Planning to follow in the footsteps of her parents, Lauren Oddo, ’15, arrived at the University of Richmond expecting to pursue a career in law. One first-year course quickly redirected her to clinical psychology.

“It was an immediate click for me,” said Oddo as she recalled her introductory psychology course with professor Laura Knouse.

Now a third-year doctoral student at the University of Maryland, Oddo is the recipient of a National Institutes of Health award to support her research of college students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and their involvement in risky behaviors, such as alcohol and substance misuse. Oddo first began to study ADHD with Knouse as an undergraduate research assistant. 

“Professors at Richmond work with undergrads on research that I do now as a doctoral student,” she said. “That experience and environment is just so incredible and rare.”

Oddo’s current grant-supported research seeks to better understand an individual’s daily decision-making and encourage students with ADHD to make choices that align with and reinforce their goals, rather than engage in risky behaviors. Her research also leverages technology — such as mobile phones — in intervention tactics to reinforce positive decision-making.

This research is expected to prevent negative outcomes for young adults and college students with ADHD and may be applied to early intervention tactics for teens or younger children living with the disorder. Oddo plans to continue her work in clinical psychology in an academic-medical setting where she is able to work with patients as a researcher — allowing her research to inform the treatment and the treatment to inform her research — a setting she experienced early in her education at Richmond.