The National Institutes of Health, in partnership with the National Institute on Aging, has awarded McCormack Graduate School PhD student Mai See Yang an R36 Aging Research Dissertation Award to Increase Diversity. Yang’s $69,000 award covers two years, including a research stipend and data collection and travel expenses.
Yang’s dissertation will explore the impacts of life events on depression in later life in older Hmong immigrants. Her study will focus specifically on three life phases: pre-migration, transition, and post-migration.
Yang was born in Fresno, California, the location of the largest concentration of Hmong in the United States. Settling there after being admitted to the United States as refugees, her Hmong family struggled with the traumatic challenges of displacement and community disruption.
Although her parents had little formal education, Yang is a first generation college graduate.
Jan Mutchler, Yang’s dissertation chair, comments, “The study that Mai See has proposed is challenging and demanding. Indeed, very few people in the world have the cultural insight to accomplish this research, and fewer still have the access to this insular population needed to secure cooperation of study participants. Mai See has both.”
Praising the gerontology faculty and staff, Yang says, “The mentorship is extraordinary. My interests are specific and difficult to research. These limitations have not stopped Doctors Jan Mutchler and Jeff Burr to work with me and guide me through several projects. Their investment and trust in me as a scholar and a colleague are unprecedented. My success and growth are a reflection of our great PhD program leadership and the faculty's dedication to students.”