EJ Liao 

2023 Golden Women 

Main Scholarship Winner

Pursuing Master's Degree of Education in Marital and Family Therapy with a concentration in Art Therapy

Loyola Marymount University 

Why continuing an education is so important to her:

"Continuing my pursuit of a Master's education in Marital and Family Therapy with a concentration in Art Therapy is of utmost importance to me. I am dedicated to acquiring the necessary skillsets and knowledge to become an effective clinician, researcher, and leader. 

My graduate education allows me to deepen my understanding of the current landscape of the mental health field and address areas of insufficiency. As a first-generation immigrant, continuing my education means becoming a force in dismantling barriers to accessing mental health care, particularly for ethnic minority populations. 

To better serve the needs of marginalized populations upon graduation, I have undertaken rigorous coursework addressing intergenerational patterns in immigrant families. I have also focused on expanding access to mental health services through telehealth and combating the stigma surrounding addiction through racially equitable research. Additionally, my practicum experiences conducting art therapy at hospitals and schools have equipped me with essential techniques to develop clinical competency.

Most importantly, continuing my education represents an opportunity for me to become a mentor for other BIPOC women seeking role models within the mental health field. I am passionate about cultivating opportunities for other BIPOC students and clinicians. Together, we can advance the field by widening access, reducing stigma, and empowering others.."

EJ proudly supports:

American Art Therapy Association

American Psychological Association's (APA) Interdisciplinary Minority Program (IMFP)

California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists' Asian American Pacific Islander+ Therapists Circle

EJ, what does the term “Golden Women” mean to you?

The term "Golden Women" represents individuals who embody qualities of grit, open-mindedness, and radical candor to me. The Golden Women hold an inner refuge for the light within themselves and other women. They understand the significance of nurturing and igniting the inner brightness filled with passion, wisdom, and truth, especially recognizing the challenging yet invaluable journeys that each woman faces in our modern society.

To me, being a Golden Woman means being a catalyst for change. It means bringing a folding chair when there is no seat at the table and refusing to accept a zero-sum mindset. Golden Women understand the power they hold to open doors, shatter glass ceilings, and stretch boundaries to promote inclusivity. They are unwavering in their commitment to supporting and uplifting others, recognizing that their actions have the potential to kindle the light within other women.

Additionally, Golden Women embody the characteristics of grit, demonstrating perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity. They embrace challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth, never allowing obstacles to deter them from their goals. With an open-minded approach, they actively seek out diverse perspectives and engage in honest conversations, fostering an environment of radical candor where empathy and authenticity can thrive.

As I strive to become a Golden Woman, I am inspired to embody these qualities in my personal and professional pursuits. I aspire to be a source of support and encouragement for other women, amplifying their voices and advocating for their rights. I am committed to challenging societal norms, pushing boundaries, and cultivating inclusivity in all spaces I inhabit. With a relentless determination and a compassionate heart, I aim to be a catalyst for positive change, contributing to a world where every woman can bring forth their inner light.”

EJ, describe something that is plaguing young women today and explain what can be done to turn it around? What can you do to help?  

One pressing issue plaguing young women today is the youth loneliness epidemic, especially among underrepresented racial groups. Research indicates that younger adults, particularly women, experience feelings of loneliness and being left out at a significantly higher rate than older adults. Many young women face isolation and disconnection due to societal pressures, cultural transitions, and the impact of the digital age. Additionally, new immigrant women often find themselves navigating the acculturation process alone, adding to their sense of isolation. To address this issue, it is crucial to establish spaces that foster genuine connection, support, and a sense of belonging. 

As an art therapist, I can help by providing therapeutic interventions that promote self-expression, emotional connection, and community building. Through art therapy groups and workshops, I can facilitate a sense of belonging and foster meaningful relationships among young women. Additionally, I can collaborate with community organizations, such as, Golden Women Foundation, to raise awareness about the importance of social connections and combat the stigma surrounding youth loneliness. By offering culturally sensitive and inclusive art therapy services, I aim to empower young women of color to navigate their unique experiences, build resilience, and create supportive networks that alleviate the burden of loneliness. Together, we can foster a sense of belonging and connection, providing young BIPOC women with the tools they need to thrive and lead fulfilling lives.