Dr. Z smiling in front of table with Loyola cookies

Dr. Z, Director

Dr. Zoe R. Smith (Dr. Z) is an assistant professor of psychology at Loyola University Chicago.

Pronouns: She/her

Office: Coffey Hall 204
Phone: 773.508.3015
Twitter: @DrZoeRSmith, @ACCTIONLab
Instagram: ACCTIONLab
Faculty Webpage: Dr. Zoe R. Smith, Loyola

Education and Training:

  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, Pediatric Research, Loyola University Chicago

  • PhD in Clinical Psychology, Child and Adolescent Concentration, Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Clinical Internship, Child and Pediatric Intern, University of Chicago

  • BA in Psychology Kenyon College

Research Interests:

Development of culturally-responsive assessments and interventions for adolescents, particularly adolescents with ADHD and sluggish cognitive tempo.

I advocate through my research, teaching, and service for people from systemically oppressed backgrounds.

I also examine how motivation changes over time and through different contexts.

I examine how measures are created and fit together statistically (psychometrics).

My work is community-centered and healing-based. That means we focus on the strengths of the whole person and help to alleviate any distress.

Recent Courses Taught:

  • Psychopathology (undergraduate)

  • Health Psychology (graduate)

What I do for fun:

I love listening to books on tape, going for walks, eating delicious food (particularly pizza), and exercising. I'm also starting to learn how to play pickleball and it is super fun! I love playing basketball, but I am hopeless at shooting baskets.

Study Coordinator

Adrian Melendez

Pronouns: He/him
Education: The University of Chicago, BA in Psychology
Research/Clinical Interest: I am interested in mood disorders and research focused on adapting evidence-based interventions for diverse racial/ethnic and LGBTQ+ youth and young adults.
What I do for fun: Reading, running, saying hi to dogs

Graduate Research Assistants

Marcus Flax

Pronouns: he/his/him


· Montclair State University, M.A., Clinical Psychology

· Rutgers University-Newark, B.A., Psychology

Status: 1st Year Graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program

Research/Clinical interests: How adverse childhood experiences affect the development of African American youth, understanding the presentation of internalizing disorders in African American boys, addressing and breaking the stigma towards mental health within the African American community, and the development of new interventions to address the specific needs of Black and Brown youth.

What I do for fun: Chess, cooking, painting, being outside in nature, and spending time with family and friends.

Goals: I want to become a child/adolescent clinical psychologist so as to create a child study center at a university to progress youth research for BIPOC communities and inspire more students to become researchers.

Kaleigh Wilkins

Pronouns: she/her/hers


  • Loyola University Chicago, M.A., Clinical Psychology

  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, B.S., Psychology

Status: 5th year graduate student in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program
Research/Clinical Interests: exposure to violence and other life stressors present in urban communities; intergenerational trauma in and among ethnic-minority families; race-related stress; trauma-focused psychotherapy; disruptive behaviors in early childhood

What I do for fun: Biking, traveling, crafting/scrapbooking, eating at various Chicagoland restaurants and spending time with family and friends.

Goals: To become a child/adolescent clinical psychologist in an academic medical center conducting research and clinical work.

Lab Manager

Matti Jentz

Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

Education: B.S., Psychology and minor of Sociology, 2023

Status: I am currently a junior here at Loyola

Research/Clinical interests: ADHD and other mental diagnoses can be very misunderstood and I wanted to be in a group of people who are actively trying to change these stigmas against mental health. Changing the stigma against mental health and giving information out into the community can help so many people reach out and get the help they deserve. On the other hand, I would love to do research on how careers (specifically in the US) can affect parental/guardian mental health which then can trickle down and affect a child's mental health as well.

What I do for fun: This year will be my seventh year of being a part of a rugby team! I currently am a member of the womxn's rugby team here at Loyola. I also love to make fun DIY projects, crafts, and paintings on my down time. Spending any time outside is also one of my favorite things to do.

Goals: Currently I am deciding between getting my masters/PhD in Clinical Psychology or Industrial Organizational Psychology. I am leaning more towards IO Psychology though! Either way I want to continue my education and get my doctorate.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Eva Darow

Pronouns: She/Her
Education: B.S., Psychology, May 2022
Status: Post-bac
Research/Clinical Interest: I am interested in learning disabilities and behavioral disorders, specifically how they present during and after adolescence. I joined the ACCTION Lab to expand my research skills in the use of assessments and to learn about ADHD and SCT. I am so excited to be a part of this new lab!
What I do for fun: I enjoy playing my cello and spending time with my family and friends.
Goals: I plan to pursue a doctorate in clinical psychology.

Neel Patel

Pronouns: He/Him/His
Education: B.S, Cognitive/Behavioral Neuroscience, Psychology, 2023
Status: Junior at Loyola Chicago
Research/Clinical Interests
: I joined ACCTION lab because I would like to help out youth by giving them a voice and how their thoughts can help with the research of ADHD. I also want underrepresented communities to have their voice heard as well and give them the help that they deserve. My research interests also include finding clinical methods to current untreatable diseases like Huntington’s disease.
What I do for fun: I have been a part of performing arts for 8 years now playing in pep band and wind ensemble with my Alto Saxophone in hand! I also love passing time by playing games like Chess and Disc golf, going to concerts and festivals with friends and exploring local cuisines in areas around the country.
Goals: Currently my goal is to get a PhD in either Behavioral Neuroscience or Clinical Neuropsychology. With my degree, I would like to teach Neuroscience as well as do research!

Logan Phengsomphone

Pronouns: He/Him/His

Education: B.S., Psychology 2023

Status: Senior

Research/Clinical Interests: I have a passion for building strong future generations, ACCTION Lab has provided me an opportunity to practice and develop my skills with children and adolescents. There are currently many disparities, inequities, inequalities, and burdens in the system that we live in today that deter individuals from reaching their full potential. ACCTION Lab aligns with my own ambitions as it provides a community-centered approach towards healing and liberation in Chicago for Black, and Latina/o/e youth with ADHD and SCT that I can later extrapolate into other populations to remove those systemic barriers. I follow wherever my curiosity leads me, and it has led me to provide help to the amazing, smart, and creative people with ADHD and SCT.

What I do for fun: In my free time, when the weather is nice, you can catch me spending my time outdoors, either running miles or playing tennis. When the weather is not so nice, I am indoors either listening to music or playing the piano.

Goals: I plan to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology.

Celia Acevedo

Pronouns: She/Her

Education: B.S. in Psychology expected Fall 2022

Status: Fourth Year!

Research/clinical interest: Being a part of ACCTION Lab will be both rewarding and important work in which we spread resources to systemically oppressed populations and help advocate for their voices! I couldn't be more excited and proud to join this team!

What I do for fun: I enjoy diving into a good fiction book, taking care of my plants and garden, and spending time with my dog :)

Goals: I have plans to pursue a doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology with current work being completed in rape crisis counseling. My goals for this lab include diversifying my research interests and advocating for whosever voice I possible can!

Essie Humberston

Pronouns: she/her
Education: Loyola University Chicago, B.S., Psychology 2023
Status: Junior, Psychology major and Music minor
Research/Clinical Interests: I am so excited to be a part of the ACCTION lab because I think the work that it is accomplishing is extremely important and will help so many people, especially our youth. I am also excited that ACCTION lab recognizes the effects of systematic oppression and works to gain a better understanding of how this affects youth with ADHD. As someone with ADHD I am so excited to be a part of something that is working toward the betterment of lives of children and adolescents with ADHD today through research and therapy methods.
What I do for fun: I love playing guitar, singing, and hiking!
Goals: I am still figuring out what my specific goals for the future are but I really hope to have a career that is focused on understanding and bettering our society, whether that be with the environment, the use of technology, or mental illness (or all of the above).

Kareena Dharia

Pronouns: She/Her
Education: B.S. Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience with a minor in Psychology
Expected Graduation Year: May 2023
Status: Junior!
Clinal Interests: I am interested in how environment and other factors effect the children's development. I am joining ACCTION lab to work with youth and to better understand ADHD in order to do my part in bettering the lives of others.
What I do for fun: I am on Loyola’s Indian dance team, along with this I also enjoy working out, cooking for my friends and family, and spending time with those I love.
Goals: As an aspiring physician I hope to advocate for the idea that mental health affects more than psychological wellbeing.

Flor Enriques

Pronouns: She/her/hers

Education: Neuroscience and Psychology Majors w/ Biology Minor

Status: Senior Student

Research/Clinical Interest: Personality Disorders and Childhood Trauma

What I do for fun: I love to design creative projects and enjoy outdoor adventures

Goals: Contributing to stop the discrimination and stigma against people suffering mental illnesses

Lab Alumni!

Graduate Research Assistants


Jenny Phan: Child Psychology Intern at Lurie Children's Hospital

Genevieve Roth: Rising 3rd year at Loyola University Chicago completing neuropsychology externship at UIC Advanced Neuropsychology Practicum


Adrien Winning: Pediatric psychology intern at Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Undergraduate RAs


Eva Darow: Nationwide Children's Hospital Study coordinator - we miss you!!


Saniya Khan: Attending Midwestern University's PsyD program, congratulations!!

Mia Tyler: Applying to medical school for 2023!

Shakiba Kalantari

Three ACCTION lab members hard at work making the lab space beautiful! Creating plants to put in the assessment room
Dr. Z winning the prestigious Sujack Family Master Researcher award for our work on project CRAFT! Dr. Z is standing in group of faculty winners.
Group of students and Dr. Z sitting around large conference table wearing masks and smiling

Our first ACCTION Lab meeting!