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

Check out my CV for a list of RISE^2 publications and presentations.

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

Caroline Adams (RISE^2 Alum)

Caroline Adams is an EdS student in the Counseling Psychology program. She graduated with honors from the University of Alabama in 2013 with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Biology. Her research experience includes working as a research assistant studying levels of stress and dyadic coping among among same-sex couples in addition to working in a second lab studying physiological responses to relational aggression among adolescents. Caroline’s research interests are vast, some of which include: identity development, resilience, community attitudes/biases regarding counseling psychology and gender roles, generational/regional views on diversity, preventative programs for at-risk youth, learned helplessness, and rehabilitative processes within correctional facilities.

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.


IMG_3038Della V. Mosley

Della V. Mosley is a doctoral candidate in counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky. She received her MS in school counseling from The Johns Hopkins University in 2011 and her EdS in Counseling Psychology in 2014. She is currently a minority fellow with the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services/American Psychological Association. Della’s research and clinical work focuses on issues salient to youth of color, specifically the sociocultural and contextual factors influencing identity development (i.e. racial, gender, and sexual identity). She is also interested in the development, implementation, and evaluation of psychopolitically centered programming for youth.

Jazmin Nichols

Jazmin Nichols is a third year undergraduate studying psychology and double minoring in AAS & GWS. Her interests are black feminisms, social politics and better representation/understanding of LGBTQ* communities. She inspires to develop programs/policies based upon her research to achieve goals within various social issues.





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. Ken Parnell

Dr. Danelle Stevens-Watkins


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