Social Sciences: Adolescent Development

Department: Psychology

Supervising Faculty Member: Noelle Hurd

Specialization: Adolescent Development

Research Focus: We study factors that contribute to the healthy development of adolescents. In this lab, healthy development is defined broadly.  Thus, foci of the lab include the promotion of mental health, the prevention of health-risk behaviors, and the encouragement of positive educational outcomes.  In addition, we are interested in the development of skills that will help youth to be successful in life, such as leadership and interpersonal skills.  One particular area of interest is the relationships that youth form with non-parental adults.  Supportive adults in youths’ lives may help them to navigate and overcome challenges they face as well as encourage their healthy development. Understanding how to promote these intergenerational relationships and the mechanisms through which these relationships may facilitate more positive youth outcomes are core areas of this lab’s research.

Position Description: Responsibilities for undergraduate research assistants may include conducting reviews of empirical articles for graduate students, administering surveys to youth in school, community and home settings, examining collected data, and conducting observations at our after school program. Duties can range from preparing for interviews with local middle schoolers to managing datasets. This allows research assistants to explore multiple dimensions within psychological research. Research assistants are essential to the running of the lab’s studies. Research assistant duties required for the successful implementation of these studies include the following: participating as an observer to ensure the effective implementation of our after school program, preparing recruitment materials, scheduling appointments, creating survey and program materials, and organizing collected information. Research assistants also have the opportunity to work closely with graduate students and post-docs on their personal research and analyses.

Required skills: All RAs are required to have at least two evenings during weekdays that they are available to help with observing our after school program. In addition, we are looking for RAs with some psychology coursework, strong interpersonal skills, and comfort interfacing with families from diverse racial/ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. Familiarity with statistical software is a plus but not required.

Computer software: IBM SPSS Statistics 22

Training/certification: CITI human subjects research training

What you will learn: 1. Feel confident participating in mixed-methods research. Specifically, students will receive training and a lot of experience conducting quantitative surveys and doing observational data collection. 2. Have a better understanding of the theories and research that inform the projects we are undertaking in the lab. 3. Gain a broad range of research experiences that may help with their work in the future

Web site link to research: https://pages.shanti.virginia.edu/PHAD_Lab/