Full Time Faculty
Behavioral Sciences and Human Services
Phone: (718) 368-6609
Office Location: V-207, Academic Village
Catherine Ma, M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D. is an associate professor of psychology in the
Behavioral Sciences and Human Services department at Kingsborough Community College.
Her love of psychology trumped being an accountant when she first took Introduction
to Psychology at Baruch College. She later transferred to The University at Albany
where she met the love of her life and received her bachelor’s degree majoring in
psychology. As she continued to pursue her love of psychology, she earned her master’s
degree in psychology from Hunter College while working as the assistant undergraduate
psychology advisor. Her thesis advisor planted the seeds of further graduate study
and she earned her master’s degree in philosophy and doctoral degree in social-personality
psychology at the Graduate Center of CUNY. She began her teaching career after her
writing fellowship ended at the College of Staten Island and has honed her teaching
skills while being an adjunct and later a substitute lecturer in their psychology
department. Having enjoyed her experiences at so many CUNY institutions, she is ecstatic
to continue inspiring students in her psychology classes just as her professors had
PSY 1100: Introduction to Psychology
PSY 3200: Human Growth & Development
PSY 3000: Child and Adolescent Development
PSY 2800: Contemporary Views in in Psychology - The Psychology of Immigration
PSY 4100: The Psychology of Immigration
BEH 7000: Introduction to Research
BEH 7100: Conducting Research Honors Enrichment Component (HEC) Courses
Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York
Ph.D. in Social-Personality Psychology, Dissertation: Eat at Mom’s: Reclaiming and Rebuilding the Breastfeeding Paradigm with Women’s Voices
Master of Philosophy
Certificate in Interactive Technology and Pedagogy
Hunter College, City University of New York, Master of Arts in Psychology
State University of New York at Albany, Bachelor of Arts, major in Psychology
Dr. Ma has extensive experience teaching a wide variety of introductory and advanced
psychology courses including Introduction to Psychology, Human Growth & Development,
Child and Adolescent Development, Statistics in Psychology, Research Methods, and
Health Psychology. She is interested in creating new courses such as her course in
Contemporary Views in in Psychology (PSY 2800) that focuses on the Psychology of Immigration
(soon to be its own stand-alone course, PSY 4100). This new course takes a critical
look at the stresses unique to immigrants living in the United States. In this course,
we examine what does it mean to be American, residential schools, the Model Minority,
the plight of migrant workers, intergenerational trauma, the relationship of food
and immigration, citizenship, negotiating a sense of belonging, xenophobia, and the
Black Lives Matter movement.
Selected Publications and/or Other Resources
Ma, C. (2020). Incorporating Aspects of Asian American Studies as Tools for Teaching about Race and Discrimination in a Community College Setting. In Teaching and Learning for Social Justice and Equity in Education, New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Ma, C. (2020). Breast Work: My Breasts Deserve a Trip to Hawaii for All the Work They’ve Done Nursing. In Drew and Edwards (Eds), Breast Across Motherhoods: Lived Experiences and Critical Examinations. Ontario, CA: Demeter Press.
Ma, C. (2020). And Who Are You? One Chinese Mother’s Journey from Advocating for Her Children to Maternal Empowerment. In Bannerjee & Mukhida (Eds.) Band-Aids to Scalpels: Motherhood Experiences in/of Medicine. Ontario, CA: Demeter Press.
Ma, C. (2020). Sang Duc Ho. In N. Khanna (ed) Whiter: Asian American Women on Skin Color and Colorism. New York, NY: NYU Press.
Ma, C., Khuu, E., & Cohen, D. The Value of Teaching and Learning about the Psychology of Immigration. Presented at the Kingsborough Community College Women’s Resource Center’s Women’s History Month, 2019, March 18, Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY.
Better, A., Karp, A., Ma, C., & Posey, K. Finding Our Voice: The Importance of Diversity in Academic Spaces. Presented at the Kingsborough Community College Diversity Symposium, 2018 October 25, Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. & Holmes, J. Why Should Our Students Care About the Psychology of Immigration? Presented at the Encounters speaker series, Student Union & Intercultural Center, 2018 November 26, Kingsborough Community College, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. (2018). I’m MY Breastfeeding Expert: How First Time Mothers Reclaimed Their Power Through Breastfeeding. In A. Einion and J. Rinaldi (Eds.), Bearing the Weight of the World: Exploring Maternal Embodiment. Ontario, CA: Demeter Press.
Ma, C. (2018). Quit Calling My Kid, Yao Ming: Reflections of Race and Class from a Chinese Basketball Mom. In J. Battaglia, R. Bromwich, and P. Redela (Eds.), Mothering, Mothers, and Sport: Experiences, Representations, Resistances. Ontario, CA: Demeter Press.
Ma, C. (2017). The Varying Degrees of Ferocity in Performing Mothering as a Chinese American Mother. Journal of Mother Studies, 2, 1-13.
Ma, C. & Byas, T. The Impact of Teaching Immigration Classes in a Large Public University Post Election. Presented at the Sustaining Diverse and Inclusive Communities Conference, Sponsored by the Mellon Faculty Diversity Project at Queens College, CUNY, 2017, November 14, Queens, NY.
Ma, C., Moore, A., Anderson, D., Naveed, S., & Abdelrahman, K. The Impact of a Participating in a Psychology of Immigration Class Post Election. Sustaining Diverse and Inclusive Communities Conference, presented at the 4th Annual Diversity Symposium, Sponsored by Kingsborough Community College, 2017, October 31, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. Exploring Maternal Transformations Through Breastfeeding: Using Nursing Women’s Narratives to Resist Biomedical Discourses in Breastfeeding. Presented at the 8th Annual Diversity in Research and Practice Conference, Sponsored by Columbia University, 2017, April 1, New York, NY.
Ma, C. What Does Asian American Studies Have to Do with Teaching Psychology Courses? Reflections of a Community College Professor. Presented at the 2017 CUNY Faculty Diversity & Inclusion Conference, 2017, March 31, New York, NY.
Ma, C. What Does Asian American Studies Have to Do with Teaching Psychology Courses?
Reflections of a Community College Professor Post 2016 Election. Presented at the
Building Asian American Studies in Polycultural New York City, Sponsored by the Building
Asian American Studies Across the Community College Classroom, 2017, March 10, New
Ma, C. (2016). A Critical Examination of Breastfeeding Education: A Qualitative Analysis of How First Time Mothers Learn About Breastfeeding. The Journal of Mother Studies, 1, 1-23.
Ma, C. What do Asian American Studies have to do with Teaching Psychology Courses? Reflections of a Community College Psychology Professor. Presented at the 3rd Annual Diversity Symposium, Sponsored by Kingsborough Community College, 2016, November 3, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. Empowering Parents Workshop, Sponsored by The Women's Center, Kingsborough Community College; 2016, October 18, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. Dodging Booby Traps: How the Breast is Best Ideology Undermines Maternal Breastfeeding Efforts. Presented at the Eastern Sociological Society: Mini-Conference on Reproduction XII: Ideologies of Motherhood, The Boston Park Plaza Hotel; 2016, March 17-20, Boston, MA.
Ma, C. Game Changers Within Breastfeeding: How Listening to One's Inner Voice Can Help First Time Mothers with Breastfeeding. Presented at Women's History Month, Kingsborough Community College; 2016, March 29, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. Mother Knows Best: What First Time Mothers Teach Us About Breastfeeding Pedagogies. Presented at the Museum of Motherhood Conference: Theorizing Motherhood in the Academy; 2016, Manhattan College, May 6-7, Bronx, NY.
Ma, C. Do You Deserve to Be Happy? Exploring the Relationship Between Happiness & Gratitude. Presented at What is Happiness? Viewpoints from Liberal Arts, Kingsborough Community College; 2016, May 16, Brooklyn, NY
Ma, C. Booby Traps: How the Breast is Best Ideology Can Sabotage Breastfeeding Success. Presented at Women's History Month, Kingsborough Community College, 2015, March 16, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. & Bartolomeo-Maida, M. Empowering Parents Workshop. Presented at Women's History Month, Kingsborough Community College; 2015, March 16, Brooklyn, NY.
Ma, C. Booby Traps: How Breastfeeding Promotional Campaigns Undermine Maternal Breastfeeding Efforts. Panel member and paper presented at the Society for Public Health Education's (SOPHE) 65th Annual Meeting, Discovery 2014: New Health Education Strategies, Connections & Ideas; 2014 March 19-21, Baltimore, MD.
Ma, C. (2013). Eat at Mom's: Critiquing and Rebuilding the Breastfeeding Paradigm (doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from Dissertation Abstracts International, 73, (9-B) (E). (Order number: AAI3508705).
Ma, C. Booby traps: How Breastfeeding Promotional Campaigns Undermine Maternal Breastfeeding Efforts. Panel member and paper presented at Interventions: Women's Studies on the Edge, (Il)legible Identities; 2013 October 16; College Park, MD.
Ma, C. Booby traps: How the "Breast is Best" Educational Campaigns Can Undermine Improvement in Breastfeeding. Paper presented at The 41st Annual Hunter Psychology Convention; 2013 April 21, New York, NY.
Ma, C. Eat at Mom's: Reclaiming and Rebuilding the Breastfeeding Paradigm with Women's Voices. Paper presented at DATABLITZ!, Graduate School and University Center of CUNY: Second Annual All-Psychology Research Day; 2011 March 21, New York, NY.
Ma, C. Rebuilding the Paradigm: Tracking First Time Mothers' Experiences of Breastfeeding. Paper presented at The Graduate School and University Center of CUNY: Advanced Student Presentations; 2011 April 1, New York, NY.
Ma, C. (2009). If the Breast is Best, Why are Breastfeeding Rates So Low? An In-depth
Look at Breastfeeding from Policy Makers to the Bottom Dollar. In J. Nathanson & L.
Tuley (Eds.), Mother Knows Best: Talking Back to Sears and Other Baby Trainers. Toronto: Demeter Press.
Events and/or Key Dates
Dr. Ma's research expertise focuses on health promotion, breastfeeding education, lived experiences of breastfeeding mothers, individual belief systems and how they affect breastfeeding outcome, the lived experiences of Asian American immigrants, how to incorporate Asian American studies into teaching, implications of race and class in travel basketball, and maternal transformations through breastfeeding. Having experienced every single problem related to nursing her three children, she was inspired to use her research expertise in helping women nurse their babies in an empowering manner and make informed decisions regarding infant feeding. Her dissertation, "Eat at Mom's: Reclaiming and Rebuilding the Breastfeeding Paradigm with Women's Voices" was a mixed methods study that analyzed the breastfeeding experiences of first time mothers across three data waves (prenatal, early and late postpartum). With a combination of quantitative and qualitative methodologies, she was able to capture the ironies of breastfeeding promotional strategies that may unknowingly prevent women from breastfeeding success. She hopes to create a new model of breastfeeding education that focuses on the mother-infant dyad as opposed to relying on outside experts. Dr. Ma is also an active reviewer for the academic journals, Maternal & Child Nutrition and Journal of Human Lactation.
Her current research project is a qualitative analysis of student writings on what they learned while taking a Psychology of Immigration course. She has presented on preliminary findings at a variety of outlets focusing on diversity and cultural competence, and is in contract with Palgrave Macmillan to publish her chapter, Incorporating Aspects of Asian American Studies as Tools for Teaching about Race and Discrimination in a Community College Setting in their academic series, Teaching and Learning for Social Justice and Equity in Education Palgrave Macmillan.
Dr. Ma is continuing her research examining the lived experiences of Asian American
immigrants which was inspired by her own immigrant experiences and the sacrifices
made by her grandparents, Yuet Chun & Tai Yee Ma. She is working on an edited collection
of immigration experiences to document the ongoing struggles of Chinese immigrants.
To honor her grandparents, she created the the Yuet Chun & Tai Yee Ma Endowed Memorial
Scholarship Fund to award a deserving Kingsborough Community College student every
year in perpetuity. For more information on donating, please visit: https://www.crowdrise.com/YuetChunTaiYeeMaScholarship/fundraiser/catherinema
Awards Recognition, Distinctions and Grants
2018 Designing Co-Curricular Experiences for Civic Engagement Credit Proposal, "Dismantling Xenophobia as a Means to Foster Social Responsibility & Student Engagement"
2018 Faculty Achievements Recognition
2017 Faculty Achievements Recognition Received a PSC-CUNY Research Award Program: Traditional A Award during the spring of 2017 for my research entitled, Exploring the Lived Experiences of Immigrant Students in a Community College Setting Post 2016 Election
Fellow, 2016 The National Endowment Fund Summer Institute for Building Asian American Studies in Community College Classrooms at The Center for Ethnic Studies at The Borough of Manhattan Community College
Fellow, 2016 Faculty Fellowship Publication Program, CUNY Central
2016 Kingsborough Community College Women's Center Certificate of Recognition for Outstanding Dedication & Lasting Contribution
2016 Faculty Achievements Recognition
2015 Faculty Achievements Recognition
2014 Faculty Achievements Recognition
2013 Faculty Achievements Recognition
Institutional Affiliations / Professional Societies
Board member of the Asian American/Asian Research Institute of CUNY
Member of the Asian-American/Asian Studies Advisory Board for the Graduate Center, CUNY
American Psychological Association, International Lactation Consultant Association
Society for Public Health Education
When she is not teaching students or reading the Journal of Human Lactation, she enjoys practicing yoga, spending time with her family & friends, and enjoying the beach.