The Cognition, Affect, and Temperament Laboratory, in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State, headed by Dr. Koraly Pérez-Edgar, is seeking a full-time Research Assistant/Study Navigator.

The Research Assistant/Study Navigator will have the opportunity to work on a longitudinal NIDA-funded study and be an active member of a multi-disciplinary team that provides support services to participants enrolled in the HEALthy Brain and Child Development (HBCD) study, a national consortium of 25 research sites.

The Research Assistant/Study Navigator will be involved with recruitment and retention efforts, the informed consent process, and data collection protocols for the study. Data collection includes multi-modal assessments of brain, cognitive, and emotional development from birth through early childhood.

Other responsibilities of the Research Assistant/Study Navigator include (but are not limited to):

  • Develop a participant advocate relationship that will support and help guide the participant through study requirements
  • Help identify, when needed, community resources pertinent to each participant and assist in navigating the use of those resources
  • Assist in developing formal and informal community supports according to participant’s identified needs to complete study requirements
  • Attend lab meetings, team meetings, trainings, and development; serve on designated committees within the study consortium when needed

This work will take advantage of the University’s broad resources, including the Child Study Center ( and the SLEIC Center ( This is a two-site study in collaboration with Dr. Aleksandra Zgierska at Penn State’s College of Medicine in Hershey, PA. As such, study personnel will have remote, cross-site collaboration opportunities.

The College of the Liberal Arts is supportive of flexible work arrangements when aligned with the ability to meet the needs of the unit and the essential duties of the position. Questions related to flexible work should be directed to the hiring manager during the interview process.

Education and Experience: This position will be filled as a Human Research Technologist 1, which typically requires an Associate’s degree or higher plus one year of related experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience. A Bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Psychology, Sociology, or a related field is preferred.

Professional experience with infants and/or children, such as in a childcare setting, pediatric clinical or research setting or one within a community organization, is highly desirable.

Applicants must have good interpersonal skills, a willingness to learn, and demonstrate the ability to work well with others. In addition, successful candidates must either have demonstrated a commitment to building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus community or describe one or more ways they would envision doing so, given the opportunity.

Additional Information: To apply, please upload a cover letter of interest and a CV. Please highlight relevant skills in your cover letter. Questions may be addressed to Megan Zinobile at  or Dr. Pérez-Edgar at .

Penn State is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusion that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusion as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.

Review of applications will begin immediately and will continue until the position is filled. This position will be filled as soon as possible.

This is a limited-term appointment, funded for one year from the date of hire with the possibility for renewal. HBCD is a multi-year funded study.

This position requires the following clearances: PA State Police Criminal Background Check, PA Child Abuse History Clearance Form, and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Fingerprint Criminal Background Check.

Penn State offers competitive benefits to full-time employees, including medical, dental, vision, and retirement plans, in addition to 75% tuition discounts (including for a spouse and dependent children up to the age of 26), generous vacation time, sick time, and paid holidays. Please visit for more detailed information.


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