Journal Publishes Student Research on Inclusivity

June 28, 2018

Sharanya Rao reconnects with her professors after the Commencement ceremony.
Sharanya Rao reconnects with her professors after the Commencement ceremony.

Psychology major Sharanya Rao graduated Phi Beta Kappa last year, but her senior research lives on.

A scholarly journal has recently published her work on the mental health of gender and sexual minorities faced with anti-LGBTQ public policy in India.

“The publication of Sharanya’s thesis is a perfect example of what’s possible at MBU,” said Chandra Mason, associate professor of psychology and Rao’s advisor. “The psychology curriculum is designed to give majors many opportunities to build a program of research. And of course, there’s Sharanya herself: To mentor an undergraduate student who is both very capable and self-directed is an absolute delight.”  

With MBU supporting her interests early, Rao started work on the project during her junior year, as part of Mason’s Social Psychology course. What she created was an expertly researched paper, with a powerful call to action for legislative reform in India and more mental health support for sexual minorities.     

“We are immensely proud of the work that Sharanya did for her thesis,” said MBU Provost Ty Buckman. “A study published in a peer-reviewed journal is a notable achievement for her and for Professor Chandra Mason, who assisted her on the project. Sharanya reminds us of what is possible when highly motivated and talented students work directly with  accomplished faculty.”  

Now working at a non-profit in New Delhi, India, she will join the clinical psychology PhD program at George Washington University on scholarship this fall.  

Read the full article, “Minority Stress and Well-Being Under Anti-Sodomy Legislation in India,” by Rao and Mason in Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity.

“The publication of Sharanya's thesis is a perfect example of what's possible at MBU.”
Chandra Mason, associate professor of psychology