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Karen Tao, PhD

Karen Tao is an Associate Professor in Counseling Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology and is the Director of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program. Karen’s teaching, clinical and research interests are guided by an overarching goal to reduce disparities in the access, service, and quality of mental health and education for historically marginalized groups. She is interested in the questions, “How do people negotiate conversations about difference and culture?” “How do children understand and talk about race?” and “Why does multicultural competence matter?” Karen is a licensed psychologist and conducts research in counseling and school settings, utilizing qualitative and quantitative methods to identify cultural factors related to client improvement and student academic persistence. She teaches courses on multicultural counseling, social psychology of diversity, provides clinical supervision for masters and doctoral students, and directs the Culture, Well-being and Diversity Lab. Dr. Tao is inspired by her students, colleagues, friends, and family who teach her something new every day. Her children, Jiajia and Lulu, constantly remind her learning is a messy process and that it’s ok to color outside of the lines.