Research Assistant Positions in the Growth And Resilience across Development (GARD) Lab

University of Maryland, College Park


Dr. Arianna Gard and the GARD Lab ( in the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, College Park is hiring two full-time post-baccalaureate research assistants (title Faculty Specialist or Faculty Assistant). The GARD Lab investigates how environmental risk and protective factors shape brain and behavioral development in children and adolescents. The lab employs a variety of biosocial approaches – survey data, observations of the neighborhood context and parent-child interactions, functional neuroimaging (fMRI), genetics and epigenetics, and physiological function. The primary focus of these positions is to coordinate a new large-scale study investigating neighborhood effects on health and wellbeing in the DC Metro area. 


Both positions will start summer 2021; flexible start date. Review of applications will begin

immediately and will continue until the positions are filled. Interested individuals should email a cover letter, CV, and names and contact information of 3 references to Dr. Arianna Gard at . Please include all documents in a single pdf file and include your last name and the position to which you are applying in the filename (i.e., “LASTNAME.pdf”).


Data Manager: The data manager position will coordinate data management on multiple projects in the lab. Duties for this position include organizing, processing and analyzing data across multiple modalities including survey/questionnaire, MRI, biospecimens (e.g., DNA/RNA, cortisol, markers of physical health), and observational data. Specific responsibilities will include:

(1)    Designing a web-based survey for a large population-based study of families in the DC region

(2)    Developing data cleaning & analytic pipelines for incoming data

(3)    Harmonizing administrative contextual data (e.g., area-level crime statistics, air pollution estimates of fine-particulate matter) with participant-level data from multiple studies

(4)    Constructing spatial maps of neighborhood characteristics using ArcGIS

(5)    Generating and testing statistical replication packages for empirical papers pre-publication 

(6)    Programming behavioral tasks in Matlab and PsychoPy

(7)    Preprocessing and analysis of publicly-available fMRI data 

(8)    General administrative duties – maintenance of the lab website, Github account, and linux server

(9)    Training and supervising undergraduate research assistants


The data manager position could fit multiple different types of applicants. Ideal applicants will have a bachelor’s degree or higher in a field related to neuroscience, computer science, biostatistics, mathematics, or psychology and have previous experiences with these types of data modalities. Required experience and/or training in one or more programming languages: R, linux bash, Matlab, Python. Applicants with more advanced degrees (e.g., M.S., PhD) will be considered and would have additional opportunities (e.g., publishing, grant-writing); pay will be commensurate with experience. 


Project Coordinator: The project coordinator position will primarily be responsible for launching the DC Area Neighborhood Study. This study adopts a community-based participatory research framework to engage community organizations and members in understanding neighborhood effects on children’s health and wellbeing. Specific responsibilities include:

(1)    Coordinate outreach activities – designing and publicizing events, interfacing with local non-profits, and managing undergraduate RAs

(2)    Designing accessible recruitment materials

(3)    Managing participant recruitment

(4)    Working with the data manager to design the online survey platform

(5)    Coordinating teams of undergraduate and graduate students to execute neighborhood observation protocols

(6)    Developing in-house training protocols on topics such as: cultural humility training, history of DC neighborhoods, interacting with families, etc. 


The recruitment coordinator position is designed for individuals with a Bachelor’s degree or higher in sociology, social work, public health, psychology, or a related field. Applicants with extensive community organizing experience with an Associates degree will also be considered under the title Faculty Assistant Required experience in community organizing and working with human subjects. Desire qualifications: familiarity with the DC Metro region and local nonprofits, phlebotomy certified or willingness to become certified. Applicants with an MSW will also be considered and would have additional opportunities (e.g., publishing, clinical interviews); pay will be commensurate with experience. 


The University of Maryland is an Equal Employment/Affirmative Action employer. We do not discriminate in hiring on the basis of sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, religious creed, national origin, physical or mental disability, protected Veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state, or local law. The GARD Lab at UMD is actively engaged in recruiting, hiring, and promoting individuals underrepresented in higher education and STEM fields; racial-ethnic minorities, women, individuals with disabilities, and veterans are encouraged to apply. 


Please direct all questions to Dr. Arianna Gard at