marriage and family therapy at Brigham Young University. He has clinical experience working with families, couples, and individuals, as well as helping to facilitate addiction recovery groups. His research interests include culturally sensative interventions and therapy treatments specifically for Native Hawaiian and Polynesian families, racial stress, spirituality, and attachment behaviors. In his free time he enjoys playing volleyball, fishing, hoe waʻa, wood work, and spending time with his wife and son.



Tiffany Lotulelei

Tiffany Lotulelei


Tiffany is a Master's student in the Marriage and Family therapy program at Brigham Young University, where she received her B.S. in Psychology and minor in family life. She was born and raised in Orem, Utah and is the 3rd of 6 kids and one of 70+ first cousins. She served an 18-month mission to Tonga and after returning, married her Tongan love and taught the Tongan language at the Missionary Training Center in Provo for almost three years. In her undergrad, Tiffany participated in researching mindfulness, social media use, inter-faith families, and multicultural research articles. She is excited and grateful for the opportunity to continue her involvement with the Poly Psi research team to help further research surrounding culturally-sensitive therapy and understanding Polynesian/Tongan populations. She enjoys playing volleyball, nature walks, and spending time with her husband and family members.



Chaylene Mataalii

Chaylene Mataalii


Chaylene Mataalii is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University studying psychology. She was raised in Torrance California with her parents, five siblings, and extended family. Her mother was born in Pago Pago, American Samoa and her father born and raised in Torrance, California. Chaylene is 3/4 Samoan and 1/4 combination of: German, French, and Irish. She served a year and a half in Brasil Rio de Janeiro as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has since returned to Brasil for a tour with the BYU Living Legends Dance company. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, playing volleyball, and watching movies/series.



Abigail Norton

Abigail Norton


Abigail Norton is a doctoral student at the Brigham Young University counseling psychology program. She was raised on the East Coast, to which she attributes her sometimes “Jersey Girl” accent. Abby received a BA in Communications with University Honors from BYU. After working as a journalist in Salt Lake City, she opted for a change of careers and received a Master’s in Public Health from BYU. During her academic career, Abby has researched violent media, media use, and health behaviors.

Abby has worked as an advocate for underserved populations at a police department and the Hope Squad school suicide prevention program. Her primary research interests include multicultural psychology, risk and protective factors, and crisis intervention.



Emily Tanner

Emily Tanner


Emily Tanner is currently a graduate student in Brigham Young University’s school psychology program. She was born and raised in Sandy, Utah. She completed her BS in psychology at Weber State University and competed as a Division I athlete on the tennis team. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and spending time with family and friends.



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Christina Tsoi


Christina Tsoi is a doctoral student at the Brigham Young University counseling psychology program. She was raised in Hong Kong and mainland China. She attained her BS in behavioral science/psychology at Utah Valley University and her MS in international development and humanitarian emergencies at the London School of Economics. She worked for the United Nations (OCHA) and multiple international NGOs to help and support diverse client populations (high-conflict/divorced families, children with autism, refugees, impoverished persons, etc). Her research interests include multicultural psychology, spirituality, and psychological well-being among ethic minorities and humanitarian aid-workers. She enjoys the outdoors and all things water - scuba diving, kayaking, snorkeling, hiking, etc.