In the tenth year of TPC‘s Dissertation Excellence Award program, awards were presented to the authors of two winning dissertations, one in qualitative research and one in quantitative research. After receiving submissions from across the United States and through implementation of an improved selection process, the committee selected Drs. Kshipra Jain and Crystal Morris to receive the 2023 Dissertation Excellence Awards. Dr. Jain received the award in qualitative research for her dissertation entitled Experiences of South Asian LGBTQ+ Asylum Seeking Men in the US: A Qualitative Inquiry, and Dr. Morris received the award in quantitative research for her work entitled Silent No More: Exploring the Effects of Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice on Relationship Satisfaction, Mindfulness, and Well-Being in Female Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma.

Kshipra Jain (she, her, hers), PhD, NCC, LPC, is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Supervisor in Washington, D.C., and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). She has a PhD in counseling (CES) from the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and a master’s in mental health counseling and behavioral medicine from Boston University School of Medicine. Kshipra is the founder of Saathi Counseling LLC and is currently practicing as a clinician in Washington, D.C. She is passionate about serving and advocating for individuals with marginalized intersectional identities, such as BIPOC, LGBTQ+, immigrants and children of immigrants, and women.

Kshipra has been a board member for Counselors for Social Justice (CSJ) since 2020 and served as the 2020–2021 president for Maryland Counselors for Social Justice (MCSJ). She is also a recipient of the 2018–2019 NBCC Minority Fellowship Program for Mental Health Counselors – Doctoral award. When not involved in professional pursuits, Kshipra enjoys immersing herself in nature, traveling across the globe, reading, cooking, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Crystal Morris (she, her, hers), PhD, NCC, LPC-S, CSC, earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with a minor in psychology from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, a Master of Education in counseling psychology from Texas A&M University-Central Texas, and her PhD in counselor education and supervision from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She is currently a visiting assistant professor of counseling at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, and an adjunct faculty member in the counseling, health, and kinesiology department at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. She teaches various courses, such as crisis and trauma, group counseling, and counseling theories.

Crystal has worked as a professional school counselor, educator, graduate research assistant, military family life counselor, and private practice therapist. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor Supervisor, National Certified Counselor (NCC), Certified School Counselor (CSC), owner, and clinical director at Butterflies Prospering Wellness Co. She has a wealth of clinical experience that has informed her classwork, teaching, and research. Crystal has experience in the counseling and education field, totaling over 10 years working with at-risk youth, young adults, and military service members and families.

Crystal has advocated in the community through her work with Teach Them to Learn Outreach Ministries, a residential shelter for women and children who have escaped domestic violence. In her private practice, she currently counsels couples; active duty veterans; and adolescents with issues from PTSD/trauma, anxiety, depression, and much more. Beyond her clinical work, Crystal examines the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions and positive psychology as a trauma-informed protocol. She hopes to advance the theory and understanding of evidence-based treatments for the populations she has worked closely with.

In addition, she is the author of The Butterfly Affect: Living the Single Life Through God’s Eyes, 21 Days of Positive Living, and the coming-soon book in the series, The Butterfly Affect: Establishing Healthy Relationships.

Crystal’s research interests focus on mindfulness-based strengths practices, character strengths and positive psychology as interventions, and exploring relationship satisfaction in female survivors of military sexual trauma. Her research interests also focus on holistic wellness; mental health in the Black and African American communities; multicultural competence and social justice advocacy in counseling; ethics in counseling; relationships (couples); sexual abuse/trauma in women, and PTSD/trauma. Crystal has presented at local, state, and national conferences, and she has written a book chapter on integrative practices for adolescents and children and in a peer-reviewed journal on mindfulness-based strengths practice, with current publications in the works.

TPC looks forward to recognizing outstanding dissertations like those of Drs. Jain and Morris for many years to come.

Read more about the TPC scholarship awards here.