Dr. Hung-Chu Lin, Professor of Psychology at the University of Louisiana Lafayette, has been named by the Louisiana Psychological Association as the 2022 Janet R. Matthews, PhD, Outstanding Psychology Mentor.
“This award recognizes and honors Dr. Janet R. Matthews for her lifetime of mentoring work and the impact she had on psychologists in Louisiana,” said Dr. Amanda Raines, spokesperson for the Louisiana Psychological Association, at the group’s spring convention.
Dr. Raines announced that the Association was honoring Dr. Lin for 2022. “Her dedication to supporting, encouraging, and guiding undergraduate and master’s level psychology students is truly remarkable,” said Dr. Raines.
“Each semester, she mentors an average of 15 undergraduate and graduate students in her lab,” said Raines. “Students not only learn critical thinking skills but how to design sound research studies, test hypotheses, and communicate findings. In the classroom, Dr. Lin creates a space that is welcoming and accessible for those with learning disabilities and/or non- conforming identities. She further assists students who are facing financial hardships or experiencing psychological distress. In summary, she provides essential, foundational experiences, through her research and teaching, to facilitate the growth and development of her students.”
As well as a professor at University of Louisiana Lafayette (ULL) Dr. Lin is also the Chair of the Institutional Review Board and she holds the endowed SLEMCO/LEQSF Regents Professor in Liberal Arts.
Her research focus includes the development of emotions, parenting, attachment relationships, and developmental disabilities. She runs the Developmental Science Laboratory (DSL), which takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine the complexity of adjusted and maladjusted developmental processes.
She is a Sponsored Collaborator with The Developmental Risk and Cultural Resilience Laboratory at Pediatric Newborn Medicine, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. Among her other collaborators are the Cecil J. Picard Center for Child Development and Lifelong Learning, College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences, Clemson University, and the Cognitive Science of Language & Education Lab, Department of Psychological Science, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley.
Dr. Lin earned her doctorate in developmental psychology from the University of Connecticut and it is a board certified specialist of academic pediatric dentistry in Taiwan and holds a DDS degree from the school of dentistry in the national Taiwan University.
Also this year the ULL Graduate School selected Dr. Lin as the recipient of the 2022 Outstanding Master’s Mentor Award.
In ULL News, Dr. Amy Brown, department head for Psychology, said, “She is very supportive of the professional development of her master’s students: encouraging them to apply for grants and awards, and to present research at conferences. In interacting with graduate students, Dr. Lin is warm and supportive, but also holds high standards—she expects hard work and improvement, and creates an environment where students feel empowered to work hard and succeed.”
Dr. Lin directs the Developmental Science Laboratory (DSL) where interested faculty and students take an interdisciplinary approach to studying The complexity of adjusted and maladjusted developmental processes. The DSL projects include:
•The long-term physical and mental sequelae of adverse childhood experiences.
•The relation between adverse childhood experiences and sexual self-esteem.
•Mindfulness and resilience as protective factors for individuals with childhood trauma.
•Social stigma (explicit and implicit) towards individuals with developmental disabilities/LGBTQ populations.
•Perceived parental behaviors, relational identity, and internal working models.
•The development of empathy and understanding of theory of mind.
•Using simulation paradigms to observe emotional responses and physiological arousal.
•Interpersonal problems, emotional regulation, and anxiety disorders.
Dr. Lin said to ULL News, “No words can express how rewarding and fulfilling it is to grow along with my research children academically, professionally, and personally,” Lin said. “I’m grateful to play a role in these students’ lives as they pursue their academic and personal development.
“As a mentor, I constantly question and examine my preconceived assumptions and beliefs about mentees and strive for bias-free mentoring. By actively listening and discerning, I convey my unconditional respect and emphatic care with affirmation, understanding, and acceptance.”
What does she believe are the most important characteristics that have supported her in being such a successful mentor?
“Being grateful to play a role in these students’ lives as they pursue their academic and personal development,” said Dr. Lin. “Being unconditionally respectful to individual differences in students’ competencies, learning styles, communication patterns, and personality qualities. Being clear when setting goals and expectations for their works while maintaining flexibility to tackle with unexpected events.”
What are some of the most enjoyable experiences she has had as a mentor to her students? “To grow academically and personally together with them,” Lin said.
Dr. Lin sets out her methods and philosophy in her Mentorship Statement, including:
“Unconditional respect for individual differences. Mentees come from various racial/ethnic and sociocultural backgrounds. Every one of them displays distinctive approaches to learning and dispositional characteristics when tackling challenges or stressful situations. As a mentor, I constantly question and examine my preconceived assumptions and beliefs about mentees and strive for bias-free mentoring. By actively listening and discerning, I convey my unconditional respect and empathic care with affirmation, understanding, and acceptance. At the core, each mentee is a unique individual; thus, my mentoring is tailored to the uniqueness of the individual’s needs to maximize the mentee’s academic progress and personal growth.
“Mentoring is like parenting. It was at the end of a departmental award ceremony a couple of years ago when one of my mentees (who was recognized as the outstanding graduate for that academic term) introduced me to her mother, ‘Mom, I’d like you to meet my research momma!’ Feeling tremendously touched and proud, I regarded this title of research momma beautifully represented my relationships with my mentees.”
UUL News reported that Madeline Jones, master’s candidate in psychology, describes Dr. Lin as “an amazing mentor” who “has given me strength and confidence throughout my time in this program. I would describe my relationship with Dr. Lin as one filled with mutual respect, kindness, communication, support, and positivity. I attribute my success as a graduate student to her qualities as a mentor, especially her resourcefulness, efficiency, and determination.”
Five of Dr. Lin’s researchers have been accepted to various doctoral programs around the country. Madison Holmes has been accepted to the PsyD program at Mercer University. Maddison Knott has been accepted to the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Southern Mississippi University. Lindsey Held has been accepted to the doctoral program in experimental psychology with a concentration on developmental psychology at the University of Alabama. Kylie Garger has been accepted to the doctoral program in developmental psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Michelle Grisham has been accepted to the doctoral program in developmental psychology at the Northern Illinois University.
Reviewed publications with student coauthors include:
Lin, H.-C., & Janice, J. (2020). Disengagement is as revealing as prosocial action for young children’s responding to strangers in distress: How personal distress and empathic concern come into play. International Journal of Behavioral Development;
Flynn, N. S., Harrington, J. H., Knott, K. M., & Lin, H.-C. (2020). Job satisfaction in direct support professionals: Associations with self-efficacy and perspective-taking. Societies;
Lin, H.-C., Bourque, J., Zeanah, P., & McFatter, R. (2018). Perceptions of stress and enrichment in caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder: Implications for community support. Societies.;
Conference Presentations with Student Coauthors (All Peer Reviewed) include:
Lin, H.-C., Held, L., & Malley, K. The Associations between adverse childhood experiences, emotion regulation, and adult distress symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to be presented at the 2019 International Convention of Psychological Science, March, 7-9, 2019, Paris, France.
Lin, H.-C., McDermott, M., Zeanah, P., & Held, L. (2019, March). Posttraumatic stress disorder in the association between childhood trauma and somatic symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to
be presented at the 2019 SRCD Biennial Meeting, March 21-23, 2019, in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Lin, H.-C., Knott, M., LaHaye, L., Flynn, S., Stringfellow, S. Latiolais, B., & Holmes, M. (2019, May). Difficulty in emotion regulation exacerbates the association of adverse childhood experiences with depressive symptoms. Poster proposal accepted to the 31st Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, May 23-26, 2019, Washington D.C., USA.
Lin, H.-C., Hughes, A., Held, L., Malley, K., Kinsland, M., & Barker, N. (2019, May). The role of difficulty in emotion regulation in the association of adverse childhood experiences with attachment insecurity. Poster proposal accepted to the 31st Convention of the Association for Psychological Science, May 23-26, 2019, Washington D.C., USA.
How did she make the shift from dentistry to psychology?
“Indeed, I have a degree in Doctor of Dental science (DDS). My certified specialty is Pediatric Dentistry. I had worked at the National Taiwan University Hospital for 10 years,” Dr. Lin said. “A large part of my work as a pediatric dentist involved behavioral management to help my child patients comply to and gain positive experiences from dental procedures. I also observed many teenagers suffering from myofascial pain dysfunction syndrome. I became increasingly interested in behavioral sciences and the intricate connections between mind and body to an extent that I made a big career change and came to the US to study developmental psychology. I miss practicing in dentistry (I enjoyed it so much), but I also have been extremely happy with what I am doing now as a researcher and a teacher. Psychology is such an exciting field that keeps amazing me,” Dr. Lin said.