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About Us

Welcome to the Promoting Healthy Adolescent Development (PHAD) Lab! We are a psychology lab at the University of Virginia, led by Dr. Noelle Hurd, that focuses on finding ways to promote the positive development of youth. Specifically, our focus is identifying ways to build up pre-existing strengths in youths’ lives. We work within both the university and the larger Charlottesville communities to conduct research and learn more about the factors that lead to healthy development.


Dr. Hurd and her colleagues at the White House

The lab is home to graduate students, post-docs, research assistants and volunteers interested in adolescent development. Learn more about them by clicking on the People tab above!


Graduate student Audrey Wittrup presenting on natural mentors











Graduate student Jamie Albright presenting her research relating to perceived stress



Graduate student Joey Tan presents a poster specific to peer support









PHAD Research Assistants helping with City of Promise in the Charlottesville Community

If you are interested in learning more about our ongoing projects, click on the tab above entitled Current Studies and Projects to visit our Project DREAM, SEASONS, or LINK webpages.


Former research assistant Brynna Heflin presenting her Distinguished Major Program research



If you are interested in joining the lab as a research assistant, find out more by clicking on the Join the lab tab above.

Watch Dr. Hurd present research examining the role that race, and racial identity development, can play in mentoring relationships. Her research in this area has focused on how racial identity shapes the natural mentoring relationships of at-risk African-American boys, and how these relationships influence academic achievement. 

This presentation was given on July 26, 2013 at Portland State University’s Summer Institute on Youth Mentoring.

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