Mia Hendricks (G’22), after completing research on the perception of the threat of terrorism and how it leads people to reduce their support for human rights and civil liberties, is now focusing on attitudes toward undocumented immigrants. She is in the McCourt School of Public Policy’s Master in Public Policy/Ph.D. in Psychology dual degree program.
Hometown: Sacramento, California
Degree Pursuing: Ph.D. in psychology
Other Degrees: Master’s in public policy, Georgetown’s McCourt School of Public Policy, 2019; Master’s in Forensic Psychology, George Washington University, 2017.
Undergraduate School: Pepperdine University, 2015
Undergraduate Major: Psychology
Research: Hendricks works with psychology professor Fathali “Ali” Moghaddam, who serves as her advisor. She also conducts research with psychology professor Jennifer Woolard.
“Right now, Professor Woolard and I are interviewing immigration attorneys in the Washington, DC area,” Hendricks says. “We ask them about their practice, how they interact with their immigrant clients, what their case looks like and their caseload. Then we get into questions on barriers of language and how they deal with interpreters if they don’t speak the language of their clients, and how that can be challenging for their case.”
The graduate student says she and Woolard also talk with the attorneys about how they interact with clients who have experienced extreme trauma as well as how they handle their own second-hand trauma from listening to horrific tales from these clients.
“This is not really discussed in law school and it’s something that they’re having to deal with more, especially young attorneys who are going down to the border and helping out,” she says.
“There has been a lot of research focused on the mental health of undocumented immigrants themselves, which is great,” Hendricks adds. “But it seems to me in the research that I’ve done on this so far, that most of it focuses on the mental health of immigrants, with little attention to the attitudes of American citizens or other residents with legal status on undocumented immigrants.”
Teaching: Hendricks is a graduate teaching fellow for courses such as Lifespan Development Psychology with professor Anna Johnson and Abnormal Psychology with adjunct professor Andrea Bonior. She also assists in mentoring undergraduate psychology honors these students.
Publications: Hendricks is co-editing a book with Moghaddam called Immigrants: A Psychological Perspective, under contract with the American Psychological Association. She also has co-authored a chapter in a book on global psychology from indigenous perspectives, three articles with Moghaddam in peer-reviewed journals and is working on three more. She is also preparing an article with Woolard on immigration proceedings.
“When I started looking for Ph.D. programs in psychology, I was trying to find someone who did research on terrorism and psychology, and I found Ali,” Hendricks says. “There’s not a lot of people who do this work, so I didn’t apply to many other schools.”
“This is a great grad program,” she adds. “The students are very qualified and very motivated. It was also a great fit with Ali, my advisor, which is important to consider when applying for Ph.D. programs.”
A Professor’s View:
“Mia has completed very exciting research exploring the impact of perceived threat on support for human rights,” says psychology professor Fathali Moghaddam. “She is now moving into research on the psychology of undocumented immigrants. Given the controversies around undocumented immigrants in American political life, Mia’s research is timely and important.”
Community Service: Hendricks is a mentor for the Dream Project, where she helps Northern Virginia high school students with varying legal status with college and scholarship applications. She also serves as a mentor for RISE Youth mentoring program, managed by Arlington, Virginia’s Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court Services Unit, engaging in monthly activities with children involved in the courts. She also serves on Georgetown’s committee that welcomes first-year psychology graduate students, is a graduate student government senator and has served as guest co-editor for a special section in an issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology.