Undergraduate Students

Training Opportunities

Undergraduate students play a vital role in the day-to-day functioning of our lab. Since 1989, hundreds of Psychology majors at the University of Pittsburgh have worked in our lab via the Department’s Directed Research mechanism. Students who participate in the directed research practicum learn about research methods through a variety of experiences in our lab. First, in the classroom, they learn about the theoretical underpinnings of each of the research projects from Dr. Shaw, including the study’s conceptual basis, the methods used to collect data, and any findings that have resulted from the study. Second, students learn how to collect observational data in both the laboratory and family’s homes through classroom demonstrations and observations of assessments. Third, students go out and assist us in collecting data for our four ongoing studies, including both basic research on the development of conduct problems in childhood, and intervention studies designed to prevent the development of early conduct problems and promote healthy behavior among youth transitioning to adolescence. All assessments are directed by senior staff, including graduate students in child clinical and developmental psychology.

Requirements to Participate in the Directed Research Practicum

To work in the lab via the Psychology Department’s Directed Research mechanism, students should:

  • Have a Psychology GPA of 3.0 or higher Have taken or be current taking Research Methods or Statistics Be willing to work in the lab for a minimum of two terms Be interested in working with children at risk for psychopathology and their families Enjoy working with children
  • Be willing to devote 7-8 hours of your time, including weekend hours

Students who meet these prerequisites should feel free to contact Dr. Shaw at casey@pitt.edu or 412 624-1836 towards the end of each term. The PPCL typically enrolls students at the beginning of the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. Each term students receive 3 hours of credit that count for required hours for the Major. Up to 6 hours of credit can be used towards the Major and up to 9 hours of directed research credit can be counted towards graduation. For those students who are interested in working at the PPCL but are not Psychology Majors, students from other FAS Departments (e.g., Sociology) and other schools (e.g., Social Work) have been successful in obtaining academic credit for their work in the lab. Interested students should contact their advising office for more information about appropriate mechanisms.

Undergraduate Employment Opportunities

Students enrolled in the Directed Research Practicum also have the option to work (for pay) as undergraduate employees or work study employees, for up to 20 hours per week during the Fall and Spring terms, and up to 40 hours per week during the summer. Directed Research students who also work as employees typically assist in data preparation and reduction, including compiling questionnaires, data entry (using teleforming software), organizing files, and gathering scientific articles.

For more information about becoming a Directed Research intern in our lab, contact Dr. Shaw at casey@pitt.edu or (412) 624-1836.