Replacing Stigma with Hope
Ph.D. Candidate, Cardiff University
Maya Al-Khouja’s experiences conducting research and creating a program helping to erase the stigma around mental illness set her apart as she applied to graduate school.Maya Al-Khouja (PSYC ’16)
Working with Distinguished Professor of Psychology Patrick Corrigan, Maya Al-Khouja created the Honest Open Proud (HOP) college program as a student at Illinois Tech.
HOP is a peer-led program that aims to replace the stigma of mental illness with the beliefs of recovery, empowerment, and hope for college students with mental illness. The program has grown beyond Illinois Tech and is being tested at other universities across the United States.
Among Al-Khouja’s other achievements as a student at Illinois Tech, she was selected as one of the 2016 outstanding college students honored by the Lincoln Academy of Illinois. The organization’s Abraham Lincoln Civic Engagement Awards are presented for excellence in curricular and extracurricular activities to seniors from each of the state’s four-year, degree-granting colleges and universities, and one student from the community colleges in Illinois.
“I’m optimistic about getting into and succeeding in graduate school because of all the research experience I have from Illinois Tech,” Al-Khouja says. “Working as a student researcher under Professor Patrick Corrigan for three years has given me many publications and conference presentations that make me a more prepared student than most.”