Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab

Prospective Students

Prospective Graduate Students (PhD, JD/PhD, & MS)

Dr. Goldstein's Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab focuses on forensic psychology, with a particular emphasis on adolescents’ capacities to make legal decisions, youths' abilities to fulfill behavioral requirements of the law, and the development of juvenile justice interventions and procedures to promote youths’ long-term well-being.

Core areas of recent and ongoing research include: 1) adolescents' capacities to waive Miranda rights and offer confessions during police interrogations, 2) youths' capacities to successfully complete probation, 3) international/cross-cultural research on juveniles' competence to stand trial in Argentina, 4) development and evaluation of a gender-specific anger management intervention to reduce anger, aggression, and recidivism, and 5) development and evaluation of a school-based police diversion program to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. Dr. Goldstein's lab emphasizes the relationships among psychology, law, and public policy; training is provided in psycho-legal assessment, intervention, research, and the application of research findings to public policy. Graduate students are actively involved in all of these projects.

Drexel University's Psychology Department offers an APA accredited doctoral degree program and provides training for students in the scientist-practitioner model. This model emphasizes clinical research and the application of scientific principles, while concentrating on the integration of research and practice.

Dr. Goldstein will be accepting applications from prospective JD/PhD students and prospective master's students for Fall 2016. She will not be accepting a PhD student this year.

Prospective Research Assistants

The Juvenile Justice Research and Reform Lab includes undergraduate students and/or recent graduates in all projects. Eligible research assistants must be able to dedicate at least 9 hours per week to the research, for a minimum of two academic quarters. Drexel students interested in participating in Lab projects may be eligible to earn 3 independent study credits per term or receive pay through the Federal Work Study program. Volunteers are also welcome.

Research assistants are usually involved with all of the projects to some degree, but we also try to match students with projects of interest to them whenever possible. Research assistants typically receive one hour of group supervision from Dr. Goldstein per week and at least one hour of supervision per week from a senior research assistant in the lab. Research activities typically involve a) developing an understanding of the research process, including an overview of the topic of interest; b) administering clinical and forensic assessments to youth and adults in the juvenile and criminal justice systems; c) acquiring data-related skills; d) acquiring analytic skills with the SPSS statistical package (e.g., data entry, data management, and running basic analyses); and e) enhancing research presentation skills. Students regularly co-author papers and posters at national and international conferences, and opportunities exist for them to attend these conferences and present the lab's research.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are you taking a graduate student for the 2016-2017 academic year?

Dr. Goldstein will be accepting applications for a JD/PhD student and a Master's Student for Fall 2016. She will not be accepting a PhD student this year.

What type of PhD applicant are you looking for?

I usually seek a PhD applicant with a strong academic record, as evidenced by their GRE scores, strength of undergraduate institution and GPA (3.5 or greater is preferred). In addition, I look for outstanding letters of recommendation (from doctoral-level academic, research-oriented psychologists, if possible), high-quality research experience, and a statement of purpose that indicates an understanding of the field and specification of the student's interests and goals. The lab focuses on adolescents' capacities to make legal decisions, so interest in a related area is usually important. In other words, we select students who we believe are the best "match" for our lab group. Other qualities that are sought are strong writing skills, initiative, and creativity.

What type of JD/PhD applicant are you looking for?

The same criteria described above applies to JD/PhD applicants. Additionally, I seek a JD/PhD applicant who has a strong interest in connecting research and public policy.

How does the admissions process work?

Beginning in January, we review applications from those applicants who have indicated a desire to work in our lab (normally 125-150 people). Out of this set, approximately 10 students are invited to Drexel for in-person interviews and an opportunity to meet faculty and students.

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 (over 500 total; over 125 to this lab), that we honestly do not have any way of remembering who has and 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.

What are your active lab projects?

Dr. Goldstein's Lab has a number of ongoing projects. The team is conducting research in five primary areas: 1) Juveniles' Miranda rights comprehension and confessions, 2) youths' capacities to successfully complete probation, 3) international research on juveniles' legal capacities in Argentina, 4) development, evaluation, and implementation of an anger management intervention for girls in the juvenile justice system, and 5) development and evaluation of a school-based police diversion program to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline. More information is available here.

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

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