University of Southern California
University of Southern California
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Mrs. T.H. Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Redesigning Lives Globally
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Research
Research

Volunteer Opportunities for Students

Various opportunities are made available to current students interested in gaining direct experience conducting research, including contributing to the work of funded laboratories and scholarship of faculty members. If you are interested in volunteering to learn more about research or are considering a career in science, please contact faculty members directly to learn more.

Research area/project: Understanding motivation and emotion underlying social interactions
Faculty: Barbara Thompson
Nature of Work: We are investigating mechanisms that drive social interaction in young children. We enroll children with typical development and also children with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders. Assistance with recruitment, and social interaction with the child during the experiment is needed.
Time Commitment: 4 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC, attention to detail, experience with MS Word/Powerpoint/Excel, comfortable interacting with young children
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project:Video coding of sensory integration intervention sessions
Faculty: Barbara Thompson
Nature of Work: We are conducting in-depth video analysis of sensory integration intervention sessions to quantify visible behavioral changes in children. Assistance with video-coding and data analysis is needed.
Time Commitment: 6 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC, attention to detail, experience with MS Word/Powerpoint/Excel
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Big data neuroimaging for stroke recovery
Faculty: Sook-Lei Liew
Nature of Work: We are working on developing predictive models for stroke recovery using brain imaging and behavioral measures of stroke patients. Since these models require large datasets, we will be working with hundreds, and potentially thousands, of lesioned brains from individuals after stroke. One component of these models is making lesions masks for each individual, specific to their post-stroke neuroanatomy. Research volunteers will learn brain neuroanatomy in healthy individuals and clinical populations and learn to trace and characterize lesions using a variety of software tools. 
Time Commitment: Minimum of 4 hours per week
Preferred Skills and Resources: Attention to detail; interest in neuroscience and neurorehabilitation; familiarity with computers
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: REAL Diabetes Study (diabetes intervention for young adults)
Faculty: Beth Pyatak
Nature of Work: The REAL (Resilient, Empowered, Active Living) Diabetes Study is conducting a randomized controlled trial of an OT intervention for diabetes management. We are interested in volunteers to assist with data entry, developing intervention materials, literature reviews, medical chart reviews, and assisting with preparing publications and grant proposals.
Time Commitment: 3 hour per week minimum (Spring 2016)
Preferred Skills and Resources: Human Subjects Protection, Good Clinical Practice, and HIPAA training offered through USC (will be required if you volunteer), literature searching skills
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Musculoskeletal Disorders & Medical Imaging
Faculty: Shawn Roll
Nature of Work: Assistance in conducting a literature search, identify studies, and creating a database using data from the studies for two topic areas: (1) Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention In Dental Professionals, (2) Median Nerve Measurement Using Sonographic Imaging. 
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours/week minimum (Summer 2015)
Number of Students Needed: 2
Preferred Skills and Resources: Basic ability to read scientific literature, Attention to detail, Experience with Excel, Passion for expanding knowledge
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Goal Setting in an Occupational Therapy Weight Management Program
Faculty: Stacey Schepens Niemiec
Nature of Work:The purpose of this study is to analyze the type of goals set and patient progression towards achieving such goals over the course of participation in the Lifestyle Redesign Weight Management program. We will also explore the relationship between weight management goals set and patient outcomes achieved upon discharge. Duties may include IRB application development, medical chart reviews, data collection and entry, and goal analysis. You may also assist in literature reviews, creating reports or presentations, and grant writing.
Time Commitment: 4 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC (will be required if you volunteer), attention to detail, literature searching skills, excellent writing skills, PowerPoint and Excel experience.
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Stepping Reaction Time of Adult Recreational Soccer Players.
Faculty: Stacey Schepens Niemiec
Nature of Work:This study is in the manuscript development stages. All data have been collected and a poster has already been presented at a professional conference. The next step is to refine a paper that is in draft form and prepare it for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. This process would involve a literature review, expansion of the current manuscript content, identification of potentially suitable journals, and completion of the online submission forms.
Time Commitment: 1-2 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: Attention to detail, literature searching skills, excellent writing skills, PowerPoint and Excel experience.
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Well Elderly 3 Intervention Manualization and Promotor Training Workshop Development
Faculty: Stacey Schepens Niemiec and Jenny Martinez
Nature of Work: Our interdisciplinary research team is currently completing two major tasks that are a part of the Well Elderly 3 implementation study: 1. developing a lifestyle-based intervention manual for late middle-aged Latino adults who are risk for chronic diseases, and 2. developing a training workshop for Latino Community Health Workers (Promotores) to deliver a lifestyle intervention. Duties may include analysis of focus group or interview data, health resource gathering, review of training manuals, development of activity-based intervention modules, searching literature, and creating reports or presentations. 
Time Commitment: 4 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: Spanish-English bilingual (not required but ideal), attention to detail, literature searching skills, excellent writing skills, PowerPoint and Excel experience.
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

Research area/project: Using Mobile Phone-based Physical Activity Measurements in Clinical Weight Management
Faculty: Stacey Schepens Niemiec
Nature of Work:In collaboration with the School of Engineering, we are in the early stages of developing a mobile phone application to improve clinical outcomes in late middle-aged and older adults who take part in the Occupational Therapy Lifestyle Redesign Weight Management program offered through the Faculty Practice. Duties may include IRB application development, recruitment, data collection and entry, questionnaire development, and suggestions for app improvement. You may also assist in literature reviews, creating reports or presentations, and grant writing.
Time Commitment: 4 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC (will be required if you volunteer), comfort with using a smartphone, attention to detail, literature searching skills, excellent writing skills, PowerPoint and Excel experience, Spanish-English bilingual (not required but ideal).
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Occupations and Social Justice
Faculty: Gelya Frank
Nature of Work: Watch documentaries, summarize occupational approaches in situations of conflict; develop PowerPoint presentations using selected video content; conduct searches of published sources and summarize literature; schedule interviews with activists and artists; attend and record audio/video interviews; set up internet content
Time Commitment: 4 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: Experience using digital media and equipment; interest in social sciences/media/humanities;  production of video content
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Health Services Research, Aging, Fall Prevention
Faculty: Natalie Leland
Nature of Work: Be part of a research team assisting with the execution and evaluation of the research project, including literature reviews, data integration and analysis. Other duties will include assisting with the preparation of print documents and visual materials for research reports and presentations.
Time Commitment: 4 hours a week
Preferred Skills and Resources: Attention to detail, solid literature search and writing skills, enjoys working with excel and power point
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Sensory Adapted Dental Environment to Enhance Oral Care in Children
Faculty: Sharon Cermak
Description of Study: This is as NIH-funded grant designed to examine the effectiveness of an intervention to adapt the sensory characteristics of the dental environment in order to decrease anxiety and negative behavioral responses of children with ASD, thus enhancing their oral care.
Nature of work: Data entry
Time Commitment: Minimum of 4 hours weekly between 10 am and 5 pm
Number of students needed: 1
Preferred Skills and Resources: Attention to detail
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Note: no volunteers are needed for Spring, but they are needed for Fall 2016

Research area/project: Test-retest reliability of the Little Developmental Coordination Disorder Questionnaire (Little DCDQ)
Faculty: Sharon Cermak
Description of study: The DCDQ is an established test being used in multiple countries to screen children for coordination disorders.  A downward extension (younger ages) of the test is being developed. This study involves having 20 parents complete the questionnaire two times in order to examine test-retest reliability.
Time Commitment: Minimum of 4 hours per week
Preferred Skills and Resources: You must have access to a minimum of 25 parents of children, ages 3 and 4 (e.g. your sister or parent is a preschool teacher; you have a child that age who attends a preschool)
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Note: no volunteers are needed for Spring, but they are needed for Fall 2016