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: 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
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: Engagement and Adherence in Hand Therapy
Faculty: Shawn Roll
Nature of Work: The purpose of this project is to understand a group of hand therapists’ experiences throughout full episodes of care at the hand clinic, including patient adherence to treatment protocols, perceived patient engagement, and other relevant themes surrounding the therapeutic relationship. The volunteer will assist with transcription of audio-recorded interviews and data entry, and learn about qualitative analysis while working with a PhD student.
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours/week minimum (Fall 2016)
Number of Students Needed: 1
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC, attention to detail, ability to accurately transcribe audio-recordings in English, excitement for learning about qualitative research
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Sonographic Imaging of Musculoskeletal Structures
Faculty: Shawn Roll
Nature of Work: We are conducting a meta-analysis of literature, to identify normative values of the median nerve as observed and measured with sonographic imaging. We require assistance with organizing results of literature searches, reading and jurying articles as they relate to inclusion and exclusion criteria, and extracting relevant data from included articles into a database for analysis. Engaged volunteers will have opportunity to see and learn about sonographic imaging in the lab.
Time Commitment: 4-5 hours/week minimum (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
Preferred Skills and Resources: Organizational skills, familiarity with excel and computing software, attention to detail, ability to read scientific literature
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: A Comparative Evaluation of Mobile Activity Monitors during Daily Tasks.
Faculty: Stacey Schepens Niemiec
Nature of Work:The purpose of this study is to assess the validity of various commercially available and research grade activity monitors in measuring physical activity during a sedentary, light intensity, and moderate-to-vigorous intensity daily tasks. A secondary purpose is to assess the capability of these activity monitors to distinguish among different intensity activities. Duties may include IRB amendments, data collection at HSC and offsite at local community venues, data entry and management, activity monitor device maintenance, and presentation and report development. You may also assist in literature reviews, creating reports or presentations, and grant writing.
Time Commitment: 4-15 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC (will be required if you volunteer), experience using activity trackers, smartphone app savviness, attention to detail, literature searching skills, PowerPoint and Excel experience, ability to learn data and activity analysis programs.
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: Smartphone Intervention for Underactive Older Adults
Faculty: Stacey Schepens Niemiec
Nature of Work: In collaboration with the MEI software development group, we are in the early stages of developing a specialized smartphone application to improve physical activity patterns in older adults. Duties may include IRB proposal development, recruitment, data collection, entry and management, questionnaire and training material development, app intervention content development, and suggestions for app improvement. You may also assist in literature reviews, creating reports or presentations, and grant writing.
Time Commitment: 4-10 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC (will be required if you volunteer), general technological savviness, comfort with using a smartphone and teaching elders to use the device, attention to detail, literature searching skills, excellent writing skills, PowerPoint and Excel experience, and willingness to travel offsite to community venues involving seniors.
Preferred method of communication: Email
Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Research area/project: ¡Vivir Mi Vida! Lifestyle Intervention to Optimize Health Outcomes in Latino Patients
Faculty: Stacey Schepens Niemiec and Jeanine Blanchard
Nature of Work:Our interdisciplinary research team is developing a lifestyle-based intervention for late middle-aged Latino adults who are risk for chronic diseases. We have completed pilot testing of the intervention and are currently in the process of analyzing data, refining the manual and intervention procedures, writing manuscripts, and preparing grants. Duties may include transcription, Spanish-to-English translation, analysis of qualitative and quantitative data, health resource gathering, review of training manual iterations, development of activity-based intervention modules, development of training for community health workers, searching literature, and creating reports and presentations. 
Time Commitment: 4-8 hours/week
Preferred Skills and Resources: CITI and HIPAA training offered through USC (will be required if you volunteer), Spanish-English bilingual (not required but ideal), attention to detail, literature searching skills, experience analyzing qualitative data, excellent writing skills, willingness to travel offsite to rural areas such as Lancaster, and 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: 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: 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