Posted: 8/20/20

TAMIU Graduate Psychology Students Receive Awards at Prestigious National Conference


Dr. Ediza García  

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) graduate students’ dedication and effort studying the effects of psychoeducational groups on Latinos recently earned them recognition by a prestigious scientific and professional organization.

A group of five TAMIU’s Master of Counseling Psychology (MACP) graduate students received awards during the American Psychology Association’s yearly conference, which was held virtually Aug. 6 - 9. The event hosted more than 3,000 on-demand sessions and poster submissions by graduate students and professional researchers.

Ivette Soto, Rebeca Salazar, and Alyssa Vera won Division 27’s  “Society for Community Research and Action Poster Award” for their work entitled, “A Stress Management Psychoeducational Group for Latinos: Outcomes and Cultural Factors Contributing to Group Cohesion.”

Evelyn Campos and Alejandro Flores received Division 49’s  “Society of Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy Poster of the Year Award”  for promoting Diversity and Social Justice. Their poster is “Psychoeducational Groups for Latinos: Group Cohesion’s Influence on Fostering Safe Learning Environments.”

The students and their projects were mentored by Dr. Elizabeth Terrazas-Carrillo and Dr. Ediza García, both TAMIU associate professors of Counseling Psychology.

“The awards reflect the hard work of TAMIU’s master’s level students and the caliber of the graduate education and clinical training they receive in the Program,” Dr. García said, “ Moreover, these awards are extremely competitive.”

The work on each poster was a team effort and culminated after a year-long process of implementing the psychoeducational group to undergraduate students, gathering and inputting weekly data, attending weekly supervision meetings, and data analysis, García said.

Ivette Soto
Ivette Soto
Rebecca Salazar
Rebeca Salazar
Alyssa Vera
Alyssa Vera
Evelyn Campos
Evelyn Campos
Alejandro Flores
Alejandro Flores

Campos and Flores’ project highlights the role cohesion plays in developing safety and connection in psychoeducational groups with a particular examination on culture.  This project was recognized because work in this field is limited and fills a gap in the literature to help guide clinical practice when serving minorities, particularly Latinos, García explained.

The project involving Soto, Salazar, and Vera focused on the results of conducting a series of eight-session stress management psychoeducational groups for Latino college students. Results of the study showed the 74 students who participated in the groups experienced a decrease in their stress levels. In addition, the students looked at cultural variables that predicted group cohesion, which refers to how well the group functioned as one entity, García said.

“We found that collectivism is a significant predictor of group cohesion,” García said, “This conclusion leads us to recommend psychoeducational groups as a therapeutic modality that aligns with Latinos’ values and has potential to benefit this population significantly.

Distinct from other forms of group therapy, participants of a psychoeducational group tend to share the same or similar concerns. Group members then focus on a specific set of needs and topics together to improve their well-being.

For more information on TAMIU’s MACP Program, contact García at 956.326.3096 or email ediza.garcia@tamiu.edu.

Registration for Fall 2020 is now underway. TAMIUFlex, Hybrid, Face-to-Face and online courses will all have the same tuition rates. An online catalog containing a list of all undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree programs is at  http://catalog.tamiu.edu   Classes begin Monday, Aug. 24.  Registration continues through Friday, Aug. 28.

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To learn more about TAMIU’s Back Together Plan for Fall, go to   https://www.tamiu.edu/coronavirus/student-faqs.shtml

TAMIU  ranks 5th in the nation among the 100 Most Affordable Public Schools with the Highest Return on Investment (ROI), according to ranking authority Great Value Colleges.  U.S. News and World Report’s 2020 Edition of its popular Best Colleges guide ranks TAMIU as the second highest-ranked Texas public university in its Best Regional Universities West category and the highest-ranked regional campus of the Texas A&M University System.

Most recently, TAMIU earned a top tier ranking for its COVID-19 Pandemic response. The 2020 Educate to Career College ranking placed TAMIU in Tier I for colleges and universities that have responded to the pandemic in ways that benefit and protect students, especially in terms of available online learning resources. Some 1200 colleges across the nation were reviewed.

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