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Oklahoma State University

Counseling Psychology Ph.D. Student Selected for APA’s Minority Fellowship Program

Thursday, October 15, 2015

While working in public health for more than a decade, Candice Keyes came to realize the incredible need for behavioral services for Native American populations.

“My personal life experience, tribal health work and education in population health culminated within me a strong desire to enter the field of counseling psychology.” Keyes says.

Keyes, who is originally from the Navajo Nation in Arizona, earned a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from the University of Arizona. She also has a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from Johns Hopkins University.“My work experience allowed me to see the devastating effects of decreased access to health services within Indian Country,” Keyes says. “My interest in the behavioral health field comes from a personal place.  My passion as a student has always come from my experiences, which result in an incredible sense of purpose and urgency.”

That passion pushed her to pursue an advanced degree in counseling psychology. Keyes began studying the OSU College of Education’s Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology in the fall of 2014.

“From the moment I stepped on campus, I have learned so much about how to interact with clients and work with them in a therapeutic setting,” Keyes says. 

At OSU, she has had the opportunity to work in the Counseling Psychology Clinic, which serves clients for a variety of symptoms, problems or related issues.

Keyes’ personal interests are Native American populations, resiliency factors, public health and community-based participatory research.

“Our faculty is so pleased to have Candice Keyes in our program. She came to us with a wealth of experience in public health, which meshes nicely with health service psychology,” says Julie Koch, faculty coordinator for the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program. “We are extremely proud of Candice's achievement and recognition through the Minority Fellowship Program. She has proven to be an outstanding student and is sure to be an excellent psychologist.” 

This past spring, Keyes was selected for the American Psychological Association’s (APA) prestigious Minority Fellowship Program. She is one of only 12 Ph.D. students chosen from a national pool of more than 130 applicants.

With a goal of reducing health disparities among ethic minorities in the United States, the APA’s Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) is designed to help promising graduate students achieve lasting success through a range of programs and activities. The program also offers financial support, career guidance and networking opportunities. Thanks to the MFP program and support from OSU, Keyes will receive more than $20,000 to support her education this year. The MFP is renewable for up to three years.

Ultimately, Keyes’ goal is to return to the Navajo Nation community as a psychologist, a desire that has grown even stronger with a new addition to her family.

“In October of 2014, my husband and I were blessed with the birth of our first child, a baby girl. Her arrival has added to the intensity I have to complete my advanced degree. I am thankful to be a recipient of the MFP scholarship as it will bring me closer to my goals of serving as a positive role model for my daughter, while contributing to increase the health status of Native American communities.”