Prospective Students

Thanks for your interest in the TAYA Lab! All information below was last updated in June 2022. 


Prospective Graduate Students

Thank you for your interest in the TAYA Lab! I'm excited to accept applications for the 2022-23 admissions cycle (due December 1, 2022)!

Here are some frequently asked questions:

I want to apply to the [Clinical/Developmental/Social] Psychology Ph.D. program at Pitt. Can I list you as a potential advisor? 

When applying to Psychology Ph.D. programs at Pitt, prospective students apply to work with a specific faculty member(s) in their research lab.


For this admissions cycle, I will consider applications through the following Pitt programs: 

Developmental Psychology Ph.D. Program

Clinical/Developmental Joint Ph.D. Program

Individualized Joint Ph.D. Program in Developmental & Social Psychology

What these programs all share in common is training in developmental psychology, which is core to my lab's research. 

What are you looking for in a prospective student? 

If you apply to one of the Ph.D. programs above and list me as a potential mentor, I will conduct a holistic review of your application. Due to the high volume of applications to the lab, I give the strongest consideration to applicants who list my name as the primary mentor (in other words, who list my name first on the application).

Strong applicants to the TAYA Lab are passionate about research on sociocultural influences on adolescent development and have gained at least one year of research experience in psychology or a related field, ideally including post-baccalaureate experience. I will consider applications from prospective students interested in any of our current research projects. I especially welcome applications from students who are interested in Project ROSE, a study focused on gendered racial identity among Black young women, and our lab's related work on the intersection of racial/ethnic, gender, and sexual identities.

My holistic review process includes reviewing personal statements, letters of recommendation, CVs, transcripts, and other submitted materials. I pay special attention to structural barriers and unique circumstances applicants may have experienced on their academic and career journeys, which you may decide to discuss in your personal statement and/or ask your letter-writers to discuss on your behalf

Can we meet by phone/zoom before I submit my application? Can you review my materials in advance? 

I plan to wait until December 2022 to review applicants' materials, once the Pitt application window has closed. After conducting a holistic review of all applications, I will contact selected applicants to begin the interview process. Although I love speaking with prospective students, this process maximizes equity and transparency, while also allowing me to focus on mentoring my current students. 


Many questions about Pitt admissions can be found here. And as you consider grad school options and work on your applications, I strongly recommend the professional development webpage of my own graduate school mentor, Mitch Prinstein at UNC Chapel Hill. Among many resources related to applying to grad school and careers in psychology, you’ll see a grad school application guide I wrote when I was a grad student in 2011. My lab is currently working on updating this guide and I’ll post it here soon! 


Where do you see your research going over the next five years?  

The TAYA Lab has multiple ongoing research projects and we're always developing new projects and collaborations, which keeps things exciting! Check out our research projects page to learn more about our current work. Over the next few years, I anticipate continuing to focus on multi-disciplinary research regarding adolescent social media use, body image, and mental health, with a continued focus on LGBTQ+ youth and processes related to gender and sexuality. I anticipate an increasing focus in my research on (1) the lived experiences of Youth of Color, (2) the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, and (3) the development of intervention and prevention programs that promote positive social media use, body image, and mental health.

Can you tell me about your mentorship style? 

Mentoring doctoral students and post-bacc trainees is one of the greatest privileges and joys of my career! I strive to foster an inclusive, warm, and collaborative research lab. I meet with my graduate students every week, both individually and as a group. Using a developmental mentorship model, I provide more scaffolding at the beginning of our mentoring relationship, with increasing independence over time. I aim to help trainees identify what they are most interested in (which usually evolves over time) and what the dream career path would look like for them (whether that's in academia or not), rather than imposing my own interests. I encourage students to chart their own path, with collaborations with other students and faculty outside of the lab. I strive to approach my mentorship through an inclusive, feminist, and antiracist lens. This means I view my own and my trainees' work/life balance, personal identities, and mental health as being relevant to our work, and we regularly discuss social justice at the local and broader levels. Finally, I aim to model self-care, humility, and a healthy dose of skepticism and laughter about academia.

Undergraduate Students & Post-Baccalaureate Scholars

The TAYA Lab does not have any openings for paid, volunteer, or course-credit RA positions for undergraduate students or post-bacc scholars for Summer 2022.


We will likely accept applications for Pitt undergraduate students to begin as RAs in the lab in Fall 2022, and we will announce that here soon.

We do not anticipate any positions for post-bacc scholars in 2022, but that may change. 

If you would like to be added to an email list of interested prospective RAs, please email me at, and a member of my lab will email you if positions become available. Thank you for your interest!