The Child Health Study, Center for Healthy Children

What the study is about:

The primary purpose of this study is to learn more about the different ways in which the environment and biology can affect a child’s health. The information we learn will help us to understand more about children, adolescents and their families. We are looking at the ways in which boys and girls between the ages of 8 and 13 have different life experiences based on the different environments they live in and how these experiences shape child development.

How you can become involved:

Research assistant applicants must be self-motivated and reliable. Research assistants will help with data collection, data entry, and coding. Additionally, the assistants will interact with the child and the caregiver on various levels from being the first point of contact for the Center on the day of the visit, escorting families to the Center, facilitating art, science, and nutritional activities revolving around healthy choices as well as helping administer questionnaires on an iPad and paper measures when necessary. Research assistants must be available a few Saturdays per semester for visits. Research assistants must be able to be at the center by 7:30 am on days of scheduled visits.

Eligible undergraduates interested in also gaining medically relevant experience with respect to processing, storing, and transporting biological samples (specifically, blood, urine, saliva), can receive training on these processes as well.

What you need to do to become involved:

Due to the complexity and nature of the study, all members of the research team are required to complete a number of training sessions and clearances and must be able to make a two-semester commitment to the study. That includes the following training sessions:

  • CITI Program Training Course - Protection of Human Research Participants, Social, and Behavioral Human Subject Research Course
  • Biosafety 101 (through EHS)
  • Blood borne Pathogens (through EHS)
  • Lab safety (through EHS)
  • Building a Safe Penn State: Reporting Child Abuse

And the following clearances/background checks:

  • PA Criminal Background Check
  • PA Child Abuse Clearance
  • FBI Clearance

Why become involved:

  • Independent research credit (3 credits for 2 semesters)
  • Valuable, cutting edge research experience (volunteer – 2 semesters with a 9 hr/wk min.)
  • Opportunity for a senior honors thesis (based on thesis requirements)
  • CMAS and BBH Internship placement (based on internship requirements)


Application deadlines: March 1 for Summer; April 1 for Fall; November 1 for Spring

Undergraduate Research Assistantship Application (doc)

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