G. E. Kawika Allen, PhD
Professor G. E. Kawika Allen was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i, to Joseph R. and Moana R. Allen. Dr. Allen's Polynesian heritage is Native Hawaiian and Tongan (Maka’iwi and Kamea/Bloomfield ancestry). He is the last of nine children. He was raised in Wai’anae, O'ahu and Kearns, Utah. 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 culturally appropriate psychotherapies and interventions for underserved populations. Specifically, Professor Allen has focused much of his research on 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 not only Polynesian/Pacific Islander Psychology Research, but research across all BIPOC and minoritized groups. He is currently an associate professor in the counseling psychology doctorate program at Brigham Young University.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Melia Fonoimoana Garrett
Melia Fonoimoana Garrett is currently a graduate student in Brigham Young University's school psychology program. Melia was raised in Laie, Hawaii and Utah. Melia worked as an elementary school teacher for five years before staying at home with her three young daughters. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing volleyball, and dance parties with her daughters.
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.
My name is Inosi Kinikini and I am from the beautiful islands of Fiji. I am the eldest of four children. I will be graduating next month (June) with a BS in Psychology (Clinical/Counseling) with minors in Anthropology and Education, and a certificate in Intercultural Peacebuilding here at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. I served my mission in the Philippines Legazpi Mission which is where I learned to speak Tagalog. I also speak English, Fijian and the dialects of both my mum and dad. In my free time, I love to watch Korean dramas and I am a big fan of K-pop. I also love spending time with my family. In addition to this, I love to sleep as it is usually my go-to whenever I have free time (lol).
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.
Erica Ellsworth Miller
Erica Ellsworth Miller was raised in the small town of Gig Harbor, Washington. Surrounded by trees, streams and the Puget Sound, Erica spent her childhood stomping in puddles, climbing trees, and exploring every idea that popped into her brain. Erica cherishes memories of watching the sun burn through the morning's overcast skies, tromping through old growth forests, waiting for "the mountain" to come out, and being lulled to sleep by the sound of water. Erica moved away from the pacific northwest in 1995, but returns to visit her trees as often as possible.
Erica graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in French from Brigham Young University in 1999. During her undergraduate study, Erica particularly enjoyed exploring the intersections between early Christian political philosophy and 19th century french literature. After raising her children, some of whom have special needs, Erica taught at a private school dedicated to helping children and families navigate the complexities of early childhood trauma. Erica earned her Master of Science in Special Education from Brigham Young University in 2021.
Currently Erica works as a Research Development Coordinator for BYU Marriott School of Business and as a Qualitative Analyst for the QualBE research team. Erica cares deeply about offering humanity and "giving voice" to marginalized groups and individuals navigating life paths marked by trauma, disability, and social or emotional struggles. Few things bring Erica more joy than sunshine, a good sweat, being surrounded by trees and streams, and chocolate ice cream.
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.
Meilani Roan is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Brigham Young University. She was born in Kahuku on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Meilani lived in Hawaii until the age of five, after which she moved back to Wyoming, where her father was born and raised. She feels grateful to have seen the diverse beauty and benefits of living most of her life in Wyoming while still visiting her mother’s family in Western Samoa, Hawaii, and New Zealand throughout her childhood. She is thankful for the ways these experiences have shaped her life. Meilani is a first generation college student, and recently graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from Utah State University in Integrated Studies (Social Sciences and Human Services). Meilani is a proud mother to her son, and is grateful for the ways in which he inspires her to pursue her educational goals. In her free time Meilani enjoys reading, learning new languages, cooking, singing or playing on the ukulele, and eating sushi.
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.
Rosemay Webster is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Brigham Young University. She was born in Chicago but spent her teenage years on the beaches of South Florida. Rosemay and her family have lived outside the U.S. for the last 12 years. As a convert and a traveler, she has learned to appreciate different cultures, ethnicities, and communities. She has worked in the counseling field for over fifteen years, and has specialized in ADHD, Autism, and trauma. Some of her interests include singing, playing the violin, tennis, basketball, yoga, crossfit and Muy Thai. She earned her BS in Psychology from the University of Utah, a Masters of Social Work from UNLV, and a Masters in Special Education from ASU. Rosemay is the proud mother of 3 children and enjoys traveling the world with her family.