The Suicide and Depression Research Program includes me, Kelly C. Cukrowicz, Ph.D., and my graduate students, Evan T. Guidry, Sean M. Mitchell, , Sarah L. Brown, Jared F. Roush, Nicole E. Seymour, Nikki L. LaRosa, Mike M. Mclay, and Victoria L. Beach . At any time we have lots of studies that we are collecting data for, others that we are discussing and designing, and still others that we are writing up for publication. We hope that the research we do will improve prevention and treatment strategies and help save lives. An overview of some of our projects is available under the Research link.
If you are interested in getting to know us a little better, below you will find a little bit of information about each of us.
Kelly C. Cukrowicz, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Associate Director of Clinical Training, and Director of the Suicide and Depression Research Program. I received my Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Florida State University in 2005. Go Noles! After finishing my dissertation at Florida State University under the direction of Dr. Thomas Joiner, I completed a predoctoral internship in Cognitive Behavior Therapy at Duke University Medical Center. I stayed at Duke for another year on a National Institute of Aging-funded postdoctoral fellowship at Duke’s Center for Aging and Human Development. I joined the faculty of Texas Tech University as an Assistant Professor in 2006 and became a tenured Associate Professor in 2010.
Evan T. Guidry, M.A. Evan graduated magna cum laude from Loyola University in New Orleans. During this time, he worked with the New Orleans Veteran’s Affairs Hospital inpatient post-traumatic stress disorder unit. He has a Masters in general psychology from The Catholic University of America. While completing his course work at The Catholic University of America, he worked with the Defense Manpower Data Center conducting research on behalf of the Department of Defense. His research interests include risk and protective factors for suicidal behavior, the media’s influence on suicidal thoughts and actions, and cultural issues related to suicide.
Erin K. Poindexter, M.A. Erin graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in psychology. She spent three years as an undergraduate research assistant in the Suicide and Depression Lab before starting in the lab as a graduate student. Her research interests include the relation between trauma and suicide over the life span.
Sean Mitchell, M.A. Sean graduated summa cum laude from Texas Tech University with a B.A. in psychology and Spanish. Sean spent two years as an undergraduate research assistant in the Suicide and Depression Lab before starting in the lab as a graduate student. He defended his dissertation in April 2017, which examined interpersonal and social predictors of suicide ideation among psychiatric inpatients. Sean is currently completing his predoctoral clinical internship at the Center for Behavioral Medicine in Kansas City, MO. His research interests include suicide prevention among high-risk populations (e.g., individuals involved in the criminal justice system, psychiatric inpatients). Specifically, he is interested in identifying risk factors that will inform the assessment and prediction of suicide risk.
Sarah L. Brown, M.A. Sarah graduated from Florida State University with a B.S. in psychology and sociology in 2011, and received her master’s degree in psychology from Texas Tech University in 2015. She is currently completing her dissertation, which aims to test and integrated model of social exclusion and suicide risk. Her research focuses on theoretical risk factors for suicide and issues related to assessment. Specifically, she is interested in utilizing experimental designs to identify common causal mechanisms in the development of suicide ideation and suicidal behaviors. She is also interested in suicide risk among individuals with chronic pain.
Jared F. Roush, M.A. Jared graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a B.A. in psychology and Texas Tech University with an M.A. in psychology. His research has primarily focused on suicide risk assessment and management, suicide risk among psychiatric inpatients, and the interpersonal theory of suicide. He successfully defended his dissertation, which examined psychological flexibility, thwarted interpersonal needs, and suicide ideation among psychiatric inpatients. Jared is currently completing his predoctoral clinical internship at the South Texas Veterans Health Care System in San Antonio, Texas. His clinical interests include evidence-based suicide risk assessment and management in medical settings and mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral approaches to treatment.
Nicole Seymour, B.A. Nicole graduated magna cum laude from Florida State University in 2013. She worked in the Addiction Recovery Research Center at Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute and volunteered as a Crisis Counselor through the Trevor Project. Her primary research interests include interpersonal theory risk factors for suicide in LGBTQ+ peoples.
Victoria L. Beach, B.A. Victoria graduated magna cum laude from the College of Saint Benedict/St. John’s University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2016. She worked as a mental health associate at an adult inpatient unit, and she led intergenerational programs at a combined childcare/assisted living facility. Her research interests include suicide and depression among older adults, as well as the role of intergenerational programming as a protective factor against suicide.
Nikki La Rosa, B.S. Nikki graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and family & child sciences in 2015. Upon graduation, she spent two years working as a research assistant in the Psychological Intervention & Research Program on Mood Spectrum Disorders at the University of Texas Health Science Center. Nikki’s research interests focus on suicide intervention and prevention using mobile technologies and smartphone applications. Her other interests include risk and protective factors for suicide in relation to the interpersonal theory of suicide.
Michael M. McClay, M.S. Mike graduated from Gardner-Webb University in 2014 with a bachelor’s in Religious Studies and Psychology. He completed his master’s in Psychological Sciences at Western Kentucky University in 2017. His research interests include suicide-specific treatment and intervention. His research is currently focused on factors related to disclosure of suicidal thoughts and behaviors to mental health professionals and social contacts. He is also interested in the role of stigma, including suicide-specific stigma and stigma related to sexual and gender identities, in the development of suicide risk.
Heather Belzeski is currently a senior at Texas Tech University. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in Social work. Heather is interested in marriage and family therapy, and adolescents/younger adults who suffer from depression. She hopes to receive her master’s degree in counseling.
Maxine Hernandez is currently a senior at Texas Tech University. She is majoring in psychology with minors in Spanish and chemistry. She is a volunteer at Voice of Hope. Maxine plans to attend graduate school and earn her Ph.D. in clinical psychology.
Kara Pepper is a junior psychology major at Texas Tech University. She plans to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in counseling psychology. She is particularly interested in adolescents and young couples with symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Adisyn Blair is currently a sophomore at Texas Tech University. She is majoring in psychology with a minor in criminology. Adisyn hopes to earn her doctorate in counseling psychology and practice psychotherapy treating victims of sexual abuse.
Graduate Student Alumni:
Philip N. Smith Ph.D. Dr. Smith completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Texas Tech in 2009. He then completed a 2-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study and Prevention of Suicide at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Dr. Smith is now an Associate Professor at the University of South Alabama in the Department of Psychology and a core graduate faculty member of the combined and integrated Clinical and Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at South Alabama
(http://www.southalabama.edu/colleges/artsandsci/psychology/faculty/smith.html). Dr. Smith’s research focuses on understanding suicidal thoughts and behaviors with particular emphasis on the capability for suicide and the ideation-to-action framework. Dr. Smith is also interested in public health approaches to suicide prevention and his lab is currently conducting a campus suicide prevention program at South Alabama funded by SAMSHA’s Garrett Lee Smith program
Danielle R. Jahn, Ph.D. Dr. Danielle Jahn is a licensed psychologist and the head of behavioral health and research at Primary Care Institute in Gainesville, Florida. Dr. Jahn completed her clinical internship at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver, Colorado and an advanced fellowship in serious mental illness at the VA Capitol Health Care Network Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center in Baltimore, Maryland. In her role at Primary Care Institute, Dr. Jahn provides a full spectrum of psychological services, including therapy and assessment, to adults and older adults; provides consultation to primary care providers; and supervises graduate practicum students, undergraduate clinical volunteers, and undergraduate research assistants. Additionally, she conducts research in the clinic examining patient- and provider-level variables that influence the effectiveness of integrated mental health care in the primary care setting. Her other research projects focus on aging and suicide risk, with a special emphasis on understanding perceptions of burden to others among older adults and how perceived burdensomeness affects help-seeking and healthcare engagement. Her clinical interests include primary care-mental health integration, treatment of depression and anxiety, suicide prevention, and geropsychology.
Erin Schlegel, Ph.D. Erin graduated from Ohio State University in 2007, where she conducted an undergraduate honor’s thesis on cognitive therapy for depression. Erin completed a predoctoral internship at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System and a postdoctoral residency at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She is currently working towards independent licensure.
Nathanael J. Taylor, Ph.D. Dr. Taylor is currently a postdoctoral resident at a private practice in Cheyenne, Wyoming and is concurrently pursuing psychology licensure. Nathanael graduated summa cum laude from Benedictine College with bachelor’s degrees in finance and psychology. He completed his doctorate at Texas Tech University in Clinical Psychology in 2017. Dr. Taylor’s research interests primarily center on suicide risk in bipolar spectrum disorders and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy approaches. His clinical interests focus on comorbid cases and severe mental illness populations inpatient settings.