Research Assistant Opportunities

Domestic Violence and Patient Physician Communication Research

Supervisor: Diane Morse, M.D. (Department of Psychiatry)
Recruiting for Summer and Fall 2013

We currently have a series of projects ready for data analysis, and could mentor a student who would learn research methods for qualitative analysis, data entry, grant writing, and about domestic violence research strategies. Subsequently, there will be some quantitative data analysis as well. Most of our research relates to domestic violence and substance abuse, some in the court setting. However, one of the projects has patient-physician communication data. Ideally, the internship would be 15-20 hours weekly, which could be flexible during exam or school break times. There is also the option of working with us for course credit or during the summer.

Contact: Dr. Diane Morse,, (585) 275-6484

Laboratory for Innovations in Child Mental Health Care Delivery

Supervisor: Linda Alpert-Gillis, Ph.D.
Recruiting for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

Description: The Laboratory for Innovations in Child Mental Health Care Delivery is the research group for Strong Behavioral Health Child and Adolescent Outpatient Services (CAOS). The research group has active research projects that focus on the development and evaluation of services within all settings in which intervention services are provided. Current projects include: Development, implementation, and evaluation of our Evidence-Based Assessment and Treatment (EBAT) seminar for clinicians; Evaluation of outcome data for Early Recognition and Screening of Pediatric patients; Development and evaluation of Family-based Just in Time Treatment for families under stress.

The Child and Adolescent Outpatient Service offers unique and exciting opportunities for highly motivated undergraduates to participate in our clinic to gain experience working with children and their families who are seeking behavioral health treatment. Experiences can be targeted towards direct applied experiences, towards research oriented tasks, or a combination based on the interests o the student. Ideally, the internship would be at least 6 hours weekly, which could be flexible during exam or school break times. There is also the option of working with us for course credit (minimum of 10 hours per week) or during the summer.

Contact: Dr. Linda Alpert-Gillis, mailto:

Alternate contact person: Dr. Kenya Malcolm,

Project BRIDGE: Parents & Teens

Supervisors: Melissa Sturge-Apple, Ph.D.; Patrick Davies, Ph.D.
Recruiting through Fall 2013

Project BRIDGE is a multidisciplinary study that examines parent-child relationships in early adolescence. Research assistants who join our lab will have the opportunity to work directly with families as well as gain a better appreciation of all the work that is done “behind the scenes” to ensure a smoothly-running large research study. An optional seminar component is available for students who wish to learn more about the implications and general theories of the project.

As part of the data collection team, research assistants will be trained on how to conduct semi-structured interviews, administer cognitive assessments, and collect saliva samples. A highlight of our project is our innovative attachment and problem-solving tasks in which physiological reactivity is measured through EKG (heart rate), continuous emotion reporting, and voice analysis. Research assistants will also be trained on how to operate synchronized audio-visual equipment and biofeedback software.

Students can receive up to 4 credits during academic semesters and some paid summer positions may be available. Due to families’ work/school demands, some weekend and late afternoon-early evening (e.g., 4-10pm) availability is required.

Contact: For more information, or to receive an application, please visit,


Supervisor: Melissa Sturge-Apple, Ph.D.
Recruiting for Spring 2014

Project CONNECT is an ongoing study of early child development including executive functioning, emotion regulation, stress physiology, and parent-child relationships. We are searching for undergraduate RAs for the Spring 2014 semester to assist with running child visits for our third wave of data collection (5.5-year-old children) as well as observational coding paradigms assessing domains of child development. RAs will have direct experience with children and mothers.  If you are interested in working on this project, please contact Caryn Stark for an application and to set up an interview.

Contact: Caryn Stark,

Research in Motivation

Supervisor: Richard Ryan, Ph.D.
Recruiting for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

The self-determination theory lab is looking for undergraduate research assistants to work on projects that will be investigating a variety of topics, including the role of motivation in decision-making, integration of identities, and ideal self. We are seeking students who are motivated and interested and have taken courses or have experience in psychology, brain and cognitive sciences, or neuroscience. Opportunities are available to be involved in all phases of research, including planning future studies, data collection, and statistical analysis. Opportunities for course credit, developing an honors thesis or authorship on presentations may be available for highly motivated students.

Contact: Cody DeHaan,

Send resume and unofficial transcript (copy from UR ACCESS).

Research in Multiple Areas of Social Psychology

Supervisor: Miron Zuckerman, Ph.D.
Recruitment is ongoing

Research assistants are needed for research on religiosity, self-esteem, self-enhancement, health, and other topics within and related to the field of social psychology. Assistants help with a wide variety of tasks, and are encouraged to get involved at every level of the research process.

Contact: Miron Zuckerman, Ph.D.,

Research in Prejudice and Stigma

Supervisor: Richard Ryan, Ph.D.
Recruiting for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014

The self-determination theory lab is looking for undergraduate research assistants to work on projects that will be investigating the emotional and psychological effects of prejudice and stigmatization in the upcoming Fall 2012 and Spring 2013 semesters. We're seeking motivated and interested undergraduate research assistants, who have interests in clinical and social psychology broadly, and ingroup/outgroup processes specifically. Students with course work or experience in BCS, neuroscience, or computers are especially encouraged to apply. Assistants will have the opportunity to take part in all phases of the research process, from planning to data collection (running participants) to data coding. Opportunities for course credit, developing an honors thesis or authorship on presentations may be available for highly motivated students.

Contact: Nikki Legate,

Send resume and unofficial transcript (copy from UR ACCESS).

Research on Achievement and Social Motivation

Supervisor: Andrew J. Elliot, Ph.D.
Recruitment is ongoing

We conduct research on why people behave the way they do in achievement situations (e.g., school, sports, work) and social situations. Our lab is quite diverse, usually comprising visiting professors and post-doctoral students from around the globe, as well as graduate students and undergraduate research assistants from the UR.  We are always looking for interested, hard-working undergraduates to participate in all phases of the research process, beginning with data collection (subject running) and moving toward more full collaboration (including honor's theses and other writing projects).

Contact: Chris Thorstenson,

Research on Social Interaction and Close Relationships

Supervisor: Harry Reis, Ph.D.
Recruitment is ongoing

We conduct research on social interaction and close relationships.  We welcome participation by students as research assistants. Typically, students may expect to conduct any or all of several activities, including running experimental sessions, supervising Internet-based protocols, interviewing participants, coding open-ended responses, and data entry.

Contact: Harry Reis,

Sources of Strength Community Research Project

Supervisor: Peter A. Wyman, Ph.D.
Recruiting is ongoing for this Project.

The Sources of Strength Peer Leadership Project is the biggest national study investigating the effectiveness of a suicide prevention program and resiliency promotion program called Sources of Strength. Our team is working in more than 40 schools in NY State and multiple sites in North Dakota, California and Georgia. The program uses the power of peer social networks to strengthen students' skills for handling life crisis and using adult help. Our team supports student teams and adults in the schools to implement messaging activities aimed at changing the norms that young people hold about getting through hard times and connecting with trusted adults for help. Our team also conducts assessments with all high school students. We use some of the most innovative approaches to data collecting and data analysis.

Our team is excited to welcome an undergraduate intern who is enthusiastic about learning about conducting community-based research. Our interns are essential in helping us with the everyday tasks of a multi-site study. They are welcome to join us during school meetings and school assessment periods when they have a full day open in their schedule. We welcome initiative, independence and inquisitiveness, while taking the responsibility to orient you and familiarize you with our work even through the small everyday support tasks.

Intern Responsibilities

  • Survey and Program Implementation Preparation - gathering and organizing supplies needed for school assessments or training; preparing mailings to schools/parents; improving program materials
  • Data Entry and Analysis - gaining familiarity with online databases and survey tools
  • Community Involvement - opportunities to be involved in the field with trainings and surveys (your schedule permitting)
  • Scholarly Work Support - preparing literature reviews; summarizing articles
  • Accountability, Accuracy and Enthusiasm - our interns are responsible to arrive in a timely fashion, give us advanced notice regarding schedule changes and be focused while at internship
  • Effective Communication - interns are encouraged to inform us of their talents and goals and to communicate their struggles and needs.

If you are interested in learning more about the Sources of Strength program, please visit

Flexible schedule (4-8 hours per week). Close location (UR Medical Center). Learn about intervention research.

Contact: Karen Schmeelk-Cone,, (585) 275-8221

The Peer Ethology Project (PEP)

Supervisor: Meredith Martin, M.A.
Recruiting for Fall 2013

Applying principles of evolutionary theory to understanding child social development.

We are now accepting applications from motivated, hardworking students to participate as research assistants on several coding projects for the Fall semester.  The first is focused on video-taped observations of children's (ages 5-12) behavior as they interact within small groups of peers, using an impoverished and largely maltreated (abused) sample.  Observational coding is focused on the strategies children use to maintain a sense of safety and security in coping with threat (e.g., conflict, rejection, victimization) within the peer group, and the implications of the these behaviors for their mental health and social adjustment.  Other opportunities include similar observational coding experiences of different videotaped tasks (e.g., small groups in cooperative or competitive activities, dyadic play interactions) and exploring a variety of social behaviors at both the individual and group level. Both projects are guided by evolutionary theory and research assistants will be trained in the application of an ethological/behavioral systems approach to quantifying relational dynamics within children's peer relationships. This project is particularly appropriate for students who wish to pursue an advanced degree in Developmental Psychology, Developmental Psychopathology, or Clinical Child Psychology. Preference is given to students with prior coding experience and/or experience in Psychology more broadly. A 2-semester commitment is preferred, but not required.

Students also have the option of supplementing the independent study experiences by attending regular seminar sessions that provide further information on the nature and implications of the research project (for four CSP/PSYCH credits). Inexperienced students are also encouraged to apply, particularly if they can take the seminar course, as we have a number of training positions to prepare them to continue in the lab as a coder. We do have both 4 and 2 credit positions available.

Contact: Meredith Martin,

The Senior Connection: A Randomized Trial to Reduce Late-Life Suicide Risk

Supervisor: Kim Van Orden, Ph.D.
Recruiting for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters.

Scientifically curious and motivated research assistants are sought for a two-semester independent study/research assistantship.  The primary responsibility is assisting with recruitment into a randomized trial of peer companionship for older adults.  Recruitment takes place in primary care clinics affiliated with URMC.  Some photocopying and data entry will be expected.  Educational opportunities include: sitting in on research interviews in subjects' homes, training in issues relevant to geriatric mental health and mentorship for graduate school/medical school applications.


  1. availability for Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters (at least 4 hours per week), and
  2. access to a car to drive to primary care clinics.

To apply, please email the following to Kim Van Orden at the email address below:

  1. CV or resume and
  2. brief cover letter, e.g., no more than a page, describing your interest in the project including its relevance to your academic/career goals.

Contact: Kim Van Orden,