PhD Candidate Yunyu Xiao Awarded Family Process Institute's New Writers Fellowship

Yunyu Xiao
Yunyu Xiao

NYU Silver PhD Candidate Yunyu Xiao was named one of ten 2019 New Writers Fellows by the Family Process Institute. The fellowship, which provided tuition and expenses for an intensive workshop on the craft of scholarly writing, supports the development of new scholars who will advance systemic theory, research, and practice grounded in a commitment to social justice.

Xiao, who is also a pre-doctoral fellow at the School’s McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research, is a child and adolescent mental health researcher, with a special focus on health disparities in suicidal behaviors and the role of social networks. Her interdisciplinary work focuses on the psychosocial, educational and behavioral determinants of suicide among children and adolescents from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds. Xiao has presented at national and international social work and public health conferences and has published in top journals, including Journal of Affective DisordersJournal of School PsychologyJournal of Youth and AdolescencePsychiatry ResearchAsian Journal of Psychiatry, and Health Behavior Research, and has a paper forthcoming in Pediatrics. In 2018, she received the American Public Health Association's (APHA) Kenneth Lutterman Award for Best Student Paper for her paper “Cumulative Social Network Risks and Youth Resilience towards Suicidal Behaviors.” For her contributions to research and services in public health social work, Yunyu also won the 2019 APHA Annual Meeting Student Scholarship.

According to Associate Professor Victoria Stanhope, Director of NYU Silver’s PhD Program, “Yunyu has impressed me with her ability to publish in high impact journals while still in the doctoral program. With the benefit of this training, she will be able to further her capacity to disseminate her research and make a significant contribution to the field.”

Xiao expressed particular gratitude to her mentor, Dr. Michael A. Lindsey, the Executive Director of the McSilver Institute and Constance and Martin Silver Professor of Poverty Studies. “Over the past four years, Dr. Lindsey has encouraged me to be rigorous in my research and has modeled how to be precise and focused on significance in my writing. He sparked my interest in social network influences on suicidal behaviors among diverse groups of young people, and I have been privileged to collaborate with him on multiple publications.”

At the New Writers Fellows workshop, held in late September 2019, Xiao said she built on the strong foundation in academic writing she developed at NYU. “The workshop was led by Dr. Evan Imber-Black, the former editor of the respected journal Family Process. She provided guidance on how to make our scholarship more engaging to journal editors and readers, from how to make our titles more interesting to how to frame our questions so they are more meaningful to our field, to how to shift our focus to match the journal in which we seek to publish.”

Xiao, who is due to graduate in May 2020, is currently writing her dissertation, which focuses on social network influences on suicidal trajectories from adolescence to adulthood. She aims to secure a faculty position at a research university, where she can continue her work on health disparities in suicidal behaviors. She said, “I want to further our understanding about racial and gender specific vulnerabilities that affect young people’s risk of suicidal behaviors and ultimately design interventions to prevent suicide among those with predisposing vulnerabilities.”