New Research on BIPOC Mental Health Debuted at Active Minds Conference

Alicia Elms
Alicia Elms

Our Emerging Scholars Fellowship, generously supported by the Scattergood Foundation, allows young adults nationwide to expand the research and discourse surrounding BIPOC mental health through an antiracism lens. Over the past six months, our Emerging Scholars worked tirelessly to collect and analyze data and grapple with topics that profoundly impact the livelihood of the BIPOC community, specifically Black, Asian, and Latino/a/e communities. After devoting months to their research, the Scholars presented their findings at the Active Minds Mental Health Conference, and participants were left equipped with information and resources that they could use to aid in supporting the mental health of our BIPOC communities. 

The fellows covered topics of the experiences in communication, language, inclusion, and stigma about mental health in Asian communities, the importance and influences of Latine Academic Families and the matriculation of Latine students, and the impact of mental health on first-generation college students. They also utilized art and research to highlight the effects of mental health through the use of spoken word to break the silence in Black and African American communities, racialized femininity in East Asian communities, and the creation of “Her Little Blue Book: A Mental Wellness Blueprint for the Adolescent Black Girl.”

The Emerging Scholars Fellowship is one of Active Minds’ longest-standing programs, and we believe in its power to change the mental health landscape by prioritizing research done by and for BIPOC advocates and communities. If you’d like to learn more about the research done by this year’s cohort, please check out the summaries of their fantastic work below. Additionally, if you’d like to connect with any of the fellows about their research, please email

Maico-Demi B. Aperocho Headshot

Name: Maico Demi B. Aperocho
College/University: Gonzaga University
Title of Project: Asian and Unique: Experiences of Communication, Inclusion, and Stigmatization

Dr. Maico Demi Aperocho is presently the Fulbright FLTA Visiting Scholar/Faculty at the Department of Modern Languages and Literature at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. He studies courses related to communication and education politics and holds a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics from the University of Mindanao, Philippines. His presentation was on an applied linguistic study that examined the role of communication and language in Asians’ fight against discrimination and mental health stigmatization.

Brianna A. Baker Headshot

Name: Brianna A. Baker
College/University: Columbia University
Title of Project: Her Little Blue Book: A Mental Wellness Blueprint for the Adolescent Black Girl  

 Brianna A. Baker is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology at Teachers College at Columbia University. Her interest broadly includes facilitating authenticity, freedom, and emotional expression through innovation and the creation of diverse Black psychological experiences. Her project, “Her Little Blue Book: A Mental Wellness Blueprint for the Adolescent Black Girl” is a wellness journal for girls in their youth to use as a guide to navigate their mental health and wellness.

Jadon A. Demeritte Headshot

Name: Jadon A. Demeritte
College/University: Hartwick College
Title of Project: Bridging the Gap: First-Generation Students and Mental Health

 Jadon A. Demeritte is a second-year undergraduate student at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, pursuing a degree in medical technology and public health. Jadon’s passions include holistic wellness and “bridging the gap” between different marginalized identities and mental health. Jadon’s presentation explored the mental health of BIPOC individuals who are first-generation college students. Jadon strives to break the stigma around recognizing and seeking help for one’s mental health by examining repetitive disparities in her research.

Sandra Gomez Headshot

Name: Sandra Gomez
College/University: Teachers College, Columbia University
Title of Project: La Familia es Todo: Academic Families’ Influence on Persistence Attitudes with Latine Undergraduates

 Sandra Gomez is a proud Chicana first-generation student from Illinois and Durango, Mexico. She is a third-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program through the Teachers College at Columbia University. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell College and her M.Ed in Counseling Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She currently works at NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi providing Spanish bilingual and bicultural mental health services to Latino/a/e individuals and their families. Rooted in social justice efforts, collective healing, and her own personal narrative, her presentation investigated how culturally specific supports influence academic persistence and mental health among Latino/a/e undergraduate students. Her project re-imagined institutions’ approach to supporting Latino/a/e students by emphasizing the importance of being affirming, supporting, inclusive, and responsive to their strengths, needs, and histories. 

Tracy Hill Headshot

Name: Tracy Hill
College/University: Mt. San Jacinto Community College
Title of Project: Breaking the Silence 

 Tracy Hill is in her final year at Mount San Jacinto Community College. She will continue her education by pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biology.  Her presentation focused on providing people of color with realistic scenarios and solutions through art and research. Tracy hopes showcasing solutions on the stage will stimulate conversations in the African American community.

Dori Hsin Ju Tung Headshot

Name: Dori Hsin-Ju Tung
College/University: School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Title of Project: Rip a Seam: A Community Space to Discuss Racialized Femininities for East-Asian Women

 Dori Hsin-Ju Tung is a third–year art therapy and counseling graduate student at the School of the Art Institute Chicago (SAIC). Her presentation explored how East Asian and East Asian American women navigate their race and gender identities through their choice of garments in the United States. She hosted an art-making workshop designed to prompt discussion around the interplay of race, gender, and culture from the perspectives of East Asian/American women, including the underlying origins and impact of racialized femininity of East Asian/Americans.