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Friday, December 15, 2017

COE Faculty Receives National Ethnic Mentoring Award

Dr. Nellie Tran, making a difference
She did not know the award was coming her way. Her former students nominated her and did not tell her.

Dr. Nellie Tran, a faculty in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology, found out she had won the 2017 Ethnic Minority Mentoring Award when she received the notification letter from the American Psychological Association's Society for Community Research and Action.

“I did not know I had been nominated for the award. It was a complete surprise to me. My past students nominated me for the award without my knowledge,” said Tran, who received the award in Ottawa, Canada in late June. “I was extremely honored and humbled to receive the award.”

The Society for Community Research and Action is a membership organization for community psychology students and professionals. Their work can be generally fit into the categories of education, research, practice and policy, but many of its members work in all four.

Tran, who is a second generation Vietnamese American—her parents are Vietnamese boat people who arrived in North Park in 1981 as refugees--has been involved in a lot of mentoring work over the years, providing extensive mentoring and research opportunities for students on topics of race, identity, and discrimination.

 Students who are interested in her research on micro-aggressions and subtle biases within the academic setting and, especially those students who are angry about the way the world and the system oppresses students and people in marginalized statuses often seek her out for mentorship, she said.

“Mentoring is at the heart of my love for being a professor,” Tran said. I have been feeling quite validated for my years of mentorship that has often stayed invisible to my profession and the institutions where I've worked.”

She currently advises and mentors San Diego State Students in the Asian Pacific Student Alliance, as well as those in the Community-Based Block Multicultural Counseling and Social Justice Education Program. Tran is co-chair of the Asian American Psychological Association's Leadership Fellows Program and helped to found the leadership pipeline program for the Society for Community Research and Action.

“I have been lucky to have worked with brilliant students and activists,” said Tran, who also teaches and works at the SDSU Center for Counseling and Community Engagement in City Heights, a few blocks from one of the apartments where she and her family lived in the 80s. “I have been extremely excited to return to San Diego…to continue to give back to the communities that helped and supported my family.”