The Suicide and Depression Research Program includes me, Kelly C. Cukrowicz, Ph.D., and my graduate students, Erin K. Poindexter, Evan T. Guidry, Sean Mitchell, Nathanael Taylor, Sarah L. Brown, Jared F. Roush, and Nicole Seymour. 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.
Erin F. Schlegel, M.A. Erin graduated from Ohio State University in 2007, where she conducted an undergraduate honor’s thesis on cognitive therapy for depression. She is interested in research pertaining to depression and reporting biases in older adults. She recently completed her predoctoral internship at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System.
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. His research interests include suicide risk in persons involved in the criminal justice system or involved in illegal activity. Specifically, he is interested in examining suicide risk in the context of the variables identified in Joiner’s (2005) interpersonal theory of suicide. Sean’s research interest also includes the role that positive psychology variables like hope play in this in the interpersonal theory of suicide.
Nathanael Taylor, M.A.Nathanael graduated summa cum laude from Benedictine College with bachelor’s degrees in finance and psychology. His research interests are suicide risk in bipolar spectrum disorders and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy approaches. His dissertation is focused on investigating the interpersonal theory of suicide in an inpatient sample of individuals with bipolar spectrum disorders. Nathanael’s past research projects have focused on comparing interpersonal theory of suicide variables in bipolar versus unipolar disorder samples and his master’s level project focused on capturing individualized cognitive schemas in those with anxiety and affective disorders. His clinical interests focus on comorbid cases and severe mental illness populations in inpatient settings.
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 qualifying exam
. Her research focuses on interpersonal risk factors for suicide as conceptualized within Joiner’s (2005) interpersonal theory of suicide. Specifically, she is interested in the clarifying the role of acquired capability for suicide in suicide risk. Her research is focused on issues related to the assessment of acquired capability for suicide and utilizing experimental designs to identify distal and proximal risk factors for the development of suicidal behaviors. She is also interested in suicide risk among individuals with chronic pain.
Jared F. Roush, M.A. Jared graduated magna cum laude from California State University, Fullerton with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2013. During this time, he worked as a crisis counselor on the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. His primary research interests include suicide risk among psychiatric inpatients and the interpersonal theory of suicide. In 2015, he completed his master’s level research project, which focused on body mass, body fat, and the interpersonal theory of suicide, and he is currently completing his qualifying examination. His clinical interests include evidence-based suicide risk assessment and management, 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.
Alara Ozpolat is a senior Psychology major. During her time as an undergraduate, she has interned at MD Anderson Cancer Center and volunteered at Women’s Protective Services. Her research interests include risk factors for suicide in individuals with eating disorders.
Christopher J. Cisneros is currently a senior at Texas Tech University and works as an undergraduate research assistant in the Suicide and Depression Lab. He is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Addictive Disorders and Recovery Studies. Chris hopes to one day earn his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and practice therapy for those with depression, suicidal ideation/tendencies and substance abuse disorders as well as relationship counseling.
Graduate Student Alumni:
Philip N. Smith, Ph.D. Dr. Smith is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of South Alabama in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Smith received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology at Texas Tech. Dr. Smith received his BA from Gettysburg College, an MS in Experimental Psychology from Villanova University, and most recently, 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’s research interests center on the understanding, assessment, and treatment of suicidal patients. His research focuses on elucidating the interpersonal, psychological, and social risk factors for suicide and related behaviors.
Danielle R. Jahn, Ph.D. Dr. Jahn is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry, Division of Psychiatric Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and a clinical research psychologist at the VA Capitol Health Care Network (VISN 5) Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC). She received her bachelor’s degrees in psychology and religion from the University of Florida, and her doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Texas Tech University after completing her clinical internship at the VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System in Denver, Colorado. She also completed one year of the VA Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment at the VISN 5 MIRECC, and is a licensed psychologist in the state of Maryland. Dr. Jahn’s primary research to date has focused 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.