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Transformational Scholar Pre-Doctoral Fellow

Maku Orleans-Pobee is a sixth-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at UNC. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary in psychology, and received her master’s degree in psychology from UNC in 2020. Her research and clinical experiences are centered around addressing racial disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, as well as comorbid substance use in underserved populations with psychosis. Maku is currently working on completing her dissertation project, a qualitative study that explores how identity shapes recovery needs and experiences in Black Americans with co-occurring psychosis and substance use disorders. This study is funded through the Carolina Center for Public Service (CCPS) Community Engagement Fellowship, and additional information about the project can be found on the CCPS website here.

While most of Maku’s research projects and previous publications are in the clinical realm, she has found broader social justice and equity-related initiatives to be an increasing focus of her work, as it is her belief that it is impossible to responsibly conduct research in underserved communities without also working to address the inequities present in those communities. As such, she was particularly excited to join the EPIC team as the first Transformational Fellow to expand her research into addressing inequity in the educational sphere. Maku currently works with Drs. Danielle Allen, Simona Goldin, and Kevin Bastian on projects aimed towards better understanding and addressing the scarcity of Black educators in P-12 schools through the use of qualitative and mixed-methods approaches to understand the practices used to help Black educators succeed in Person of Color-serving education programs.