2016-2017 Luce Scholar

School of Human Welfare Studies Kwansei Gakuin University

Jenny Payne is placed with the School of Human Welfare Studies at Kwansei Gakuin University in Nishinomiya, Japan.  For her Luce year, she aims to explore how mental health issues are addressed and understood in Japan. The School of Human Welfare Studies is committed to being a “center of practical science” through its rigorous research and academic programs. At the School, she will be mentored by Dean Mie Oowa and other professors in the Department of Social Work including Dr. Satoshi Ikeno whose current research focuses on long-term psychosocial effects of traumatic events such as the atomic bombings and major natural disasters on survivors.

Jenny graduated in May 2016 from Barnard College of Columbia University with bachelor’s degrees in Ethnomusicology and Neuroscience. Jenny aspires to a career in mental health that combines her passion for biomedical science, social justice, and anthropology to provide equitable and culturally informed patient care. Originally from Silicon Valley, Jenny began her work in community health volunteering with AMIGOS de las Américas in Rivas, Nicaragua at age fifteen. After her first year at Barnard, she returned to AMIGOS to run a 50-person project, collaborating with the Servicios de Salud de Oaxaca on public health projects in Oaxaca, México. She served as the director of Nightline Peer Listening, Columbia’s student-run mental health hotline, and as a crisis counselor for the national text hotline Crisis Text Line. She has also worked as an advocate for survivors of sexual violence at Columbia’s Rape Crisis/Anti-Violence Support Center and the Crime Victims Treatment Center, and has undergone over 200 hours of crisis intervention training.

Jenny spent two years working for the Lucy Wicks Adult Psychiatry Clinic at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, where she assisted in developing a toolkit for clinics looking to improve their services to the LGBT+ community, and focused on enhancing access to services by incorporating mobile technology into patient care. Through Barnard’s New York City Civic Engagement Fellowship, Jenny planned a city-wide conference on student mental health activism to take place in April 2016. In her free time, Jenny enjoys analyzing pop music videos through a feminist lens, eating spicy guacamole, and playing the Japanese koto with the Columbia University Hogaku Ensemble.