Melanie Brewster

Melanie Brewster

Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education

Co-Founder of the Sexuality, Gender, and Women Project

Columbia University

Melanie Brewster, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education at Columbia University, earned her Ph.D. from the University of Florida. Her research focuses on marginalized groups and examines how experiences of discrimination and stigma may shape the mental health of minority group members (e.g., LGBTQ individuals, atheists, people of color).  Dr. Brewster also examines potential resilience factors, such as bicultural self-efficacy and cognitive flexibility, that may promote the mental health of minority individuals.  To date, most of her research has centered on the experiences of sexual minority people.  Specifically, Dr. Brewster has focused on groups who occupy the "margins of marginalized populations" -- including bisexual individuals, queer people of color, and transgender persons.

Currently, she is working on several projects regarding experiences of workplace discrimination among sexual minority populations, as well as projects on identity development and "coming out" as atheist.  Her book, Atheists in America: Narratives from an Invisible Minority, was published by Columbia University Press in 2014.  In her spare time, Dr. Brewster enjoys hiking, playing fetch with her dog, painting, and designing jewelry.


Centralizing Sexuality, Women, and Gender in a College of Education: How to Build a Certificate Program and Concentration

This workshop, targeted toward faculty and administrators across higher education, will elucidate our process of building the Sexuality, Women, and Gender Project at Teachers College Columbia University as a case study for creating successful certificate programs.  We will provide information on how to garner institutional support, energize colleagues, and create interdisciplinary programming.  Through sharing information about our past, current, and future initiatives, participants will leave with several concrete examples how how they can centralize these topics at their own institutions.  Specifically, we will walk through how we have put on events, built research networks, and developed new coursework on LGBTQ issues and women's issues.  We will also discuss potential roadblocks and administrative challenges that come with the creation of a certificate program and how to troubleshoot these issues as they arise. 

Drawing on our diverse experiences, participants will share ideas for projects and small group discussions will vision potential roadmaps for launching programs at their home institutions.