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Mason Professor Rita Chi-Ying Chung Named Virginia Outstanding Faculty

January 23, 2013

Media Contact: Catherine Probst, (703) 993-8813,

Fairfax, Va. – George Mason University professor Rita Chi-Ying Chung has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Award by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and Dominion Resources.

Chung, professor of counseling and development in the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD), joins 12 recipients from Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities who were selected from a pool of 109 applications based on excellence in teaching, research, knowledge, integration and public service.

“I am extremely honored and humbled to receive this award from SCHEV and be recognized with some of the most exceptional faculty throughout the state,” says Chung, who has been at Mason for 13 years. “Working at Mason has provided me with the opportunity to not only pursue my own research, but also teach, motivate and propel students to effectively work with diverse and disenfranchised groups. I am privileged to be a part of a university that embraces my philosophy as a professor.”

As a child of refugee parents from China who migrated to New Zealand where she was born, Chung arrived in the United States in 1990 for an overseas postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles. Influenced by personal experiences of discrimination, Chung has integrated multiculturalism, internationalism and social justice into her psychology and counseling work.

Rita Chi-Ying Chung

Rita Chi-Ying Chung

Specifically, Chung’s research focuses on multicultural, cross-cultural and social justice issues in counseling, cross-cultural disaster counseling, child trafficking, the psychological impact of racism, immigrant and refugee psychosocial adjustment and adaptation, the interrelationship of academic achievement and psychological stress on students of color and interethnic race relationships.

“Dr. Chung is the exemplar of what a faculty member at George Mason University should aspire to become,” says Mark Ginsberg, CEHD dean. “Her research drives the field in both teaching and practice and instills in her students the passion to give back to the community. As such, Dr. Chung is an exceptional example of one who is educating the next generation of multicultural social justice counselors and leaders.”

Her recent research is on the psychological issues in child trafficking. Her work on trafficking of Asian girls into commercial sex work led to an invitation by the United Nations to present on cultural perspectives on child trafficking, human rights and social justice.

Chung has worked in 16 countries and has produced more than 90 publications including articles and reports, books and book chapters. She has also received more than $2 million in external funding to support her teaching and research activities.

Chung also is involved with the Counselors Without Borders organization, which provides culturally responsive humanitarian counseling in post-disaster emergency situations. She has co-led and co-supervised teams and groups of students working along the Mississippi Gulf Coast three months after Hurricane Katrina, and on American Indian reservations and Latino migrant communities after the San Diego Wildfires.

She also has done international post-disaster mental health interventions and training in Thailand after the tsunami, Myanmar (formerly Burma) after Cyclone Nargis, and in Haiti three months after the major earthquake in 2010.

Chung has received numerous awards for her work on social justice with immigrants and refugees including the Counselors for Social Justice O’Hana Award and the American Counseling Association Kitty Cole Human Rights Award.

“We are delighted to honor Dr. Chung on this award as she becomes the 17th Mason faculty member to receive this recognition since 1987,” says Mason Provost Peter Stearns. “Her impactful teaching and research accomplishments are indeed worthy of the state’s highest honor, and her professional journey is unusually compelling. She is an asset to the community, the university, as well as the Commonwealth.”

A ceremony honoring the recipients will be held on Feb. 12, 2013 at the Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Va.

About George Mason University

George Mason University is an innovative, entrepreneurial institution with global distinction in a range of academic fields. Located in Northern Virginia near Washington, D.C., Mason provides students access to diverse cultural experiences and the most sought-after internships and employers in the country. Mason offers strong undergraduate and graduate degree programs in engineering and information technology, organizational psychology, health care and visual and performing arts. With Mason professors conducting groundbreaking research in areas such as climate change, public policy and the biosciences, George Mason University is a leading example of the modern, public university. George Mason University—Where Innovation Is Tradition.