Grad Student Applicants

Interested in joining the Mind Body Laboratory as a Graduate Student?

Graduate students are an essential and integral part of the Mind Body Laboratory. Dr. Felver (Mind Body Laboratory Director) is the primary supervisor and mentor for graduate student trainees in the lab. This page provides some basic information for those interested in joining the laboratory as a graduate student trainee.

What kind of training is offered in the laboratory?

In addition to the training sequence offered to every student in the Syracuse University APA-accredited School Psychology doctoral training program, students in the Mind Body Laboratory receive unique experiences in applied research. Students support all of the ongoing clinical trials (both director- and peer student-initiated) and have the opportunity to learn about all phases of conducting clinical trials. By virtue of their involvement in research projects, students learn how to conceptualize and execute research to examine the effects of mindfulness-based programming (MBP) with youth; in schools and community settings; and in our psychophysiological laboratory on campus. By the time they graduate with their PhD from the school psychology program, graduate students in the Mind Body Laboratory are expected to be capable of creating and directing their own research laboratory as early-career scientist-practitioner academics.

What is a typical training sequence of graduate students in the Mind Body Laboratory?

Graduate student training is tailored to each student’s unique career goals, and general scaffolded training experiences are provided to support the development of independent scientist-practitioners during the four years of on-campus training. First year students are expected to assist in the existing research projects as they become acclimated to graduate school and the applied research activities in the lab. By the end of their first year students typically have conceptualized their masters thesis project which they will begin to execute during their second year. Students in their second and third years assume one of two rotating year-long positions in the laboratory. The Project Coordinator assists with logistical execution of research projects, such as by coordinating research participants in the lab or by taking the lead on school-based management of MBP clinical trials. The Laboratory Manager position assist with the recruitment, training, and coordination of our undergraduate research assistants. By their fourth year in the program, Mind Body Laboratory graduate students will have received a diverse range of training to enable them to successfully complete their doctoral dissertation project, which involves them forming their own research team (within the structured support of the Mind Body Laboratory) and executing their dissertation from beginning to end.

Do graduate students get the opportunity to conduct their own research?

Yes absolutely; this is encouraged and expected. Although we are a collaborative laboratory and all graduate students support all research projects, it is also a direct expectation that students initiate their own research agenda, and those interested in a career in academia are encouraged to initiate as many research projects as they are capable of in order to craft their own program of research. Although the focus of Dr. Felver’s scholarship is on MBP and consequently most graduate students also share this interest, students are also encouraged to explore their own interests such as by applying MBP to unique participant populations, or by exploring the utility of other contemplative practices such as yoga or self-compassion.

Please see the following for downloadable examples of graduate student masters and doctoral dissertation projects to gain a better sense of some of the research projects carried out by students:


Melissa Morton’s Masters Thesis: Effects of a Brief Mindfulness Intervention on Stress Reactivity

Emily Cary’s Masters Thesis: A Neural Correlate of Mindful Acceptance? Relating Individual Differences in Dispositional Acceptance to Error Processing

Samantha Sinegar Masters Thesis: Investigation of the Effects of a Yoga Intervention on Experiential Avoidance, Symptoms of Psychological Distress, and Substance Use

How do I apply to join?

Students who are interested in joining the Mind Body Laboratory apply to the Syracuse University doctoral training program in School Psychology; details can be found on the program’s website here. In their application material, applicants indicate that they are most interested in working with Dr. Felver as their primary advisor. In their application materials, they should specifically detail how their graduate training interests align with both the school psychology training program and the Mind Body Laboratory’s research. Although there is no one type of student admitted to the school psychology and selected by Dr. Felver, typically applicants have a strong interest in conducting applied research, experience as research assistant, and a desire to develop skills as a school- and child clinical psychologist in-line with the scientist practitioner tradition.