Profile for Jason Sumontha

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Jason Sumontha

Assistant Professor
Psychology
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

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Specialty area(s)

Developmental and Community Psychology; sexual orientation and gender diversity; parenting; socialization; child development; LGBTQ+ families; family processes; resilience

Brief biography

Who am I?

Hello! My name is Jason Sumontha. I'm an assistant professor at UWL in the Psychology department. I specialize in the areas of developmental and community psychology.

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[Image Description: First is a picture of me at a Chinese restaurant in Minneapolis. Second is a picture of me at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.]

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What do I teach?

I teach classes on things like culture, identity, and families! In my classes, I like to focus on projects that get students excited about learning.

To me, learning should be an adventure. I want students to remember a time when everything was new and learning a grand quest—of dinosaurs, starry skies, metamorphosis, and volcanos. 

To see themselves reflected in their learning. To see queer, Asian, Indigenous, adoptee, rural, disabled, and more... reflected in psychology. To know they are seen, are valid, and belong.

So, let's go on an adventure together! 

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[Image description: A group of students are play testing their Educational Board Game project. One student raises a card as the others gasp in surprise.]

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What is my research focus?

I earned my Ph.D. from the University of Virginia where I studied the qualities that promote family health, with a focus on LGBTQ+ parents and their children. 

My research at UWL focuses on promoting the positive development and health of LGBTQ+ families, considering social context and intersections of identity. This includes stuff like:

  1. Resilience and protective factors among parents and their children
  2. The intersections between sexual orientation, gender identity, race, and socioeconomic status.
  3. The application of research on queer families to policy, practice, and law

If you're interested in working with me on as a research or teaching assistant, you can send me an email or just stop by my office during my office hours!

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[Image description: Two group pictures of former and current students/collaborators who have worked with me in research or teaching.]

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What else do I do at UWL?

All my life, I've been heavily involved in Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability efforts. 

Here are just a few things I've done or am currently doing at UWL to make positive changes!

2021-Present      Co-Chair, Gardner Institute Teaching and Learning Taskforce
2021-Present      Chair, BIPOC & International Staff, Teachers, and More! Group
2021-Present      Equity Liaison, UWL Psychology
2021-Present      Adviser, UWL Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT)
2021-Present      Adviser, UWL Asian Student Organization (ASO)
2021-Present      Member, UW System Campus Climate Survey Working Group
2019-Present      Member, Diversity and Inclusion Committee – Psychology
2019-2022          Member, Child and Youth Care (CYC) Committee – Psychology
2020-2021          Member, RISE UP Faculty & Friends Group
2020-2021          Chair, BIPOC Self-Care Collective
2019-2021          Chair, Faculty Teaching Development Group – Psychology

Moving beyond ally:

I put myself on the front lines with my students and colleagues.
I commit to making concrete actions that focus on undoing harm, rather than just listening and learning. 
I lift up voices of the historically excluded, not just my own.
I take action and disrupt injustice, even at the cost of my own social standing or physical well-being. 
And I will make mistakes, but I will learn from them and keep trying to improve. 

That is what it means to be more than an ally to me. 

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[Image description: A group picture of the Asian Student Organization (2021-2022) who I work with as their faculty advisor!]

Current courses at UWL

PSY 282: Cross-Cultural Psychology
PSY 325: LGBTQ+ Youth Psychology
PSY 495: Youth Violence and the Juvenile Justice System

CYC 301: Overview of Child and Youth Care

Education

Ph.D., University of Virginia (Developmental & Community Psychology)

M.A., University of Virginia (Developmental & Community Psychology)

B.A., University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (Major: Psychology)

Career

Teaching history

University of Virginia:
PSYC 4559 Modern Families: Parenting and Child Development in Diverse Family Systems
PSYC 3460 Psychological Study of Children, Families, and the Law

 

Research and publishing

  1. Patterson, C. J., Tate, D. P., Sumontha, J., & Xu, R. (2018). Sleep difficulties among sexual minority adults: Associations with family relationship problems. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 5(1), 109-116. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000264
  1. Sumontha, J., Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2017). Children’s gender development: Associations with parental sexual orientation, division of labor, and gender ideology. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 4(4), 438-450. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/sgd0000242

  2. Sumontha, J., Farr, R. H., & Patterson, C. J. (2016). Coparenting and social support among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual adoptive couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 30(8), 987-996. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/fam0000253
  1. Tornello, S. L., Blanchfield, B. V., & Sumontha, J. (2015). LGBTQ romantic relationships. Oxford Bibliographies Online: Psychology.
  1. Patterson, C. J., & Sumontha, J. (2015). Children with LGBQ parents, gender development and identity. SAGE encyclopedia for LGBTQ Studies. http://dx.doi.org/10.4135/9781483371283.n76

In Preparation: 

  1. Sumontha, J., Tornello, S. L., & Patterson, C. J. (In preparation). Stigmatization and parenting stress among gay fathers: An examination of the mediational role of relationship quality

  2. Simon, K. A., Sumontha, J., Lee, S., Kim, A., Farr, R. H., & Lee, R. M. (In preparation). The Effects of Colorblindness and Parent-Child Relationship Quality on Parent’s Perceived Discrimination among adolescent Korean Adoptees. 

Kudos

presented

Ryan McKelley and Jason Sumontha, both Psychology, presented "keynote addresses" at 2021 Wisconsin Rural Health Promotion Workshop on Oct. 6 online. Dr. McKelley presented "Why Mental Health Matters" and "Success Stories from Rural Health Settings", and Dr. Sumontha presented "Why Social Connectedness Matters" and "Success Stories from Rural Health."

Submitted on: Oct. 7, 2021

 

awarded

Ashley Edwards and Jessica Peterson, both Communication Studies; Daniel Hyson and Jason Sumontha, both Psychology; and Moira Ozias, Student Affairs Administration; received a CASSH Small Grant. The grant, "Racial Justice and Equity at UWL: Investing in Our Community," allows them to bring Rowen Thomas to campus to hold a customized workshop with CASSH faculty and staff. It will allow them to work on best practices to close equity gaps with underrepresented communities. Their workshop will ground individuals in their identities, and have CASSH faculty and staff walk away with action plans to integrate what they learn over the two hour workshop.

Submitted on: Mar. 4, 2020