Clinical Specialties and Approaches in CMHC Research Area

Dr. Shelly Aboagye’s research focuses on whether family cohesion (e.g., family involvement, family support, and family expectation), social support, and resiliency level are predictors of international students’ academic achievement to gain understanding concerning the factors that predict their academic success and to gather data in the development of services and programs that will aid international students in creating positive experiences to help stimulate their motivation to fulfill their educational goals.

Dr. Stephanie Bell’s research focuses on the effects of sexual assault on college students, more specifically post-traumatic stress disorder. Her other interests include: trauma-informed counseling and supervision, using humor as a teaching tool, and engaging students outside the classroom with a book club. In 2022, she published two articles in peer-reviewed journals, one relating to college student coping and COVID-19, and the other on female victims of acquaintance rape in college. Dr. Bell received the “Research Professional of the Year” award from the Mississippi Counseling Association in 2021 and 2022. Additionally, Dr. Bell has co-authored several book chapters on college counseling and career counseling.

Dr. Jennifer T. Ha’s research interests focuses on counselor competency and training. This includes projects exploring how counselors work with complex developmental and romantic relationship issues in diverse client populations. She is currently working on two projects: (a) counselor training and competency in sexuality issues, as well as (b) factors of counseling training resistance in experiential learning approaches. Dr. Ha has previously participated in research projects and presentations on trauma with other counseling professionals with the aim of contributing to advancements in ethical diagnostic procedures in the mental health field. 

Dr. Jamie Ho’s research agenda focuses on empathy and social justice in counselor preparation. Overall, she is pursuing two major goals: (a) investigating how individuals’ internal empathy process and external expression impact counseling relationships, and (b) amplifying the voices of historically marginalized populations to thicken narratives of the underrepresented experiences. Her research team was previously awarded a research grant for racial disparity from the Association for Assessment and Research in Counseling. Dr. Ho’s current research project aims to validate a theory-driven empathy competence scale to study factors contributing to counselors’ empathy competence.

Dr. Brandon Keene-Orton focuses his research within digital mentorship, cultural sensitivity, and instructional modalities. Dr. Keene-Orton is also interested in qualitative methodologies, as well as qualitative departures from traditional methods. He recently has been enjoying conceptualizing how art and creativity in counseling can be healing and offer ways of knowing and learning. Dr. Keene-Orton is also interested in theoretical and philosophical foundations of counseling and research, intersectional and anti-oppressive lenses, and critical autoethnographies.