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Ph.D. Program - Clinical Psychology

Current Students

We are very proud of our students. They come from all over the country to study in our program; several even come from other countries. Our students have diverse professional interests and their individual professional development is facilitated in our program. Most present at professional conferences each year, most complete the program with several publications, and all receive outstanding research and clinical training.

Our students' match rates for internships are well above the average for accredited Ph.D. programs. Our students finish our program prepared for careers in research and practice. Some elect to take research-oriented careers in tenure-track positions in research/universities, medical schools, or in teaching-oriented colleges and universities. Others successfully seek careers in more applied clinical settings. Students from our program are well prepared for both paths. Students and faculty work closely together throughout their tenure at the University of Tennessee. Students in our program enjoy a cohesive, supportive student climate in scholarly and social domains.

Previous Students

Student Advisor Interests Email
Parks Fillauer Bolden Psychological Assessment and understanding associations between attention problems, disruptive disorders, and central executive functions across the lifespan to inform evidence-based treatments & psychological science. jfillaue@vols.utk.edu
Autumn Rae Florimbio Stuart Understanding factors (e.g., substance use, social cognitions, attitudes supportive of violence) that increase the risk for intimate partner violence and sexual assault perpetration and victimization; Translating empirical findings into effective prevention and intervention programs. aflorimb@vols.utk.edu
Stephanie Kors Macfie The intersection of developmental psychopathology and child maltreatment; early traumatic experiences and the development of attachment skors@vols.utk.edu 
Katie Lenger Gordon Romantic relationships; long-term marital satisfaction; mindfulness, especially within the context of romantic relationships; couple-based interventions to individual psychopathology; and reaching underserved populations.  klenger@vols.utk.edu
Rebecca Skadberg Moore Substance abuse.  Barriers to care that influence health outcomes. Novel non-narcotic interventions that improve functionality in those chronic pain. skadberg@vols.utk.edu
Conner Smith Nash Unconscious mental activity in psychopathology, psychotherapy theoretical integration, embodiment of emotion, psychotherapy process and outcome. csmit347@vols.utk.edu
Student Advisor Interests Email
Jennifer Bishop Welsh Identity development and psychological well-being in emerging adulthood with a emphasis on role balance, the transition to college, and college success. jbisho22@vols.utk.edu
Meagan Brem Stuart Risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence perpetration, including jealousy, cyber monitoring/abuse, and substance use; mindfulness- and acceptance-based models for intervention. mbrem@vols.utk.edu
DJ Garcia Gordon    
Jenna Gilmore Bolden Understanding the neuropsychological correlates of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children, particularly the unique profile of girls with ADHD, to inform the development of valid interventions for learning, attention, memory, and behavior. jgilmor5@vols.utk.edu
Rebecca Mahan Macfie Maladaptive parenting behaviors and maternal borderline personality disorder in relation to offspring development and functioning, parent-adolescent interactions, and childhood emotional/psychological trauma and abuse. rmahan1@vols.utk.edu
Megan Schmidt Moore Identifying risk and protective factors for men's perpetration of intimate partner violence within same and non-same sex couples. mschmi13@vols.utk.edu
Marisa Whitley Elledge Child aggression; children's friendship development and trajectories; child psychopathology development, course, and treatment; and Social Network Analysis mwhitle3@vols.utk.edu
Student Advisor Interests Email
Shane Bierma Moore Attachment, intimacy, and perceptions of infidelity in LBGTQ+ individuals. Barriers to care, stigma, mental health, and substance use in HIV+ populations. Transgender individuals mental and physical health, and barriers to adequate care. sbierma@utk.edu
Caitlin Clevenger Stuart Theories of interpersonal violence and suicide, particularly ideation-to-action frameworks. The influence of violence exposure and substance use on suicide and interpersonal violence risk. Suicide and violence victimization risk among understudied and vulnerable populations, particularly people who identify as transgender or gender diverse. cwolford2@vols.utk.edu
Morgun Custer Nash Unconscious mental activity in psychopathology, psychotherapy theoretical integration, psychotherapy process, evolutionary psychology (particularly psychoanalysis), literature and psychoanalysis. Mcuster1@vols.utk.edu
Gretchen Kurdziel Macfie Personality disorders as they relate to attachment in close relationships (particularly in women with personality pathology), developmental psychopathology, trauma and abuse, and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy.   gkurdzie@utk.edu
Samantha Manring Elledge Child aggression and the factors that either place kids at risk for aggressive behavior or protect them from developing aggressive tendencies and family dynamics- especially the parent-child relationship and sibling relationships smanring@utk.edu
Rebecca Shorter Gordon Treatment of co-morbid physical and mental health conditions, particularly co-morbid anxiety and depression in cancer patients; stress and biobehavioral factors related to chronic illness at the individual and family level; grief, loss, and meaning-making. rshorter@utk.edu
Kathryn Smeraglia Elledge Parent-child and teacher-child interactions, particularly in terms of relationship quality and the protective factors they may have on chronically victimized children. Externalizing (oppositional, aggressive, and bullying) behaviors in children, and how these behaviors are related to social outcomes within the classroom. ksmeragl@vols.utk.edu
Student Advisor Interests Email
Megan Carl Bolden Understanding neuropsychological correlates of attention, learning, and disruptive behavior problems in children to inform psychological science and evidence-based practices. mcarl1@utk.edu
JoAnna Elmquist Stuart Risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization. Intersection of relationship violence and substance abuse- prevalence, moderators, prevention, and intervention. Violence throughout the lifespan including child abuse and elder abuse. jelmquis@utk.edu
Jared Goldman Nash Unconscious mental activity in psychopathology, psychotherapy theoretical integration, psychotherapy process, evolutionary psychology (particularly psychoanalysis). jgoldma4@utk.edu
Alex Khaddouma Gordon Factors that contribute to healthy romantic relationships, the effects of mindfulness on relationship health, and the effects of relationship health on motivated behavioral systems. akhaddou@utk.edu
Gyrid Lyon Nash Unconscious mental activity in psychopathology, psychotherapy theoretical integration, psychotherapy process, evolutionary psychology (particularly psychoanalysis). glyon3@utk.edu
Jerika Norona Welsh Romantic relationships in adolescence and emerging adulthood, specifically infidelity, perceptions of romantic interactions, and storytelling/narrative. jnorona@utk.edu
Brianna Pollock Bolden Understanding neuropsychological correlates of attention, learning, and disruptive behavior problems in children to inform psychological science and evidence-based practices. bpollock@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Kerry Cannity Hopko Stress, anxiety and depression as well as the interaction between physical and psychological health and well being. kcannity@utk.edu
Jessica Hughes Gordon Couples research- including infidelity, disclosure of infidelity, secrecy, substance abuse, and couples therapy. jhughe41@utk.edu
Samantha Lookatch Moore Substance abuse and its relationship to intimate partner violence; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder secondary to abuse; Treatment outcome research. slookatc@utk.edu
Heather Zucosky Stuart Intersection of relationship violence and substance abuse- prevalence, moderators, prevention, and intervention. Perpetrator typologies. Social context. hzucosku@utk.edu
Christina Mena Macfie Personality disorders as they relate to attachment in close relationships (parent-child, romantic, and client-therapist), developmental psychopathology, trauma and abuse, and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy.   cmena@utk.edu
Jennifer Strimpfel Macfie Personality disorders as they relate to attachment in close relationships (parent-child, romantic, and client-therapist), developmental psychopathology, trauma and abuse, and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy.   jstrimpf@utk.edu
Paul Tullis Nash Unconscious mental activity in psychopathology, psychotherapy theoretical integration, psychotherapy process, evolutionary psychology (particularly psychoanalysis). ptullis@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Nicholas Bishop Welsh Sexual and ethnic minorities; factors related to minority status and mental health of ethnic minority MSM; sexual development of MSM; and multicultural issues as they relate to mental health and development. nbishop8@utk.edu
Audrey File Hopko Stress, anxiety and depression as well as the interaction between physical and psychological health and well being. afile@utk.edu
Michael Finn Nash Unconscious mental activity in psychopathology, psychotherapy theoretical integration, psychotherapy process, evolutionary psychology (particularly psychoanalysis). mikefinn@utk.edu
Sophia Winter Nash Psychotherapy process and outcome, including mechanisms of change, patient treatment preferences, and attitudes towards psychotherapy. skhalsa1@utk.edu
Sarah Mauck Gordon Couples research- including infidelity, disclosure of infidelity, secrecy, substance abuse, and couples therapy. smauck@utk.edu
Crystal McIndoo Hopko The development, prevention, and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders with an emphasis on cognitive processes; Concurrent psychological distress and medical conditions; Treatment outcomes, specifically for Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy and Behavioral Activation. cmcindoo@utk.edu
Teri Preddy Fite Peer relations and the development of internalizing and externalizing behaviors in childhood and adolescence; trade-offs associated with social interactions (peer, parent-child); and the developmental consequences of social aggression. tpreddy@utk.edu
Katie Wischkaemper Gordon Couples therapy as well as the psychological processes, stressors, or beneficial qualities involved when one partner has a chronic illness like diabetes and the role spirituality plays in forgiveness and coping among couples. kwischka@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Hope Brasfield Stuart Preventing intimate partner violence and sexual assault; understanding the influence of substance use, social cognition, and other factors on the initiation and perpetuation of IPV and sexual assault. hbrasfi2@utk.edu
Christi Culpepper Welsh Adolescents, specifically at-risk adolescent groups, social support (from family, friends, and significant others), and romantic relationships. cculpep3@utk.edu
Jeniimarie Febres Stuart Intersection of relationship violence and substance abuse- prevalence, moderators, prevention, and intervention. Perpetrator typologies. Social context. jfebres@utk.edu
Stevie Grassetti Macfie Personality disorders as they relate to attachment in close relationships (parent-child, romantic, and client-therapist), developmental psychopathology, trauma and abuse, and mechanisms of change in psychotherapy.   sgrasset@utk.edu
Kathrin Ritter Moore Substance abuse and its relationship to intimate partner violence; Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder secondary to abuse; Treatment outcome research. kritter3@utk.edu
Maria Rowley Gordon Couples research - specifically interventions, with emphasis on preventative treatment; mindfulness and compassionate love. mrowley@utk.edu
Vanessa Tirone Moore Risk factors for women's unwanted sexual experiences including past victimization, intimate partner violence, and PTSD; How these unwanted sexual experiences impact women's sexuality and well-being. vtirone@utk.edu
Amber Wimsatt Fite Social and learning outcomes for children with disruptive behavior disorders; Also the relationships between disruptive behavior, individual level characteristics, and/or environmental factors such as parenting, peer group affiliation, community characteristics. awimsatt@utk.edu
Albert Wong Nash Therapeutic mindfulness, gestalt awareness practice, group process, somatic psychology, the interface between creative arts and psychotherapy. awong5@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Sarah Gilbert Gordon couples research. specifically, treatment interventions for couples struggling with: substance abuse, health problems and/or various psychopathologies. sarahgilbert@utk.edu
Erin Gray Nash psychotherapy process and outcome (specifically how and why change occurs within the context of therapy and intermediate goals of treatment), psychotherapy integration, and personality disorders egray17@utk.edu
Samantha Gray Welsh adolescent behaviors - specifically as they relate to topics such as: peer interactions, attachment to parents & friends, romantic relationships, decision-making, and online-avatar relationship dynamics (in the near future). sgray19@utk.edu
Jamie Rathert Fite juvenile delinquency, aggression subtypes in children, development of psychopathy in youth jrathert@utk.edu
Marlena Ryba Hopko anxiety and depression as they relate to medical conditions; the inter-relations among depression, substance abuse, and social skills. mryba@utk.edu
Amanda Sherman Moore substance abuse and intimate partner violence; gender role stress and impulsivity in violence perpetrators asherma5@utk.edu
Ryan Shorey Stuart risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence perpetration and victimization; the role of social support in intimate partner violence  rshorey@utk.edu
Michael Vitulano Fite risks for childhood behavioral problems including peer, parental and community influences; applied statistics mvitulan@utk.edu
Christopher Watkins  Macfie  attachment, developmental psychopathology, and parent-child relationships. cwatkin1@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Amineh Abbas Nash dissociation and how trauma affects levels of dissociation, psychotherapy process and outcome, and therapeutic assessment aabbas@utk.edu
Alden Gaertner Fite peer relationships, parent-child relationships, and internalizing and externalizing behavior in childhood and adolescence agaertne@utk.edu
Vanessa Handsel Moore post traumatic stress disorder, early maladaptive schemas and gender vhandsel@utk.edu
Rachel Holmes Welsh adolescent romantic relationships and sexuality rholmes6@utk.edu
Alison Nathanson Welsh risky situations and behavioral outcomes within a sexual assault context, alternatives to an abusive relationship and the victim's decision to stay or leave this relationship anathans@utk.edu
Scott Swan Nash attachment, assessment, and psychotherapy process sswan@utk.edu
Jennifer Willett Gordon couples research, specifically premarital prevention programs, the transmission of divorce, and the resilience and adaptive processes of single-parent families and step-families jwillett@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
John Carvalho Hopko risk factors leading to depression jcarvalh@utk.edu
Lindsey Colman Nash The relationships between depression, autobiographical memory, social problem-solving, and early maladaptive schemata.  lcolman@utk.edu
Sara Elkins Moore child and adolescent aggression, substance use, and delinquency; parenting behaviors ssmith74@utk.edu
Miriam Frankel Macfie adolescent and young adult developmental hardships, personal growth, identity formation mfrankel@utk.edu
Aaron Kivisto Moore relationship between trauma and violence perpetration akivisto@utk.edu
JD Smith Handler Therapeutic Assessment jdsmith1@utk.edu
Becky Trupe Macfie parent-child relationships and developmental psychopathology rtrupe@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Katie Fitzpatrick Macfie attachment, borderline personality disorder, and reflective function kfitzpa1@utk.edu
Mike Gawrysiak Hopko neuroscience of psychotherapy mgawrysi@utk.edu
Julianne Hellmuth Gordon intimate partner violence, treatment development for victims and perpetrators jhellmut@utk.edu
Katie Little Welsh adolescent development and romantic relationships klittle6@utk.edu
Christen Mullane Hopko maladaptive eating behavior, clinical applications of research cmullane@utk.edu
Sarah Robertson Hopko experiential avoidance, affective disorders srober37@utk.edu
Katie Rowinski Wahler child developmental psychopathology and family dynamics; narrative restructuring therapy, mindfulness, and parenting practices krowinsk@utk.edu
Lina Schlachter Nash psychodynamic psychotherapy process and outcome; autobiographical memories; PTSD and acute stress disorder lina@utk.edu
Keith Williams Wahler mindfulness, personal narratives, social functioning, and social connection kwilli48@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Maria Armento Hopko the behavioral model of depression as it relates to etiology and treatment; treatment outcome research for depression and suicidality mea@utk.edu
Jennifer Christman Gordon marital relationships, forgiveness, attachment, domestic violence, and infidelity jchristm@utk.edu
Tanya Hess Handler Personality assessment, therapeutic and collaborative assessment, object-relations, interpersonal and narrative therapies, psychopathy thess@utk.edu
Caroline Mann Olson  prejudice, mental illness stigma, interventions to reduce prejudice, perspective-taking, empathy, implicit attitudes cmann4@utk.edu
Chris Nicholas Nash Neurobiological response to psychotherapy in PTSD; serotonin changes in hamsters following social defeat; and neural correlates of self-referential processing in clinical and non-clinical populations. cnichol9@utk.edu
Nicole Perez Nash Suggestion and Suggestibility, Psychotherapy Process and Outcome, PTSD and Acute Stress Disorder, and Projective Testing nperez1@utk.edu
Sal Toor McIntyre development of the self; self-esteem; resilience; clinical work with children and adolescents stoor@utk.edu
Laura Widman Welsh adolescent sexual development, sexual assault, attitudes about rape lwidman@utk.edu
Nicole Wolf Hopko   nwolf@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Lee Dixon Gordon intimate relationships - particularly the roles of forgiveness, disappointment, and sacrifice ldixon6@utk.edu
Guy Edlis Handler therapeutic assessment paradigm; bridging psychoanalytic perspective, attachment theory, and developmental psychology; Reflective Functioning, Theory of Mind; Long-term individual psychotherapy and group psychotherapy; Psychological assessment & integration of objective and projective measures gedlis@utk.edu
Nikki Frousakis Gordon marital relationships and attachment theory, betrayal, and forgiveness; methods for preventing marital distress nfrousak@utk.edu
Rebecca Furr Welsh adolescent romantic relationships, aggression, attractiveness rfurr@utk.edu
Lorrie Ness Handler self-harming behavior, forensic assessment ldellin1@utk.edu
Eric Peters Handler psychodynamic Psychotherapy Process and Outcome, Single-case Time Series Analyses of Psychodynamic Psychotherapy with Severely Disturbed Patients; Therapeutic Models of Psychological Assessment epeters4@utk.edu
Elaine Rivas Handler treatment for Axis II disorders, developmental psychopathology, adult attachment, and forensic assessment erivas@utk.edu

 

Student Advisor Interests Email
Joe Dickson Welsh adolescent romantic relationships and communication josephwd@utk.edu
Ian Haag Wahler psychodynamic theory, attachment and the parent-child relationship, mindfulness ihaag@utk.edu
Melissa Hunt Hopko adolescent behavior, psychotherapy, and assessment mhunt3@utk.edu
Jacqueline Kracker Pollio mindfulness, qualitative inquiry into clinical and everyday experiences, assessment, hospice and palliative care, neuropsychological screening, college teaching jkracker@utk.edu
Noah Roost Wahler mindfulness and autobiographical narrative nroost@utk.edu
Chad Sims Handler Projective measures, psychodynamic therapy, mindfulness as a common factor csims4@utk.edu

 

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