Jenny Pak, associate professor of psychology, came to Fuller’s School of Psychology in September 2014 from Biola University. She studied psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, received training in marriage and family therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary, and graduated from the University of Southern California with a doctoral degree in counseling psychology.
While at Biola, Dr. Pak received the Provost’s Award for Excellence in Mentoring Students, and she has supervised many doctoral students’ research projects. Underpinning her broad research interests is a commitment to bridging the gap between science and practice and incorporating meaning and intentionality in psychological inquiry.
Through her practice with bicultural individuals struggling with identity and inner conflict, Pak became interested in narrative analysis, which uses life stories to study how a person’s identity and sense of meaning are constructed out of relational and cultural context. This led to conducting in-depth qualitative research to examine the complexity of cultural adaptation and the split between acculturation at the behavioral and values levels. As she travelled to Thailand, Turkey, and South Korea to teach and provide counseling, her efforts have increasingly involved examining the impact of globalization on the individual’s life, cultural identity, and spiritual formation. As rapid modernization often collides with traditional cultural values and people adapt complex strategies and responses, conversion to another faith is often part of much larger transformations on the individual as well as communal levels.
Pak comes with many years of professional consultation and counseling experience within the church and in community mental health. She codirected the Early Childhood Program at the Child Guidance Center as well as worked with diverse court-ordered, at-risk youths and families from inner-city Los Angeles. Her clinical interests include in-depth integration of meaning and emotion in psychotherapy, identity development, and posttraumatic growth. She is a licensed psychologist and the author of Korean American Women: Stories of Acculturation and Changing Selves.
- History and Systems of Psychology
- Consultation Group
- Program Evaluation
- Program Administration
- Qualitative Research Methods
- Narrative Analysis and Spiritual Development
Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching
Narrative analysis, globalization, cultural transitions, parent-child relationship, identity, vocational and spiritual development, posttraumatic growth, grief, loss, pastoral and missionary care
- Pak, J. (2006). Korean American women: Stories of acculturation and changing selves. New York: Routledge.
- Sklar, Q. T., Pak, J. & Eltiti, S., Parent-child closeness and acculturation in predicting racial preference in mate selection among Asian Americans. Submission in review by Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice.
- Kim, H. J., & Pak, J. H. (2013). Journeys toward spiritual maturity among Korean immigrant women in midlife. Journal of Psychology & Christianity, 32 (1), 3-19.
- Dowd , A.C., Pak, J. H., & Bensimon, E.M. (2013). The empowering role of institutional agents in promoting transfer access. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21 (15). This article is part of EPAA/AAPE’s Special Issue on The American Community College in the 21st Century, Guest Edited by Dr. Jeanne M. Powers & Amelia M. Topper.
- Wolff, J., Pak, J., Meeske, K., Worden, J. W., & Katz, E. (2011). Understanding why fathers assume primary medical caretaker responsibilities of children with life-threatening illnesses. Psychology of Men and Masculinity, 12(2), 144-157.
- Wolff, J., Pak, J., Meeske, K., Worden, J. W., & Katz, E. (2010). Challenges and coping styles of fathers as primary medical caretakers: A multicultural qualitative study. Journal of Psychosocial Oncology, 28 (2), 202-217.
- Gibson, N., Hicks, M., Kimball, C., Pak, J., Plante, T., & Porter, S. (2006). Invitation to the table conversation: A few diverse perspectives on integration. Journal of Psychology and Christianity, 25, 338-353.
- Pak, J., Bensimon, E.M., Malcom, L., Marquez, A. & Park, D. (2006). The life histories of ten individuals who crossed the border between community colleges and selective four-year colleges. Los Angeles, CA: University of Southern California.