2020 Incoming Grad Series: Jackie Chin

by Chava Nerenberg, Graduate Programming Assistant
Friday, September 25, 2020 9:30 AM

The 2020 Incoming Grad Series continues, featuring backstories and fun facts about 8 students who are part of the entering class at UCSB.

Jackie Chin is entering the PhD program in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, where she will specialize in Counseling Psychology. Coming to UCSB from Prince George's Country, Maryland, Jackie earned her Bachelor's degree from Howard University, which she tells us has a culture like no other institution. Read on to learn more about her background, why she chose UCSB, and some surprising fun facts--including a sneak peek at the documentary she is producing! 



Jackie told us she always felt like the weird kid growing up in Prince George’s County, Maryland. She describes herself as very sensitive and says she feels her emotions deeply. However, as an Aquarius, she also wanted to understand the logic behind emotions. In high school, she started a philosophy club and also began art therapy, which she says saved her life during a time of identity crisis. It was then that she decided she wanted to pursue psychology and go into therapy. However, she told us that the older she gets, the more she sees that most people don't have therapy as an option during this key transitional time in life. She says she currently dedicates her energy to helping people like her - young, weird kids who feel they don't fit in anywhere.

Jackie earned her Bachelor's degree from Howard University, a historically black college and university (HBCU), which she says has a culture like no other institution. She loved her experience there and says she is extremely proud of her time at the best HBCU in the world.


Jackie tells us there are many reasons why she chose UCSB. She has wanted to live in California for years and knew she wanted to pursue a graduate degree in either Counseling or Clinical Psychology. She told us the Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology program at UCSB is one-of-a-kind since it will allow her to study three different sub-fields while specializing in Counseling Psychology. Jackie is also interested in the Black Studies program at UCSB, which she notes is unfortunately not available at most universities. Jackie is thrilled to be working with her advisor, Dr. Tania Israel, and says that she was inspired by Dr. Israel's research on bisexuality as well as her bi-kus (haikus about being bisexual).

Additionally, Jackie got to try out life in Santa Barbara when she spent the past summer on campus for a UC-HBCU Classics program. She tells us she felt right at home. She says, "Everyone I meet here is engaged in really interesting and transformative work. Sometimes things just align in a perfect way, and I'm fortunate to be on the receiving end of that."



Jackie wants to pursue intervention research that produces positive mental health outcomes among Black and POC queer folks. Up to the present, her focus has been on internalized stigma towards queer identity. She is excited to expand her knowledge and begin developing interventions that create and protect safe spaces for young Black and brown LGBTQIA+ communities.



Jackie tells us that she is always finding ways to have fun while being productive. In her spare time she meditates, does yoga, paints, and writes for two magazines. She is also in the process of co-producing a documentary about queer dating life at an HBCU, specifically her alma mater, Howard University. The documentary focuses on the gender and sexual development of Black students on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum throughout their time in their undergraduate careers.

Jackie loves learning about world religions and different ways that people connect spiritually (i.e., crystals, singing drums, and aromas). She also enjoys traveling, exploring new places, supporting her friends' art projects, and singing. She told us one of her favorite things is dancing on the beach and that she wants to start a club for it if others will join. Jackie is also a huge fan of stand-up comedy and drag racing!

In addition to jumping into classes and research, Jackie will be starting a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship in March. 

Welcome, Jackie!

Be sure to subscribe to the GradPost and check back each day until the start of classes for the continuation of our Incoming Grad Series. Up next is Eve Bodnia, an incoming PhD student in Physics who is coming to UCSB by way of Russia and the Bay Area. Check out our next article to learn more about her research on dark matter and how she decided to become a parent while completing her undergraduate degree at Berkeley!