Identity Development Laboratory


Patrick Ian Armstrong, Ph.D.

    Associate Professor
    Department of Psychology
    Iowa State University
    W237 Lagomarcino Hall
    Ames, Iowa 50011
    office phone: (515) 294-8788


In the Identity Development Laboratory at Iowa State University we conduct research exploring how an individual’s experiences in educational settings influence the identity development process, including future academic plans and career aspirations. Included in our research are measures of personality, interests, values, and life goals.  Working in our lab provides valuable research experiences for psychology majors who want to learn more about how psychological measures of personality, interests, and other motivational factors are used in academic and business settings.

Undergraduate Research

Psych 491

Having some experience with measures used in counseling, education, and business settings is a good opportunity if you are interested in going on to graduate school. As a research assistant in the IDL, you can help us with data collections, developing research materials, and other related activities. You would also receive mentoring and assistance with graduate school applications.  Students who have worked in our lab have gone on to a variety of graduate programs in psychology and education.

If you are an undergraduate student who is interested in joining our lab (for 491 credit or for the experience), or would like to learn more about our research, please contact us at  The lab application form is available here

Graduate School in Counseling Psychology

Iowa State University offers a Ph.D. degree in counseling psychology. This doctoral degree is designed for students who intend to pursue careers in academic or applied settings. Our program is committed to a scientist-practitioner model that accords dual emphases to the acquisition of scientific knowledge and research skills, along with the development of professional competencies in counseling, assessment, teaching, and consultation.   For additional information on the program click here.

If you are thinking about applying to the Ph.D. program in Counseling Psychology at Iowa State University and would like to learn more about working with Dr. Armstrong click here.

Current Research Projects

Academic Help-Seeking

When someone is having difficulty in school or is uncertain about future plans, how do they decide when to seek out help at a counseling or career center?  One of our current projects involves studying attitudes towards help-seeking behaviors in academic settings.  The results of this research will be used to help develop more effective outreach programs to encourage students to seek appropriate assistance for their academic and career-related concerns.

Occupational Perceptions and Career Aspirations

When someone tells you what they do for a living, what images come to mind? Stereotypes and other perceptions we have of occupations, and the people who do different types of work can impact our own career plans and aspirations. We are currently examining how occupational perceptions are related to interests and personality using a variety of different measurement techniques. The data collected in this study will be used to design new strategies for presenting information to career counseling clients.

Educational Experiences and Career Choices

The experiences we have in school and other settings helps us figure out what we are good at doing, what we like to do, what we are not good at doing, and what we don’t like to do.  One of our ongoing research projects is studying how educational experiences influence the career choice process and the perceptions we have of which occupations are a good fit for our careers. The results of this research will be used to help people make more effective educational, career, and life choices.

Meet the IDL People

Patrick Ian Armstrong, Ph.D.

Dr. Armstrong joined Iowa State University’s Psychology Department as an Assistant Professor in the Counseling Psychology program in 2005.  He received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and completed his pre-doctoral internship at Illinois State University.  In 2005 he received the Barbara A. Kirk Award from Division 17 of the American Psychological Association.  In addition to his training in the field of psychology, Dr. Armstrong also has a degree in Photography from Ryerson Polytechnic University.

Dr. Armstrong’s research has been published in the Journal of Counseling Psychology, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Journal of Career Development, and the Journal of Career Assessment and has been presented at the conventions of the American Psychological Association, American Educational Research Association, Society for Research on Child Development, the Society for Vocational Psychology, and the International Counseling Psychology Conference.  He currently serves on the editorial review board of the Journal of Career Development and the Journal of Counseling Psychology.

A recent list of his publications and presentations can be found here.

IDL Graduate Students

Kate Ekle Junk, M.S.

Kate is currently a Predoctoral Intern at Iowa State University’s Student Counseling Service.  She is currently completing her dissertation using data collected at the IDL. Kate received her B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Statistics and her M.S. in Psychology from ISU.

Wyndolyn Ludwikowski, M.S.

Wyndi is currently a fifth year student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at Iowa State University. She received her B.S. and M.S. in Psychology from ISU.  Wyndi is currently the Graduate Assistant Coordinator of the IDL and also a Teaching Assistant for Psych 621L.
CariAnn Bergner, M.S.

CariAnn is currently a fourth year student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at Iowa State University. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Southeast Missouri State University and her M.S. in Psychology from the University of Central Missouri.  CariAnn is currently a Career Graduate Assistant at ISU’s Student Counseling Service.

Sara Schwartken, M.S.

Sara is currently a fourth year student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at Iowa State University. She received her B.S. in Psychology from Dominican University and her M.S. in Psychology from ISU.  Sara is currently a Clinical Graduate Assistant at ISU’s Student Counseling Service.

IDL Alumni

Sarah Anthoney, Ph.D.

Dr. Anthoney is currently a Staff Psychologist at the University of Missouri Counseling Center.  She completed her Predoctoral Internship at Iowa State University’s Student Counseling Service.  Sarah was a graduate student in the Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program at ISU from 2005 to 2011, and completed both her MS. and Ph.D. using data collected through the IDL. She also received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from ISU.

IDL Mascots

Oliver and Emma

As the official IDL mascots, Oliver and Emma enjoy playing fetch and tug-o-war with veterinarian approved toys.