Indigenous Psychology Program Earns $250,000 Grant from Blandin Foundation

InPsyT students and professors

InPsyT students and professors

The Bemidji State University Department of Psychology recently received a three-year, $250,000 grant from Minnesota’s Blandin Foundation to support a scholarship program for Indigenous students studying psychology.

The grant will fund Bemidji State’s Indigenous Students in Psychology Training (InPsyT, pronounced like “insight”), which was launched for a pilot cohort of six students in August 2021. The program prepares American Indian students for careers in psychology through mentorships with Indigenous psychologists and mental health professionals.

Initially funded by a one-year, $9,981 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Educational Innovations Grant, the Blandin grant will help expand the program for the next three to four years.

Grant funds will be used to increase enrollment, retention and graduation of American Indian psychology students at BSU and will also support them in their transition into the workforce or into graduate programs.

Ashley Spry sitting at her office desk with her computer and notebooks
Click here to read about InPsyT student Ashley Spry’s experience at Bemidji State.

In addition to receiving a $500 scholarship, cohort members will explore psychology and behavioral health topics as they pertain to American Indian populations, receive training on Indigenous research methodologies and attend the annual Society of Indian Psychologists conference.

Dr. John Gonzalez, professor of psychology

Program co-founder Dr. John Gonzalez ’99, professor of psychology, says the InPsyT program will not only benefit Indigenous students, but will also provide him the opportunity to give back to the next generation of American Indian psychologists.

“I feel like I am coming full circle in my career having started here at BSU as a psychology major,” he said. “I wouldn’t be back here without my mentor Dr. Russ Bennett, professor emeritus of psychology; I wouldn’t have my PhD without a program like this at my graduate school; I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish so many things in my career without others supporting me and providing me with guidance, mentorship and opportunities. It is a real honor to have this chance to give back in this way.”

Gonzalez started the program with Dr. Sarah Cronin, assistant professor of psychology, and Dr. Angela Fournier, professor of psychology.

Cohort members must be a declared psychology major, have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be an enrolled member or descendent of an American Indian tribe.

For more information or to apply for the InPsyT program, contact Gonzalez.

About the BSU Psychology Program

Bemidji State’s Department of Psychology offers a bachelor of science, a bachelor of arts and a minor in psychology. A degree in psychology prepares students to pursue graduate study and a career in a wide range of fields, including education, business, law, medicine or human services.

The program’s courses – which range in topics from stress and coping to cognitive intervention to behavioral neuroscience– all help students develop and maintain a strong foundation in psychological concepts that encourage and examine the mind.

About the Blandin Foundation

Established in 1941 by Charles K. Blandin, the Blandin Foundation is a private foundation based in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, that enhances the economic viability of rural communities and the well-being of residents. The organization receives its funding from the C.K. Blandin Residuary Trust and is steward of the proceeds from that trust. In turn, the foundation distributes those proceeds to communities across rural Minnesota – especially in the Grand Rapids area of north-central Minnesota.