Lora Henderson Smith

Assistant Professor


  • Ph.D, University of Virginia, 2018
  • M.Ed., University of Virginia, 2014
  • M.S.Ed., University of Pennsylvania, 2013
  • B.A., Clark Atlanta University, 2010

As a K-12 student and then as a 2nd grade teacher, I observed differences in the way that some students and their caregivers were treated based on race, cultural capital, and other societal constructs. Given my own educational experiences and observations,  I developed an interest in making schools more equitable, supportive, and culturally responsive contexts for students from minoritized and marginalized backgrounds. Some of the collaborative research that I engage in with colleagues focuses on rural school mental health and increasing teachers’ use of culturally responsive practices in schools. I also engage in community-based work with a non-profit supporting the wellbeing of Native American youth and families. I am particularly interested in how culturally responsive practices, social-emotional learning opportunities, robust school mental health supports, and positive connections between home and school can facilitate wellbeing for students from minoritized and marginalized backgrounds. I use mixed-methods and qualitative methods including game design to elicit and amplify the voices of youth and families.

My clinical interest is child trauma. I am Nationally Certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy.

I am interested in doctoral students who are committed to improving school experiences for marginalized and minoritized youth. Students who work with me will engage in community-based applied research

I am interested in students DEI, room to grow, interested in helping to creative conversations across lines of difference.


Dr. Henderson Smith will be accepting a student to start Fall 2023 in the Clinical and School Psychology program.

Resources