Student Ayanna Payne Wins AP-LS BRIDGE Diversity Research Award

April 6, 2021

Ayanna Payne, a fourth-year clinical psychology PhD student, was awarded a Diversity Research Award by the American Psychology-Law Society (AP-LS). Her proposal was for “A mixed-methods analysis of African American men struggles with internalized racism, perceived discrimination, and offending.”

The Award is distributed by the AP-LS Broadening Representation, Inclusion, Diversity, and Global Equity (BRIDGE) Committee, which supports student research focused on psycho-legal issues related to diversity as well as research conducted by students from underrepresented groups.
Payne’s research will attempt to correlate internalized racism, offending, perceived discrimination, and an Afrocentric worldview, “such that higher levels of Afrocentric worldview will reduce the relationship between perceived discrimination and offending.”
“Mass incarceration has not only caused a rupture within the African American community,” Payne said, “but it has also created a cycle that is almost impossible for African American men to overcome. Few re-entry programs are available to assist African Americans to reintegrate into society and reduce reoffending after incarceration successfully. With this lack of resources in mind, I plan to use my research skills to develop, validate, and implement effective intervention programs that will aid in reducing offending and reoffending within the African American male community.”
The research supported by the AP-LS BRIDGE Committee builds upon her prior academic and work experience and tracks with her career trajectory. Payne is from Birmingham, Alabama. She earned her BA in Psychology at Clark Atlanta University and her MA in Criminal Justice at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Before being accepted into the PAU Clinical Psychology PhD Program, she worked as a Court Advocate at a residential substance abuse facility. 
Payne’s career goal is to provide forensic and correctional therapeutic services to patients from minoritized populations in a federal prison or state hospital. She was recently matched with an APA-accredited psychology internship at the Federal Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky. 
She is still in the early stages of her research, but said, “I believe the results will highlight cultural risk and protective factors that are salient to African American males, who have been understudied in this context. I hope to lead the way toward developing an intervention program that aids in reducing recidivism and/or prevents offending behaviors before they occur.”