Dr. Jeninne McNeill
- Minority issues
- Therapy usage across cultures
- Current day racism and microaggressions
- Effective treatment for suicidality
If someone told me, fifteen years ago, that I would be on faculty of one of the top Christian universities in the country, I would have laughed … the same kind of laughter that Sarah laughed. But, my life has certainly taught me to never place limits on God. He is sincerely all-powerful, He does the unthinkable and we just never know what He is going to do next. I am in complete awe of Him.
I was born in East Orange, New Jersey and raised in Irvington, New Jersey. I often joke that one of the few good things about my childhood was that I did not know that we were poor, simply because I did not have anything else to compare to. Education was not insisted upon, because my entire family was uneducated. At the age of 15, I became completely independent, which eventually forced me to drop out of high school in order to support myself. Life took me down some very questionable roads, but despite not knowing Him, God protected me. At the age of 23, I gave my life to the Lord. The following year, the Lord led me to start college for the first time. Armed with only a G.E.D. , determination, and my passion for Christ, I dove into my studies. I attended Covenant College, which is part of the CCCU (Council for Christian Colleges and Universities), double majoring in English and psychology. I graduated from Covenant with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2004. I then pursed my Master of Science degree in Education at University of Rochester (U of R), in New York. While there, I had a few experiences that helped me to realize that I was not called to be a high school teacher, as I had assumed, but that I instead needed to go into child psychology. Unbeknownst to both universities, during the summer of 2006, I was enrolled in two graduate programs: completing my M.S. degree at U of R, and starting my doctoral work at Hofstra University. I graduated with my Ph.D. in combined Clinical and School Psychology from Hofstra in 2011.
Not only did the Lord lead me to educate myself, He always changed me as a person. We often read Romans 12:2, where Paul talks about being transformed by the renewing of your mind, but I wonder how often it is fully understood. I lived it! Over time, God stripped me from the inside out, in order to make me into His servant. Paul, someone who once rejected Christianity, knew that your mind, your behavior, your passions, everything about you is subject to complete alteration once the Lord gets a hold of you.
As for research, my primary areas include at-risk youth and minority treatment issues. My dissertation was an intervention study focusing on at-risk youth in the greater New York area. I designed an intervention that endeavored to increase the youths' self-esteem, resiliency and attraction to school. Measurement for this study included self-report surveys and two implicit measures, including the Implicit Association Test. This was a laborious treatment study, but it was fascinating and solidified my commitment to find methods that will best benefit at-risk youth. I also have a second strand of research that pertains to assessing the usage of therapy amongst various cultures. My research in this area includes obtaining the specific reasons why ethnic minorities are less likely to utilize and/or stay in therapy. For the future, my areas of research interest include evaluating and/or designing effective interventions for suicidal individuals, exploring prejudice and micro-aggressions, and increasing the well-being and quality of life for disadvantaged populations.
I am delighted to be here at Regent University and in the Virginia Beach area. I am excited to be part of the community, to be of assistance wherever I can and to see what the Lord has in store. As I said, we just never know what He is going to do next!