Psychology Professor Bryana French,
Mark Brown / University of St. Thomas

Graduate Psychology Professor Receives Two Awards

Graduate School of Professional Psychology Associate Professor Dr. Bryana French is the recipient of two recent awards for her exceptional contributions to the field of psychology. On Feb. 4, she received the John M. Taborn Award for Outstanding Contributions to Psychology by a Person of African Descent from the Minnesota Psychological Association. On Feb. 6, she received the Shining Star Award at the National Multicultural Conference and Summit for her “commitment to multicultural research, teaching, advocacy, policy, and/or clinical care.”

Taborn was a trailblazing African American psychologist in Minnesota who co-founded J. Taborn and Associates, one of the first African American mental health clinics in the state. French’s scholarly work has emphasized healing in the face of racism, including the co-creation of the Psychology of Radical Healing Collective to share evidence-based practices that promote this healing.

Portrait of Psychology Professor Bryana French, taken August 10, 2020, in Minneapolis.
Professor Bryana French
Mark Brown / University of St. Thomas

“I know so many deserving psychologists across the country and here in Minnesota who are advancing racial justice. So, it really is humbling and an honor to be recognized,” French said. “I hope that I am making my mentors and psychologists who paved the way proud.”

French is certainly doing just that.

She was nominated for the Shining Star Award by Dr. Jioni A. Lewis, an associate professor of counseling at the University of Maryland, College Park. “[French] is committed to multicultural psychology, social justice, and equity through her scholarship, advocacy, service, and leadership,” Lewis wrote in her nomination letter. “In addition, she has emerged as a visionary social justice leader who has pushed the field forward towards social justice, equity, and liberation.”

“She is incredibly open, accessible and willing to work collaboratively on hard issues in education,” said Dr. Salina Renninger, a fellow associate professor in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology. “I can only imagine the impact she makes on our students as she models this approach in the classroom.”

French is currently on sabbatical. During this time she is working on a project to take the psychological framework for radical healing from racial trauma and apply it to Black female sexual assault survivors for an intersectional approach to healing. She is engaging in study, research and practice around this area. She also recently opened a private practice so that she can begin seeing clients again and helping to fill the need for more BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) therapists in the Twin Cities.