Harvard University Laboratory for Developmental Studies
Each summer the Laboratory for Developmental Studies at Harvard University offers a limited number of internships for college undergraduates, under the supervision of Dr. Susan Carey and Dr. Jesse Snedeker. Interns will gain experience with current techniques for investigating conceptual and language development in infants and children.
Examples of what we are currently studying:
You can read more about Dr. Carey and Dr. Snedeker’s research interest by clicking on the appropriate links.
What will you do?
Each intern will be paired with a researcher in the lab who will work with them on a research project. This will give you the chance to become involved in a research project and gain an in-depth understanding of the process of designing and conducting a study. You will spend most of your time on this project. Your remaining time will be spent assisting with other projects and attending lab meetings and reading groups.
Interns recruit and contact research participants; run experiments with children (from 5 months to adolescence) and adults; code and enter data; transcribe videotapes of children’s speech; prepare materials for studies; and conduct literature searches. You will also participate in a reading group led by graduate students and lab researchers, where you will get the opportunity to become intellectually involved in our field by reading and discussing articles on various aspects of developmental psychology and language processing. You will also attend a weekly lab meeting to learn more about the other research taking place in the lab. Finally, at the end of the program you will also have the opportunity to present your summer work in a poster fair that we arrange for interns every year.
Who should apply?
Undergraduate students who are interested in research on cognitive development and language acquisition/processing are welcome to apply. The internship requires frequent contact with parents as well as with their children, as interns will speak directly with the parents to explain the studies being run. Thus it is essential that interns be mature, articulate, and comfortable with parents and children. Since research requires coordination of many different activities, interns must be highly organized and reliable. Desirable background experience would include the following: coursework in developmental and experimental psychology or linguistics, basic computer skills, and previous research and/or child-directed experience.
Applicants should also have a place to stay in the Boston area. Because of Boston’s high cost-of-living, some interns have stayed with relatives during the internship program. Others sublet housing for the summer from students at local universities.
What are the dates of the program?
The program will run from 6/6/2011 to 8/12/2011. Interns are expected to be available from 9am-5pm Monday through Friday. During this time period, students should not be traveling unless it is critical. If you miss any time during this period you will need to make up that time before the end of the internship. Preference is given slightly to students who can attend the entire program without interruption.
Is the job full time or part time?
The internship program is full-time commitment (35 hours per week/9-5).
Can I be paid for the internship?
Depending on the strength of your application, a stipend of $1500 may be awarded for a full-time commitment. This option is available to both Harvard and non-Harvard students. However, many students get funding from other sources. These external awards range in size from $500 to $5000. Students who receive less than $1500 in funding from another source will still be eligible for partial stipend from the internship program. Students who receive at least $1500 in funding from another source will not be eligible for any stipend from the internship program.
Harvard College Research Program:
We strongly encourage Harvard undergraduates to apply for funding through the Harvard College Research Program. Please remember that the deadline for applying for summer funding through this grant is usually around April 1st. You will need to contact Dr. Carey or Dr. Snedeker prior to this time to develop a research proposal and ask for a letter of recommendation. More information about this process can be found at: http://www.seo.harvard.edu/resprog/hcrp.html
Other sources of Research Funding:
Many other universities have research experience programs for undergraduates that will pay students a small salary while they engage in summer research. Some programs are limited to research on campus; others will pay for research experiences at another campus. We encourage all applicants to contact their student employment office for more information. Many professional associations, honor societies and other organizations sponsor summer awards as well.
Summer research can also be funded through the work-study program. Please contact the financial aid office at your college for more information. Harvard students can find out more at: http://www.seo.harvard.edu/federal/summer.html
How can you apply?
Please fill out the application (download here) and mail or email it back with a copy of your transcripts (unofficial is fine), resume, cover letter, and one letter of recommendation. A cover letter is also highly recommended.
This year the internship program will have two application deadlines– these are approximate dates, definite deadlines to be determined:
February 1st— For you “early birds.” This earlier deadline will be to accommodate deadlines for applying for research funding from other institutions. We will accept 2 or 3 very strong candidates, who will be informed as soon as possible. Those who are accepted will be required to apply for funding from an outside source. Most of those applicants not accepted in this round will be shuffled over to the regular applicant pool.
March 15th—This is our regular deadline. All application materials must be received by this time or you will not be considered for the position.
Please mail or email application materials to either of the following addresses before March 15th. If you are interested in working in a particular lab, please try to contact the corresponding lab coordinator. Also, there is no need to send applications to both addresses as we will pool all our applicants.
Snedeker Lab Coordinator
202 Shannon Hall
25 Francis Avenue
Cambridge, MA, 02138
If you wish to start the application process sooner (recommended), you may email your application and resume to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org and mail or email the rest of the application materials (transcript and letter of recommendation) separately by March 15th. We will then review the applications and let you know if we would like to interview you.
Thank you and we look forward to receiving your application!