The new RISE^2 Research Team has a two-fold focus. We study Relationships, Intimacy, + Sexual Enrichment and Race, Intersectionality, + Social justice Engagement. This year we have a few projects in progress:

  • The Healing Racial Trauma Study
  • Men and Relationship Help Seeking
  • Black Sexuality and Gender Roles
  • Sexual Pleasure Among Black Students
  • How to Love a Human
  • Heterosexual Identity Development Among Black Men of Caribbean Descent


I am excited about my new social justice oriented research project. I center love as the core of social justice, from the perspective of people with marginalized identities. The main point of inquiry – what would the world be like if it loved you? You can find out more about it at:

How to Love a Human

We recently wrapped up our study of first time and last time sexual encounters for Black university students. I am excited to share these stories in the articles our team will publish. Qualitative research is awesome, because we get to sit with people, hear about their lives in their own words, and then use their stories to create something that can be shared with researchers in international journals. But, the goal is to always make what we write accessible to people who aren’t just researchers, but to people who make policy, people who create sex education, and people who are most affected by the things we study.

Introducing the RISE^2 Research Team

IMG_3038Della V. Mosley, PhD (RISE^2 Alum)

Della V. Mosley, PhD is an assistant professor in counseling psychology at the University of Florida.

Caroline Adams, EdS (RISE^2 Alum)

Caroline Adams is training specialist and clinician for the Center on Trauma and Children.

BlankaBlanka Angyal

Blanka Angyal is a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program in the College of Education, University of Kentucky. She seeks to contribute, in a more meaningful manner, to social justice oriented practice and research. Her research interests include diversity training, multicultural competence, women and leadership, and sexual health.

Jardin Dogan

Jardin Dogan is a doctoral student at the University of Kentucky. She is a two time graduate of Clemson University in South Carolina. Her Bachelor’s degree is in Psychology, with a minor in Spanish, and her Master’s and Education Specialist degrees are in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Jardin’s research interests connect to racial identity development, race-related trauma, social justice, and the Black community. She has a research publication in progress concerning racial identity in African American teenagers using a qualitative method called Photovoice. Furthermore, her dissertation will explore Black love to measure how it functions within a racist society.

BrettBrett Kirkpatrick

Brett Kirkpatrick is a doctoral student in Counseling Psychology. He received his Bachelors of Science in Psychology (2001) from Davidson College and a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University Maryland (2014). While at Loyola, Brett received a Kolvenbach Summer Research Grant to explore the food environment in a neighborhood defined as a Food Desert in North East Baltimore. Brett also worked as a mental health counselor at Baltimore Crisis Response Inc., which operates a crisis hotline and a mobile crisis team. Prior to returning to academia, Brett spent 11 years working in corporate America for three large financial institutions. His research interests include white racial identity development and white privilege as well as suicide, trauma, resiliency, and the psychology of men.

Xinyue (Layla) Lei

Xinyue Lei (Layla) is a second-year Master’s student in the Counseling Psychology program. She graduated from the University of Louisville with a BA in psychology and a certificate in Peace, Justice and Conflict Transformation. Layla’s research interests include international relationships, diversification inclusiveness, gender, and immigrants’ living status. She is also interested in racial identity development, especially in multiracial groups.

CarolynCarolyn Meiller

Carolyn Meiller is currently pursuing her PhD in Counseling Psychology. She received her B.A. from Transylvania University in 2014. Last year she worked in Dr. Jeff Reese’s lab on a research project investigating the use of feedback in inpatient settings. She is currently a teaching assistant for experimental psychology. Her research interests revolve around women’s issues, specifically regarding trauma, self-esteem, empowerment, and sexuality, in addition to the intersection of gender with other social identities.

Natalie Malone

Natalie Malone is a first-year Counseling Psychology doctoral student.  She is from Smiths Grove, Kentucky.  She graduated with honors from the University of Kentucky in 2018.  She received a B.A. in Psychology, with a minor in Neuroscience, and the Undergraduate Certificate in Social Science Research.  As a Gaines Fellow and Psychology Scholar at UK, Natalie completed a thesis on perceptions of Black women at HBCUs and PWIs.  Natalie is interested in exploring how intersections of identity create unique experiences for African Americans.  Her goals as a scientist-practitioner and activist include creating a positive atmosphere for sexual health, advocating for more inclusive leadership and educational development experiences for minorities, and improving relationship dynamics between African American families and couples.  Natalie is a recipient of the Lyman T. Johnson Fellowship.  In her spare time she enjoys socializing, traveling, fitness, and her sorority involvement.

Chesmore Montique

Chesmore Montique is entering UK’s Counseling Psychology doctoral program this 2018 fall. Originally from New Jersey, Chesmore comes to UK after previously earning his BA from Morehouse College in Psychology with a minor in Spanish where he researched Black women’s racial and gender identity development and the influence the type of school (PWI vs. HBCU, co-ed vs same gendered) has on these developments. He also earned his MA in Psychology from American University, creating and completing a thesis that explores the dating preferences of educated Black women seeking educated Black men. Under Dr. Candice Hargons’ mentorship, he intends to continue his research on the mental health of Black women as impacted by their lived experiences with an intersectional identity. Chesmore is a recipient of the Ronald E. McNair graduate fellowship as well as the LTJ Fellowship.

Joseph Oluokun

Joseph Oluokun is a Masters student in the Counseling Psychology program. He earned his BS in Psychology from the University of Central Arkansas with minors in Physics, Math, and Interdisciplinary Studies. His research interests include racial microaggessions, resiliency and protective factors within minority groups.


Jennifer Stuck

Jennifer Stuck is a Master’s student in Counseling Psychology. She earned her BA in Psychology from Columbia College with minors in Gender & Women’s Studies and Literature.  Jennifer has done research on the influence of gender schemas in fairy tales on the formation of gender identity and presentation, media’s perpetuation of gender stereotypes and its impact on young women, and was a member of the research team conducting a content analysis on  twitter posts with the hashtag #Psychologymajorproblems. Jennifer is interested in the social construction of gender and sexuality and the role heteronormative gender roles play in the  formation of sexual identity and expression. She hopes to continue exploring gender and sexual identities in a doctoral program.

Faculty Affiliates

Dr. Kristen Mark

Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins

Contact us if you’re interested in participating in a study!