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Potential Graduate Students

Although not an exhaustive list, some of the key characteristics that make students a good match for the lab are listed below. Please note, Dr. Wilson will not be recruiting a graduate student to join the lab in the fall of 2021.

  • A passion for research. The ASH lab provides training to graduate students enrolled in the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Penn State. Although students in the program receive exceptional and demanding clinical training while pursuing a PhD, those who are primarily interested in research-oriented careers are the best fit for the lab. Accordingly, we look for students who have clear indicators of a genuine enthusiasm and aptitude for research (e.g., a history of pursuing research opportunities, positive letters of recommendation from prior research mentors).  
  • An excellent research fit. In addition to a general passion for research, we look for a strong and well-articulated connection between the specific research interests of potential students and the work that we are doing in the lab. In order to be a good match for the lab, students should be sincerely excited about the types of things reported in our recent publications and described in the “Current Projects” section of the lab website ( This is not to say that one has to be absolutely enthralled by every single paper or study, but research interests should clearly overlap with some of the major themes that characterize the lab. It is also important to note that our lab is constantly evolving, and many of the new directions that we pursue stem directly from the interests of graduate students on the team. There is plenty of room for novel ideas. (Indeed, we thoroughly enjoy and foster innovation!) For instance, a student who is interested in expanding our prior research into new domains, such as eating behavior, could be a great fit for the lab. In fact, eating behavior is a topic that we are particularly eager to continue exploring, so long as there is a solid link to some of our core research topics.
  • A high degree of self-motivation and independence. We have found that students who thrive in our lab have strong intrinsic motivation, enjoy challenging themselves, and have the ability to work independently but the insight and openness to seek feedback and guidance when needed. We place a high priority on finding students who possess these attributes. As soon as they join the lab (or perhaps even shortly before doing so), students have the chance to dive into the research that we are conducting. We strive to bring on those who will take full advantage of this opportunity.

You are encouraged to email Dr. Wilson at to discuss your research and career interests if you are considering applying to join the ASH lab as a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Penn State.

Potential Undergraduate Students

If you are an undergraduate student who is looking for research experience, the ASH lab may be a good fit if you are interested in learning about addiction/smoking. Students must have a 3.4 GPA or better and be able to commit to a minimum of 6 hours per week during the semester and/or 15-20 hours per week during the summer, for at least two semesters. In addition, students must be able to attend a weekly lab meeting. Students must be highly responsible, reliable, highly motivated, and dedicated to conducting accurate and high quality work. Good attention to detail and the ability to carefully follow directions (e.g., complicated protocols for data collection) are also important. Finally, it is important to have the capacity to work independently (while having the judgment to know when to ask for assistance).

Due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on in-person research, the ASH lab is not currently recruiting undergraduate research assistants.