What Is the HAMMER Lab All About?

The “HAMMER” in the HAMMER Lab stands for:


This acronym captures two important facets of our research.  First, we study what stops people from seeking professional healthcare when they need it.  Second, we use modern statistical methods to evaluate the reliability, validity, and cross-cultural utility of popular psychological instruments, with a focus on self-report measures of help-seeking constructs.

Our students publish research on a wide variety of topics (e.g., the influence of systems of oppression such as White Supremacy, stigma, cultural and gender norms, mental health literacy, integrated care) and populations (e.g., people of color, LGBTQ+ folx, immigrants, international students, people who have experienced sexual assault, military veterans, athletes) related to these two facets.

Who works in the Hammer Lab?

The Lab is headed by Dr. Hammer and the team includes doctoral, master’s, and undergraduate students.  Current UK students who are interested in the topics of help seeking and multicultural measurement are invited to talk with Dr. Hammer about the possibility of joining the Lab. Dr. Hammer also works closely with Dr. Sarah Wilson’s interdisciplinary research group focused on understanding and improving mental health in engineering.

Current Lab Members:

  • Bio’s for most PhD and MS students can be viewed here.
  • Emily Murphy (doctoral candidate PhD Student)
  • Melanie Miller (doctoral candidate PhD Student)
  • Amelia Stanley (doctoral candidate PhD Student)
  • Ashna Sangar (post-masters PhD Student)
  • Ming (Mindy) Zhang (post-masters PhD Student)
  • Wenqi Weng (post-masters PhD Student)
  • Cece Kim (pre-masters PhD Student)
  • Master’s Students
  • Undergraduate Research Assistants

How Does the Hammer Lab Function?

HAMMER Lab meetings are held on Tuesdays from 4pm to 5pm during the fall and spring semesters.  We use these meetings to brainstorm study ideas, troubleshoot tricky research method decisions, and coordinate who is helping who with what project tasks.

Undergraduate RA’s get assigned to work with Dr. Hammer or specific graduate students on specific projects, who train and supervise the RA’s to complete developmentally-appropriate tasks (e.g., literature search and review, online data collection, data cleaning).

Doctoral students are principal investigators (i.e., first authors) on several research projects at any given time, while also serving as co-investigators on the projects of fellow doctoral and master’s students.

Master’s students are encouraged to be the principal investigator on a project (with help from other lab members) and to serve as co-investigators on other projects.  Their main goal it to gain research experience and develop skills that will make them competitive to apply to counseling psychology doctoral programs across the country in their second year of the master’s.

More experienced lab members provide research mentoring to less experienced lab members, teaching each other new skills.  We all “pay it forward”, because we ourselves were selflessly mentored by those more experienced than us.

Dr. Hammer has an open door policy such that any lab member can ask for his time to talk about research, professional development, getting into graduate school, etc.  He loves to mentor students.  He also encourages students to get mentoring from multiple people in the Lab, as learning is more robust when it comes from multiple sources.

How do I Join the HAMMER Lab?

If you are a prospective Counseling Psychology PhD student interested in coming to UK to work with me as a doctoral advisee, please visit my Prospective PhD Student page.

If you are a prospective Counseling Psychology MS student interested in joining our doctoral preparation master’s program and the HAMMER Lab, check out my Prospective MS Student page.

If you are a current UK doctoral or master’s student, please email Dr. Hammer regarding your interest.  Be sure to articulate why you are interested in the Lab and what kind of experiences you are hoping to get from being involved in the Lab.  The Lab welcomes students from outside our Department as well.  PhD and MS students interested in joining the HAMMER Lab must be available to attend our weekly Tuesday 4-5pm meetings.

If you are a current UK undergraduate student interested in earning PSY 395/394 credit by completing a research assistantship (RA) with the HAMMER Lab, please stop by my Prospective Undergraduate RA’s page.