Student Volunteer Opportunities
The UCLA Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) welcomes interested students to apply for a volunteer position in a CART faculty research lab. CART also seeks to diversify representation in autism research by training and mentoring more students from underrepresented groups. We encourage those interested to reach out and learn more about opportunities available at CART.
Our CART faculty have expertise across a variety of disciplines including psychology, psychiatry, genetics, neuroscience, neurology, pediatrics, and education. Many of our CART faculty research labs are accepting student volunteers on a rolling basis. Read about CART faculty by clicking here.
CART also operates the Sigman Scholars Research Program for UCLA undergraduate students interested in pursuing a career focused on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This rigorous 8-10 week summer research position sponsors students to work within CART faculty research labs. Click here to learn more about the Sigman Scholars Research Program.
We also welcome the opportunity to mentor students to gain funding from other competitive research programs in order to work in CART faculty research labs. Additionally, students may have the option of earning course credit for their lab work and completing an honor’s thesis or written senior project (199).
For more information on how to take advantage of these opportunities for research training and mentorship at CART, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope to hear from you soon!
Volunteer Student Spotlight
I always knew I wanted a career in autism research.
Kaitlin Cummings was a staff research coordinator for Dr. Shulamite Green’s SCAN Lab and Dr. Mirella Dapretto’s IDEA Lab at the UCLA Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center. She began volunteering as an undergraduate research assistant in 2016, and was very excited to assist with neuroimaging and psychophysiological data collection for Dr. Green’s study examining sensory processing differences in youth with autism spectrum and anxiety disorders. Her honors thesis examined sex differences in salience network connectivity and its relationship to sensory over-responsivity in youth with autism and was later published by Autism Research (Cummings et al., 2020). “I always knew that I wanted a career in autism research, and I am so thankful for the incredible mentorship I have received through CART because it has helped me achieve my dream!” she says. In addition to receiving hands-on training in data acquisition and analysis, she also gained clinical experience working in the SCAN/IDEA labs and by volunteering with the PEERS for Careers Program as a job coach. Kaitlin will be continuing her work studying the neurobiological mechanisms underlying symptom profiles in autism at the University of North Carolina this Fall as a Clinical Psychology PhD student.
I was always interested in learning more about neurodevelopmental disorders and how we can advance in that field.
Before coming to UCLA, Selome Gebremedhin was familiar with CART. She knew about some of the clinical services the center provides and the various autism research. She always had an interest in learning more about neurodevelopmental disorders and how we can advance in that field. So, as a student majoring in psychobiology, Selome's interest developed further in her classes. Selome wanted to join CART because the center aims to advance in the autism field through research and services from various aspects. In addition, the center's commitment to inclusivity and the several studies that focus on addressing the racial disparities in autism also compelled her to join CART. She is a volunteer Research Assistant working under the mentorship of Dr. Erin Graham on the Autism Genetics and Human Diversity project (PI: Dr. Daniel Geschwind).
Selome says her overall experience at CART has been excellent. "Through my different responsibilities as an undergraduate research assistant, I have grown both academically and professionally. CART provides its volunteers and student workers with excellent experiences that will, without a doubt, transfer into our future careers as researchers, clinicians, or health professionals," she says. She also shares she has found inspiration from meeting and learning from different members of the team at CART.