Alumni Spotlight: Allison Zhang

My name is Allison Zhang, and I am about to graduate from the University of Connecticut with a double major in Psychological Sciences and Human Development & Family Sciences. I am very excited to say that I am starting my Masters in Social Work at Columbia University this fall. This next step is truly a dream come true. I will be on the Advanced Clinical Track with a specialization in youth, children, and families. My end goal is to become a therapist that specializes in offering services that understands and prioritizes variations and issues within cultural identities. My time in Dr. Chang’s Asian American studies course helped me realize how important this distinction was for my future studies and career. Myself and countless others can attest to the struggles and difficulties that come with being first generation Asian-Americans, many of which can manifest into serious mental health issues. I know through personal experience how frustrating it can be when mental health professionals fail to recognize the cultural implications that are prevalent in our mental health, as one simply cannot separate our culture from our health. Approaching these problems with a one-size-fits all Western perspective can often be shortsighted, and has the potential to be extremely dangerous. With this in mind, I hope that one day I can begin to work through the many traumas that the Asian-American community has collectively accumulated, as well as care for the individual needs of any patient that I encounter. By centering cultural experiences in my services, I hope to be a source of positive change for not only my community, but for the social work field as a whole. I am very grateful to Dr. Chang for his support and guidance through my journey, as it was his course that helped me realize the magnitude of the Asian-American experience and the power it can hold.