The Wright Institute Counseling Program Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The Wright Institute has a long history of addressing issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion since its inception. Its mission of "Educating Clinicians to Society" has served as an organizing focus leading to the training and mentorship of many counselors, psychologists, and therapists over its 50-year history. The work to address issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has changed over time to meet the needs of its students, and ultimately, society. Most recently, our students organized to request additional support and called for the allocation of resources and the creation of the current office of DEI. In collaboration with a consultant, the board, staff, faculty, and students helped to create the current office within the clinical and counseling programs. In its first year, the counseling program DEI office seeks to focus on two goals:

  • Support the training of a diverse student body to meet the needs of our community
  • Support a culture of belonging

To carry out our goals, we have created the following events, programs, and support systems:

DEI Student Fellows and Fellowship: Student DEI fellows provide mentoring to other students and support the goals of the DEI office. The office offers two student fellowships (one for first and second year students) to help support the recruitment of a diverse student body, to reduce financial barriers, and support retention efforts. The DEI student fellowships offer training, mentoring, supervision, and helps students to develop and become familiar with theory, research, and practice about DEI related issues. The DEI program provides each of its fellows a $5,000 scholarship plus work study at working at student rate up to a maximum of an additional $5,000 each. Once a student is admitted into the program, they can apply for the fellowship before the start of the academic year. Detailed information about the application will be provided to incoming students.

DEI Counseling Program Scholarships: The Counseling Program DEI office provides scholarships to two DEI fellows: one first-year student, and one second/third-year student. DEI fellows will focus on different projects during their time as a fellow. Each fellowship will be for one year. Application and recruitment information will available for students in June.

Individual Student Support: The DEI office is available to support students' DEI needs.

Group Student Support: We are providing online and in person meet-ups for students to connect on DEI issues.

Consultation and Collaboration: The office provides consultation to administration, staff, and faculty on DEI issues. We collaborate with our accessibility office, admissions, numerous committees, mentoring program, field placement office and with the clinical program.

Faculty Consultation: The DEI office is available to support faculty around curriculum, resources, and classroom needs.

Training and Events: The DEI office provides training and events. The current DEI student fellows are working on launching their DEI series on immigration for Spring 2021.

Strategic Planning: Both directors of DEI are engaged in the strategic planning for the school. Dr. Briscoe-Smith facilitated the kick-off opening events where we had a chance to articulate our vision for the school. We will be integrating the feedback and a focus on DEI throughout the strategic planning process.

Faculty Survey: We conducted a faculty survey to learn about the needs of the faculty and how the DEI office can best support faculty. More details to follow.

Student Events and Resources: At the start of the year we held social events and a BIPOC and first generation mixer during new student orientation. The DEI office provides ongoing support to students, staff, and faculty.

Conferences: The DEI office (with faculty and students) will present at numerous conferences and has already presented at the Asian American Psychological Association Conference (AAPA). Students Judy Huang, Ananya Rajaraman, Marie Tajon-Scott with faculty members Dr. Chen and Professor Thakore-Dunlap presented, "You (only) Have A Master's Degree?": Revisioning Internal And External Narratives Of Achievement And The Model Minority Myth. In this well attended session, students shared their personal experiences of the model minority myth in pursuing a masters degree and with faculty discussed strategies for institutions to consider in supporting Asian and Asian American masters level students. In addition, the DEI Director, Professor Dunlap has been an invited to speak at numerous conferences and events such as the AAPA convention, The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) leadership symposium, and The Hawaiian Islands Association for Marriage and Family Therapy to speak about inclusion of BIPOC in leadership, counseling diverse communities, and ways to create inclusive leadership groups.

DEI Related National Involvement: Professor Dunlap is a current training advisory committee member for the American Psychological Association, Minority Fellowship Program where she advises, and provides mentoring to STAY Fellows across the country. Several of our current students and alumni have received funding and mentoring from this program.

Who are we?

Ulash Thakore-Dunlap, LMFT

Professor Dunlap is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and holds a PPSc (School Counseling Credential). In addition, Professor Dunlap maintains a private practice in San Francisco where she provides counseling, coaching, and clinical supervision. Professor Dunlap has extensive clinical experiences working with children, adolescents, schools, families, and adults.

Professor Dunlap has over 20 years of teaching experience at high school, community college, and university level in the United Kingdom and United States. She is a trained school counselor and has extensive experience providing therapy in school-based settings. Professor Dunlap's interest and passion for Asian American mental health, South Asian clinical needs, school-based mental health, supporting immigrant clients, and mentoring emerging leaders who identify as a person of color have led her presenting at national and international conferences and publishing articles and textbooks which include: Guidelines On Bullying and Victimization for AAPI K-12 Students to School Professionals and Parents (in 4 languages), Motherhood: A Guide to Surviving the First 30 Days, and Group Counseling with South Asian Immigrant High School Girls: Reflections and Commentary of a Group Facilitator. Professor Dunlap is working with Drs. Devika Srivastava and Nita Tewari on an upcoming book with Routledge on Counseling South Asian Americans, it's the first of its kind in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

In her free time, Professor Dunlap is active in the community and is on several committees and boards including: board member for the San Francisco Mental Health Commission; current training advisory committee member for The American Psychological Association (APA) Minority Fellowship Program (MFP); past board member for The Asian American Psychological Association (AAPA) and past chair on Division on Practice.

Elizabeth Montes

Elizabeth Montees is a first year DEI student fellow. Elizabeth is a first generation Mexican American who received her BA in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley. She was the Spanish Department Coordinator for Volunteer Health Interpreters Organization, a club on campus dedicated to providing free health interpretation and translation services for low-English proficiency populations in the Bay Area. After graduating she worked as an ABA therapist with low income immigrant families. She is passionate about serving under-resources communities to combat barriers that prevent them from accessing equal quality of care.

Pearl Penumaka

Pearl Penumaka is a second year DEI student Fellow and 2nd year M.A. student who is currently working on her practicum with adults and families at the Hively Community Clinic in San Leandro. Pearl's passion is to work with BIPOC individuals and couples, especially in the South Asian diaspora. Pearl identifies as immigrant and WOC and looks forward to weaving those intersections into her work for the DEI office, as well as continuing her learning and growth in cultural sensitivity and cultural humility. In her free time, you can find Pearl practicing hula hoop in her living room, maxing out her Oakland Public Library card, or single-handedly keeping the coffeeshops in her neighborhood alive.

How to contact us: and

Upcoming Events
  • Immigration Series Open Forum
    June 24, 2021
    Hosted by DEI Student Fellows
  • BIPOC Community Event to Connect
    July 12, 2021
    Hosted by DEI Office and Program Diversity Committee
  • DEI Drop-in Office Hours
    Hosted by DEI Director and Student Fellows
  • Recent Events
  • Holding Space for Racialized Violence
    June 12, 2021
    In collaboration with the Clinical Program DEI Office, mentoring program, and students
  • Immigration Series Student Panel
    May 13, 2021
    Hosted by DEI Student Fellows
  • Sharing The Diverse Ways We Care For Ourselves and Each Other
    May 5, 2021
    Hosted by Program Diversity Committee
  • Breaking Barriers as BIPOC/First Gen Grad Students in Psychology
    April 29, 2021
    Hosted by Wright Institute Pipeline Diversity Recruitment Program
  • Meet the Counseling Program Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Team
    April 13, 2021
    Hosted by DEI Office and Admissions
  • Our Relationship with White Supremacy: Faculty Perspectives from Target and Non-target Membership
    January 22, February 23, and March 23, 2021
    Hosted by Core Faculty
  • Promoting Wellness Among Middle Eastern and North African Arabic and Persian/Farsi Speaking Communities
    January 19, 2021
    Hosted by Sidra Community Wellness Program
  • Orientation Day Meet and Greet for BIPOC students and First Generation College Students
    August 17, 2020
    Hosted by BIPOC and First Generation Faculty and Staff