Chapman’s M.A. Marriage and Family Therapy program has a well-established reputation for turning out some of the finest clinicians and leaders in the MFT field. Our students are continuously recognized by national associations for their innovation and academic excellence but this year has been truly exceptional. We are thrilled to announce that not one but three of our graduate MFT students have been selected to receive top honors from both AAMFT and AFTA, some are a first-time win for Chapman.

Aileen Lespron & Joseph Chang

Aileen and Joseph have been selected by the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) to be recipients of their Minority Fellowship for the 2021/22 academic year. This is a national program coordinated by AAMFT and funded through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMSHA). Recipient fellows are selected based on their academic performance, commitment to diversity and inclusion, identified future endeavors, as well as leadership potential in the field. This fellowship is considered prestigious honor in the MFT field. Aileen will join a cohort of national fellows and will receive invaluable mentorship and training from respected professionals in the MFT field over the course of the next academic year. There are fellowship funds that both students will receive that can be applied to some tuition expenses in the next academic year.



Here’s what Aileen and Joseph had to say about their awards:

Aileen: “Incorporating music, education, and mental health awareness for adolescents has been a longtime goal of mine. I am exciting to not only receive grant funding but mentorships and professional training to help bring my many ideas to life. This is one of the biggest scholarships I have ever been awarding and am still in awe of my acceptance! I would like to give a special thank you to Dr. Jonathan for meeting with me several times to assist me with the application.”

Joseph:When I read the email stating my acceptance to the Minority Fellowship Program, I was ecstatic, but I also very humbled and grateful for this opportunity. I did not have any research or clinical experience and felt unqualified to be accepted. I remembered slowly feeling my confidence dissipate during the application process as I was writing about the goals I had, but having no concrete opportunities to proactively work toward fulfilling them. Therefore, I see MFP as my chance to move forward with my goals and I am determined to take advantage of the opportunity given to me to become a competent therapist that people can trust.”

Ashley Ramos

Ashley Ramos has been selected by the American Family Therapy Academy (AFTA) to receive the Multicultural Equity Initiative Award. This national award is given to students and new professionals in the field who show commitment and promise in their clinical work and scholarship in the field of MFT in the areas of diversity and social justice. Ashley is the very first Chapman MFT student to receive this award!

Here’s what Ashley had to say about her award:

“Thank you to those in Chapman’s MFT Department and at AFTA for granting me the Multicultural Equity Initiative Award. This award aligns with my goal to create more inclusive research and therapeutic spaces for those in marginalized communities. I am honored to take this opportunity to create change and maintain the values of diversity and inclusion in AFTA’s organization as a committee member.”


On behalf of everyone at Crean College, we congratulate all three students and the entire MFT department on these wonderful achievements!