Assistant Professor Trisha Raque-Bogdan, Ph.D. has been awarded the inaugural Bruce and Jane Walsh Grant to study the effect that one’s work – and the meaning ascribed to that work – has on cancer survivors. Dr. Raque-Bogdan noticed a gap in research on the topic during her graduate studies, and began to work with cancer support organizations to learn more. The grant-funded study will be conducted in collaboration with Ryan Duffy, Ph.D. of the University of Florida’s Department of Psychology.

Drs. Raque-Bogdan and Duffy will fund a longitudinal study involving over 650 participants that collects and analyzes information on the level of meaning that cancer survivors placed on their work and how it affects their sense of purpose and mental, emotional, and physical health. They recruited study participants from the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center, the Young Survivors’ Coalition, and the CO Breast Cancer Coalition. Once awareness of the study spread, it “took on a life of its own” according to Dr. Raque-Bogdan, and filled up very quickly with cancer survivors who felt invested in helping others to understand the role of work in finding purpose. Dr. Raque-Bogdan said that “no research to date has examined how experiencing meaning at work relates to physical health…to both mental and physical health over time, or the personal and environmental conditions that impact the relation between the experience of meaningful work and health.”

In the United States, the lifetime risk of developing cancer is – according to the American Cancer Society – slightly less than one in two for men and slightly more than one in three for women. With the prevalence of cancer in society and the understanding that many cancer survivors are employed full time, it is increasingly important to understand how work, an integral part of many lives and identities, contributes to finding meaning and supports the well-being of cancer survivors. At this time, the researchers have finished collecting one set of data from the participants, and will collect additional data in six months and one year in order to form a comprehensive picture. Dr. Raque-Bogdan is a first-year Assistant Professor at Morgridge and she looks forward to pursuing this unique research opportunity to develop her career and establish partnerships with the cancer community.

Morgridge College of Education takes great pride in the lasting impact of our faculty whose work improves opportunities for student and community success. We are proud to share that Dr. William E. Cross, Jr. of the Counseling Psychology and Higher Education departments and Dr. Cyndy McRae of the Counseling Psychology department were each awarded a 2015 Elder Recognition Award for Distinguished Contributions by the Society of Counseling Psychology at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto Ontario this August. The award recognizes the hard work and distinguished contributions that Counseling Psychology professionals bring to the field.

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Dr. Cross, who also received the Elder Recognition Award for Distinguished Contributions in 2013, is one of America’s leading theorists and researchers on black identity development and racial-ethnic identity development. His book, Shades of Black (Temple University Press, 1991) is a classic in the field. Dr. Cross was swept up by the Black Consciousness Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. From these experiences, he constructed Nigrescence Theory to explicate the identity-change process linked to social movement dynamics. The Cross Model became “the” template for scholars fashioning similar models on Native American Identity, Women’s Identity, Gay-Lesbian Identity, and Asian American Identity. Currently, he is co-authoring an edited text with Dr. Jas M. Sullivan of Louisiana State University, incorporating empirical studies on identity meaning and forms of internalized oppression. The book will be published by SUNY Press in January of 2016. Dr. Cross earned his PhD in Psychology from Princeton University.

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Dr. McRae’s research is focused on  psychosocial adjustment of persons with Parkinson’s disease, caregiver issues, and chronic illness, as well as the placebo effect and the effects of “Dance for PD” on daily lives. She is a member of the American Psychological Association (APA), a Fellow of the Society of Counseling Psychology since 2013, and she was the Chair of the Counseling Health Psychology Section, Division 17 of APA from 2006 to 2007. Dr. McRae is also a member of the Movement Disorder Society and the only non-MD chosen as an investigator in the Parkinson Study Group. Over the course of her career, she has mentored more than 65 students through the dissertation process. She actively encourages the Counseling Psychology community to focus on social justice, the expansion of internationalization efforts, and the importance of Counseling Health Psychology as integrative medicine becomes more widespread. Dr. McRae is the recipient of several awards: a Fulbright Specialist Award to Uganda, a National Institute of Health (NIH) FIRST award, and several other grants from NIH and other foundations. She earned her PhD in Counseling Psychology from the University of Iowa.

Congratulations to Doctors Cross and McRae for their well-earned honor from the Society of Counseling Psychology.

Dr. Patton O. Garriott joined the Morgridge College of Education as an Assistant Professor in Counseling Psychology in 2012 after receiving his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri and completing his pre-doctoral internship at the University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center. Dr. Garriott’s work focuses on those who are underserved, underrepresented, and excluded in higher education and specific career domains. He is currently a Co-Investigator on a $1,491,909 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that will examine the persistence of women and Latinas/os in engineering. Dr. Garriott teaches several courses in the Master’s and Doctoral program in Counseling Psychology, including Multicultural Counseling, Ethics and Research seminars. He is a strong believer in mentorship and providing students with opportunities to “learn by doing.”

As the Director of the Career and Social Attitudes Lab, Dr. Garriott and his research team are working on several projects. His most recent work has focused on first-generation college students’ academic and career development as well as students of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Within the former domain, Dr. Garriott is examining predictors of first- and non-first-generation college students’ academic and life satisfaction. Given recent increases in first-generation college students’ attendance at institutions of higher education and their disproportionate non-persistence rates, this research could have implications for ensuring the success of this underserved student group. Dr. Garriott’s research in the area of STEM careers has focused on prospective first-generation college students as well as Mexican American high school and college students. The goal of this line of research is to help end the disproportionate overrepresentation of whites and males in growing occupational sectors that offer opportunities for social mobility. In addition to uncovering pathways to success for underrepresented groups, Dr. Garriott also believes in the necessity of interrogating privilege to foster social change. His research in this area has examined the efficacy of various approaches to multicultural education among white college students and explanatory mechanisms by which they work (e.g., guilt). Dr. Garriott and members of his research lab have been successful publishing their research in peer-reviewed journals as well as delivering presentations at national conferences.

In the future, Dr. Garriott plans to investigate help seeking behaviors among historically underrepresented students in higher education as well as socioeconomically distressed individuals. He continues to have an active research lab of around 10-15 Master’s and Doctoral students and welcomes student interest in research. Dr. Garriott is also working in collaboration with faculty from Higher Education and Sociology as well as the DU Center for Multicultural Excellence to qualitatively examine student perceptions of campus climate at DU. He hopes this work can have an impact at the macro level and inform institutional practices around inclusion and equity.

Dr. William Cross Jr. is a leading theorist and researcher in the psychology and identity development of minorities. His book, “Shade of Black”, is considered a classic in the field of racial identity. He is the President-Elect of American Psychological Association’s Division 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues), an Elder of 2013 National Multicultural Conference, a CUNY Professor Emeritus, and a Distinguished Lecturer at Georgia Southern University.

Cross began his academic career at the University of Denver, graduating in 1963 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. He became heavily involved with the social movements of the 60’s and 70’s and pursued a PhD from Princeton in Psychology with the focus on African American Studies, which has been at the heart of his research and career for the past 40 years. Cross’s most noted contribution to the field was the development of the Nigresence Theory in 1971, distinguishing the different stages of a person’s life as they explore their identity as it relates to their race and the race of others around them. Cross’s Nigresence Theory on identity development has been adapted to apply to both racial and social minority groups.

As the President-Elect of the Division 45, Dr. William Cross Jr. leads the American Psychological Association group to “encourage research on ethnic minority issues and [apply] psychological knowledge to ethnic minority issues”. At the upcoming 2014 American Psychological Association’s Annual Convention in Washington D.C., Cross plans on driving the agenda to highlighting two key topics: the incarceration of people of color and the lived experience of LGBT people of color. Cross and the rest of Division 45 are also drawing attention to the role of women, gay and lesbians, and people with disabilities within the American Psychological Association, as these minority groups are often underrepresented within the organization.

Cross blends his passion with scholarship to educate others and bring awareness to minority issues both nationally and locally. Later this month, Cross will be giving an important talk to students at the University of Texas at Austin to encourage scholars to continue to research the Nigresence Theory. “There are things about the Nigresence Theory that haven’t been researched enough, I want to push scholars to explore new areas of the theory and new directions in research,” Cross explains.

Over the course of his career, Dr. William Cross Jr. has come full circle, back to the University of Denver, where it all began. He currently serves a clinical professor at DU’s Morgridge College of Education in the Counseling Psychology and Higher Education programs. On the DU campus, Cross has worked with the Center for Multicultural Excellence (CME), supporting inclusive excellence and speaking at CME events on multicultural issues. In efforts to cultivate leadership and emphasize college access among young black males, Cross also participated in CME’s 2013 Black Male Initiative Summit.

Cross comments, “I feel very fortunate to have lived the life I’ve led. I’ve been married for over 40 years, with a daughter who lives in Denver; so moving to Denver has reunited our family.” Cross and his daughter have written two pieces together, one on self-concept and the other exploring racial identity development from a life span perspective. Cross and his daughter are also thinking about writing a third piece about the role of spirituality and personality development. “At 73, I’m still going pretty strong,” he adds.


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