Student Profile: Iliana Flores works to make psychological services more culturally relevant

Friday, March 19, 2021
Iliana Flores

Iliana Flores is a doctoral student with an emphasis in counseling psychology working alongside Dr. Andrés Consoli. She completed her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Services with an emphasis in mental health from California State University, Fullerton. Iliana’s current research and clinical interests include increasing access and utilization of culturally relevant services using a social justice lens and bilingual (English-Spanish) professional training and development.

GGSE: How have you been spending time during the campus shutdown?
Flores: I have been enjoying doing yoga, running, and trying to meditate more often. I also love ending my day with a virtual hang out with friends and watching a good movie or show. Something I haven’t taken up yet, but that I am hopeful I will soon, is baking!

GGSE: What originally drew you to your area of research?
Flores: As a Latina and the daughter of a single immigrant mother, I grew up witnessing the lack of resources in underserved communities. As I got older, I wondered more and more about how I could help make a difference in the world. My strong interest in psychology became the answer to that question for me. Now, as a bilingual (Spanish-English) psychologist-in-training, my research broadly focuses on Latinx mental health. Specifically, I research how we can make services more culturally relevant to increase treatment engagement and adherence for individuals and families and how we can continue to support the wellbeing of marginalized individuals with intersecting identities using a social justice lens.

GGSE: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Flores: I am certainly looking forward to graduating with my Ph.D. and working on my research agenda. I see myself continuing to provide community mental health services to underserved populations and using all of the knowledge and training that I’ve accumulated in graduate school to help give back. Perhaps one day I’ll even start a non-profit. I also see myself living near the beach, learning how to surf, and owning a dog of my own.

GGSE: Who, living or dead, do you most admire?
Flores: I have to say the person I admire the most is my mother. She came to the U.S. at a very young age and raised three daughters on her own. It was hard work for her, but, but all the while she made sure my siblings and I understood the importance of hard work and the value of pursuing a higher education. She reminded us of this any chance that she got. My mother says she would have liked to become a medical doctor or a lawyer if she had been born in the U.S. So, in many ways, she’s still able to live her dream through me as the first in my family to earn a PhD. I credit her for a lot of my success.