School Mental Health Project/Center for Mental Health in Schools

Faculty Sponsor: 
Adelman, Howard
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Howard Adelman
Phone: 
825-1225
Description of Research Project: 
The project pursues theory, research, practice and training related to addressing mental health and psychosocial concerns through school-based interventions. To these ends, the Center works closely with school districts, state agencies, and organizations and colleagues across the country, providing support, materials and technical assistance.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will assist in Center operations, working on a variety of activities including: library research, materials preparation, and data management. No prior research experience is needed, just a willingness to learn. 6 hour/week minimum committment

The language environment of early childhood classrooms

Faculty Sponsor: 
Bailey, Alison
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Anne Blackstock-Bernstein
Description of Research Project: 
The goal of this study is to understand low-income children’s language experiences in Head Start preschool classrooms. How do children’s language experiences differ as a function of child-level characteristics, such as temperament and language proficiency? For this mixed-methods study, we are collecting data through the use of classroom observations, child assessments, parent surveys, and teacher focus groups. It is a great opportunity for RAs who are interested in working with children and want to be involved in multiple phases of a research project.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for 3 research assistants to help with all aspects of the project. Spanish fluency is strongly preferred, but non-Spanish speakers should still apply. Applicants should be motivated and detail-oriented, as you’ll be an integral part of this research project. We are looking for a time commitment of at least 8 hours/week, and RAs are expected to commit to at least 3 consecutive quarters. Research assistants will be trained to conduct one-on-one language assessments with children (using the preLAS 2000, which uses games and toys to learn about children’s oral language skills) as well as how to use standardized protocols to conduct classroom observations. In addition to collecting data, RAs will attend weekly lab meetings as well as assist with data entry, management, analysis, and transcription (depending on student interest and background). Because most of your time will be spent in classrooms with children, experience working/playing with children is a plus. It is also preferable for RAs to have access to transportation, because data collection will happen at Head Start sites off-campus. If you are interested, please email Anne Blackstock-Bernstein at annebb@ucla.edu with a cover letter describing your goals and interest in the project, resume/CV, and an unofficial transcript. We look forward to hearing from you!

CFS Transition to Adulthood

Faculty Sponsor: 
Baker, Bruce
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Christine Moody
Description of Research Project: 
The Collaborative Family Study (CFS) is a longitudinal research study that has followed children and their families for more than 15 years. Families were initially recruited when their child was 3 years old, and have been assessed multiple times throughout childhood and adolescence. Participants are now young adults, 20-22 years old, and are navigating the transition out of high school. The participants include individuals with typical development, with intellectual disability (ID), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The transition to adulthood is a particularly vulnerable period for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as ASD and ID. The goal of the study is to learn more about the transition experience, particularly with respect to relationships and mental health, as well as identify protective/risk factors for adaptation during the transition.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will be involved in the following activities: data entry, scoring, and management; administrative duties (e.g., tracking completion of online questionnaires, sending email reminders); transcription or coding of interviews with young adults and their parents; assisting with in-person or phone assessments with participants. Additional responsibilities or opportunities may develop over time.

Designing Workplaces, Schools, and Standardized Tests to Reduce Social Disparities

Faculty Sponsor: 
Brannon, Tiffany
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Tiffany Brannon
Room Number: 
4528D
Description of Research Project: 
The goal of this research is to understand the processes that allow culturally inclusive efforts to become successful interventions that improve a variety of social outcomes. Specifically, this research examines the prediction that culturally inclusive efforts— those that aim to reduce prejudice and recognize pride associated with negatively stereotyped identities— can enhance academic outcomes (e.g., achievement, persistence, identification) and intergroup outcomes (e.g., implicit attitudes, multicultural interests). This research examines this predication in the context of workplace and school settings (including standardized testing).
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will have the opportunity to actively participate in various tasks with the goal of learning and cultivating the development of research skills related to conducting literature reviews, helping to design study stimuli, serving as a study experimenter, entering data and coding data.

Pediatric and Adult Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD

Faculty Sponsor: 
Del'Homme, Melissa
Department: 
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Contact Name: 
Jenny Cowen, PhD
Room Number: 
Med Plaza 300
Phone: 
310-825-6170
Description of Research Project: 
Our multidisciplinary team conducts several pediatric and adult treatment studies to investigate and treat a wide range of psychiatric disorders. Our broad interests are reflected by the many of clinical trials we conduct including treating ADHD and severe mood dysregulation in children and adolescents with an innovative non-medication approach, examining the efficacy of several medications on different symptoms of autism spectrum disorders including repetitive, hyperactive, and social withdrawal behaviors. The RA will have ample opportunity to interact with children and adults ages 5-35 with autism spectrum disorders and ADHD. Our lab offers a unique union of psychiatry and psychology for those students who are interested in learning about research in these fields!
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for detail-oriented, enthusiastic, hard-working, organized, sociable, and independent students who are interested in learning about the research process and psychiatric disorders! The RA will be trained to administer vital signs including heart rate, blood pressure, height and weight, and EKG. The RA will also help facilitate study participant blood draws, process blood and urine, ship biological materials (after training), assist in preparing for and running study visits, data entry and management, developing participant recruitment strategies, as well as administrative/clerical tasks. Students who have shown dedication, interest and commitment to our projects in the past have created posters, helped to design databases, and have been connected with researchers in other areas of their interest. Students with experience in graphic design will have the opportunity to be creative and lead development of recruitment materials and manage the evolving group website and content. We would like at least a 2 quarter commitment from any interested students. Please attach a resume and class schedule to your email application.

Inflammation and Daily Life Study

Faculty Sponsor: 
Eisenberger, Naomi
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Mona Moieni
Description of Research Project: 
The aim of the study is to investigate whether an anti-inflammatory medication (naproxen; Aleve) can impact daily life experiences, including physical and mental health outcomes, as well as the immune system. The research incorporates various fields including social and health psychology, immunology, psychiatry/medicine, and human social genomics. Involvement in this interdisciplinary project is a great opportunity for students looking to get experience in research for graduate or medical school.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
No prior research experience is required. We do ask that you have an interest in the project, a desire to learn and be trained in required responsibilities as an RA, be generally organized and thoughtful, and feel comfortable with engaging with potential or actual subjects over the phone and/or in-person. A minimum commitment of at least 7 hours of week for a minimum of 3 consecutive academic quarters is required. RAs will be involved in various aspects of the study, which may include telephone interviewing potential subjects for eligibility, data entry and data management, assisting with various parts of the intervention (e.g., administrative duties such as monitoring subjects’ daily responses to questionnaires or scheduling text messages, assisting with subjects’ in-person study visits). It is also preferable for RAs to have access to transportation, as they may be asked to aid in recruitment of subjects from the community (e.g., posting flyers, making announcements). Additional responsibilities or opportunities may develop over time. If you are interested, please contact Mona Moieni with an email describing your goals and interest, as well as your 1) resume/CV; 2) unofficial transcript; 3) class schedule for the upcoming quarter.

thinkSMART: an executive function intervention for adolescents

Faculty Sponsor: 
Ellis, Alissa, Ph.D.
Department: 
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Contact Name: 
Alex Sturm
Description of Research Project: 
The thinkSMART program is a behaviorally-based skills training that focuses on time management/time awareness, task initiation/task completion, organization, planning/prioritizing, emotion regulation, and mindfulness. The program is for 12-15 year olds with executive dysfunction. Although a diagnosis is not required, many youth participating have ADHD, anxiety, mood, or other neurological disorders. The thinkSMART program is based on an empirically supported group treatment for adult ADHD and has been adapted for this educational program to be acceptable and appropriate for a broad population of youth with executive dysfunction. It is a unique skills-based program incorporating parent and child, and involving in-class education, skills training and exercises, mindfulness training, and homework activities. The development of strong executive functions is improved with daily practice and reminders of skill use, and parents are included in order to support their child’s understanding and use of the skills.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The program is made up of a small, enthusiastic team looking for an individual who is very independent, self-directed, creative, detail-oriented, organized, and interested in clinical research! The research assistant will assist in all aspects of program maintenance and research development. The RA will help to design our research database, prepare materials for each group, keep record of families interested in program participation, respond to inquiries, and prepare weekly skills reminder emails that are tailored to each group. The RA will also help with research fidelity - scoring assessments completed by parents and children and help to design and maintain the research database. The RA will help to create more program materials as needed under the guidance of the program director. The student will also have the opportunity to learn the intervention through attendance at one of the program sessions. Groups are held during the evenings on Monday and Thursdays, so student must be able to attend one of the sessions.

Biobehavioral Research in Children with Life-threatening Illnesses

Faculty Sponsor: 
Evan, Elana E.
Department: 
Pediatrics
Contact Name: 
Elana E. Evan, PhD
Room Number: 
22-464 MDCC
Phone: 
310-206-1771
Description of Research Project: 
The Children's Comfort Care Program at the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital is home to an active biobehavioral research lab focusing on the care of children with serious illnesses. These are just a few examples of a variety of exciting, open projects with volunteer opportunities: Pediatric Symptom Communication Study: The goal of this study is to understand children's experiences of physical, emotional, and psychological symptoms during serious illness and determine the extent to which parents and children agree about the symptom experience; Communication Intervention: Help facilitate the implementation of a communication intervention for children with serious illnesses and their parents; Healthcare Provider Education: Assist during educational presentations and the distribution of information materials to healthcare staff who work with seriously ill children; provide support to track progress and efficacy of educational interventions for healthcare providers
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
"RESEARCH ASSISTANTS will be needed to: code qualitative interviews conduct literature reviews enter data assist in data management participate in related research and program development tasks ELIGIBILITY: completed Pysch 100B or an equivalent research methods course must be responsible & detail-oriented submit a resume must work well independently & with a team volunteer at least 8-10 hrs/wk "

Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program

Faculty Sponsor: 
Freeman, Stephanny
Department: 
Child Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Freeman, Stephanny
Room Number: 
Semel Institute 78-222
Description of Research Project: 
The Early Childhood Partial Hospitalization Program is a short-term integrated day treatment program for young children who have been diagnosed with, or may have, autism, developmental disabilities, and behavior disorders. The program uses a comprehensive
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The position is entry-level and is focused heavily on data and database management (i.e., data collection, entering, checking, backing up, etc.). There is also opportunity to work within a project that requires filming in one of the therapeutic classrooms, and training in coding and identifying specific social behaviors. As an RA, you must be able to work independently (once fully trained), must be able to communicate via various modalities with the coordinator (e.g., email, notes, etc.), must be organized and thoughtful, and have some basic computer skills. Please note that there is no clinical (i.e., working directly with children and treatment) component to this position. We require 7 hours per week and strongly recommend two consecutive quarters (given the intensive training).

Acts of Kindness Intervention

Faculty Sponsor: 
Fuligni, Andrew
Department: 
Psychology/Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Danny Rahal
Description of Research Project: 
A study of the effects of completing kind acts on adolescent mental and physiological health. Participants will complete two in-person lab sessions and receive text messages instructing them to complete kind acts over the course of four weeks.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Tracking participant responses, scheduling text messages for teen participants, and following up with non-responsive participants on weekdays; meeting and consenting the participant, walking with participants for a blood draw, and setting up ECG under supervision during lab visits on weekend mornings.

Evaluating Substance Abuse Treatment Outcomes

Faculty Sponsor: 
Glasner-Edwards, Suzette
Department: 
Psychiatry
Contact Name: 
Suzette Glasner-Edwards
Room Number: 
Integrated Substance Abuse Programs
Phone: 
310-267-5206
Description of Research Project: 
In a series of clinical research projects, we are (1) developing new psychosocial and pharmacological treatments for substance abusers with concurrent mental illness; and (2) investigating clinical outcomes of patients enrolled in these, and other substance abuse treatment programs throughout California. In conducting these studies, we work closely with a variety of community substance abuse treatment programs in Los Angeles county as well as the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Students will be involved in various aspects of the project, including data collection in substance abusing adults and youth ages 12-20, preparation of materials for submission to Institutional Review Boards of the Human Subjects Protection Committee of UCLA and the California state government, data entry and management, conducting literature searches, performing treatment program site visits, attending weekly staff meetings, scheduling of interviews with treatment providers, providing research support for presentations and papers, and assisting the Principal Investigator and Project Director in maintaining quality control in data collection.. These projects are ongoing and there are opportunities for extended involvement throughout the year.

Executive Functions and Feedback Responding

Faculty Sponsor: 
Grammer, Jennie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Jennie Grammer
Phone: 
3108258348
Description of Research Project: 
We are interested in the development of children’s cognitive skills from early childhood across the transition in to elementary school. Using both behavioral and electrophysiological methods, ongoing projects in the laboratory are designed to examine the neural correlates of executive functions (e.g., attention, response inhibition, and working memory) and responses to feedback. Across a series of investigations, we are currently examining these process in young children and college students. The ultimate goal of this work is to understand the ways in which early enrichment and schooling experiences can positively impact brain and behavioral development.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Primary responsibilities will include participant recruitment and data collection. In addition, students will be involved with data entry and analyses. Students are expected to attend weekly lab meetings.

Peer Mentor/Career Coaches for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Faculty Sponsor: 
Gulsrud, Amanda
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Morgan Jolliffe
Description of Research Project: 
The UCLA PEERS® Clinic is recruiting Research Assistants/Career Coaches for our lab and pilot intervention, College to Career Transition Program: PEERS® for Careers, under the PI’s Dr. Amanda Gulsrud, Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, and Dr. Jim McCracken. The program is designed to prepare young adults for the transition from post-secondary education to employment and independence. This is a great opportunity to get hands-on clinical experience working with and mentoring young adults with autism spectrum disorder. The intervention is 10 weeks long and takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:00-7:30 pm.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are seeking Research Assistants who can commit to 10 hours a week for the academic year. Research Assistants will serve as career coaches to young adults with autism spectrum disorder throughout a 10-week pilot study on the College to Career Transition Program and will continue to work with their mentee through the academic year. After the initial 10 weeks, you will be able to seek more opportunities within the UCLA PEERS® Clinic or Lab. At this point, you will still be meeting with your young adult about five hours a week, which would include one on one meetings, email correspondence, phone calls, and checking in at their job site periodically. Other RA duties include, but are not limited to: scoring & verifying testing protocol, maintaining and updating the database for current research studies, and serving as a behavioral coach in any of the other clinical PEERS® groups (preschool adolescent, or young adult). RA's will also have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars, and professional development meetings.

The UCLA High School Diversity Project

Faculty Sponsor: 
Juvonen, Jaana
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Tate Leblanc
Room Number: 
2322 Franz Hall
Phone: 
951-807-0747
Description of Research Project: 
The purpose of this research is to test a set of interrelated hypotheses about the psychosocial benefits of racial/ethnic diversity in urban middle schools and high schools. It is hypothesized that greater diversity can benefit students' mental health, intergroup attitudes, and school adaptation via three mechanisms: (1) decreases in perceived vulnerability, (2) the formation and maintenance of cross-ethnic friendships; and (3) the development of complex social identities. These hypotheses will be examined in a longitudinal study of approximately 6,000 6th grade students as they enter one of the 26 urban middle schools in southern California.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We are looking for a team of diverse students who can commit to 8 hrs/week. The main responsibility will be to collect psychosocial, behavioral, and academic data from ethnically diverse middle school students in Los Angeles area public schools. Other tasks include preparation for data collection, subject recruitment and retention, and data entry. Please contact the Project Manager if interested.

Parent Strategies for Improving Joint Engagement and Language in Children with ASD

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kasari, Connie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Chrissie Kang Toolan
Description of Research Project: 
This study examines parent-child free play interactions in a sample of minimally verbal preschoolers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) receiving intervention targeting social and communication skills. Specifically, this study will examine parent strategy use during these free play interactions and relate them to children’s joint engagement and language outcomes over time.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
The research position will primarily consist of coding behavioral observations and data entry. We are looking for an individual who is a quick learner, very independent, self-directed, detail-oriented, and organized. Experience working with children and/or children with ASD and availability over the summer is a plus. RAs will also have the opportunity to observe and learn about intervention and assessments conducted with children with ASD. If you are interested, please email Chrissie Toolan at christinakang@ucla.edu describing your interest in the project and a resume/CV. We look forward to hearing from you!

Optimizing Social and Communication Outcomes for Children with Autism

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kasari, Connie
Department: 
Education
Contact Name: 
Amanda Gulsrud
Room Number: 
NPI&H 78-239
Phone: 
310-206-1268
Description of Research Project: 
Two different research projects are currently being conducted. The first project is a school-based social skills intervention study targeting children with autism in first- fifth grades. This is a randomized intervention trial examining the effectiveness of several different social skill intervention models for elementary school-aged children with autism. The second project examines caregiver-mediated interventions targeting social and communication outcomes for toddlers with autism.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Both research positions consist of coding behavioral observations and date entry. The student may also observe and learn about assessments during the intervention visits. <br />

Adaptive Learning: Teaching with Computers

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kellman, Philip
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Rachel Older
Room Number: 
2349
Phone: 
310-825-4202
Description of Research Project: 
Computer-based learning activities offer great potential to adapt the flow of learning events to optimize progress for each individual. Can adaptive learning algorithms that dynamically sequence learning items result in improved efficiency for factual learning and pattern recognition? The current study is concerned with basic research in adaptive learning and will examine if adaptive sequencing based on accuracy, speed, and retirement criteria, produce learning outcomes superior to traditional classroom methods.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants would help in the collection of data by grading assessments, data entry, and general office work for at least 5 hours per week and will have the opportunity to participate in all aspects of research, including literature search, study design, experimental design, and data analysis. Experience with programming is a plus, but not required. Psych 120A&B are highly recommended.

Perceptual Learning: Teaching with Computers

Faculty Sponsor: 
Kellman, Philip J.
Department: 
Psychology - Cognitive Science
Contact Name: 
Everett Mettler
Room Number: 
Franz Hall 6530 or 2349
Phone: 
310/825-4202
Description of Research Project: 
How do learners get better at searching, organizing and interpreting their visual world? Do the same processes that underlie perception of movement in sport, discovery in art, facility with puzzles and other forms of visual expertise also underly such practical skills as fluency in mathematics or proficiency in medical diagnosis? The current study is concerned with basic research in perceptual learning and object recognition. In addition we attempt to isolate and train visual skills using computer software that dynamically adapts to a learner's mental state.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants would help in the collection of data by running subjects at least 5 hours per week. Opportunities would be provided for assistants to collaborate in the generation of new experiments, analysis of data, and independent research. Experience with programming is a plus, but not required. Psych 120A&B are highly recommended.

UCLA TIES for Families

Faculty Sponsor: 
Langley, Audra
Department: 
Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences
Contact Name: 
Joe Guzman, B.A.
Phone: 
310-794-0117
Description of Research Project: 
TIES for Families is an interdisciplinary, university-based program established in 1995 to promote the successful adoption, growth, and development of children with special needs, especially those with prenatal substance exposure who are in foster care. Research assistants will focus on several research projects: 1) UCLA TIES for Families Treatment Outcomes Project: Project testing the efficacy of UCLA TIES for Families intervention services available to children and families, including adoption counseling for new families in transition, individual and family therapy, home-visiting, psychological testing, monthly parental and child support groups, short-term weekly therapy groups for children and teens, parenting skills training, infant mental health, and new parent peer mentoring. 2) ADAPT Research Project: Project testing the efficacy of a manualized psychotherapy intervention aimed at improving outcomes for children adopted from foster care, ages 5-14. 3) UCLA TIES for Adoption Evaluation Qualitative Study: Project investigating the long-term outcomes of children adopted from foster care through qualitative interviews of young adults adopted as children.
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
Research assistants will help with data organization, data entry, data collection, and interview coding. Research assistants will also be asked to perform basic administrative tasks such as filing, photocopying, and maintaining databases. No prior research experience is necessary, just a willingness to learn. Requirements: at least a 2-Quarter commitment, attention to detail, independent work skills, and timeliness.

Knowledge Exchange on Evidence-Based Practice Sustainment (4KEEPS) and Translating Evidence-Based Interventions for ASD: A Multi-Level Implementation Strategy (TEAMS) Projects

Faculty Sponsor: 
Lau, Anna
Department: 
Psychology
Contact Name: 
Christopher Gomez
Room Number: 
A292
Phone: 
310-825-9250
Description of Research Project: 
Description of 4KEEPS: 4KEEPS stands for Knowledge Exchange on Evidence-Based Practice Sustainment. This is a two-site (UCLA and UCSD) NIMH-funded project focused on community therapists implementation of multiple evidence-based practices for children’s mental health within a system-driven reform in Los Angeles County. The aims of the new study are to develop a pragmatic quality assessment tool to assess therapist delivery of EBP strategies associated with positive client outcomes. This study is conducted by Drs. Lauren Brookman-Frazee and Anna Lau. Description of TEAMS: TEAMS stands for Translating Evidence-Based Interventions for ASD: A Multi-Level Implementation Strategy. This is a set of two coordinated NIMH-funded studies that will test ways to support community providers in their learning and delivery of treatments for ASD. TEAMS is being carried out in three sites (UCLA, UC Davis, and UCSD).
Description of Student Responsibilities: 
We anticipate that undergraduates and volunteers will be filling a number of different roles on our team for both projects. Research assistants will have the opportunity to shadow and observe recruitment- and intervention-related workshops in the Los Angeles County. Other tasks include data extraction and entry, preparing study materials, and literature searches. RAs will be provided with graduate school workshops and resources, professional development (e.g., CV workshop, SPSS tutorial), and interactive seminars to develop critical and analytical thinking skills. Interested applicants should email the following documents to Christopher Gomez, research coordinator, at cgomez@psych.ucla.edu: brief cover letter stating your goals/interests in psychology, resume/CV, and an academic transcript (can be unofficial).

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