Gallaudet University Ph.D. Student Wins American Psychological Association Award

May 05, 2012

Author: Kaitlin Luna

Gallaudet University congratulates Melissa Anderson, who is currently enrolled in the university’s Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program, for winning the American Psychological Association/American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APA/APAGS) Award for Distinguished Graduate Student in Professional Psychology.

The focus of Anderson’s clinical and research work is on issues of partner violence and women’s trauma within the deaf community. She received her Master of Arts in Psychology from Gallaudet University in 2010. Anderson received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Bachelor of Science in Deaf Studies at Boston University in 2007. Anderson is expected to complete her Ph.D. program in August.

In a biography Anderson wrote for the APA/APAGS award, she said she became involved in the deaf community and the trauma field as an undergraduate at Boston University after she “witnessed a deaf survivor return to her abusive partner due to lack of communication access at a local domestic violence shelter.” Anderson went on to say the experience, “instilled within her a commitment to provide accessible mental health services.”

During her graduate student career, Melissa published articles in the Journal of Family Violence, Violence Against Women, Aggression and Violent Behavior, and the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, exploring the prevalence and predictors of intimate partner violence in the deaf community, as well as the knowledge and scripts used by deaf survivors to label their experiences of violence. Additionally, Melissa serves as the current APAGS student liaison to the APA Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology, and was the recipient of the 2011 APAGS Disabilities Grant.

Anderson is currently a pre-doctoral psychology intern at the University of Massachusetts Medical School/Worcester State Hospital. After receiving her Ph.D., Anderson will continue there as a post-doctoral fellow for the 2012-2013 year, focusing her clinical work and training on the treatment of trauma and substance abuse within the deaf community.

Anderson’s primary professional aspiration is to establish a culturally and linguistically accessible agency for deaf survivors of violence, trauma, and abuse.