Work-Study Research Assistant Program

McInerney-wetlandsAre you are an undergraduate student with a federal work-study award? Would you be interested in assisting with faculty research for your work-study employment? If so, the Work-Study Research Assistant Program can help connect you to available research opportunities on campus.

Why Research?

There are many reasons to consider pursuing a position as a research assistant. Participation in undergraduate research is one way to explore your academic interests, learn about how research is conducted at the university, and build transferable skills useful in a range of fields. Read more about what other UConn undergraduates have to say about how they have benefited from engaging in undergraduate research.

How Can I Apply?

Asahi HoqueIf you have a federal work-study award for 2018-19, apply for one of the research job postings in the JobX system listed below. You may apply to more than one posting if it aligns with your goals and interests. Please follow the specifications of the posting and upload all requested information (e.g., resume, cover letter, availability, references). Only applications from undergraduate students with work-study awards will be considered.

Applications are currently being accepted for all of the positions below with a status of “open.” As applications are being reviewed on an ongoing basis, we encourage you to apply for all positions that interest you as soon as possible. Please check this page regularly as positions will be added frequently through the beginning of the Spring 2019 semester. Students with Spring 2019 work-study awards must secure a job by February 15th or their awards will be canceled.

Job Postings for Spring 2019 (listed alphabetically by department)

Job Posting Faculty Member(s) Department Brief Position Description Status
9525 Chrystal Smith Anthropology The Student Interview & Survey Research Assistant hired will work on the National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, The Effects of Social Capital and Cultural Models on the Retention and Degree Attainment of Women and Minority Engineering Undergraduates. This grant uses anthropological and sociological theories and methodologies to improve our understanding about the challenges that women, ethnic minorities encounter pursuing STEM degrees. Research activities include analysis and writing up findings on survey and interview data collected during 2015-2018 with a cohort of engineering undergraduates at 11 participating universities. The Principal Investigator is Gladis Kersaint, Ph.D., Dean, Neag School of Education. Closed
9506 Michele Back Curriculum and Instruction The Student Observation and Analysis Assistant hired will work on the Accuracy and Implications of Measurement in School (AIMS) project. This grant uses anthropological theories and methodologies to improve our understanding about how data capturing language, race, and ethnicity are constructed at the K-12 school level. Research activities include conducting observations at local schools as well as analysis and writing up findings on secondary data collected at schools in Connecticut. The Co-Principal Investigators are Dr. Michele Back and Dr. Rebecca Campbell-Montalvo, both in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction in the UConn Neag School of Education. Closed
9948 Jennifer Scapetis-Tycer Drama Are you interested in accents or phonetics?  Are you great with computers or music theory?  This position involves assisting with research into the intonation patterns of various accents, specifically finding pitch relationships in particular speech utterances. Closed
9508 Aarti Bellara Educational Psychology Assessment Research Assistant.  There are multiple projects and can be filled by two applicants.  The first project will examine preservice teacher inquiry projects for potential for action research as beginning teachers.  The second project will consist of managing and collecting data for a systematic review of the reporting practices of single subject research in behavioral studies. Closed
9713 Abhishek Dutta Electrical and Computer Engineering The project involves design of Cyborgs or robotic insects i.e. design and programming of circuits for sensing and control of the brain of insects. Some expertise exists in the group. Other possibilities are analyzing or designing systems for healthcare. Closed
9491 Linda Pescatello Kinesiology The student will act as an undergraduate research assistant for the Department of Kinesiology Health Fitness Research Laboratory as part of the SPIRE (Syntheses of Prevention Intervention Research in Exercise) research team. SPIRE research projects are mainly systematic reviews and meta-analysis of the exercise and health literature. In these research projects, we pool data from hundreds of exercise trials to identify what combinations of patient clinical and exercise characteristics achieve optimal therapeutic benefit for the targeted physical or mental health outcome we are investigating. Closed
9623 David Pierce Mechanical Engineering We are looking for independent and self-motivated individuals to contribute to a project investigating the mechanics of impact and damage propagation in articular cartilage. Candidates will be trained on a variety of tasks including imaging and image analysis, preparation of cartilage samples from bovine knees (requires BioSafety Level 2 training), initiation of mechanical experiments, and data analyses. Candidates will work directly alongside a Ph.D candidate mentor in Biomedical Engineering. Closed
9653 Anna Tarakanova Mechanical Engineering Our group specializes in molecular modeling & simulation to study biomaterials, biomechanics and biophysical processes associated with the body’s function in health and disease. Multiple projects are available, depending on student interest and fit. Students will work directly under the supervision of the faculty member — we are always interested in mentoring self-motivated undergraduate students from diverse backgrounds. The student will gain experience in molecular model development, machine learning, atomistic modeling, coarse-graining approaches, molecular simulation setup and implementation on supercomputers, molecular visualization software, MATLAB/Python/bash scripting, and scientific writing. The student will have a chance, if successful, to contribute to a scientific publication. Closed
9518 Tracy Rittenhouse Natural Resources and the Environment The student will assist with the set-up and testing of the temperature control system within outdoor aquatic tanks during fall 2018 and the monitoring and database management of this system in the spring 2019.  The student will be contributing to research on disease outbreaks in tadpoles, but the student may not gain experience with animal care nor pathobiology. Open
9519 Tracy Rittenhouse Natural Resources and the Environment The student will be part of a research project quantifying wildlife occupancy patterns in exurban landscapes (i.e., the entire state of CT).  The student will assist with monitoring cameras at field sites, processing photos, and database management. Closed
9492 E. Carol Polifroni Nursing Assign metadata to individual editorials that are in a database for the Nursing Editors History Project (NEHP). Once the metadata are assigned, the editorials will be uploaded to the NEHP website.

Description: The NEHP has compiled a database of approximately 4000 editorials from eight nursing journals, with a goal to make these available to the public for searching and reading on the NEHP website. PDFs of all the editorials have been collected but metadata (author, title, journal, year of publication, volume, issue, page numbers, keywords) need to be assigned to each editorial prior to uploading.

Working closely with the NEHP administrator, the incumbent will design an Excel spreadsheet to organize the metadata and then populate with the information. Some metadata may be available on the editorial PDFs but when that is not available, researching using library resources may be necessary. In addition, again working with the NEHP administrator, the incumbent will develop a controlled vocabulary of keywords which will be assigned to each editorial to allow them to be searched for relevant content.

9498 Katherine Whitaker Physics A student in this position will assist faculty in research efforts within a laboratory in the field of observational extragalactic astronomy. Research will include analyzing Hubble Space Telescope images, using observations of gravitationally lensed galaxy clusters that act as cosmic telescopes to study the background Universe. Closed
9732 Xian Wu Physics A student in this position will be working to understand introductory physics students’ difficulty on vectors. The student will learn how to organize and analyze qualitative data collected in educational research. Closed
9473 Alexander Anievas Political Science I am currently working on a book manuscript examining the role of race and the far-right in the making of the Cold War and the post-1945 US-led liberal international order. Part of the project entails original archival research, collating and organizing source materials and reading foreign language sources. I am therefore looking for a research assistant with good organizational and summation skills. In addition, students proficient in foreign languages (especially German, French, or Italian) would be an added benefit. Closed
9949 Zehra Arat Political Science A student in this position will assist a political science professor in carrying out a number of human rights research projects (e.g., neoliberalism and women’s rights; human rights work of the UN Commission on the Status of Women; human rights in Turkey; international human rights norms; automation and the right to work) that are in different stages. Thus, the job will allow the student to observe and participate in different stages of the research process, from the formulation and justification of a research question to the preparation and revision of articles for publication. Closed
9620 Kimberly Cuevas Psychological Sciences Student research assistants interested in developmental cognitive neuroscience research with a background in psychological sciences at the Waterbury Campus are encouraged to apply.  RAs will contribute to multiple aspects of research (recruitment, data collection, data coding) investigating the development of cognitive flexibility, imitation, and the “social brain”. Filled (Waterbury Campus)
9526 Letitia Naigles Psychological Sciences How do children acquire their native language?  My lab investigates young children’s speaking and understanding, especially of word meanings and sentences. We also compare typically developing children and children with autism spectrum disorder, to assess the relative contributions of environment and biology in language learning. Filled


Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Research at or 486-7939 with any questions about this program. General questions about work-study and student employment can be directed to Student Financial Aid Services – Student Employment at or 486-3474.