Lab Director

Viann Nguyen-Feng

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Born in Shady Grove, Maryland and raised in Alexandria, Virginia (a hop between DC's Red and Yellow Lines), I grew up as a child of Việt Nam refugees and wartime Naval Veteran. From the Lincolnia neighborhood and Justice High (name upd. '18; link goes to a former teacher's book!), I wandered to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Eastern Virginia Medical School/Old Dominion in Norfolk, and the Navy-Marine Corps Public Health Center in Portsmouth. I eventually left the East Coast and found my way to Minnesota for graduate school in 2013—and I haven't left. Rather, I've moved farther north (well, 2 hours) to a colder winter, from UMN's Minneapolis campus to Duluth; nonetheless, I savor the opportunity to take in the four unique seasons as well as the daily and seasonal shifts of Gitchi Gami/Lake Superior's vastness outside my window. I've slowly gotten acquainted with Midwest culture and have fallen in love with all the natural landscapes and weaves of wildlife & city life offered by the Land of 10,000 Lakes.

Aside from going on "hikes" (it's the Minnesotan term for "walking outside"), I also enjoy bike commuting... except up the Duluth hillside. I like food. Period. My continual search for homey Southeast Asian cuisine in Minnesota is insatiable. Maybe I'll try learning how to cook someday. That aside, I can get really, really, almost-naggingly curious about learning nearly anything on—and off of—Earth. Tangents and a good (or even better—a bad) play on words make me laugh. I appreciate authentic streams of consciousness, even over my tendencies to organize. The most ironic parts of me are that despite my projects leveraging technology to promote access, I have managed to avoid all social media. Also, my Zen room has more items than anywhere else in my home.


Before entering the field of psychology, I had postbaccalaureate stints in teaching high school remedial algebra, training as a Registered Yoga Teacher, and working in the fields of community and environmental health, public health, and epidemiology. At some point, I realized that the values of inclusivity and curiosity that drive me could themselves be a career—and a great one, at that. Service as a counseling psychologist and professor is the best combination of everything the third-grade version of me wanted to be "when I grew up": an author, a teacher, a doctor, and a detective. Career-wise, I couldn't ask for more.

I strongly believe in a balance of science, practice, and advocacy, and I'm glad to be in a place that exemplifies that integration. Across my research, teaching, mentorship, and clinical domains, I prefer process and practice over perfection. I see learning about oneself as a necessary precursor to learning about and serving others. My hope is that community-engaged individuals, students, can take what they learn and apply it to their own lives and the lives of those they encounter. I have an open-door policy, so I welcome any questions, concerns, or casual hellos. Ultimately, my goal is to have two dogs, one medium-sized and one small.


Viann Nguyen-Feng CV

Core Affiliations

University of Minnesota, Duluth logo and mascot
APA Society for the Psychology of Women logo
APA Trauma Psych Division logo
APA Society for Counseling Psychology logo

Courses Taught

Ongoing Courses

  • PSY3011; PSY3996—Internship in Psychology; Pre-Professional Field Placement

  • PSY3121—(Ab)normal Psychology

  • PSY3989—Directed Instruction

  • PSY3994; PSY3986—Directed Research; Honors Project

  • PSY8052—Advanced Statistics II

  • PSY8099—Research Project in Psychology

  • PSY8232—Assessment II: Personality and Diagnostic Assessment

  • PSY8301—Multicultural Foundations in Counseling/Clinical Psychology

  • PSY3991; PSY8991—Applied Projects in Psychology

Previous Courses

  • PSY2003—Psychology as a Discipline and Profession

  • PSY3511—Introduction to Counseling Psychology (Twin Cities campus)

  • PSY4520—Psychology of Stress and Trauma (Twin Cities campus)

See RCMDR Guide that was co-written for PSY3001W—Introduction to Research Methods (Twin Cities campus)

Visiting Faculty Courses

L. N. Gumilyov Eurasian National University, Astana, Kazakhstan

  • Psychological Counseling (orig. Психологическое консультирование)

  • Clinical Psychology (orig. Психология Здоровья)

“Maybe, in the long run, my widely divergent activities and those of my students have created better chances of survival—like dandelions, not little cultivated plants in a garden.” –Carolyn Attneave, PhD