Undergraduate Research Assistants (RAs)


Dr. Melissa Koenig’s Early Language and Experience Lab comprises graduate student researchers, undergraduate research assistants (RAs), and research staff including a laboratory manager and occasionally postdoctoral fellows.

Each semester, we seek motivated, hardworking, and dedicated undergraduate RAs to work in the lab for directed research course credit (CPsy4994) or, occasionally, as volunteer interns. This position is an especially good opportunity for students interested in the intersection of philosophy, psychological science, and linguistics in child development and want to challenge themselves by seeking answers to questions in these fields through the research process.

Note: Candidates interested in graduate study should contact Dr. Koenig directly at mkoenig@umn.edu.

Position Description

Our research assistants work on specific projects with a graduate or staff supervisor and/or on general lab duties that contribute to the success of all the projects.  Examples of common RA duties include stimuli development, participant recruitment, data collection with preschool- and school-aged children, data management, and lab upkeep and organization. Specific responsibilities will vary depending on the phase of research. Outstanding research assistants may be granted opportunities to become increasingly involved in future research.


A commitment of at least 9-10 hours per week (3 credits) is strongly preferred. RAs usually work 9-15 hours a week on a set schedule developed at the beginning of the semester. In addition, RAs are expected to attend Lab Meetings whenever possible, unless agreed upon in advance with the Lab Manager and Dr. Koenig.

RAs must be willing to commit to the entirety of the semester at minimum, and commitment to at least two consecutive semesters (Spring, Summer, and/or Fall) is preferred. Exceptions could be made in certain circumstances but should be discussed during the application process.

Applications and Inquiries

If you are interested in applying for a position in the Early Language & Experience Laboratory please inquire with the lab manager, Alyssa Varhol (arvarhol@umn.edu), about openings for a particular semester, options for Directed Research credit or volunteer work, and application requirements.

Applicants are evaluated based on academic success, communication skills, interests, experience or comfort working with young children, and availability during the work week and Saturdays. Successful applicants will demonstrate competence, integrity, and motivation.