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Undergraduate RA positions in the Penn Lab

Post Date

The Penn Lab is hiring undergraduate research assistants to begin in Summer 2022, with opportunities to continue on in the coming academic year. The Penn Lab primarily works with individuals who have experienced their first episode of psychosis (FEP) or who have a schizophrenia spectrum disorder (schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or schizophreniform). Dr. David Penn’s research typically focuses within two areas: social cognition and psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia.

Some current studies include:

The Horyzons Project: Horyzons is a moderated online social therapeutic (MOST) platform adapted for Americans with schizophrenia spectrum disorders and first episode psychosis. This platform was built much like a social media platform, but has additional features central to mental health and recovery (such as access to online therapists, peer support specialists, and wellness activities based in psychoeducation and cognitive behavioral therapy). The Horyzons implementation project (N=25) was completed in the spring of 2021, and a larger cohort of participants is currently being recruited for participation in this study during the spring, summer, and fall semesters of 2022.

Race and Psychosis Intervention Development (RAPID): The objective of this project is to develop a culturally tailored treatment for Black Americans with first-episode psychosis (FEP). This project is expected to be completed in two phases, with the first phase involving qualitative interviewing of clients, family members, and clinicians with experiences in dealing with FEP. These interviews will be used to inform the development of a culturally tailored treatment manual. The second phase of this project will involve an open pilot trial implementing the interventions outlined in the manual developed in phase one of the project.

Previous studies still in data analysis include:

PACE-Life: Physical Activity Can Enhance Life. This study is currently in the randomized control trial phase and data collection has now been completed. Participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders or unspecified psychosis were randomly assigned to either Fitbit only or Fitbit + the PACE-Life exercise intervention. During the pandemic, this intervention involved virtual exercise groups held for participants twice a week. (Some data from the PACE-Life study may be available to a student for a senior thesis or other student project)

Targeting Stress Reactivity in Schizophrenia: Integrating Coping Awareness Therapy (I-CAT): The purpose of this study was to develop and then subsequently evaluate a mindfulness and positive therapy intervention for individuals with first episode psychosis. Following a manual development period, an open trial of six clients was conducted, which led to a small-scale RCT (n=40). The study was completed in January 2020, and we are currently in the data analysis phase of this trial.

Responsibilities in this position may include:
– Tracking and scheduling research participants for follow-up study questionnaires;
– Querying and organization of data about participant engagement with a digital intervention for first episode psychosis;
– Data entry and cleaning in the Research Electronic Data Capture (REDCap) system;
– Office management including copying, printing of research materials;
– Transcription of audio/video files from qualitative interview recordings;
– Qualitative analysis of transcriptions, including possible codebook creation or other reporting;
– Administering questionnaires to participants

Please submit your application to the Penn Lab here (please do not submit through Office of Undergraduate Research): 

Penn Lab website:

Please reach out to Bryan Stiles, BA with any questions:

Faculty Advisor
David Penn, PhD
Research Supervisor
Bryan Stiles, BA
Faculty Email:
Type of Position
Application Deadline