Interested in joining the PERCH lab? Learn more about skills we emphasize, mentoring philosophy, open opportunities, and how to apply!



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  • critical thinking
  • written and verbal communication
  • problem solving
  • leadership
  • collaboration and teamwork
  • time and project management


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  • temperament and personality
  • self-regulation
  • socio-structural contexts
  • mental and physical health
  • longevity
  • lifespan development


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  • literature review and synthesis
  • data collection
  • coding in r
  • advanced statistics and data analysis
  • manuscript and grant writing
  • open science research practices

mentoring philosophy

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We take an individual differences approach to mentoring, meaning that we recognize and appreciate that each person is unique and has their own identities, backgrounds, values, needs, and goals. As a result, mentoring is viewed as an intentional and equitable process, with open communication and continued evaluation. We are intentional by tailoring our mentoring to the individualized needs, goals, and values of each person. We are equitable by providing each person with the same access, opportunity, and advancement within their chosen path.

prospective grad students

•As of April 28th, 2023 • dr. atherton will be reviewing graduate student applications for the upcoming academic cycle, with the hopes of recruiting 1 PhD student to start in fall 2024.


thank you for your interest in joining the PERCH lab! below is some information that you might find useful in determining whether you’d be a good fit for the lab, as well as some answers to frequently asked questions.

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current research directions

in addition to answering research questions listed on the Research tab of this website, below are two overarching themes of ongoing research in the lab and some example projects within those themes.

1. moderating and mediating mechanisms linking personality, contexts, and health

rurality-urbanicity • personality • cardiometabolic disease, dementia, mortality

socioeconomic status • personality • cardiometabolic disease, dementia, mortality

age-period-cohort • personality • health

2. utility of social-personality psychology in real-world health settings

adherence to medical regimens

social and psychological determinants of health in primary care and emergency settings

frequently asked questions
1. where can I find more information about the SPH area, how to apply, stipend/benefits details, GRE requirements, etc?

please see

2. do you consider applications from international students?

yes! international students will not be eligible for some fellowships that are only available to U.S. citizens (e.g., NSF GRFP); however, there will still be department funding available if you are admitted. please see the above link for more details.

3. what criteria do you use to evaluate grad school applications?

please see here.

4. what should I do if I still have questions?

please contact dr. atherton directly at

prospective undergrad research assistants

As of April 28th, 2023 we are currently not accepting applications for undergraduate research assistants. you are welcome to still apply for future consideration, or to check back in future semesters for openings. if you are interested in doing a senior honors thesis in the lab, please contact dr. atherton directly at

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to apply, please click the button below:

have more questions? please email