Junior Researcher in Language and Cognitive Development and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

University of California Davis

United States

Junior Specialist – Language and Cognitive Development and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities

Job #JPF04748

Application Window

Open date: March 10th, 2022

Next review date: Friday, Mar 25, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Apply by this date to ensure full consideration by the committee.

Final date: Thursday, Jun 30, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)
Applications will continue to be accepted until this date, but those received after the review date will only be considered if the position has not yet been filled.

Position description

The incumbent for this position will be involved in several projects focused on characterizing, measuring, and treating the language impairments of children, adolescents, and young adults with fragile X syndrome (FXS), Down syndrome (DS), and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). At the core of all the research we do is administer and analyze measures of language and related abilities (e.g., memory, social knowledge, literacy), as well as measures of mental health challenges. Learning how manage study visits (e.g., film, document data collection, talk to families, score assessments, enter data) and to administer these measures, which include both standardized tests and experimental measures that we have developed in our lab is valuable preparation for future graduate training or technician positions in fields such as psychology, education, and speech and hearing sciences. Particularly important among the measures we have developed is a procedure called Expressive Language Sampling (ELS), which entail transcribing audiorecorded samples of spoken language in structured situations. Because ELS is being used by other researchers and clinicians, learning how to transcribe these samples is valuable preparation for further academic pursuits.

Under the direction of the PIs, the incumbent will learn (1) how to interact with participants with disabilities and their families, (2) how to manage study visits, including prepare for visits, film sessions, document data collection, and enter data, (3) how to administer and score some standardized tests commonly used in psychology, education, and speech and hearing sciences, as well as experimental measures we have developed, including ELS, and (3) how to transcribe and code recorded samples of spoken language according to standard child language conventions using specialized software. Learning the various skills will occur though practice administrations of tests and transcriptions of language samples under the tutelage of more experienced lab members and through discussions and feedback session with the PIs. The incumbent also will learn to perform behavioral coding of transcripts and of video-recorded interactions using specialized software, again with practice opportunities and under the tutelage of other lab staff and the PIs. The incumbent will also work with other members of the lab in activities needed to prepare data for analysis for reports, presentations, and publications, including data checks for accuracy and data entry. As the incumbent works with the PIs on conceptualizing and preparing reports for presentation and publication, they will also learn techniques for statistical analysis and presentation of data. In addition, the incumbent will attend weekly lab meetings and, in collaboration with the PIs, learn how to help prepare manuscripts and presentations.

General responsibilities include:


• Learn about the disabilities studied and how to interact with affected individuals and their family member by observing more experienced lab staff and through discussion with the PIs.
• Learn how to manage study visits through observations of sessions by more experienced lab members and discussion with PIs.
• Learn how to administer standardized and experimental tests of language and related abilities and mental health challenges supervised readings, observations of administrations by more experienced lab members, and through practice administrations with feedback from the PIs. These measures are the bases of many of the lab’s scientific presentations and publications.
• Learn to use specialized software to transcribe and code audio/video-recorded language samples obtained from study participants through practice transcriptions, discussion with other lab members, and with feedback from the PIs These samples are the core data for the scientific presentation and publication of the lab.
• Learn to use specialized software to code behavioral data obtained during lab visits using coding systems for characterizing social and communicative behaviors. These data are used to supplement language transcriptions in the presentations and publications of the lab.
• Work with other lab members to accurately enter and track information about transcription and coding activities and progress
• Work with other transcribers to update transcription and coding manuals for the lab as needed
• Assist with data processing, data checking and data management.


• As needed, assist PI with preparation of grant applications including conducting literature searches and analyses of pilot data.
• Attend weekly lab meetings.
• Attend bi-weekly transcription meetings.
• Prepare presentations for conferences and the community in collaboration with the PIs by participating in weekly lab discussions and meeting on an individual basis with the PIs to develop ideas and plans for data analysis and to review drafts of presentations and manuscripts.
• Contribute to writing manuscripts for publication, including assisting with data preparation, literature reviews, and provision of feedback on manuscripts and presentations.
• Develop research questions in collaboration with the PIs through weekly lab discussions and individual meetings and by preparing written drafts of questions for feedback, as well as perform analyses of data collected as part of the research study to be presented at internal and/or professional conferences, with authorship possible depending on the level of contribution.
• Attend research presentations at the MIND Institute to facilitate learning about the research enterprise and about the clinical populations being studied in the lab.


• Participate in MIND Institute committees and meetings around research ethics and quality control, sharing information learned with other lab members.


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

• Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Human Development, Linguistics, Communicative Disorders, Special Education, or a related field by September 2021 with a minimum of 1 year of experience in behavioral science research or working directly with children with neurodevelopmental disorders
• Experience in data entry or data management
• Excellent written and oral skills to communicate effectively with the public, participants, and other team members in an academic setting

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

• Experience managing multiple tasks simultaneously
• Demonstrated ability to work effectively both independently and as part of a team
• Demonstrated ability to work in a fast-paced setting with composure, courtesy, and professional attitude
• Demonstrated ability to perform detail-oriented tasks with a high degree of accuracy
• Excellent written and oral communication skills to effectively interact with the community and research participants and to participate in report preparation

Preferred qualifications

• Experience working with individuals with disabilities.
• Experience in transcription of audio-recorded language samples
• Experience in coding of behavioral observational data
• Excellent interpersonal manner
• Experience with basic Microsoft applications such as Word and Excel

Application Requirements

Document requirements
  • Curriculum Vitae - Your most recently updated C.V.

  • Cover Letter (Optional)

Reference requirements
  • 3-5 required (contact information only)
Apply link: https://recruit.ucdavis.edu/JPF04748

Help contact: tisxiong@ucdavis.edu

Campus Information

UC Davis is a smoke and tobacco-free campus (http://breathefree.ucdavis.edu/).

We are an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, and particularly encourage applications from members of historically underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, women, individuals’ with disabilities, veterans, LGBTQ community members, and others who demonstrate the ability to help us achieve our vision of a diverse and inclusive community. For the complete University of California nondiscrimination and affirmative action policy see: http://policy.ucop.edu/doc/4000376/NondiscrimAffirmAct

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UC Davis positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check. More information is available at: http://www.uscis.gov/e-verify

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) is committed to inclusive excellence by advancing equity, diversity and inclusion in all that we do. UC Davis celebrates the multi-cultural diversity of its community by creating a welcoming and inclusive environment demonstrated through a variety of resources and programs available to academics, staff, and students. Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are core values of UC Davis that are embedded within our Principles of Community and are tied with how to best serve our student population. Our excellence in research, teaching, and service can best be fully realized by members of our academic community who share our commitment to these values, which are included in our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Vision, our strategic plan: “To Boldly Go,” our Principles of Community, the Office of Academic Affairs’ Mission Statement, and the UC Board of Regents Policy 4400: Policy on University of California Diversity Statement. UC Davis is making important progress towards our goal of achieving federal designation as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and an Asian American, Native American, and Pacific Islander-Serving Institution. The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion offers a plethora of resources on their website, and the Office of Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (HEDI) has outlined similar goals in their Anti-Racism and DEI Action Plan.” There are a plethora of links available on the About Us webpage where you can learn more about our Administration, Diversity and Inclusion, Rankings, Locations, Native American Land Acknowledgement, Sustainability, Visiting UC Davis, UC Davis Health, and Campus Safety.

The university is consistently ranked among the top institutions in the world for campus sustainability practices by the UI Green Metric World University Rankings. UC Davis is focused on achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions and repeatedly shown its commitment to preserving a healthy and sustainable environment for generations to come.

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy. All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees must (a) provide proof of receiving at least one dose of a COVID-19 Vaccine no later than 14 calendar days after their first date of employment and provide proof of Full Vaccination no later than eight weeks after their first date of employment; or (b) if applicable, submit a request for Exception or Deferral no later than 14 calendar days after their first date of employment. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements.

Job location

Sacramento, CA

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