The PsychoHairapy Research Institute (Summer 2019)

This summer, the PsychoHairapy Research Lab selected 4 students with a variety of academic backgrounds to join the program. Working under the direction of Principal Investigator Dr. Afiya Mbilishaka, members of the PsychoHairapy Research Institute had an opportunity to develop their research prowess and contribute to the developing body of literature in the field of Hair Psychology. Throughout this 6 week intensive, researchers gained meaningful first hand experience in qualitative research from data processing and analysis to reading and writing scientific papers.

Interns engaged with research in a number of fields, including (but not limited to):

  • Social Psychology

  • Personality Psychology

  • Psychotherapy

  • Linguistics

  • Philosophy

  • Public Policy

Each week, interns had the opportunity to participate in professional development seminars, skills trainings and networking with specialists and practitioners from a number of Universities and professional fields in Psychology.

The Institute culminated with each intern having the opportunity to present at the Association of Black Psychologists International Convention in Orlando, Florida. The theme for this year’s conference was “Afrikan Psychology & Afrifuturism: Psychological Liberation & Spiritual Illumination.”

Meet the Interns:


Camille Warner

Camille is a graduate of the University of the District of Columbia where she received a B.S. in Psychology. Presently, Camille is a 3rd year PhD student in the Howard University Graduate School of Psychology with a specialty in Developmental Psychology. She is interested in exploring the impact of early childhood and school related experiences in the psychosocial development of children. Her favorite natural hair product is Coconut Oil.


Darrick Jones

Darrick is currently a graduating senior at the University of the District of Columbia pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. A romantic at heart, Darrick is intrigued by the psychology of love and in particular, the relationship between physical appearance and attraction. Fun fact about this young scholar, he taught himself to cut his own hair at a very young age! His favorite hair product is his curling sponge.


McKalah Hudlin

McKalah is a native of the DMV area and a senior at Princeton University where she majors in Psychology with a certificate in Cognitive Science. McKalah’s research interests stem from the lack of focus on minority populations in the study of mental health. Noting the high rates of misdiagnosis and under treatment of many mental illnesses in Black communities, McKalah wishes to design interventions with the aim of reducing such disparities. Her favorite hair styling tool is her wide tooth comb.

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Kai Clemons

Kai is a Junior in the Kent State University Department of Psychology pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Child Psychology. Kai wishes to use research as a means of exploring representation of natural hair in the media and its effects on the development of self esteem in young Black children. Kai is very skilled in the art of flat twisting and her favorite hair product is Shea Moisture’s Coconut Curling Cream.

PsychoHairapy Researchers


Aremu Mbande

Aremu graduated from Howard University with a degree in Psychology, currently directs the African-American Male Resource Center at Chicago State University, and is a doctoral student at the University of Illinois-Chicago studying Educational Psychology with a focus in Human Development and Learning. His research interests include male socialization practices, innovative teaching methods, and intellectual development in nonacademic spaces. Aremu joined the Psychohairapy Research Lab in 2017 to better understand how identity development transpires in barbershops. He cites his soft military brush as his favorite hair accessory. 

Interested in Joining the Lab? Visit the CONTACT page.