Student Profile: Miguel Arana wants to give agency back to communities

Monday, January 30, 2023
Miguel Arana

GGSE: What past experiences led you to want to study counseling?
Miguel Arana: I wanted to train as a counseling psychologist to produce empirical research, mentor students, and create a social impact in historically underserved populations. In addition to my research experiences, I had an internship at a behavioral health clinic during my undergrad. This clinic serves historically underrepresented populations from low-income backgrounds. Here, I shadowed clinicians, translated for Spanish-speaking clients, and conducted client outreach. This experience inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. in counseling psychology working with underrepresented communities.

GGSE: What led you to choose the Gevirtz School's Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology?
Arana: Some things that led me to choose the Gevirtz School's Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology were the faculty in CCSP who have made exceptional strides in their areas of expertise. Additionally, I appreciated the emphasis on social justice, collaborative learning environment, and training models. I also enjoyed that it was still somewhat close to home so I could still attend to personal matters while pursuing my studies. Lastly, the amazing students here. I am so grateful to be in an environment where my peers are collaborative, caring, and kind. It's super inspiring to be surrounded by brilliant peers who have done amazing scholarly, community, and restorative work.

GGSE: What interested you in working with Dr. Maryam Kia-Keating in the trauma, adversity, and resilience prevention lab (TARP)?
Arana: I was interested in working with Dr. Kia-Keating for the amazing work she has done and how closely it aligns not only with my research interests but, personal values as well. Furthermore, Dr. Kia-Keating is a kind, brilliant, and caring person; it directly aligns with her advising style. What I enjoy the most about working in the TARP lab is the collaborative learning community our lab has. I am continually inspired by my lab and the research ideas they pursue. What I enjoy most about our lab and Dr. Kia-Keating’s work is that the approach is from a liberating, healing, and restorative lens. I enjoy Dr. Kia-Keating's emphasis on not only doing the research but finding ways to involve the community and giving them the agency to create the change they want.

GGSE: Outside of your doctoral work, how do you like to spend your free time?
Arana: Outside of my doctoral work I enjoy spending time with friends and family. I also love going to the gym, skateboarding, or spending time enjoying nature.