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Kerrie Wilkins-Yel, Ph.D., is a Jamaica native committed to advancing academic and career persistence in communities of color.

Dr. Wilkins-Yel received her Bachelors of Science in Experimental Psychology from the University of South Carolina Upstate, and both her Masters of Education in Counseling Psychology and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Arizona State University. She completed an APA-Accredited Predoctoral Psychology Internship at the University of Oregon Counseling and Testing Center with a specialized rotation in training and supervision. She is now an Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston.

Her research interests lie at the intersection of vocational psychology and social justice advocacy as it relates to advancing academic and career development in communities of color, women - particularly women of color in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) -  and cross-cultural groups. Dr. Wilkins-Yel is the founder and co-director of the I CAN PERSIST STEM Initiative, a multi-component research-based program aimed at promoting STEM persistence among women and girls of color. She is the PI and Co-PI of several grant funded initiatives and has received over $1.8M in grant support from both internal and external funding agencies.  

Dr. Wilkins-Yel has received several honors for her work, including the Graduate Student Research Award from the National Career Development Association (NCDA), and the Graduate Student Research Award from the Society for Vocational Psychology, a Section of the Society of Counseling Psychology. Her work has also been featured in the IU Alumni Magazine and the APA Monitor.

Dr. Wilkins-Yel teaches a number of masters and doctoral level courses, including career counseling, laboratory in counseling, and social justice consultation & advocacy. She also values leadership engagement and is involved in the Society of Counseling Psychology – a division of the national American Psychological Association.

Dr. Wilkins-Yel applies a very stength-based, empowerment focused approach to her interpersonal relations with students and colleagues. Based on Dr. Seligman's VIA institute, her top five character strengths include:

  • Fairness: Treating people according to notions of fairness and justice

  • Leadership: Encouraging a group of which one is a member to get things done and at the same time maintain good relations within the group

  • Humility: Letting one's accomplishments speak for themselves

  • Creativity: Thinking of novel and productive ways to conceptualize and do things

Above all else, Dr. Wilkins-Yel is proud of mentoring and supporting the next generation of counseling psychologist leaders and change agents!

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