Toniqua Lawrence, a Buffalo native, received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University at Buffalo in 2021. During her time as an undergraduate, Toniqua has enjoyed participating in organizations that bolster student interest in graduate studies, including being a Ronald E. McNair Research scholar, and a Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) scholar. She has also worked as a research assistant in the UB Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology; and at the university’s Research Institute on Addictions. In addition, she has enjoyed giving back to her university community through work as an academic coach, tutor, peer mentor, and teacher’s assistant.
Through research, volunteer, and mentorship experiences in the Buffalo area, she gained a passion for mental health, specifically focused on addressing disparities in marginalized communities. Due to these experiences, Toniqua hopes to advance strategies to reduce mental health stigma and increase culturally competent care in the WNY area. Her current project involves working with the Mental Health Coalition of Buffalo, NY. Collaborating with local professionals, she contributes to efforts to increase minority participation in mental health services and tackle racial disparities. She looks forward to growing and diversifying the mental health field in the WNY area.
Toniqua is currently working on her PhD in counseling and school psychology, where she aspires to blend her interests for mental health and multicultural competency into aims that bring attention to community mental health issues for minority populations. Understanding the importance of mental health care, she hopes to utilize her entrepreneurial goals by establishing a private practice in the future.