Profile for Jason Sumontha

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Jason Sumontha

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Assistant Professor
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.


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 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.

It is my life passion to foster educational spaces that inspire hope among students from underserved communities. Hope is the ability to envision a future in which we wish to participate. In this way, many students from underserved communities do not have hope. They cannot envision a future in education in which they feel empowered to participate in their school and classes. I felt this as a young, first-generation college student. I struggled to navigate inherently unjust, racist, homophobic, and ableist systems. There were many times I lost hope.

What inspired me to continue were the educators, staff, and other admins who worked from a social justice lens—interrogating and studying systems of oppression, engaging resistance through research, and teaching and leading with intersectionality at their core. As I grew into a scholar and teacher myself, I have come to strongly believe that equity-based, multicultural education is the key to inspiring hope and promoting academic success among students from underserved communities. Therefore, I am compelled to do this work because it is my life goal to help others find hope in places and institutions I had previously lost hope in.  


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!


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! Affinity Group
2021-Present      Equity Liaison, UWL Psychology
2021-Present      Adviser, UWL Leaders Igniting Transformation (LIT)
2021-Present      Adviser, UWL Asian Student Organization (ASO)
2019-Present      Member, Diversity and Inclusion Committee – Psychology
2021-2022           Member, UW System Campus Climate Survey Working Group
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. 

aso group photo.jpeg

[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


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)


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.
  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.

  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.
  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.

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. 



Recep Pekdemir, Accountancy; Cord Brundage and Tisha King-Heiden, both Biology; Kristin Koepke, CATL; Eugenia Turov, Chemistry & Biochemistry; Ashley Edwards and Jessica Welsh, both Communication Studies; Bryan Kopp, English; Jason Sumontha, Psychology; and Katherine Evans, Recreation Management & Therapeutic Recreation; served by representing UWL at UW System’s Faculty College event May 30-June 2, 2023. The theme for Faculty College 2023 was Teaching & Learning with a Social Justice Lens.

Submitted on: June 1



Jason Sumontha, Psychology, elected Founding Vice President of Wisconsin Chapter of National Association for Multicultural Education.

Submitted on: Oct. 5, 2022



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



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