Steve Smith

Steve Smith

Clinical Psychology, University of Arkansas, 2001

Current Positions

Psychologist in Private Practice

How did you become interested in Personality Assessment?

I became interested in personality assessment when Professor Mark Hilsenroth told me that I could make money as his research assistant. Although I was skeptical at first, I eventually learned that PA was a marvelous way to understand and see a patient and their struggles.

Tell us about your current job. We are interested in hearing about the different things that people do who work in the area of personality assessment.

I teach, do a bit of research, mentor grad students, see patients, and avoid administrative duties as much as possible. Teaching PA is the highlight of my teaching schedule; it's a wonderful way to introduce students to what it means to be a person.

What are the most interesting and/or meaningful aspects of your job?

Mentoring and supervising graduate students.

Tell us how you initially learned about and joined SPA.

I joined SPA in 1996 upon entering grad school. I did my first presentation at the 1997 meeting and have presented every year since.

How has SPA impacted or benefited you or your career?

It's been huge. SPA has been my professional home since I was a graduate student. The conference is more and more like a reunion with friends and colleagues that I greatly admire. I'm proud to be a Fellow and to have won the Beck prize. I'm proud to have introduced a number of graduate students to a welcoming organization.

As we look forward to SPA's 100th anniversary in 2038, what do you think is important in order for the field of personality assessment to thrive and to benefit others?

Most importantly, the field of PA needs to adapt to a radically shifting cultural environment in the US and the world at large. As the population is more mobile and diverse in terms of language, culture, and experience, assessment needs to become more flexible and culturally sensitive. Secondly, even now, the field of personality assessment feels like it's about 10 years behind current technology and statistical methodology. It seems important for test developers to recognize the huge potential in Internet-based, adaptive assessment, mobile applications, or even virtual-reality environments. The future of the field is in flexibility, adaptability, and meeting people where they are.

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