Commencement 2021 Profile: Alyssa Hufana tackles the intersections between identities in young Asian American women

Monday, June 7, 2021
Alyssa Hufana

Alyssa Hufana graduated with a Ph.D. from the Counseling and Clinical Psychology program at CCSP. Her research focuses on the experiences of Asian American women, specifically Filipino American women. After graduating, Hufana will be in residence at UC San Diego’s Counseling and Psychological Services.

GGSE: Please tell us about your dissertation! What's it about and why are you proud of it?
Hufana: Much of my interests have revolved around disaggregating research data within Asian American psychology, specifically addressing Filipino American experiences. My dissertation explores the intersection of ethnicity, gender, and immigrant generational status of Filipina American women emerging adults (ages 18-25). I was really interested in the lived experiences of these research participants as they navigate their bicultural experiences. Aside from conducting individual interviews with the research participants, I asked them to take photographs or bring in original artwork as another form of self-expression. It was really cool to see their stories come to life through visual art!

As a second-generation Filipina American and first-generation graduate student, I never saw people who looked like me go on to get a graduate degree. I am honored to amplify the voices of folx who have often times been ignored, silenced, or overlooked. It is deeply meaningful to conduct research and advocate for a community who longs to be seen and heard. I am proud to add to the counseling, clinical, and school psychology legacy of multicultural research and move towards more culturally inclusive and responsive work.

GGSE: What did you learn at CSU Long Beach’s Counseling and Psychological Services? How did that internship experience help you develop as a researcher and professional?
Hufana: This past year I have gained so many new telehealth clinical and outreach skills after almost a full year online providing services to students. My internship experience has helped me become a better public speaker, present my research work in a more digestible way for public audiences, and overall remind me that at the core of the work I do is about genuine connection and relationships.

GGSE: Where do you hope to go after your post-doctoral residency at UC San Diego?
Hufana: As a UCSD CAPS postdoctoral resident, I will have the opportunity to emphasize in areas of outreach and consultation that address student success, resilience, and wellness. After my postdoc year, the sky’s the limit! I could see myself as a staff psychologist at a university counseling center doing clinical training and supervision. I also enjoy teaching and would like to do some adjunct work while mentoring undergraduate or master’s level students.

GGSE: What's one of your favorite memories from your time at GGSE?
Hufana: I have gained some of the most meaningful and supportive friendships through my GGSE colleagues. They truly have been a highlight during this personal and professional journey.

GGSE: Is there anyone at GGSE you'd like to thank?
Hufana: My advisor, Dr. Melissa Morgan. Members of my dissertation committee, Dr. Alison Cerezo and Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating. And those who have contributed to my clinical training over the years at CCSP, Dr. Steve Smith, Dr. Heidi Zetzer, and Dr. Emily Maynard.