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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

March Fellow of the Month

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Lexie Unhjem

March 2022 Fellow of the Month Profile Photo
Lexie Unhjem is a doctoral fellow in the 2021-2022 class of the Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT). Graduating summa cum laude, she received her B.S. in psychology from North Dakota State University and her M.S. in marriage and family therapy from Purdue University Northwest. Lexie is currently a doctoral student in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Florida State University (FSU). Lexie also serves as a teaching assistant for child development in family and child sciences at FSU. Broadly, her research interests focus on trauma informed clinical approaches as well as addressing systemic influences on marginalized populations.

Lexie was initially drawn to the MFP because of the program’s opportunities for implementing change in underserved and marginalized communities. She shared, “I am passionate about research and practice that addresses systemic influences on marginalized populations. The MFP is a great organization to be a part of to enact change in such systems." Lexie is currently working on several MFP projects examining variables of witnessing violence, trauma outcomes, quality of parent-child relationships, and parental involvement in the child welfare system.

When reflecting on how the MFP has enriched her academic and professional career, Lexie shared that her two-time experience as a fellow has provided tremendous opportunities for growth and professional development. She stated, “I was part of the MFP in my master’s program and received invaluable mentorship, training, and networking that assisted me in my growth as an intersectional, trauma-informed clinician. I am elated to continue my journey in the MFP this year as a doctoral fellow.” Participating in the MFP has also helped Lexie build and nurture her professional network. She remarked, “The MFP led me to meet many incredible professionals in the field that have assisted me in applying to Ph.D. programs, serving on my thesis committee, and helping me navigate academia.”

After completing her Ph.D., Lexie’s career goals include conducting therapy and remaining actively involved in research and clinical education in academia. She explained “Upon graduation, I plan to work as a faculty member in a master’s level MFT program, training, and supervising future therapists while maintaining a small caseload of clients.” Lexie plans to apply the knowledge and skills acquired from the MFP to her research and professional practice as an educator and clinician. She shared, “I aim to always be intentional and mindful about how I am making an impact in various systems, but using an intersectional lens must be applied in my roles as a researcher, therapist supervisor, and teacher.”

When asked if she had advice for anyone thinking about applying to the MFP, Lexie provided these encouraging words, “Apply! There is no reason why you shouldn't. As a previous master’s fellow and now a continuing doctoral fellow, I am extremely grateful and humbled by this opportunity.”

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