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Prospective Graduate Students FAQ

General Questions

Are you taking a student next year?

For 2024, Drs. Forman, Juarascio, and Manasse are planning on taking a PhD student; Dr. Butryn may take a PhD or MS student, pending grant funding (status will be determined in October); Drs. Forman, Hagerman, Juarascio, LaFata (formerly Schulte), Manasse, and Srivastava are planning on taking an MS student. Interviews will take place in February and March of 2024.

What type of applicant are you looking for?

We are looking for applicants who are particularly interested in health-related behavior change, including innovative obesity and weight-related eating disorder treatments (particularly those related to acceptance-based behavioral approaches based on technological developments), innovative interventions to promote physical activity, the role of implicit attitudes on health-related decision-making and the neurocognition of eating behavior. (See other pages on this site for more information on individual research interests.) In addition, we are seeking an applicant with:

  • A strong academic record, e.g., >3.5 GPA in a rigorous program
  • Outstanding letters of recommendation (from doctoral-level academic, research-oriented psychologists, if possible)
  • High-quality research experience
  • A statement of purpose that indicates an understanding of the realities of the field and a specific area of interest. Topics such as outcome research, cognitive-behavior therapy, acceptance and mindfulness and technology-based treatments are the focus of the lab, so an interest in one or more of these areas is usually important
  • Strong writing skills, initiative, creativity and ambition

How does the admissions process work?

Applications are due December 1st; please review the application requirements and instructions. If you are interested in working in our lab group, be sure to indicate this on the Faculty Preference Form that you include with your application. Beginning in January, we review applications from those applicants who have indicated a desire to work in our lab (approximately 100 people). Out of this set, 10-15 students are invited to Drexel for in-person interviews and an opportunity to meet faculty and students. Normally, between one and three doctoral students are admitted for this lab each year.

Will contacting you help my application, or demonstrate my interest in the program?

No. We receive so many emails and phone calls per week, and so many applications (700 total; 150+ to our research group), that we honestly do not have any way of remembering who has and who has not contacted us. We make decisions solely on the basis of the criteria described above. Please only contact us if you genuinely have a question that we can answer. Of note, because of the high number of prospective applicants/students we are unable to hold phone or in-person meetings prior to the review of applications. Instead, as per above, we invite a select group of applicants to meet with us in February.

How does mentorship work?

Students typically are assigned a primary mentor, which will either be Drs Forman, Butryn, Juarascio, or Manasse. However, students often participate in projects supervised by several mentors and enjoy the advantages of being advised by multiple mentors on matters relating to their thesis, dissertation, manuscript preparation, and professional development

What are the outcomes for students (and others) you have supervised?

We believe that outcomes--including internship program, publications, presentations, awards and positions attained post-graduation, are an essential part of understanding the impact of a given training program. As such, we have assembled a comprehensive list of these data in this online document. As you will see, our students/graduates have matched with top-tier internship sites, published high numbers of manuscripts in high-quality journals, presented posters and talks at the top national and international conferences, won large numbers of prestigious awards, and secured positions as academics and scientist-practitioners at top institutions throughout the country.

What are your active lab projects?

We have approximately 20 active lab projects currently. Read about our faculty-led research labs.

What can you tell me about applying to the MS Program?

We use somewhat less stringent criteria for selection to the MS Program, but most of what is stated above still applies. The MS Program is a good option for applicants who are research-focused, but either do not want to attend a PhD program, or who are not yet competitive for a high-quality PhD program. However, we do not view the MS program as a likely vehicle for transitioning to our own doctoral program.

Frequently Asked Questions Answered by Current And Recent Students

Would you describe your program as more research-focused or more clinically-focused?

Steph K: "Our program is very clinical-research focused. Most of the research we do is clinically focused, so everyone gets ample opportunity to develop clinical skills within the context of a research project. It's a huge advantage to our lab because we not only get a high level of research training, but we also get cutting edge clinical training that's closely supervised before we're ever even at external practicum sites."

Becca C: "Drexel’s program strikes a balance between research and clinical work, and the WELL Center strongly focuses on clinical research promoting health-behavior change. There are typically several clinical trials simultaneously running in the WELL Center, meaning there are abundant opportunities for graduate students to serve as study clinicians or clinical assessors. These hands-on clinical experiences often in turn inform research ideas and primary investigators regularly invite students to identify their own research questions in the context of these trials, welcoming students to add measures of interest to study batteries to test an empirical question that can be used for student-led presentations and manuscripts. In these ways, the WELL Center epitomizes the scientist-practitioner model."

Steph M: "The lab focuses on clinical research, particularly on the development and testing of health behavior change interventions. That means the lab provides an amazing opportunity to participate as an interventionist in treatment studies the minute you enter the program, while at the same time developing research questions related to treatment and outcome. Hands-on clinical experiences often can inform research ideas, and the lab provides the perfect environment for that. The lab also strongly supports and encourages each student to develop his or her own line of research, so there is a large emphasis on that as well."

Stef G: "One of the big advantages to our lab is the focus on clinical research. This means that, with our strong emphasis on research, comes a large amount of high-quality clinical experiences in order to carry out our larger grant-funded projects. In addition to conducting assessments and delivering treatment, you will also likely gain experience in treatment/program development, which is an extremely valuable training opportunity. Finally, many students conduct their own treatment studies for theses and dissertations."

Helen: "The PhD program as a whole has a balance between research and clinical focus, with flexibility within the program with students’ emphasis on research. In fact, many students are in labs that have more of a research focus that aligns with a clinical science model. For example, many students pursue careers that are heavily research-focused, such as in academic research and at the industry level. In our lab, there are many opportunities to contribute to clinical research (e.g., treatment development and trial research), but also to work on translational research (e.g., research on physiology, neurobiology, etc.)."

Elizabeth: "The WELL Center primarily does clinical research-- meaning that student’s lab responsibilities are pretty evenly split between direct research (e.g., contributing to grant applications, data management, assessment) and clinical work on research studies (e.g., study therapist and group leader roles). The Center also strongly encourages each student to develop their own line of research by writing first-author papers and submitting grant applications (e.g., NIH F31, NSF GRFP), so there is a large emphasis on that as well."

Claire: "As others have said, the WELL Center is an exceptional middle ground and focuses on clinical research. As a graduate student, this has mean that I’ve worked both on direct research projects and clinical work on research studies, like seeing study patients or co-leading groups. Drexel’s program overall is very clinical-research focused, and in each cohort, there is a great mix of students who are primarily research oriented, clinically oriented, or somewhere in the middle. It feels like everyone really has their niche, and everyone is supportive of others’ goals, even if they differ from our own."

Christina C: "Drexel’s training is a true scientist-practitioner model–our clinical and research training mutually inform one another. In the WELL Center, you can more or less “choose your own adventure.” If research is up your alley, there are tons of datasets available to analyze, or do extra projects with. There are also plenty of clinical trials ongoing, so you can select additional study therapist positions if this aligns with your training goals. Overall, both research and clinical opportunities abound, and the faculty want to help you find your niche (i.e., there’s no pressure to follow a specific career path)."

Michael B: "I think that the training one receives from Drexel and the WELL Center is ultimately excellent preparation for a career either in research or clinical work, as you will receive high-quality training in both areas. Applicants should be aware that the WELL Center is a highly productive, research-focused environment, and therefore you should definitely be prepared to do a lot of research and be involved in many research-related activities such as grant-writing, assisting with manuscripts, writing treatment manuals, data analysis and submitting your own conference abstracts/manuscripts during your time here. Therefore, if you are solely interested in clinical work, the WELL Center may not be the best fit for you. If you are open to gaining in-depth training in both clinical work and clinical research, or you are interested in a research career, then the WELL Center may be a great fit. As others have said, there is no pressure to follow a specific career path and faculty encourage you to “build your own adventure” when it comes to how to spend your time in graduate school."

What are your roles as graduate students in the PhD program?

Steph K: "As a graduate student the role advances as you advance as a student. In my first year I've had a large role in data management which has advanced as my data analytic skills progress. I've also had a large role in delivery of interventions for the research program as well as some of the grant writing process. Looking forward, the expectation for how much I contribute to these things will change in line with how much I'm able to contribute new ideas. One of the really nice things is how much students are able to be part of the smaller pilot studies the lab runs; because there are so many things going on we can to some degree choose our involvement so that it's most in line with our interests."

Christina C: "I have participated in many of the lab's projects in various capacities. During my first two years, I was a co-leader for the Project Activate weight loss groups and a study therapist for Project Reboot, which studied inhibitory control training for binge eating disorder. I also assisted in the writeup of NIH grant submissions, protocol papers, analyzed data for submissions to national conferences and developed my master's thesis project. There are so many great, diverse projects going on in the lab that there is a wealth of opportunity to take on different roles on projects that interest you. In a short amount of time, I have been involved in all aspects of clinical research."

Stef G: "Within our lab especially, graduate students are very much treated as junior colleagues. Though my role within the lab has changed as I advanced through the program, each step of the way you are encouraged to use your critical thinking skills and clinical intuition to contribute to lab discussions and meetings. Each student is encouraged to participate in many lab projects, while also clarifying and pursuing his or her own research interests. During the beginning of the program, you will likely fill many different roles (e.g., data management, clinician, assessor, paper writing, grant writing) on varying projects. However, towards the end of your graduate career, you will likely have a much more focused set of tasks the pertain more directly to your research line."

Helen: "There are many opportunities to be involved in projects at multiple stages of the research process. In my first year in the lab, I had different roles on various projects. For the pre-study stage, I assisted with the writing of an NIMH R01 grant proposal, assisted with literature reviews and created study materials (e.g., writing treatment interventions). During the active study phase, I completed research diagnostic interviews, was a study interventionist for multiple treatment studies, assisted with research subject study visits and provided mentorship to and supervised a team of undergraduate RAs. For the post-study phase, I contributed to empirical research papers for secondary data analyses. Our lab is collaborative and very active in research, so there are also often opportunities to work on empirical review papers and book chapters."

Kelsey: "I’ve had so many great opportunities to be involved in various aspects of our lab’s research, including clinical research work (e.g., developing intervention content, administering study assessments, delivering study interventions, grant preparation, manuscript development). I’ve also contributed to training and professional development of undergraduate research assistants, post-baccalaureate research coordinators, and Master’s students. I really appreciate how our lab encourages students to pursue a line of research and choose opportunities that support their intended career trajectory."

Jocelyn: "You can can contribute to so many studies at different stages of development as a PhD student in the WELL Center. I’ve contributed to NIH R01 grant writing and pilot data collection, helped develop treatment manuals, implement the manuals as a leader or a coach, managed data, and contributed to paper writing and outcome assessment. As a lab with many rich resources, there are opportunities for everything that you may be interested in. Having the ability to do my own projects in the form of my thesis, dissertation, or data collection alongside with aiding in major clinical trials has helped me learn and apply skills from the PIs and other students to my own work."

Elizabeth: "Graduate student are involved in each project at almost every level. I have been a study therapist on 7 clinical trials for eating disorder treatments, contributed to 5 treatment manuals for clinical trials, contributed to grant proposals for future projects, managing data/running analyses for completed projects, and writing up study findings for publication and presenting at conferences. And all that was in addition to publishing my own first-author secondary analyses and developing my MS thesis and dissertation. There are so many great, diverse projects going on in the lab that there is a wealth of opportunity to take on different roles on projects that interest you."

Claire: "As a graduate student, I’ve worked on projects at almost every level of development, whether that be grant proposals, helping with study development (i.e., writing treatment manuals, helping to design interventions), data management, and serving as a study therapist on clinical trials (which are abundant in the WELL Center). Graduate students in the WELL Center also have plenty of time for independent research, such as theses and dissertation projects. One of the greatest parts of being in the Center is the wealth of data that exists for independent research, and faculty is very supportive of helping students to develop their own line of research."

Michael B: "As a graduate student in the Center, you will likely be involved in pretty much every stage of the research process—from the conceptualization and grant-writing stage to data analysis, manuscript preparation, serving as a study therapist/clinician and disseminating findings at conferences. There is no shortage of opportunities to get involved with both clinical roles (e.g., therapist/counselor on eating disorder and weight management studies) and carry out your own projects. Many students will conduct secondary analyses using the numerous Center-wide datasets available, and others will collect their own data or even run their own independent intervention studies. There is an exceptional level of administrative, mentorship and financial support available at the Center to conduct ambitious (e.g., intervention-based) projects if that is something you are interested in. As a student in the Center, I have always felt encouraged to tailor my own PhD experience by pursuing the opportunities that appealed the most to me and aligned the most strongly with my own long-term career goals. It really is a great place to be for any graduate student interested in clinically-focused research."

Megan: "As a graduate student, I serve as a study therapist for several clinical trials at the WELL Center, assist with clinical assessments as needed in the lab, supervise the training for administering the Eating Disorder Examination interview, and help generally with grant applications or lab-wide papers. I’m also allowed a lot of time for my own independent research projects (e.g., papers, masters/dissertation projects, grant applications). One thing I appreciate about the WELL Center is how many opportunities are available and how much flexibility is allowed to graduate students to pursue their own interests. For example, my mentor often allows me to pick my lab responsibilities that best fit with my training goals and research interests."

What clinical opportunities are there? What is the clinical training like?

Steph K: "The first clinical opportunities we get are within the context of research programs, including things like co-leading groups and receiving supervision. In terms of external practicum sites there's a wide variety of opportunities. More advanced students in the lab are a great resource because between them they have been to most of the practicum sites and can help you figure out what experiences are going to be most in line with your interests."

Steph M: "Aside from the many practicum opportunities provided to all students in the program, all students coming into the lab get clinical experience through the research studies. Most students become co-leaders for the weight loss groups in their first year, which is a unique opportunity that many first year students don't get. Often, there are also other studies running that provide clinical opportunities for students, such as an upcoming study testing a group treatment for binge eating disorder. In these groups, you lead your own sections of the group, and learn from experienced group leaders, who are either clinical psychologists or advanced graduate students. All of the treatment studies meet weekly for group supervision and your tapes are listened to by supervisors, so you really get good feedback on how to improve as a clinician very early on in the program."

Christine: "One of the largest benefits of our lab is that we get a ton of clinical experience early on through research studies. Within a month of starting the program I was co-leading a weight loss group and over the course of my first year I co-led two more groups. Drexel also has a great on-site training clinic that serves the community (the Psychological Services Center) where second year students complete their practicum before applying to off-site placements for the next two years. Our supervisors are clearly invested in our training and work to ensure that our clinical experiences are consistent with our long-term goals. All of the on-site training we receive has made me feel prepared to apply to external placements."

Helen: "There are so many opportunities for clinical hours, both within our lab and across the program! Many of our students actually end up having more clinical hours than the average student applying to internships has. Our lab has an advantage too because a lot of our research is related to treatment, so students will start getting clinical hours from treatment research studies in their first year, before seeing patients through the Drexel Psychological Services Center in their second year. The Drexel Psychological Services Center has state-of-the art facilities and serves patients of all ages from the community; this is different from many other PhD programs, which either don’t have an in-house clinic or the in-house clinic mainly serves undergraduate students."

Jocelyn: "The clinical training at Drexel is excellent. As a WELL center first year you start off as a clinician in any number of clinical trials. I co-led my first group before I even started classes! You receive great supervision and work with others to gain early skills. As a second year you will see patients in the Drexel Psychological Services Center where you will see a wide variety of patients and presenting problems. Drexel students also have access to many great practicums for 3rd and 4th year. You are able to get a wide variety of experiences and really good training which prepares you well for internship."

Diane: "Students in the WELL Center are in such a unique position in terms of clinical opportunities. As early as our first year, we have the opportunity to gain high quality clinical experiences as assessors and interventionists in lab studies. On top of that, we are situated to continue gaining excellent training through our department’s in-house clinic and external practica sites in years two through four. Also of note, some advanced students have the opportunity to deliver evidence-based treatments for weight management and eating disorders to the community through our newly established outpatient WELL Clinic. Really, there’s no shortage of opportunities to gain clinical experience-- it’s just a matter of deciding which ones to pursue!"

Christina C: "The clinical training at Drexel is truly exceptional. Drexel’s training clinic actually recently won an award for its high-quality services for our community. For external practicum placements, you have access to several renowned cites. Finally, the WELL Center itself has several clinical opportunities available in the areas of health promotion and eating disorders. I have felt prepared and competitive for external placements, and now for internship. Finally, a unique training opportunity at Drexel is specialized training in peer supervision. You get specialty supervision in being a supervisor! This is a great option if you enjoy mentorship."

Elizabeth: "Students in the WELL Center have ample opportunity to gain clinical skills across varied populations. Students often serve as study therapists beginning in their first year-- conducting individual and group sessions for eating and weight disorders through our ongoing clinical trials. There are also opportunities to work with both adults and adolescents as well. Philadelphia and Drexel also have amazing practicum opportunities, so there is always a way to get any clinical training not available through the center. In my second year I completed a practicum through the Psychological Services Center at Drexel, and pursued further training in behavioral medicine in my third year via practicum placement in behavioral sleep medicine. Supervision is often a combination of peer, group, and individual supervision, so I never felt like I was on my own.”

Michael B: "Between the grant-funded studies you will most likely work on within the WELL Center and the numerous well-regarded practicum opportunities available in the Philadelphia area, you will have no trouble acquiring high-quality clinical training here. If you join the PhD program, our Psychological Services Center (PSC), which all students rotate through in the second or third year, is also well-regarded and provides high-quality training. Specifically on the WELL Center side, there are always opportunities to get involved with eating disorder/weight management treatment studies, and often opportunities to learn both acceptance-based treatments and sophisticated tech-focused treatments (e.g., involving artificial intelligence). All of the faculty are invested in providing high-quality supervision and are very responsive. I have always felt supported and like my needs as a trainee were met while working on WELL Center clinical trials."

Claire: "The WELL Center offers some of the most amazing clinical training opportunities of any program that I applied to. Not only are we trained as part of the general program, but given that the vast majority of our research is clinically oriented, there is always a need for student study therapists. I was able to start seeing study patients right when I started graduate school, a year ahead of most of the students in my cohort. I’ve been able to work on 7 clinical trials during my time here, in diverse populations: both adolescents and adults, and doing both eating disorder and weight management treatment. We receive exceptional supervision, so I always felt supported and like there was someone there if I needed help. Like others have mentioned, Philadelphia also has amazing opportunities for external practicum placements; because I had so much experience in eating disorders through the Center, I’ve been able to pursue training in other areas (i.e., anxiety, OCD) for my external practicums and still feel like I’m getting all of the training I need to make me successful in the future."

Olivia: "The clinical training at Drexel and within the WELL Center is excellent! Both the training and the number of opportunities to become involved in clinical work have truly exceeded my expectations. Given the number of clinical trials going on at any one time, you will likely receive clinical supervision from a number of mentors in the WELL Center. I have enjoyed receiving clinical training from various mentors as they all have shared different tips, tricks, skills, etc., for enhancing my abilities as a clinician. In addition to the stellar supervision and number of opportunities, a number of the ongoing clinical trials recruit participants from all across the nation, so you get experience working with a very diverse range of patients. I found that this has helped prepared me for my external practicum positions within Philadelphia as the city itself presents so many diverse training opportunities."

Nikki: "I have been so thrilled with the clinical opportunities at Drexel! You get such varied experiences, through the studies at the WELL Center, the onsite practicum at the PSC during your second year, and the offsite practicum throughout Philadelphia in years 3-4. You get incredibly well-rounded clinical foundation, and are able to obtain experiences in whatever particular clinical interests you may have."

Christina F: "Drexel has a multitude of clinical opportunities! All students complete a 2nd year practicum at the in-house psychological services center with a specialty in mood and anxiety, women’s health, or forensic psychology among others. All students also have a host of universities, hospitals, and other clinical sites to complete their external practicum during years 3 and 4. Additionally, students in the WELL Center have the opportunity to participate in clinical research as early as their first few months in the program. There are always ongoing eating disorder and weight loss studies both in individual and group formats that students are invited to serve as study therapists and/or assessors in. It’s a valuable opportunity to get specialized experience before the required clinical training that all students receive. I could not be more satisfied with my diverse and well-rounded clinical training at Drexel!"

What are the funding opportunities? How does this affect your quality of life?

Steph K: "The basic stipend is relatively small. It takes some budgeting, but it is liveable (many first year students also get an additional fellowship that adds an additional few thousand dollars). Depending on your mentor and what's going on with your schedule, you can potentially also have another job that can supplement and there are also sometimes opportunities to pick up additional responsibilities that can be paid."

Christina C: "There are many opportunities to receive extra fellowships on top of your stipend, which definitely helps quality of life as a graduate student. Faculty proactively help you apply for these fellowships. Additionally, the faculty in the lab and department encourage and strongly support the graduate students to apply for external funding, which both can help quality of life and the quality of your research. In terms of research funding, there are special WELL Center grants that students can apply for, which both are great for your CV, and also can provide additional funding for independent projects."

Christine: "I was nervous about living on a graduate student stipend but it has been more manageable than I expected. Philadelphia is very affordable (especially compared to other cities in the Northeast) and there are so many free activities (yoga, concerts, movie screenings, museum admission, etc.) and student discounts that it is still possible to do a lot on a small budget. There are also many additional funding opportunities including fellowships, grants and teaching, and some students choose to take out a small amount of student loans to supplement their stipend."

Helen: "Funding in the program is dispersed over a 9 month period (October to June). Many students will seek out opportunities for extra funding in the summer, such as for working on an extra research project or students who have their master’s degree can teach courses. The stipend is liveable, but some students will take out small loans if they don’t receive additional funding."

Karly: "As a master’s student, I have found many opportunities within the WELL Center for extra funding. Reaching out to my mentors and other professors within the WELL Center, has helped direct me towards working in other research projects and clinical interventions. The extra work can seem to be overwhelming, but it is very manageable even with classes and primary lab work."

Elizabeth: "There are lots of opportunities to earn a little extra funding on top of your stipend by seeing patients on clinical trials and writing extra papers, among other things. Once students earn their master’s they are also able to earn extra income by teaching courses as an adjunct instructor both at Drexel and other universities in the Philadelphia area. Philadelphia is a very affordable city, so I’ve found the stipend to be liveable, but tight, on its own (living alone with a dog, for context)."

Claire: "I’m tremendously grateful for the opportunities the WELL Center offers to earn extra funding, such as taking on additional clinical work or helping with papers. That said, our stipend is considerably lower than other stipends in the area and, while Philadelphia is affordable as far as big cities go, it can be very tight to make it work, depending on the types of things you like to do in your life. Most of the people in my cohort find some way to supplement their income, whether that be extra work in the department, loans, or family support."

Michael B: "On its own, the graduate stipend (for PhD students) is still on the lower side, though has been gradually increasing in the last couple years. It is hard to live in Philadelphia on the stipend by itself depending on how frugal you are willing to be. That said, there are definitely opportunities to increase your stipend through additional fellowships and paid study therapist positions, which faculty will actively help you to procure. As others have highlighted, some students will also receive additional support from family, significant others or loans to make ends meet."

Emily: In addition to the fellowships that others have mentioned, there are several TAing opportunities (above and beyond expectations to TA as a department funded student) that can pay several thousand dollars and supplement funding. Also, students are encouraged to apply for external training grants (e.g., the National Science Foundation GRFP, NIH F31, etc), which all have higher stipends than the Drexel stipend.

Nikki: It takes a bit of time to adjust to the stipend being dispersed only across 9 months, but there are lots of opportunities for additional funding. Usually, these are study therapists positions so also help you get additional clinical experience and hours for internship which is a plus! Fellowships are also available at Drexel and the WELL Center is really great about communicating about those (as well as passing along resources from previous students who have applied to these in the past!).

Christina F: Although Drexel does not have the highest stipend among clinical psychology doctoral programs in Philadelphia, administration has been working hard to increase it and has indeed been able to do so over the past couple of years! Importantly, there are always opportunities for students to get additional funding. During the academic year, it’s possible to take on extra study therapy patients for compensation. During the summer, it’s also possible to contribute to an ongoing grant or teach a class once you have your master’s degree. The WELL Center also has a lot of internal research funding that students are encouraged to apply for (and often receive)!

How has the lab prepared you for an academic career?

Lauren: "As I am beginning my academic career as an Assistant Professor at Rush University Medical Center, I could not be more thankful for the training and mentorship I received at the lab. The lab is extremely productive, which provided me with unique opportunities to be integrally involved in all phases of the clinical research process. I received exemplary mentorship from Professor Forman, allowing me to develop an independent line of research beginning in my first year of graduate school (developing and examining novel interventions including a web-based, self-directed behavioral program). I gained extensive experience in manuscript writing (including the write-up of an NIH-funded clinical trial) and ended up with three first author publications from my thesis and dissertation projects. I also received training and experience in grant writing, assisted in writing NIH grants and applied for NIH and other grants and awards to fund independent research projects. As a result, I was awarded two dissertation awards and an NIH F31. My training at the lab made me a competitive applicant during my job search, which enabled me to secure my dream job."

Steph M: "I was lucky enough to be offered a research faculty position in the WELL Center after completing my doctoral studies here, and I envision no other place that could have prepared me for a research-oriented faculty position immediately after graduate school. I received top-notch research training, including NIH grant writing experience (both as a PI and student helping PIs writing grants), manuscript writing, and presentation experience. I also was encouraged and supported in developing my line of research. The Center is extremely collaborative, meaning not only do you get mentorship from your primary mentor, you are constantly exposed to academic dialogue and collaboration amongst all the PIs and graduate students. It is also incredibly enriching to be part of research that is not narrowly in one area. Overall, I couldn’t have asked for better preparation for an academic career."

Steph G: "I feel extremely well-prepared for an academic career, which is a direct result of the strong foundation of research training that I received at the WELL Center. Not only did I receive solid training in research design, data analysis, and dissemination of research findings, but I was also encouraged to engage in opportunities that are much rarer in other graduate programs such as grant writing (both federal and non-federal submissions), co-reviewing manuscripts for high-end journals, presenting work to non-federal agencies (e.g., pharmaceutical companies), and attending advanced trainings/pre-conference workshops. Further, Dr. Forman provided mentorship and funding to conduct ambitious research projects that would not have been possible at nearly any other institution and formed an advanced line of research that was integral to receiving numerous awards and grants of my own. At the WELL Center, I felt as though I was treated as a junior colleague in that I was encouraged to think critically about my own independent research line while also collaborating with other students and faculty to accomplish their research goals (which is an important skill within most academic settings). This allowed me to be extremely productive, finishing graduate school with 20+ publications (6 first-authored), while also carving out a niche research area to build upon for my clinical internship and postdoctoral fellowship applications. After my training at the WELL Center, I was selected for the only internship in the United States that provides half of my time for obesity research during the internship year (Alpert Medical School of Brown University) and was awarded an NIH F32 postdoctoral fellowship to continue my research at Brown."

Megan: "The WELL Center is so encouraging about research productivity, and allows students to use data for conference presentations and secondary data analyses. This has helped me both with my master’s thesis project and with publishing first author and co-author papers. Even if the data that I was interested in wasn’t available, my mentor has been supportive by allowing me to add measures on my research interests to existing projects. Outside of amazing research training, I’ve been offered a number of opportunities to observe and get involved in grant writing. I was encouraged and supported as I applied for my own grants, which led to recently being awarded an NIMH F31 training grant. I am so grateful to my mentor and other WELL Center members for providing a ton of guidance and support throughout the process. Receiving this grant will greatly help me as I pursue a future career in academia. Everyone at the WELL Center respects each other’s research ideas and projects, which allows for open communication and feedback. Through this, I’ve been able to advance my critical thinking skills about my own independent line of research. Additionally, because I have been able to observe other students and faculty pursuing academic careers, I’ve learned a lot about the available positions and ways to help progress your career."

What is it like living in Philadelphia?

Steph K: "Philadelphia is great - there are a huge number of really high quality restaurants and fun things in the city. It's also very walkable, so a lot of students don't have cars."

Steph M: "I loved living in the San Francisco Bay Area and wasn't sure how much I'd like Philadelphia. However, I've been pleasantly surprised at how quickly I felt at home here. Philadelphia is really an ideal place to be as a graduate student. There are so many museums, restaurants, professional sports teams, bars, music venues, theatre venues - pretty much anything that you could want in a city. At the same time, everything is very accessible by foot or public transportation, so you never have to travel far to get where you want to go (which is perfect for a busy graduate student)."

Britt: "Philadelphia is a very affordable city to live in, which makes it possible to live on the stipend. There is also a huge number number of university and graduate students in the Philly area, so there are many places with reasonable prices and student discounts. Plus, Philly is full of BYOB restaurants, which is fun and makes dining out less pricey!"

Christine: "I moved to Philly from NYC and wasn’t sure what it would be like to live in a somewhat smaller city. So far it’s been great! It has many of the advantages of a larger city, including amazing restaurants and so much to do, but it is considerably cheaper and less overwhelming. Exploring all of the different neighborhoods, working in the numerous coffee shops throughout the city, and taking advantage of the plethora of free activities has been a great way to find some balance in grad school!"

Kelsey: "I love Philadelphia! It is quite different from the Midwestern college towns where I lived previously, but I’ve really enjoyed the change of scenery. There’s so much to do; I’m constantly adding more restaurants, museums, events, etc. to my list of places to explore. Philadelphia is well-situated near other major cities (e.g., New York City, Washington, D.C.) which offer fun opportunities for day/weekend trips, and even for more affordable conferences to attend. While the city is more expensive than other places I’ve lived, and can take some getting used to, it’s been totally worth it and I feel at home here."

Cait: "I have developed a strong love for Philadelphia. I grew up in a very rural town, but I feel very comfortable here. Philly provides a strong sense of community, and sometimes feels more like a small town than a bustling city. Diverse and cultural, historic and artistic, Philly is exciting and has a niche for everyone. Overall, it’s a great place for emerging young professionals to live and grow. Great coffee to help with long days and nights is a plus! "

Jocelyn: "I moved here thinking Philadelphia was a good place to live, but I’ve now grown to love living here. It is so easy to walk around and there are so many free or very affordable activities! The number of free workout classes is unparalleled. The parks and outdoor spaces (did you know that Philly has 71 public pools?!) are great, including the many dog parks!"

Christina C: "Philadelphia is a great place to live. My favorite aspects of living in Philly is how walkable it is (I do not have a car, and do not feel constrained by this), the fantastic food-scence (lots of veg-friendly restaurants, too!), and all of the fun, unique activities to do (e.g., some of the activities I’ve done this past year including attending a glow-in-the-dark art exhibit, a flower exhibit, a salsa dancing workshop, and explored the graffiti pier). Check out some Philly instagram accounts for fun seasonal activities"

Michael B: "I really have come to enjoy living in Philadelphia these past few years. As others have said, compared to other East Coast cities it is quite a bit more affordable and yet sacrifices nothing in terms of walkability, quality of food (better here than almost anywhere else I have been), cultural events, art, history, etc. As a graduate student, major perks include not needing a car to get around, reasonable rent if you’re coming from somewhere like Boston, DC, NYC, or West Coast, and no shortage of fun weekend activities/happy hours/lovely neighborhoods to explore."

Claire: "I love living in Philadelphia–it’s a true Goldilocks city! There’s always something to do, it’s very walkable, has great food, and people are friendly. You have easy access to other cities on the east coast to visit, but not the expense of living somewhere like New York or DC. It’s also an amazing city to have a pet in–my dog loves it here, too."

Marny: "I find that Philadelphia is the perfect city for graduate students – it’s affordable, walkable, has a great food scene, and hosts tons of free events throughout the year! As a native Californian, I was not familiar with the city at all before I moved, but have really come to enjoy living here. One of my favorite things to do is go on long walks throughout the city to explore different neighborhoods because each is so unique and I am always able to find a new favorite restaurant, park, etc!"

Nikki: "Philadelphia is a wonderful place to live! It has so much to offer and is really affordable especially relative to other big cities. The restaurant scene is exceptional, and there’s always tons of fun events (often free!) happening throughout the city."

Christina F: "I have lived in Philadelphia since 2017 because I moved here for a research coordinator position prior to starting the program at Drexel and I could not love it more! Philadelphia is definitely an underrated city. Its affordability, walkability, and both urban and natural landscapes are hard to beat. Whatever your interest is, you can find a place for it here. Philadelphia has a lively sports, outdoorsy, artistic, and food scene among others. It has truly felt like a home and I will be sad to leave!"

What is the lab culture like?

Britt: "Our lab is very productive and people in the lab enjoy spending time with each other. Because the lab is relatively large, there are many different opportunities to get involved in various projects and fellow grad students are often happy to help out with each other’s projects. Outside of lab, lab members also regularly spend time together at a range of events including lab dinners, trivia (or “quizzo” in Philadelphia lingo) nights, bowling, Phillies games, etc."

Stef G: "I would say that we genuinely like each other and enjoy working together. We work very hard, but we also have fun while doing it. The environment on the whole is very collegial and everyone pitches in where it is needed most. We’re all excited about research and usually happy to be involved with each other’s projects - which means that our projects can be more ambitious than the average graduate student thesis and/or dissertation (and get done more efficiently)! We are competitive, but not with one another and enjoy celebrating each other’s accomplishments."

Kelsey: "Everyone works very hard and lab members are always seeking opportunities to collaborate with others; oftentimes all you have to do is ask if you can contribute to a project and people are happy to have you join the team! In addition to working well together, everyone also takes time for themselves and time to be social with others in the lab. There are regular events among the larger WELL Center as a whole, and individuals within each professor’s lab are also social with each other. In my experience, everyone from the post-docs, to Ph.D students, to Master’s students, to research coordinators has been included. I’ve made wonderful friends in this lab and have really enjoyed the friendly, welcoming, and supportive environment we’ve created."

Jocelyn: "The lab is very supportive and productive. I appreciate learning so much from the many different lab members and expertises available. Everyone here at the WELL Center truly wants everyone to do well and thrive in graduate school, and that means you can seek help or get advice from anyone. We try to do as many fun activities as possible together, like dinners, exercise classes, or other activities. Even if we’re low on time we make sure to check-in more informally about progress or to problem-solve. I’ve made lifelong friends in this lab and have enjoyed working with such smart, engaging, and helpful colleagues."

Michael B: "The culture here is really supportive; I always have felt that my opinions and ideas are respected. Students, faculty and staff alike tend to be quite busy here, but they are busy because they are genuinely excited and motivated by the work they’re doing. I second what others have said about the culture being very, very collaborative. It’s quite easy to get involved with others’ projects, clinical trials, grants, etc."

Megan: "The lab culture at the WELL Center is very collaborative and supportive. Everyone here at the WELL Center is truly passionate and excited about research, and enjoys working with other lab members on papers and projects. Often times, students can become close with other graduate students in their cohort who are also a part of the WELL Center through social events and office interactions. In my experience, if you are interested in working with someone or getting to know someone better, everyone has been very open and welcoming!"

Emily: "The lab culture at the WELL Center is really collegial and engaged. Everyone is open to and enthusiastic about collaborating on research projects. Everyone is also really welcoming and interested in getting to know new lab members. Although COVID put a damper on in-person lab social events, we previously would go to happy hour about once a month and are in the process of starting that up again."

Olivia: "The WELL Center lab culture could not be any more collaborative and supportive. Everyone seems to work very well with one another as well as enjoys watching everyone succeed. I have never once been afraid to ask for help or guidance from other students or mentors. The culture fosters an enjoyable work environment and organized social events make it nice to get to know your colleagues outside of the lab."

Marny: "Transitioning into the WELL Center was extremely welcoming and supportive. I felt included in opportunities to work on ongoing projects and manuscripts, and encouraged to cultivate my own research interests and collaborate with other students, faculty, and staff. I have really enjoyed getting to know other students and lab mates through social events, as well!"

Nikki: "Our lab culture is one of my favorite things about being at Drexel! We have a really collaborative environment and genuinely enjoy working together. The faculty are always available for questions and support, and really see you as a peer in collaboration on their projects. I also found all the students incredibly welcoming and genuinely interested in getting to know me from the start. We also do lots of things outside of lab together, too, so it’s always fun to have a social component as well as a professional one!"

What made you choose to attend Drexel and join this particular research lab?

Christine: "Heading into graduate school interviews, I felt torn between several programs, all of which looked great on paper. After spending time on each campus though, Drexel clearly stood out as my favorite. I was impressed by how welcoming the entire department was. It was also evident that people in this lab respected and enjoyed spending time with each other. The lab seemed collaborative and supportive, and that feeling has proven true since arriving on campus. Graduate programs are demanding, so working with friendly people who want to see you succeed is incredibly important. It also helps that we have a big lab filled with accomplished people (students and faculty alike)—there is so much room to learn from everyone else! In addition to the people and the culture, I chose Drexel because of the balance between research and clinical focus—we get amazing training in both and there is flexibility to pursue what is important to you!"

Steph M: "There are many ways in which Drexel, on paper, was not the most intuitive fit for my academic interests. However, immediately upon leaving the interview, I knew that Drexel would top my list. First of all, the available mentorship in our lab is stellar - I knew I’d have to opportunity to have three really incredible mentors who would be invested in my career. Secondly, it was incredibly clear how happy the graduate students were, both in and outside of this lab. They clearly supported, not competed with each other and that has proven to be more than true in my experience here - I can’t express enough how important that is for getting through a PhD program. Lastly, the department itself was highly collegial and welcoming - everyone is down to earth and approachable. I couldn't be happier with my decision!"

Steph K: "I actually had the luxury of being a research coordinator in this lab prior to attending graduate school, so I knew it well from the inside. When interviewing at other programs, I had Drexel and our lab as a comparison point. The things I love about our lab, and the things I didn’t want to give up, were the collaborative nature of the people and the vibrancy of the research program. Many of my research training experiences, including papers and presentations, have been with other students or mentors other than my primary mentor. The richness of experience that I get from a large lab, where everyone is excited to work on new projects and talk about new ideas, was unmatched by other programs. I can’t imagine having had a better, more supported, experience in graduate school."

Kelsey: "I felt that Philadelphia, Drexel, and our lab offered so many wonderful opportunities. There are so many studies students can get involved with, clinical research roles you can take on, relevant clinical training opportunities in the area, and the ability to network and collaborate with people in this program and other programs. This has proved true for me so far; it’s not hard to find opportunities, it’s difficult to choose which ones to pursue! Moreover, the people in this lab and this program are so great to work with. Everyone is ambitious and impressive in their accomplishments, but still open to collaboration and willing to mentor and teach. Being in this lab has undoubtedly changed my graduate school experience for the better."

Becca: "I was captivated and impressed by Drexel after hearing WELL Center mentors and graduate students present their cutting-edge research at national conferences. When I had the opportunity to interview at Drexel, I realized that not only were the members of this lab ambitious, productive, and innovative in their research, but they were also extremely warm, welcoming, and encouraging of one another. It was clear to me that the WELL Center was unique in providing a combination of rich research experience, invested mentorship, and a genuinely collaborative and supportive environment. I felt at home right away—the decision to join this lab was a no-brainer!"

Elizabeth: "I chose to stay at Drexel for my PhD (after completing my MS with Drs. Forman & Manasse) because there was so much exciting research going on that I felt it was the best way to learn as much as possible during the next 4-5 years. One distinct advantage of the center is that students can get involved in projects as diverse as building tech-based just-in-time-adaptive interventions for adult eating and weight disorders to delivering emotion-focused family therapy for teens with eating disorders. The scope and productivity of the WELL Center is unmatched, and that creates the perfect environment for students to find what interests them and develop the skills necessary to succeed in any relevant endeavors."

Claire: "I chose Drexel over other programs because, of everywhere I applied, nowhere was doing as much clinical research with as diverse a population as the WELL Center. Whether that was in adolescents or adults, transdiagnostic eating disorders, family therapy, or technology based interventions, I felt there would always be something new to learn. I also really appreciated the community in the WELL Center–people here really adore one another, and work to support each other’s goals in a way that feels collaborative and not competitive, which was essential for me."

Emily: "I elected to stay at Drexel (after working as a research coordinator in the WELL Center) because the student-focused mentorship and access to resources (data, writing feedback, opportunities to submit grants, etc) was unmatched at other programs to which I applied. The WELL Center is very unique in that it is a highly productive and collaborative research center, meaning that you work with faculty and students doing a wide range of eating and weight-related research. However, despite being an incredibly productive environment, the faculty are clearly really invested in mentorship of students to prepare them for whatever type of career the students are interested in."

Olivia: "As soon as I left my interview at Drexel, I knew it was my first choice for grad school for several reasons. First, it became clear the opportunities for clinically focused research were endless. I quickly became excited about the opportunity of becoming a study therapist where I could work with EDs and weight loss and work with people from diverse backgrounds. Second, I was very impressed by the mentorship the students received in the WELL Center. I got a strong sense that your mentor is truly invested in you and your academic journey and very supportive of you exploring your line of research and clinical focus. Third, I could tell the environment in the WELL Center was welcoming and full of individuals that were passionate about their work and collaborative, which is exactly what I was looking for in a program."

Christina F: "I knew going into my interview at Drexel that it was likely going to be my top choice and indeed it was! My main draw was the unique research fit. There are very few eating disorder programs doing treatment research and doing it to the caliber that the WELL Center does. It was evident to me that there would be an abundance of research and clinical opportunities available. Despite that meaning that I may be busier than my peers in other programs, I wanted that fast-paced environment. Leaving my interview, not only were these impressions correct but I also saw that the lab culture is very collaborative, students are friends outside of the program, and everyone seemed very happy with their training. That, in combination with Philadelphia as the program’s location, sealed the deal for me!"

What is it like being an MS student? How is the MS program different than the PhD program?

Elizabeth: "Being an MS student is like being half way between a research coordinator/assistant and a PhD student. MS students handle more research coordination responsibilities than PhD students have. For example, MS students see a lot more of the administrative side of research (e.g., completing phone screens/assessments, submitting IRB protocols, managing data collection, etc.) which gives them a deep understanding and appreciation for what it takes to run an R-level clinical trial. On the other hand, MS students are often in the same classes with PhD students, and are also developing their own line of research via their MS thesis and any other independent projects. Both in classes and within the lab, I felt that MS students were treated with the same respect and enthusiasm as PhD students-- their contributions to lab meetings and grant proposals were weighted just the same. Having been on both sides (as an MS student with Drs. Forman and Manasse, and a PhD student with Dr. Manasse), I can also say that there is no difference in the opportunities given to MS vs. PhD students. MS students are encouraged to write their own first-author publications and contribute to grant proposals, as well as serve as group co-leaders and study therapists on clinical trials where possible. MS students are definitely busy, but (in my opinion) they get the best of both worlds because they have many of the same research opportunities as PhD students while still developing a solid understanding of what it takes to conduct a large-scale research study through their project coordination roles."

Karly: "Being a MS student has given me a great opportunity to increase my research and overall psychology skills. While taking about 3 classes a quarter you will work in the lab besides your mentor and other lab members. Lab tasks can be anywhere from research coordination responsibilities to conducting clinical interviews. You get a wide range of responsibilities and possibilities to work on papers. Personally, I have found multiple opportunities to work on my own papers and conduct projects with my mentor as a supervisor. I have found a lot of support within the WELL Center and positive feedback to help grow me as a researcher."