Prospective Students

Application process for undergraduate students interested in joining the lab:

Very excited to hear you are interested in joining ACCTION Lab!

Please email Dr. Z (zsmith5@luc.edu) your current resume/CV, unofficial transcript, schedule (keep Monday afternoons open for lab meetings), and answers to the following questions:

  • Planned graduation semester year (e.g., Spring 2024)

  • Tell me what your research/clinical interests are (e.g., are you interested in children, teens, adults; development of ADHD; intervention work; diagnostic assessments; statistics, etc.).

  • In this lab we serve adolescents and their families who are racialized as Black and Latina/e/o in the Chicagoland area. Explain your interest in working with adolescents who hold systemically oppressed identities. Describe your understanding of intersectionality of identities.

  • Tell me about your past experiences (e.g., experiences in mental health field/wellbeing, what classes you have taken and plan to take). How will these experiences help you in the lab?

  • Tell me about your experience working with people from a different cultural background than yourself.

  • What are your goals for after college?

Frequently Asked Questions for prospective PhD students interested in joining ACCTION lab:

Are you accepting new graduate students for fall 2023 admission?

  • Most likely, though that is not yet determined in our program


What should I do in my application to signal that I want to work with you?

  • In your personal statement state your interest in working with me, why you're interested in the ACCTION lab, and how your prior skills/experiences/etc. will help you be successful in my lab.


What are you looking for in a graduate student/application?

  • There are many different types of students who will be successful in ACCTION Lab. My research is assessment and clinically focused, so students interested in later academic, academic medical centers (AMC) clinical, AMC neuropsychological, and research careers will benefit from being in my lab. I do aim to recruit students seeking rigorous training in both research and clinical practice as both skill sets inform and improve the other.

  • Students who show and have a strong commitment to serving systemically oppressed youth. Advocacy and dissemination are very important parts of ACCTION lab, so students with experience and interest in these areas will be a good fit. It will be important for students to actively engage in thinking through and discussing how system-level factors affect mental health, particularly for adolescents from systemically oppressed backgrounds.

  • People who are reflective of their own cultural background and how that affects their beliefs and work in the lab.

  • Interest in and experience with community- and school-based work. Experience can look like research, volunteering, clinical work, etc.

  • Prior research, clinical, or assessment experience in clinical or developmental populations.

  • Focused on working with children and/or adolescents for graduate school and as a career.

  • A large focus of the lab is working with adolescents with ADHD. Students are not required to have prior experience working with adolescents and families with ADHD, but do need to be interested and willing to learn about assessments and interventions for youth with ADHD.

  • Motivated to learn and grow! People that are curious and engaged with work tend to do well working with me.


What are some research areas I will be able to pursue as a PhD student in ACCTION lab?

  • Culturally responsive assessments for Black and Latine adolescents with ADHD (See Project CRAFT).

  • Creating culturally responsive interventions for adolescents.

  • Measurement/psychometric properties of assessment measures.

  • Sluggish cognitive tempo:

    • Interventions

    • Measurement

    • Association with impairment (e.g., academic, executive functioning, sleep, neuropsych, anxiety, depression, etc.)

    • Assessment

  • As long as students are interested in working with adolescents in community-based research, we can also discuss additional related areas (e.g., comorbidity of anxiety/depression, neuropsychological correlates, etc.)


What does your mentorship look like?

  • There are many aspects to mentorship. I am here to help you reach your goals and I take into account your prior experience and knowledge to help you move forward and grow as a graduate student.

  • I will hold time for 1 hour weekly meetings with graduate students. This will be time to discuss the program, classes, research, clinical work, specific lab-related questions, joys, successes, problem-solving, interests, growth areas, and anything else you feel like it would be helpful to discuss related to your goals/values. Students are not required to meet with me each week, but I do suggest when working on thesis/dissertation that we work together closely on the project and have at least bi-weekly check-ins.

  • Mentorship is extremely important to me. I value feedback, I value growth. When I take a graduate student, I'm invested in their growth and success, whatever that looks like for them.


Can I talk to prior students who have worked with you?

  • I'm a new faculty member this year! You absolutely are encouraged to reach out to students who are working with me and I can also put you in contact with others I have supervised/worked with, but the student who starts with me in Fall 2022 will be my first graduate student. There are many pros to being a first graduate student (papers, get to shape projects, energized faculty member) and there are some cons (faculty is still learning about the university/requirements for students-I'm a quick learner though).

See below for Loyola's page with additional program information for prospective PhD graduate students in clinical psychology.