Adolescent Connectedness & Empowerment Lab

The Adolescent Connectedness and Empowerment (ACE) Lab aims to identify, develop, and evaluate effective strategies to foster healthy developmental outcomes during adolescence and the transition to adulthood, particularly among marginalized populations.

Sarah Schwartz, PhD

To learn more about Dr. Sarah Schwartz and her work, please visit her faculty page. 

Current Research Projects

The Adolescent Connectedness and Empowerment Lab, strives to conduct research that recognizes the need for relationships and contexts that both allow youth to feel supported by adults and make space for youth to take the lead in advocating for themselves and their communities. We are broadly interested in positive youth development approaches, with an emphasis on interventions that leverage the power of mentoring relationships and networks of support. We are currently conducting a grant-funded evaluation of an intervention designed to teach first-generation college students to cultivate mentoring relationships and social capital during the transition to college. More generally, we are interested in studying school and community-based programs that empower young people and promote social-emotional learning. Some additional lab research topics include school-based mental health services, mental health stigma, positive affect, youth community organizing, and youth engagement in climate activism.

References and Materials

*Denotes graduate student author

Parnes, M.*, Kanchewa, S., Marks, A., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2020). Closing the college achievement gap: Impacts and processes of a help-seeking intervention. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 67, 101121.

*Parnes, M., Suárez-Orozco, C., Osei-Twumasi, O., Schwartz, S. (2020). Academic Outcomes Among Diverse Community College Students: What is the Role of Instructor Relationships? Community College Review.

Raposa, E., Rhodes, J., Stams, G., Card, N., Burton, S., Schwartz, S., Yoviene, L., Kanchewa, S., Kupersmidt, J., Hussain, S. (2019). The effects of youth mentoring programs: A meta-analysis of outcome studies. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 48(3), 423-443. doi:/10.1007/s10964-019-00982-8

*Austin, L. J., Schwartz, S. (2018). Addressing mental health stigma in early adolescence: Middle school antistigma interventions. Adolescent Research Review. DOI: 10.1007/s40894-018-0101-8

Schwartz, S., Kanchewa, S., Rhodes, J., *Gowdy, G., *Stark, A., *Horn, J. P., *Parnes, M., Spencer, R. (2018). "I'm having a little struggle with this, can you help me out?": Examining impacts and processes of a social capital intervention for first-generation college students. American Journal of Community Psychology, 61(1-2), 166-178. DOI: 10.1002/ajcp.12206

Schwartz, S., Rhodes, J. (2016). From treatment to empowerment: New approaches to youth mentoring. American Journal of Community Psychology, 58, 150-157.

Schwartz, S., Kanchewa, S., Rhodes, J., Cutler, E., Cunningham, J. L. (2016). “I didn’t know you could just ask:” Empowering underrepresented college-bound students to recruit academic and career mentors. Children and Youth Services Review, 64, 51-59.

Schwartz, S. E. O., Rhodes, J. E., Liang, B., Sánchez, B., Spencer, R., Kremer, S., & Kanchewa, S. (2014). Mentoring in the digital age: Social media use in adult-youth relationships. Children and Youth Services Review, 47, 205-213.

Schwartz, S., Suyemoto, K. (2013). Creating change from the inside: Youth development within a youth community organizing program. Journal of Community Psychology, 41(3), 341–358.

Schwartz, S., Rhodes, J., Spencer, R., Grossman, J. (2013). Youth initiated mentoring: Investigating a new approach to working with vulnerable adolescents. American Journal of Community Psychology, 52(1-2), 155–169

Schwartz, S., Rhodes, J., Chan, C., Herrera, C. (2011). The impact of school-based mentoring on youths with different relational profiles. Developmental Psychology, 47(2), 450.

*Denotes graduate student author

Schwartz, S. E. O., Parnes, M. F.*, Austin, L. J.*, & Browne, R.* (Accepted). New Approaches to Empower Youth to Recruit Mentors in the United States. In Prieto-Flores, O. and Feu, J. (Eds.) Mentoring Children and Young People for Social Inclusion: Global Approaches to Empowerment. Routledge.

Schwartz, S. E. O., Christensen, K. M.*, & Austin, L. J.* (2020). Empowerment Strategies and Youth Community Organizing. In Geffner, R., Vieth, V., Vaughan-Eden, V., Rosenbaum, A., Hamberger, L., & White J. (Eds.) Handbook of Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan. Springer International Publishing.

*Parnes, M., Schwartz, S. E. O., Suárez-Orozco, C., Osei-Twumasi, O., Singh, S. (in press). The role of instructor relationships in predicting academic outcomes among immigrant origin community college students. In Research on Immigrants in Community College. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.

Schwartz, S. E. O., Kanchewa, S. S., & Rhodes, J. E. (2017). Mentoring. In K. Peppler (Ed.) The Sage Encyclopedia of Out-of-School Learning. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Kanchewa, S. S., Schwartz, S. E. O., & Rhodes, J. E. (2017). Mentoring disadvantaged youth. In D.A. Clutterbuck, F.K. Kochan, L. G., Lunsford, N. Dominguez, & J. Haddock-Millar (Eds.) The SAGE Handbook of Mentoring. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Rhodes, J., Lowe, S., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2011). Youth mentoring. In B. Brown & M. Prinstein (Eds), The Encyclopedia of Adolescence. Elsevier.

Current Graduate Students

Profile Picture of Laura AustinI am a fourth year graduate student in Suffolk University's Clinical Psychology PhD program. I received B.A. in Human Biology from Stanford University. Both my clinical and research interests center on supporting youth development. More specifically, my current research focuses on connection and help-seeking in adolescence.

Research Interests

Adolescent socio-emotional development; youth connectedness and positive development; help-seeking; mental health stigma; school- and community-based interventions; youth mentoring

Selected Publications/Presentations:

Schwartz, S. E. O., Parnes, M. F., Austin, L. J., & Browne, R. (In Press). New Approaches to Empower Youth to Recruit Mentors. In Mentoring Children and Youth at-risk: Global Approaches to Empowerment.

Schwartz, S. E. O., Christensen, K. M., & Austin, L. J. (2021). Empowerment Strategies and Youth Community Organizing. In R. Geffner, J. W. White, L. K. Hamberger, A. Rosenbaum, V. Vaughan-Eden, V. I. Vieth (Eds.), Handbook of Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan: A project of the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan (NPEIV). Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-62122-7_103-1

Austin, L. J., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2020, November). Asking for Help: Predictors and Barriers to Psychological Help-Seeking in a Diverse College Sample. Poster accepted at the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies 54th Annual Convention, Philadelphia, PA.

Austin, L. J., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2019). Addressing Mental Health Stigma in Early Adolescence: Middle School Antistigma Interventions. Adolescent Research Review, 4, 223-233. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-018-0101-8

Schwartz, S.E.O., Christensen, K. M., & Austin, L. (In press). Empowerment Strategies and Youth Community Organizing. In Handbook of Interpersonal Violence Across the Lifespan.

Austin, L. J., Jarjoura, R., Herrera, C., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2019, June). Unique Mentoring Approaches to Supporting Youth. Poster Presented at the Society for Community Research and Action 2019 Biennial, Chicago, IL.

Austin, L. J., Browne, R., Parnes, M. F., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2019, May). Psychological Help- Seeking in a Diverse College Sample. Poster Presented at the Society for Prevention Research Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Austin, L. J., Herrera, C., Jarjoura, R., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2019, May). Mentors Who Connect: The Impact of Mentoring Connecting Behaviors on Youth Relational Outcomes. Poster Presented at the Society for Prevention Research Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

I am currently a doctoral student in Suffolk University’s PhD program. I graduated with my B.S. in Psychology from Northeastern University in 2014. My research interests are related to fostering positive youth development and resiliency, particularly in underrepresented youth. I am also interested in the various pathways through which community-based interventions help reduce mental health symptoms and concerns in youth.

Recent Conference Presentations

Browne, R.K. & Schwartz, S. E. O. (June, 2020). Predictors of Loneliness in a Diverse College Sample. Poster presented at the Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.

Browne, R. K., Parnes, M.F., Austin, L.J., Carreiro, M., & Schwartz, S.E.O. (May, 2020). Associations Between Social Capital, First-Generation College Student Status, and Depressive Symptoms in a Diverse College Sample. Symposium accepted at the Association for Psychological Science Annual Convention, Chicago, IL.

Browne, R.K., Jarjoura, R., Herrera, C., Tanyu, M., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (March, 2020). Associations Between Mentoring Relationships and Youth Mental Health. Poster accepted at the Society for Research on Adolescents Biannual Conference, San Diego, CA.

Austin, L.J., Browne, R. K., Parnes, M.F., & Schwartz, S.E.O. (May, 2019). Psychological Help-Seeking in a Diverse College Sample. Poster Presented at the Society for Prevention Research Annual Conference, San Francisco, CA.

Profile Picture of Megan Carreiro

Megan is a graduate student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program at Suffolk University. She received her BA in Psychology at Framingham State University and her MS in Neuroscience & Education at Columbia University, Teachers College. Her master’s thesis examined the effects of PTSD and suicidal ideation on executive functioning in older adolescents. While in her master’s program, Megan worked as a Kindergarten science teacher in Harlem and as a research assistant at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Prior to entering Suffolk’s PhD program, she worked as a clinical research coordinator at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Her research and clinical interests center on addressing ways to foster healthy developmental outcomes during adolescence. Specifically, she would like to work on mentoring interventions and trauma-informed care programs for underserved and underrepresented youth.

LaGriff is a second year graduate student in Suffolk University’s Clinical Psychology doctoral program. They graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2014 with a B.S. in Psychology. While enrolled in their first year at Suffolk, they completed an M.S. in Psychology at ULL in 2020. LaGriff grew up in Southern Louisiana. They spent 3 years prior to Suffolk traveling and exploring the West Coast, throwing pies and walking dogs, all while remotely completing a Master’s thesis. They make a mean pizza, love hiking, backpacking, and exploring different foods and cultures. LaGriff has a big heart for humanity and helping folks thrive!

Research Interests

Accessible intervention-based approaches for Gender and Sexual Minorities (GSM), Acceptance and Commitment Training, mindfulness and acceptance-based therapeutic approaches to alleviate the effects of felt and enacted stigma, psychological flexibility, GSM-related stigma and well-being

Presentations

Griffin, L. E., & Sandoz, E. K.  (2014, June). Back to life: Psychological inflexibility and recidivism among criminal offenders. Presentation at the Louisiana Psychological Association Conference, Louisiana.

Griffin, L. E., & Sandoz, E. K.  (2015, March). Seeing past sexuality: Psychological Inflexibility, LGBTQ stigma, and responsiveness to education-based stigma. Presentation at the Southeastern Association for Contextual Behavioral Science Conference, Louisiana.

Griffin, L. E., & Sandoz, E. K.  (2016, June). Stigma in Context: Psychological distress and coping styles of gender and sexual minorities. Poster at the ACBS World Conference, Washington.

Griffin, L. E., & Sandoz, E. K.  (2017, March). Overcoming stigma: A values-based intervention for GSM individuals who have experienced stigma and discrimination. Presentation at the Advances in Evidence-Based Psychotherapy for Gender and Sexual Minorities, California.

Griffin, L. E., & Sandoz, E. K.  (2019). Overcoming Stigma: A values-based intervention for GSM individuals who have experienced stigma and discrimination. Presentation at the ACBS World Conference, Ireland.

I am currently a doctoral student in Suffolk University's Clinical Psychology PhD program. I received an MSEd in Counseling and Mental Health from the University of Pennsylvania. My clinical and research interests are related to supporting positive youth who face greater social and structural barriers and developing interventions to promote youth access to social support. My current research focuses on understanding the impact of adversity on youth outcomes into adulthood and how mentoring/caregiver relationships may account for these associations. I am also interested in exploring various pathways through which youth can access supportive relationships with caring adults.

Publications

Parnes, M. F., Kanchewa, S., Marks, A.K., & Schwartz, S. E. O. (2020). Closing the college achievement gap: Impacts and processes of a help-seeking intervention. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 67, 1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.appdev.2020.101121

Parnes, M. F., Suárez-Orozco, C., Osei-Twumasi, O., & Schwartz, S.E.O. (2020). The role of instructor relationships in predicting academic outcomes among community college students. Community College Review, 48(3) 277-302. doi: 10.1177/0091552120909908

Weber Ku, E. B., Hagler, M., Parnes, M. F., Schwartz, S. E. O., Rhodes, J., Erickson, L. (2020). Natural mentoring relationships among survivors of caregiver childhood abuse: Findings from the Add Health Longitudinal Study. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1-17. doi: 10.1111/nyas.14313

Parnes, M.F., Bagrodia, R., Wightman, K., Sawhney, R.S., Satterthwaite, M.L., Knuckey, S., Bryant, R.A., & Brown, A.D. (2019). Access to support and post-traumatic stress among human rights advocates: The mediating roles of workplace culture and negative appraisals. Psychological Services. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/ser000359

Kramer, M.A., Ostrowski, L.M, Song, D.Y., Thorn, E.L., Stoyell, S.M., Parnes, M.F., Chinappen, D., Xiao, G, Eden, U., Staley, K.J., Stufflebeam, S.M., & Chu, C.J. (in press). Spike ripples in scalp electroencephalogram predict seizure risk in childhood epilepsy better than spikes. Brain.

Parnes, M.F., Schwartz, S.E.O., Suárez-Orozco, C., Osei-Twumasi, O., & Sukhami, S. The Role of Instructor Relationships in Predicting Academic Outcomes among Immigrant Origin Community College Students. In Research on Immigrants in Community College, forthcoming, Teacher’s College Press, 2019.

Schwartz, S. E. O., Kanchewa, S. S., Rhodes, J. E., Gowdy, G., Stark, A., Horn, J. P., Parnes, M., & Spencer, R. (2017). “I’m having a little struggle with this, can you help me out?”: A mixed methods examination of a social capital intervention for first-generation college students. American Journal of Community Psychology. doi:10.1002/ajcp.12206

Selected Presentations

Parnes, M. F., Boals, A. D., Brown, A. D., Eubank, J. (2020, May). A Latent Profile Analysis of Heterogeneity in Temporal Self-Appraisals Following Trauma Exposure. Poster presented virtually at Association for Psychological Science.

Parnes, M. F., Jarjoura, G. R., Tanyu, M., Herrera, C., Schwartz, S. E. O. (2020, March) Parent Engagement and Mentoring Relationship Processes Mediate the Association Between Youth Risk and Mental Health Outcomes. Symposium accepted at 2020 Society for Research on Adolescence Biennial Conference, San Diego, CA.

Parnes, M.F., Monjaras-Gaytan, L.Y, Sánchez, B., & Schwartz, S.E.O. (2019, June). Natural Mentoring Relationships Among College Students: Do Shared Mentor-Mentee Identities Matter? Presented as part of E. Raposa (Chair) Social Support and Risk versus Resilience for College Students from Underrepresented Backgrounds. Symposium presented at Society for Community Research and Action.

Parnes, M.F. & Schwartz, S.E.O. (2019, March). The impact of a brief help-seeking intervention on first-generation college students’ academic outcomes. Poster presented at 2019 Society for Research on Child Development Biennial Meeting, Baltimore, MD.


Interested in Joining the Lab?

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I find out whether Dr. Schwartz intends to take a student for the upcoming year?

A list of faculty accepting students is available on our departmental admission webpage.

Should I contact Dr. Schwartz directly to express my interest?

There is no need to contact me in advance of submitting your application to our graduate program. Unfortunately, given the volume of applicants to our program, I am unable to correspond with everyone who is interested.

What type of applicant are you looking for?

Generally, I am looking for students with strong academic credentials, outstanding letters of recommendation, solid research experience, and a personal statement that clearly articulates the way in which your specific interests match with my areas of expertise.

How can I find out more about the doctoral program?

We keep a tremendous amount of very useful information on our public webpage. I encourage you to read over our resources and manuals.

Suffolk Undergraduates Interested in Becoming Involved in Research

Psychology majors who are juniors or seniors and who have successfully completed the course in research methods can apply to take an Independent Study Course (PSYCH-510) for 1-4 credits. As part of this course, students become involved in ongoing research in the lab, thus, projects and responsibilities vary each semester. Please contact Dr. Schwartz if you are interested in exploring this possibility.