A note to prospective students from Dr. McNeil:
I appreciate your interest in the possibility of working with me as a doctoral student. Interacting with, and mentoring students, is the most rewarding part of my professional life. For students who are applying now and plan to enter graduate school in the fall of 2021, I am open to accept a new doctoral student. At the same time, however, like my faculty colleagues in the WVU Clinical Psychology training program, I flexibly admit students in a particular year, or not, depending on match of interest areas and other factors. Please note that students enter our doctoral program either with a Bachelor’s degree (and get a Master’s degree along the way), or already have a Master’s degree upon admission.
What do I look for in prospective students?
I look for students who are excited about psychological science, particularly those who are interested in focusing on pain and/or anxiety disorders. Students who work with me have the opportunity to explore a broad array of topics, ranging from the interaction of pain and anxiety, pain associated with dental and other health care procedures, negativity bias associated with depression, emotional pain, biofeedback, and other areas too numerous to mention here. Please look at my CV on this web site for more information about my research foci. If you are interested in Health Psychology, and particularly if you have an interest in, or openness to, the field of Behavioral Dentistry, that would be a plus, but is not required, and only some of my students have a focus in those areas.
I enjoy hard-working students who also have a balance of other life interests outside of Psychology, including family and friends. Service to others is an important part of my professional life, so I seek students who integrate service into their professional and personal life.
Consistent with the “junior colleague” model in our Department, students who are mature, self-motivated, and self-directed are well-suited to work with me and our program. If you are interested in becoming a serious scientist with excellent research and clinical skills, and want to enjoy life, integrating “fun” into your professional activities, please consider applying to our Clinical Psychology doctoral program to work with me.
I am very proud of all the students with whom I have had the opportunity to work. They have a variety of careers, in academia, research, administration, clinical practice, and many combinations of these areas. At this time in the evolution of Clinical Psychology as a profession, however, I am most interested in working with students who want to pursue an academic or research career. I want to help students to become broadly trained as Clinical Psychologists, but with a focus in Health Psychology. Our Clinical Psychology training program is a member of the Academy of Psychological Clinical Science (http://acadpsychclinicalscience.org/index.php). My work with students is consistent with the Academy’s mission to advance clinical science.
What can you expect in working with me?
I try to inspire my students, hoping that they already are strongly motivated. I meet with students regularly in individual meetings, and in group meetings in my Anxiety, Psychophysiology, and Pain Research Laboratory. Lab social activities are a part of our activities together. I gently challenge students with new professional experiences, using a graduated “exposure” model. Learning should be fun, and is a life-long adventure. I hope to learn as much from you as you learn from me! Thanks again for considering me as a potential mentor.