Yes, I will be taking a new doctoral advisee next fall. Please note that the application deadline for our Counseling Psychology PhD Program is December 1. I am interested in taking on an advisee whose research interests overlap with my Program of Research.
If you’re interested in getting a better sense of what I’m like as a person, here is a 20-minute video introduction.
Hint: If you watch the video on the YouTube website (by starting the video and then clicking on the “YouTube” icon in the lower right hand corner of the video window), you’ll be able to see a list of topics I talk about in the video description; clicking on a given topic will fast forward you to that part of the video.
In addition, to learn more about the structure and function of the HAMMER Lab and how UK PhD students contribute to the Lab, check out the hot-linked Table of Contents in the description of my “Introduction to the Hammer Lab” video. I talk about PhD students’ role in the Lab from minute 11 to minute 15 of the video.
My Mentoring Style
I was able to succeed professionally because of the high-quality mentoring I received over the course of my higher education. Mentors like Dr. Lisa Spanierman, Dr. Glenn Good, Dr. David Vogel, and Dr. Noah Collins helped me learn the knowledge and skills I needed to get into graduate school, manage my time well, practice work-life balance, pursue the research and clinical opportunities that would help prepare me get to the next career step, and find a sense of belonging and community in my chosen profession of counseling psychology. Providing mentoring to those who are earlier in their professional journeys is one of the most rewarding things I do as a professor.
Having mentored more than 50 undergraduate and graduate students since 2009, I have learned some valuable things about how I can best meet the needs of my mentees. Creating a safe, healthy working relationship takes effort and intentionality. There needs to be room for both humor and seriousness, as well as a balance of support and challenge. I am invested in my mentees’ success and dedicated to helping them achieve their career goals.
I recognize that my mentees and I are cultural beings, whose relationships with each other are shaped by systems of oppression that add further complexity to how power operates in our mentor-mentee relationship. I am committed to openly discussing these dynamics with my mentees and actively solicit feedback from them about how I am doing as an advisor and how I can do better. I then act on that feedback. I encourage prospective students thinking about applying to work with me to contact one or two of my current PhD advisees to get their perspective on my strengths and growth edges as a mentor. You can also check out this list of past PhD advisees who graduated while under my mentorship.
Not only do I actively solicit feedback, but I give feedback. I believe that getting a counseling psychology graduate education should involve personal as well as professional growth, and my feedback reflects this. Once I have built a foundation of trust with my mentee, I seek to provide praise and constructive criticism (from a place of warmth, respect, and humility) to help them be their best self. I normalize this feedback by being open about my past struggles and how I received coaching around my interpersonal style over the course of my graduate training. Like all people, my advisees and I are imperfect human beings who deserve to be (1) held accountable for doing better and also (2) shown compassion in the process.
If this sounds like the kind of mentoring you are looking for, please consider applying.
Before You Submit an Application
You do not need to send me an email before you submit an application.
As long as you mention your interest in working with me as your research advisor in your application’s Statement of Purpose, I will carefully read your application.
What I Am Looking for in a Doctoral Advisee
My years of doctoral admissions experience has made it clear to me what attributes of an application are most influential in shaping who I ultimately make offers of admission to. My webpage on What the Ideal Graduate School Applicant Looks Like speaks to some of the basic attributes that give me a positive impression of an application, but I want to go a little deeper here.
I prefer to work with students who I resonate with interpersonally. Specifically, I like advisees who are thoughtful, warm, humorous, patient with others, interested in forging supportive relationships with their peers in the lab and program, value personal and professional growth, and willing to receive feedback and give feedback (including speaking truth to power). They should be interested in “paying it forward” by providing collaboration or consultation to the master’s and undergraduate students in the HAMMER Lab. I like working with students who can function as autonomous professionals who balance seeking consultation from me on an as needed basis with doing work independently. They have strong work ethic, self-regulation abilities, sufficient attention to detail, the capacity to take the initiative, and the ability to tolerate a moderate degree of ambiguity (a necessary skill for therapists). I also like working with folks who, like me, are interested in further developing our individual and collective critical consciousness.
I want my advisees to passionately work alongside me on research while they are here at UK, but this does not mean that I expect/demand that they pursue academic or research jobs after graduation. Rather, I want them to pursue the type of career that is the best fit for them, whether that involves research, teaching, supervising, consultation, service to profession and community, advocacy and activism, or some combination of these. I will do my best to help them obtain the skills and experiences to make them competitive for the kinds of jobs they want after graduation. Therefore, when applying to work with me, I want to hear evidence of your excitement about doing research with me and your honest perspective on what career(s) might be a good fit for you after graduation, given what you know about yourself at this point in your development.
And please know that most students’ career plans shift over the course of their doctoral education. Thus, please do not feel pressured to have a pristine story in your Statement of Purpose about your future career direction. I just want to make sure that a counseling psychology scientist-practitioner doctoral education from UK is the right fit for helping you take the next career step, whatever that ends up being.