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Dr. Jocelyn R. Smith Lee, LGMFT

Assistant Professor, Psychology

Office Location: Dyson 355
Phone: (845) 575-3000 ext. 2954

Degrees Held:

Ph.D. Family Science, University of Maryland, College Park 

M.S. Marriage and Family Therapy, University of Maryland, College Park

B.A. Psychology, Hampton University


Licensed Graduate Marriage and Family Therapist (2008 - Present)

Youth Mental Health First Aid USA (2014)

Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (2012)

Play and Filial Therapy (2007)


Dr. Smith Lee's expertise is in research and practice with Black males across the life course. Dr. Smith Lee's research investigates trauma, violence, and loss among Black boys and men. Specifically, she examines the experience of homicide survivorship and works to understand how losing friends or family members to violence shapes the health and well-being of Black males across the life course. Dr. Smith Lee’s research in this area has been published in journals including the American Journal of Public Health and presented at numerous national meetings. Before joining the faculty in Psychology at Marist College, Jocelyn completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health’s Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health (CRECH). Prior to her Postdoc at Michigan, Dr. Smith Lee worked as a Marriage and Family Therapist in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan region where she provided individual, couple, family, and group therapy to a diversity of clients. 

Awards & Honors:

2016 - Intersectional Qualiative Research Methods Institute (IQRMI) Consortium on Race, Gender, and Ethnicity (CRGE), University of Maryland, College Park

2014 - National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) 2014 Translational Health Disparities Course, Invited Participant, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD

2014 - Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) 8th Annual New Connections Symposium Invited Participant

2013 - President’s Commission on Ethnic Minority Issues Ethnic Minority Achievement Graduate Student Award, University of Maryland, College Park

2013 - Millennial Health Leaders Summit, Invited Delegate, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention & the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Atlanta, GA

2012 - Best Student-New Professional Paper Award, National Council on Family Relations, Ethnic Minorities Section

2012 - Fragile Families Summer Data Workshop Invited Participant, Columbia University Population Research Center

2010 – 2011 Distinguished Teaching Assistant, Center for Teaching Excellence Awarded to top 10% of Graduate Instructors, University of Maryland, College Park


Smith Lee, J. R. (2017). Healing from inner city violence: In L. Nelson & L. Padilla-Walker (Eds.), Flourising in emerging adulthood: Positive development during the third decade of life. Oxford University Press.

Smith Lee, J. R. (2016.) A trauma-informed approach to affirming the humanity of African American boys and supporting healthy transitions to manhood. In L. Burton, D. Burton, S. McHale, V. King, & J. Van Hook (Eds.), Boys and Men in African American familes (pp. 85-92). Switzerland: Springer.

Smith, J. R., & Patton, D.U. (2016). Posttraumatic stress symptoms in context: Examining trauma responses to violent exposure and homicide death among Black males in urban neighborhoods. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 1-16.

Patton, D.U., Lane, J., Leonard, P., Macbeth, J., & Smith Lee, J.R. (2016). Gang violence onthe digital street: Case sudy of a South Side Chicago gang member's Twitter communication. New Media & Society, 1-19.

Smith, J. R. (2015). Unequal burdens of loss: Examining the frequency and timing of homicide deaths experienced by young Black men across the life course. American Journal of Public Health, 105(S3), S483-S490. Doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2014.302535.

Assari, S., Smith, J. R., Caldwell, C. H., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2015). Longitudinal links between fear of neighborhood violence, parental support, and depressive symptoms among male and female African American emerging adults. Societies, 5, 151 – 170.

Smith, J.R. (2014). Not gone but forgotten: The grief of young Black men we often fail to notice. Empower Magazine.

Roy, K., Messina, L., Smith, J. R., Waters, D.W. (2014). Growing up as man-of-the-house: Adultification and transition into adulthood for young men in economically disadvantaged families. In K. Roy & N. Jones (Eds.), Pathways to adulthood for disconnected young men in low-income communities. New Directions in Child and Adolescent Development, 143, 55-72.

Roy, K. & Smith, J. R. (2013). Nonresident fathers and intergenerational parenting in kin networks. In N. J. Cabrera & C. S. Tamis-LeMonda (Eds.), Handbook of Father Involvement, 2nd ed. (pp. 320-337). New York: Routledge.

Leslie, L., Smith, J. R., Hrapczynski, K. M., & Riley, D. (2013). Racial socialization in transracial adoptive families: Does it help adolescents deal with discrimination stress? Family Relations, 62(1), 72-81.

Epstein, N. B., Berger, A. T., Fang, J. J., Messina, L., Smith, J. R., Stevenson, Fang, X, & Liu, Q. X. (2012). Applying western-developed family therapy models in China. Journal of Family Psychotherapy, 23, 217-237.

Research Interests:

Health disparities; trauma; community violence; loss and grief; Black boys and men; transition to adulthood; family relationships, contexts, and processes; quantitative & qualitative methods

Conferences & Workshops:

2017- Penn State Brandywine, Common Read Committee, Media, PA

Keynote: Between the world and me: Trauma, violence, and vulnerability in the lives of Black boys and men.

2016- Marist College, Presidential Inauguration, Social Justice Research Symposium (

2016- Georgetown University, Center for Social Justice Research, Teaching, and Service, Global Social Justice Research Symposium, Washington, DC 

Keynote Address: Examining life course exposures to violence and traumatic loss among young Black men in Baltimore. 

Research Methods Workshop: Equity, empathy, and empowerment: Building a skillset for effective social justice research with Black boys and men.

2016- The Black History Project Committee of the Mid-Hudson Heritage Center, Inaugural Lorraine M. Roberts Lecture, Poughkeepsie, NY 

Keynote Address: Understanding the impact of peer homicide on Black boys and young men.

2016-Family Services Annual Report to The Community, Poughkeepsie, NY 

Keynote Address: Reflections on the impact of violence in the lives of young Black men in urban contexts.

2015 - Penn State’s 23rd Annual Symposium on Family Issues. Theme: “Boys and Men in African American Families.” Panel Discussant: Family influences on health and development in adolescent and young adult African American men. State College, PA.

2015 - Trauma-informed research and practice with boys and men of color. Invited session at the annual meeting of the Association for Black Foundation Executives,Napa, CA.

2014 - Place matters: Life course vulnerabilities to trauma, violence, and loss for young Black men in economically disadvantaged urban contexts. Invited workshop at the Genesee County Health Department’s 2014 Public Health Conference, Flint, MI.

Select Peer-Reviewed Presentations: 

Smith Lee, J.R. (2017, April). “I’m on borrowed time”: Examining peer homicide as a turning point in the developmental trajectories of Black boys and young men. Symposium: Investigating the lives of African American boys: Protecting to promote growth, strengthening to ensure survival. American Men’s Studies Association, Ann Arbor, MI.                     

Smith Lee, J.R. (2016, January). “The police—That’s my number one fear in life”: Police as perpetrators of violence and trauma in the lives of young Black men. Symposium: Exploring pathways to mental illness among African Americans: A life course perspective. Society for Social Work Research, Washington, D.C.

Smith, J. R. (2014, October). “Certain People Can’t Take What I Just Now Told You”: Understanding Factors Shaping Disclosures of Trauma among Young, Black, Male Homicide Survivors. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Miami, FL.

Smith, J. R., & Patton, D.U. (2014, October). “I stay on point”: Contextual understandings of trauma and hypervigilance among young Black males in economically disadvantaged urban contexts. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association (APHA), New Orleans, LA.

Smith, J. R. (2014, October). Invisible wounds: An examination of trauma and grief among young Black males in Baltimore City. Paper presentation at the 76th annual National Council on Family Relations Conference, Baltimore, MD.

Smith, J. R. (2014, March). People are dropping left and right": Understanding the frequency and timing of peer homicide and traumatic loss among young, Black men. Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence, Austin, TX.

Smith, J. R. (2013, November). Narratives of survivorship: The struggle to heal from the traumatic loss of peer homicide in the context of chronic adversity. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, Philadelphia, PA.

Smith, J. R. (2013, November). “My whole life changed”: A life course examination of traumatic loss and homicide survivorship among young, Black men. Paper presented at an invited session on Trauma and Black Males organized by the Black Caucus of Health Workers at the annual meeting of the American Public Health Association, Boston, MA.

Smith, J. R. (2013, October). “Am I next?”: Contextual understandings of traumatic stress responses among young, Black male homicide survivors. Paper presented at the inaugural conference of the Black Doctoral Network, Philadelphia, PA.

Grants and Fellowships:

2017 - Marist Seed Grant – Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Intergenerational Trauma and Bereavement: Examining Family Dynamics, Coping, and Meaning Construction Following Homicide Death, $3,000

2016 - Marist Seed Grant – Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. Living-On in a Landscape of Loss: Examining Narratives of Homicide Survivorship and Healing among Young Black Men in Baltimore City, $2,646

2013 - 2015 - Paul B. Cornely Postdoctoral Fellowship, Center for Research on Ethnicity, Culture, and Health, University of Michigan School of Public Health, Ann Arbor, Michigan

2012 – 2013 - Dr. Mabel S. Spencer Award for Excellence in Graduate Achievement University of Maryland Endowed Fellowship: $18,000

Awarded to one graduate student at the University of Maryland that demonstrates both academic excellence and the potential to contribute to his/her field of study

2009 – 2011 - William T. Grant Scholars Supplement to Support Mentoring Junior Researchers of Color Mentoring & Research Award, William T. Grant Foundation, $60,000