Dr. Belle Liang, Principle Investigator
Belle Liang is a professor of Counseling Psychology in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. She is Principal Investigator in the Purpose Lab and her research focuses on positive youth development, including mentoring and relational health in adolescence and young adulthood. In particular, her work involves the development of youth purpose interventions, including those that are technologically mediated. She is currently developing True North, a curriculum and web-based application for creating purpose profiles to be used in schools and universities. She leads a number of research-practice collaborations in and out of the U.S., and has authored 80+ scientific journal articles and book chapters on adolescence and emerging adulthood. She is dedicated to translating research to practice in cultivating purpose in youth and youth-serving organizations.
True North Project Lead
Tim Klein is an award-winning urban educator, as well as a clinical therapist and school counselor. He's worked intensively with marginalized students to empower them to pursue meaningful and fulfilling lives. He is the True North Lead at BC. He previously served as the director of strategic partnerships for Project Wayfinder, an organization designing and disseminating purpose education for secondary schools, Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, and Director of School and Community Engagement at Medford High School. In this latter role, he implemented strategies that increased college matriculation by 30%. Prior to that, he spent five years as the Outreach Director for Summer Search, a national youth development non-profit serving historically underrepresented student populations. His work has been featured in EdSurge, Greater Good Magazine, The Los Angeles Times and KCRW. He has spoken widely about youth purpose learning, including as panelist for NBC’s Education Nation and at Ashoka U Changemakers conference.
Amie Kang is a second-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Boston College. Before, she earned her B.A. in Psychology at UC Berkeley and her Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Amie has been part of the Purpose Lab for one year and leads the True North project, working with a talented team of students. Apart from work and studies, Amie enjoys drinking lattes, experimenting with new recipes, and taking walks along the Charles River.
Lily Konowitz is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program at Boston College. She earned her B.A. in psychology and political science at Bucknell University, and her masters in counseling theories at Boston College. Working closely with other research assistants and Dr. Liang, Lily leads the Changemakers project, MentorOn project, and the Antecedents of Purpose study. In her free time she enjoys spending time with friends and family (when its not COVID), exercising, and reading novels/thrillers.
Chris is an aspiring educator, equitable education advocate, and educational researcher. Born in Tao Yuan City, Taiwan, raised in Shanghai, China, Chris is a bilingual (Chinese and English) international student currently pursuing a Master’s degree at Boston College’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development. With a passion for youth purpose development, Chris seeks to participate in equitable educational policy and to create authentic and humanizing spaces for youth to realize their change agency and illuminate their counter-narratives. Above all else, he believes in the power of mentorship that extends beyond the educational field. Throughout his time in college, Chris has had various personal experiences in being both a mentee and a mentor in English tutoring, dance, volleyball, biking, drumming, cultural exchanges, navigating college, academic advising, career advising and many more. Equipped with insights from his academic and extracurricular endeavors, he hopes to connect with and inspire more students, particularly students of color, and develop authentic and long-lasting relationships with each and every one of them.
Michelle Zhou is a first-year Master's student in the Mental Health Counseling program at Boston College. She also attended BC in undergrad, receiving her BA in Applied Psychology & Human Development and Theology. This is Michelle's fourth year in the Purpose Lab and she currently leads the Mapping Purpose/Three Universities project. In her spare time, she enjoys making music with friends, reading, and drawing.
Maddie Reed is a first year masters student in the Mental Health Counseling program at Boston College. She actually just graduated from BC undergrad in the spring, earning her B.A. in Applied Psychology and Human Development and English, as well as a concentration in Special Education. Maddie has also been a member of Dr. Belle Liang’s research team on purpose development for over two years, previously as an undergraduate research assistant, and now as a graduate research assistant. She is involved mostly with the Changemakers and MentorON programs. She hopes to be a counselor with special focus on providing services for the the LGBTQ+ community. Outside of school, Maddie is a nanny three days a week, and she loves riding her bike all around Boston. She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska, but she has lived in Boston for the past 5 years! In her free time, she loves to read and write, as well as skateboard around her neighborhood park!
Arisa was born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand. She is now a first year student in the Master's in Mental Health Counseling program at Boston College, after pursuing an undergraduate degree at BC as well. Arisa has really enjoyed being part of the True North team, especially getting to help guide BC underclassmen to explore their purpose. Outside of the research team, Arisa enjoys dancing and exploring different cafes!
Meghan graduated from Boston College in 2020 with majors in Applied Psychology & Human Development, and Political Science. Meghan has been a part of the Purpose Lab for 2 years, where she has been involved in projects examining Critical Consciousness and Meaning Making. Meghan is currently doing a year of service in Nashville, TN at an anti-poverty non-profit organization called the Martha O’Bryan Center, and plans to then return to Boston College to get her Masters degree in Social Work. Aside from research and volunteering, Meghan loves to spend her time playing soccer, watching the Buffalo Bills, and socializing with friends and family!
Brenna Lincoln first became connected with the Purpose Lab in 2016 and has been an active lab member ever since. Brenna completed both her B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Mental Health Counseling at the Boston College Lynch School of Education. Currently, she works as a Mental Health Counselor in the Boston area. On the Purpose Lab, she has contributed to the ChangeMakers, MentorOn, True North, MPOWER, and 3 Universities projects. Outside of work, Brenna enjoys adventuring in the White Mountains of Western Maine, biking around the city, and cooking/baking with her friends and family.
Willow Wood is a master's student in the Mental Health Counseling program at Boston College. Before moving to Boston, she earned her B.A. in Psychology and Art History at Lewis and Clark College. Willow has been a part of the Purpose Lab for 2 years and most recently has worked on web development for the True North project. Outside of school, Willow loves exploring new hiking trails, cuddling with her cat, and playing Animal Crossing.
Shao Wei Chew Chia
Shao Wei Chew Chia is a first-year MDiv student at Harvard Divinity School, with an MSc in Psychology from the University of Edinburgh and BA in History and Literature from Harvard University. Shao Wei is new to the lab this year, and will be working on the True North project and studying the influence of maternal relationships and mentoring relationships on purpose development.
Molly is a second-year undergraduate in Boston College's Lynch School of Education and Human Development. She is pursuing her Bachelor's in Applied Psychology and Human Development, with a minor in Restorative and Transformational Justice. Molly joined the lab in the summer of 2020 and has primarily been working on the curriculum and app development of True North. In her free time Molly enjoys biking along the Charles, going out to eat, and making matcha lattes.
Kira Patel is an undergraduate senior at Boston College pursuing her B.A. in Applied Psychology and Human Development. Kira will be continuing in her education at Boston College in the M.A. in Mental Health Counseling program. This is her first year on the Purpose Lab team, and she has experience leading the True North Circles Curriculum with a group of students on campus. In her free time Kira enjoys going for bike rides and taking trips to the beach.