Doctoral Student Spotlights

Max Belkin

Founders Fellow, Counseling Psychology

Since beginning his doctoral studies in Applied Psychology in 1999, Founder's Fellow Max Belkin, has become deeply involved in researching the interaction between gender and race.


Belkin's interest in this topic was shaped by his clinical work with African American and Hispanic adults and children and his experience of interviewing Hispanic and African American gay and bisexual men at the Center for HIV/AIDS Educational Studies and Training.


'A number of studies have explored manhood in the context of men's experiences of intimacy and empathy. Most research in this area, however, has concentrated on the lives of Caucasian men. There's a dearth of data on the relational experiences of African American men. To fill this gap in current research, I'm examining the connection between African American men's concepts of manhood and the quality of their relationships with their male and female friends.'


Belkin's experiences of being a sexual and ethnic minority both in his native Moscow and in the United States have spurred his interest to study groups often marginalized.


'In my youth,' Belkin says, 'my grandfather and several relatives joined other Russian Jews in their exodus to Israel. They were escaping anti-Semitism, economic hardship, and stifling conformity. Not only am I Jewish, but I'm also gay. So I have become very sensitive to all types of political discrimination, stereotyping, and other overt and covert forms of prejudice.'


Max regards New York City as his new home. “This is the place where I hope to launch my career – and I can’t imagine my life without biking in Prospect Park. Since I am always aware of my multifaceted individuality, I would never be happy in a racially, ethnically, or culturally homogeneous community, be it Russian, Jewish, or gay.”


The Founders Fellowship honors three former leaders who were instrumental in building the School of Culture, Education, and Human Development: Dean Daniel E. Griffiths, Vice Dean Elmer E. Baker, Jr., and Associate Dean Jerrold Ross. Founders Fellows receive tuition for doctoral study and an annual stipend for up to three years.