With generous donations from several Trustees at The Children’s Foundation, a Behavioral Health Scholarship was established in 2019 and since has been awarding recipients annually. The scholarship supports a student in Michigan pursuing a doctoral degree in a mental health field, specifically focusing on a practice that will serve children and adolescents in behavioral health.
Applicants for the $5,000 award represented a wide range of backgrounds, locations, and ambitions, but one really stood out. Congratulations to the 2022-23 academic year recipient, Aaron Neal of Ypsilanti, Mich.!
Neal, enrolled in University of Michigan – Ann Arbor’s Clinical Psychology Program is expected to graduate in 2024. In addition to his work as a clinician, he enjoys conducting research with youth to understand the stressors impacting their mental health. His research explores how racism as a stressor impacts the mental health of Black youth. His hope is that it helps mental health providers better understand how Black youth experience racism and how it is impacting their mental health.
Under his research advisement, Dr. Enrique Neblett, Jr. shared:
“Mr. Neal is a training clinician that works with children and families from a number of different cultural backgrounds. Notably, he has worked with Dr. Riana Anderson as a clinician for a racial socialization intervention where he provided therapy to Black families specifically supporting their dialogue on conversations about racism. In addition to his work as a clinician, he is a former teacher and nonprofit program director who has extensive experience working collaboratively with children and families to improve access and engagement in STEM education. His strong commitment to partnering with youth and their families has helped him in expanding his research program to incorporate Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approaches.”
Throughout his four years of training, various opportunities have helped Mr. Neal to grow into an efficacious child and adolescent psychologist. His experiences have helped him to support youth during what they describe as some of the most challenging moments of their lives. The appreciation for his clients allows him to learn with them, affording Mr. Neal the opportunity to carry the skills he’s learned into future practice.
Mr. Neal is a phenomenally trained clinician, a dedicated researcher, an outstanding student, and a fierce child advocate. We look forward to watching him become a leader in the field of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. Best of luck to Mr. Aaron Neal this year and into the future!