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Published May 24, 2022

BY DANIELLE LEGARE

Spreading the word: GSE doctoral student promotes research on podcast, in presentations

Abbey McClemont disseminates information to global audiences about ADHD, ASD and COVID-19-related stress and burnout

University at Buffalo doctoral student Abbey McClemont’s research on Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and COVID-19-related teacher and student support is gaining attention worldwide.

McClemont, a student in the Graduate School of Education’s combined counseling and school psychology PhD program, recently shared her research expertise on the London-based podcast, The Emotional Curriculum. She discussed her research and work with young people who have a dual diagnosis of ADHD and ASD. The episode explored the links between these diagnoses, bullying and school refusal, and the role of externalizing behaviors in bullying and school refusal.

McClemont felt honored to contribute to this conversation. “The whole idea of this podcast is to spread research in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand, even if they’re not a researcher. I wanted to focus on what is most relevant and how I can make it important for other people, especially teachers, who are the main audience of the podcast,” she said.

She also presented two research posters in Feb. at the National Association of School Psychologists Convention in Boston. Both posters focused on best practices for supporting teachers and students during the COVID-19 pandemic. “It was just a really good feeling to be in a room of these school psychologists at different levels of their training—and just to be with everybody who is passionate about the same thing that I am,” said McClemont.

A self-described overachiever, McClemont spent her undergraduate career at Binghamton University studying psychology, working in research labs, and contributing to publication efforts. In 2019, she received Binghamton’s Excellence in Undergraduate Research in Psychological Science Award. During summer breaks, she worked at the Summit Center’s Summer Treatment Program, where she helped children with ADHD build self-esteem and behavioral, academic, and social competencies.

The whole idea of this podcast is to spread research in a way that’s easy for anyone to understand, even if they’re not a researcher."

Despite her busy schedule, McClemont completed her bachelor’s degree in psychology in three years and decided that her next step would be enrolling in a doctoral program. She knew during her interview that GSE was the right fit: “I did not have that gut feeling when I had my other interviews, but there was something about UB. I knew this is where I wanted to be,” she said.

McClemont still feels the same way, partially because of the supportive, collaborative environment in the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology. As a graduate assistant in UB’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention, she works with faculty and other students to give community-based presentations, assist with ongoing research projects, and write and edit articles.

Stephanie Fredrick, PhD, associate director of the Alberti Center and assistant professor of counseling, school and educational psychology, is grateful to serve as an advisor to McClemont. “I couldn’t have asked for a more driven, motivated, easy-to-work-with student,” said Fredrick. “She is really interested in working with and researching kids with behavioral disorders, particularly youth with ADHD, and I wanted to nurture that interest.”

Now in her third year in the program, McClemont is eager to work on her dissertation. She plans to conduct an intervention study using The OutSMARTers Program, developed by Dagmar Kristin Hannesdóttir, Ester Ingvarsdóttir, Margrét Ísleifsdóttir, and Steinunn F. Jensdóttir to teach social skills, self-regulation, and executive function to children with ADHD.

“I found this ADHD intervention study that was created in Iceland,” McClemont said. “When I conduct the study here, it’ll be the first time this program has ever been used anywhere outside Iceland.”

While working on her dissertation, she thinks ahead to the future. She hopes to start a private practice focused on children and adolescents with special needs. But, even then, she wants to continue conducting and promoting research in new ways to help spread awareness about valuable information.

“When so few people read journals, we might ask: ‘Why even bother doing research?’ But, when there are opportunities to reach a bigger audience, that is the key to me—that’s why I want to have research, at least in some way, in my career forever.”

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