For Undergrads

Research Assistants

Role Description

Research assistants (RAs) will gain experience working on multiple projects at all stages of the research process by working with graduate students and research assistant teams on multiple ongoing research projects and working with the lab manager on tasks to organize projects.

Students will assist with:

  • behavioral data coding
  • recruiting and testing child and/or adult participants
  • collecting observational primate data at the zoo and/or testing primates
  • reading, reviewing, and discussing relevant theoretical and empirical papers

Students will split their time in the lab between 2-3 projects.

  • For their first project, students will be a “core member” of a team, for which they will be expected to help with experimental design, complete literature searches are reviews, create experimental documents, materials, and stimuli, collect data, code behavioral data, and eventually analyze data.
  • For their second project, students usually complete a more flexible assignment such as behavioral coding, or help with an administrative task. Although, students can choose to be involved as core members of two or more teams.

Students can choose to work with children or animals.

While the position in the lab is unpaid, students can get class credit for participating in the lab. There may be eventual opportunities for paid positions for students who have experience in the lab and have shown they are reliable.



  • comfortable working independently
  • good time management skills
  • will treat position in the lab as seriously as a job

Preferred, but not required:

  • prior experience working with children/animals
  • prior experience working in a research lab
  • interested in completing a Senior Thesis that will eventually lead to a project
  • have taken COGS 14A or an equivalent research methods class

Students are expected to attend lab meetings (class schedule permitting), attend subject recruiting events, turn in assignments on time, and collect data at the zoo or schools.

Please note, a one year commitment (10 hours a week) is required for research assistants.

How to Apply

 1. Interested students will USUALLY need to attend lab meetings. Please email the lab manager if you are interested and would like to attend meetings. Meeting times for Winter 2024 are Tuesdays at 2:00PM.


 2. Once you have attended one or more lab meetings, you may apply using the button below. Be prepared to include a PDF 1 page resume or CV.


 3. The lab manager will review your application and contact you if the lab is interested in interviewing you for the position. Applications are usually reviewed the last three weeks of a quarter.


 4. Group interviews are usually held during the last two weeks of the quarter.
After the group interview, you will be given a week to complete an interview assignment.


Please email our lab managers at if you have any additional questions. Please do not contact us about your application. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive an email.

I’ve joined the lab… how do I get course credit?

How do I apply for course credit? (COGS99 OR COGS199)


 1. Email Dr. Rossano and the lab manager to verify that you may take the course, and to agree on the amount of credits.


 2. Print out the form, and take to Dr. Rossano to fill it out and sign.


 3. Turn the form into the Registrar’s Office by 4:30pm on Friday of Week 2 of the quarter for which you plan on participating in the independent study.


 4. Note that you will start working on the COGS 99/199 the first week of the quarter.