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Graduate Students of Color Mental Health & Wellbeing Forum

April 10 @ 9:30 am 12:30 pm UTC-6

The College of Humanities Graduate Students of Color and/or International Origin (GSCIO) and the Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA) invite you to attend a two-panel forum on mental health for graduate students of color. Mental health professionals and graduate students will share their knowledge and experiences regarding mental health and well-being. Lunch will be provided.

Panel 1: Professional Perspectives

10:30 – 11:30 am

Javier Ballester Gonzalez, MD
Adjunct Professor, University of Utah

Javier Ballester Gonzalez, MD works at the Salt Lake City – VA, outpatient addiction, and recovery services. Dr. Ballester’s current interests include research in neurobiological mechanisms of substance use disorders, mood disorders, education, and psychiatry services to minority populations (Hispanic/Latino and LGBT populations).

Karen Cone-Uemura, Ph.D., CGP
Staff Psychologist and Group Coordinator, University of Utah Counseling Center

Karen Cone-Uemura, Ph.D., CGP courageously promotes equity, diversity, and inclusion in all domains of her life. She actively incorporates social justice into her work while respecting the cultural identities of those with whom she interacts.

Debra Daniels
Director of the Women’s Resource Center, University of Utah
Licensed Clinical Social Worker

A native of Ogden, Utah, Debra Daniels received her BSW from Utah State University in 1979 and a Master’s in Social Work from the University of Utah in 1984. As an activist and advocate, she continues to be a voice for those who have been marginalized in political and educational and social justice dialogue.

Benta Opiyo, MSW
Victim-Survivor Adcovate, University of Utah Center for Student Wellness

Benta Opiyo, MSW, originally a native of Kenya, Africa, joined the U’s Center for Student Wellness as a victim-survivor advocate in 2018. She works with students, faculty and staff who have experienced interpersonal violence (IPV) such as sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, sexual harassment, family violence, and stalking. Benta finds joy and satisfaction in helping victims/survivors in their recovery process — by providing guidance to the optimal services and referrals they need at their most vulnerable time.

Karen Tao
Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master’s Program

Karen Tao is a licensed psychologist and faculty member within the Counseling & Counseling Psychology program. She also directs the Clinical Mental Health Counseling master’s program.


11:30 am – 12:30 pm

Panel 2: Graduate Student Perspectives

12:30 – 1:30 pm

Chelsea Estrella
Public Health Program

Chelsea Estrella is a second-year graduate student in the Public Health Program at the University of Utah’s School of Medicine. She is the current Public Health intern for Education and Outreach at the Rape Recovery Center and holds a graduate assistant position in the Center for Ethnic Student Affairs. A natural creative, Chelsea enjoys painting cloud scenes and never turns down the opportunity to enjoy the warmth of a sunset.

Halleh Hashtpari
Counseling Psychology Program

Halleh Hashtpari (they/them/theirs) is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in the counseling psychology program at the University of Utah. They identify as queer, non-binary, diasporic Iranian, and a child of immigrants. Their interests broadly include intersections of race, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation as they inform someone’s lived experiences , identity development, and well-being.

Tramaine Jones
Educational Leadership and Policy

Tramaine Jones is a third-year Ph.D. student in Educational Leadership and Policy. He is from Indianapolis, and his main research areas include Black males matriculation and graduation to college, first-generation college experience, and experience of student-athletes. In his free time, he enjoys time with loved ones, playing video games, boxing classes, travel, and playing basketball.

Eliot Sykes
Education, Culture and Society

Originally from Massachusetts, Eliot currently lives in Rose Park on the west side of Salt Lake City. Eliot is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah, College of Education in the Education, Culture and Society Department. In 2011 he obtained his MSW from the College of Social Work also at the University of Utah.

N.S. ‘llaheva Tua’one
British and American Literature

N.S. ‘llaheva Tua’one is a Ph.D. Candidate in British and American Literature in the English Department, the Inaugural Predoctoral Mellon Pasifika Fellow, a member of the Pacific Islands Studies Initiative, and serves on the board of directors for Utah Humanities. Her study interests include 18th-century British and 19th-century American travel literature in Oceania, postcolonialism, decolonization, and queer theory.

LNCO 1110

255 Central Campus Drive
Salt Lake City, UT 84112
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Black Graduate Student Association (BGSA)

Graduate Students of Color and/or International Origin (GSCIO)

Graduate School Diversity Office

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