Bios

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G. E. Kawika Allen, PhD


Professor G. E. Kawika Allen was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Joseph R. and Moana R. Allen. Dr. Allen's Polynesian heritage is Hawaiian and Tongan (‘Ohi’akūikalani/Kawelu/Kulihia and Kamea/Bloomfield ancestry). He is the last of nine children. He was raised in Waianae, O'ahu. The Allen family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in June 1981.

Professor Allen received his BS in speech/organizational communication and his MS in counseling psychology at the University of Utah. He then received his PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia (a top-ranked program) and completed his predoctoral clinical internship at Duke University. His research areas involve spiritual, cultural, and indigenous ways of healing in psychotherapy including culturally appropriate psychotherapies and interventions for underserved populations. Specifically, Professor Allen has focused much of his research on the intersections of religiosity/spirituality, coping/collectivistic coping, depression, anxiety, and psychological well-being/adjustment among Polynesians/Polynesian Americans. Professor Allen leads the Poly Psi Team research efforts involving not only Polynesian/Pacific Islander Psychology Research, but research across all BIPOC and minoritized groups. He is currently an assistant professor in the counseling psychology doctorate program at Brigham Young University.



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Keona Chandler


Keona Chandler was raised in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu and comes from Native Hawaiian, Chinese, Native American, and Caucasian ancestry. She is a fluent Hawaiian speaker and is the 3rd of 5 children. She is here at Brigham Young University earning her BS in Psychology with a double minor in Family life and Sociology. In her free time, she likes reading, cooking, fishing, and spending time with friends and family.



Rachel Chapman

Rachel Chapman


Rachel Chapman is a doctoral student at Brigham Young University’s counseling psychology program. She was born in Oklahoma. Her father was in the military for 20 years, causing the family to move around some in her early childhood. However, they found home in a small Air Force town outside of St. Louis where she was raised. She is the second oldest of four. As a first-generation student, she completed a BS in social work at Brigham Young University-Idaho in social work as well as a master’s in social work from the University of Oklahoma. Rachel has worked as a social work intern at the OU Counseling Psychology Clinic, as well as a clinical social worker in schools in rural Oklahoma. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, watching movies, and listening to music.



Sami Chun

Sami Chun


Sami Chun is a doctoral student at the Brigham Young University's counseling psychology program. Although he was born in American Fork, Utah as the son of one Korean and one Austrian immigrant, he has spent much of his life traveling around and living in other countries in the world. While living in Germany as a youth, he visited many European countries, including his mother's native country of Austria. After moving back to Utah for a few years, he visited his Father's native country of Korea and also moved to Japan for a 2-year service mission. After returning to attend BYU for his undergraduate degree, he toured many other countries while performing as a member of the International Folk Dance Ensemble. As a result of his experiences, he is fluent in German, Japenese, and English. Sami's areas of psychological interest center around incorporating multiculturalism and spirituality in therapeutic care. Sami recently completed his undergrad in psychology during which he worked as a research assistant with Dr. Kawika Allen and co-authored a chapter about spirituality in psychology with Dr. Brent Slife. In Sami's free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and siblings by playing music and video games.



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Hoku Conklin, PhD


Professor Hoku Conklin is an assistant clinical professor at Brigham Young University. He grew up in Southern California and has also lived abroad in New Zealand and Australia. He identifies as Polynesian and is of Maori/Hawaiian background. He completed his undergraduate studies in psychology at Brigham Young University–-Hawaii and his PhD in counseling psychology from Brigham Young University. He completed a predoctoral internship at the University of Utah Counseling Center, a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Diego Counseling and Psychological Services, and is currently a licensed psychologist practicing individual, group, and couples counseling in BYU Counseling and Psychological Services. Professor Conklin has a strong interest in multicultural counseling and research and is proud to be affiliated with the Poly Psi Research Team conducting Polynesian American Psychology Research.



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Elizabeth Ann Cutrer-Párraga, PhD


Elizabeth Ann Cutrer-Párraga was born and raised in a small farming town in Northeast Florida located on the St. Johns River and close to the Atlantic Ocean. She grew up learning how to take care of farm animals and training horses. She is the third of five children and claims her upbringing lent itself to learning balance at a young age (working hard on the farm - chilling on the beach.)

Dr. Cutrer-Párraga started work at Brigham Young University as an assistant Professor in 2017 in the Counseling, Psychology and Special Education (CPSE) department. Her research interests include: intensifying literacy instruction models focused on cultural fit for historically marginalized students, the intersection of literacy instruction and reading anxiety, and relational coaching processes between mentors and mentees for professionals in school-based settings - including the practice of cultural humility. Additionally, Dr. Cutrer-Párraga studies the strategic use of stories to support the social and emotional well-being of children who struggle with reading. Dr. Cutrer-Párraga graduated with a PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill with a focus on diversity, intervention, literacy and qualitative research methods. Dr. Cutrer-Párraga also worked at the Frank Porter Graham Child Research Institute as the Intervention Director of the Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI) under Dr. Lynne Vernon-Feagans.



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Bango Gancinia


Bango Gancinia is a doctoral student at the Brigham Young University’'s counseling psychology program. He was born and raised in Honoka’'a, a small sugar cane plantation town on the Big Island—-the island of Hawaii. He is Filipino and Hani Hawaiian. Bango is the youngest of three children. As a first-generation student, he completed his BA in psychology at the University of Hawaii in Hilo. He later obtained his MA in community counseling from Washington State University. Clinically, Bango has been a facilitator for addiction recovery groups, has worked as a case manager, and has done individual, family, and group counseling. His primary research interests include multicultural psychology, help-seeking stigma, and humor, specifically among Polynesians. During his free time, he enjoys playing music, fishing, cooking, camping, and spending time with his family.



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Melia Fonoimoana Garrett


Melia Fonoimoana Garrett is currently a graduate student in Brigham Young University's school psychology program. Melia was raised in Laie, Hawaii and Utah. Melia worked as an elementary school teacher for five years before staying at home with her three young daughters. In her free time, she enjoys reading, playing volleyball, and dance parties with her daughters.



Cameron Hee

Cameron Hee


Cameron Hee is currently a doctoral student in Brigham Young University’s marriage and family therapy program. He was born in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi, and was raised in Kalaoa on Hawaiʻi Island. He is the oldest of three children and is of Hawaiian (Kamauoha/Palaile ancestry), Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish descent.

Cameron completed his BS in psychology at Brigham Young University-Hawaiʻi and his MS in marriage and family therapy at Brigham Young University. He has clinical experience working with families, couples, and individuals, as well as helping to facilitate addiction recovery groups. His research interests include culturally sensative interventions and therapy treatments specifically for Native Hawaiian and Polynesian families, racial stress, spirituality, and attachment behaviors. In his free time he enjoys playing volleyball, fishing, hoe waʻa, wood work, and spending time with his wife and son.



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Inosi Kinikini


My name is Inosi Kinikini and I am from the beautiful islands of Fiji. I am the eldest of four children. I will be graduating next month (June) with a BS in Psychology (Clinical/Counseling) with minors in Anthropology and Education, and a certificate in Intercultural Peacebuilding here at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. I served my mission in the Philippines Legazpi Mission which is where I learned to speak Tagalog. I also speak English, Fijian and the dialects of both my mum and dad. In my free time, I love to watch Korean dramas and I am a big fan of K-pop. I also love spending time with my family. In addition to this, I love to sleep as it is usually my go-to whenever I have free time (lol).



Chaylene Mataalii

Chaylene Mataalii


Chaylene Mataalii is an undergraduate student at Brigham Young University studying psychology. She was raised in Torrance California with her parents, five siblings, and extended family. Her mother was born in Pago Pago, American Samoa and her father born and raised in Torrance, California. Chaylene is 3/4 Samoan and 1/4 combination of: German, French, and Irish. She served a year and a half in Brasil Rio de Janeiro as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and has since returned to Brasil for a tour with the BYU Living Legends Dance company. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, playing volleyball, and watching movies/series.



Abigail Norton

Abigail Norton


Abigail Norton is a doctoral student at the Brigham Young University counseling psychology program. She was raised on the East Coast, to which she attributes her sometimes “Jersey Girl” accent. Abby received a BA in Communications with University Honors from BYU. After working as a journalist in Salt Lake City, she opted for a change of careers and received a Master’s in Public Health from BYU. During her academic career, Abby has researched violent media, media use, and health behaviors.

Abby has worked as an advocate for underserved populations at a police department and the Hope Squad school suicide prevention program. Her primary research interests include multicultural psychology, risk and protective factors, and crisis intervention.



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Meilani Roan


Meilani Roan is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Brigham Young University. She was born in Kahuku on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Meilani lived in Hawaii until the age of five, after which she moved back to Wyoming, where her father was born and raised. She feels grateful to have seen the diverse beauty and benefits of living most of her life in Wyoming while still visiting her mother’s family in Western Samoa, Hawaii, and New Zealand throughout her childhood. She is thankful for the ways these experiences have shaped her life. Meilani is a first generation college student, and recently graduated with her Bachelor’s Degree from Utah State University in Integrated Studies (Social Sciences and Human Services). Meilani is a proud mother to her son, and is grateful for the ways in which he inspires her to pursue her educational goals. In her free time Meilani enjoys reading, learning new languages, cooking, singing or playing on the ukulele, and eating sushi.



Emily Tanner

Emily Tanner


Emily Tanner is currently a graduate student in Brigham Young University’s school psychology program. She was born and raised in Sandy, Utah. She completed her BS in psychology at Weber State University and competed as a Division I athlete on the tennis team. During her free time, she enjoys hiking, skiing, mountain biking, and spending time with family and friends.