Information for undergraduate research assistants

Undergraduate research opportunities and the PSY 400 course.
Each semester I need a number of undergraduate research assistants to assist with research in my lab. These undergraduate research positions are non-paid, voluntary positions in which students can earn course credit by enrolling in the Department’s PSY 400 course.
Description of the PSY 400 Course
The PSY 400 course is an independent research course conducted under the supervision of a specific Psychology Department faculty member. Any member of the full-time faculty in the Department of Psychology can supervise students for the PSY 400 course. Rather than meeting in a specific classroom at a particular time each week, students enrolled in PSY 400 instead work in a faculty member’s lab using a much more flexible schedule. For example, in addition to assisting with various research projects, students who work in my lab may be asked to attend a once-a-week informal lab meeting in which graduate and undergraduate research assistants (RAs) assemble for one hour each week to discuss the various research projects being conducted in my lab.
The PSY 400 course is designed for independent, motivated, and responsible students who wish to acquire research experience. To enroll in this course you must complete three simple requirements:
  1. You must have a 2.5 GPA and 28 credit hours at NMSU.
  2. You must have completed the PSY 310 Research Methods course.
  3. You need to select a faculty member with whom you wish to work and obtain a signature from that faculty member on an ADD slip and a Special Studies Permit form. You can pick up both of these forms at the Psychology Department Main Office, Room 220 Science Hall.

I invite you to complete a simple application to work in the Emotion & Social Decision-Making Lab.
If you wish to work in my lab, I ask that you first complete a simple application and a tentative schedule of times that you will be available to work (see below).  After you complete the application, I ask that you please email these forms as an attachment file to my  NMSU e-mail (
labapplication Schedule Form
I will send you an e-mail to confirm that I have received your application. Then, within a week of receiving your application I can let you know whether I will be able to hire you to work in my lab. This application process is not meant to be an intimidating process, I am generally able to hire most students who apply, but I will need your contact information and schedule of available times before I can make a decision.

Typical Responsibilities of an undergraduate research assistant (RA):
Attend a one-hour lab meeting once per week.Work 5 to 8 hours per week (3 hours per credit hour) performing the following duties:

  1. Assist in the running of current studies
    • greet research participants
    • provide informed consent and experimental instructions to participants
    • debrief participants at the conclusion of the study
    • assign experimental credit to participants who have completed a study using Department Research Subject Pool Software
  2. Assist in the design of future studies, including
    • designing questionnaires and experimental procedures
    • pilot testing research studies
  3. Assist in data entry and data analysis, including
    • learning how to enter data into a spreadsheet
    • learning the basics of how to operate a statistical software package (e.g., SPSS)
    • for advanced students, learning how to conduct simple statistical analyses (descriptive and inferential statistics)

Benefits of working in my Lab
Research experience

  • Most students spend a significant portion of their time helping design and run studies (not just entering data).

Letter of Recommendation

  • I am happy to write letters of recommendation for students who work in my lab. These letters can be in support of your application to graduate school, professional school, scholarships, internships, or any other activity for which you would like me to act as a reference). If you would like to know more about the process of asking for a letter of recommendation click here.


  • Research should be an enjoyable, rewarding, and challenging experience.

If you have any questions don’t hesitate to ask. I am always available to give a quick 5-10 minute tour of my lab and I will be happy to discuss the sorts of research that you will be able to do in my lab.The best way to reach me is to call or text me [(575) 405-3729] or send me an e-mail ( inquiring about research opportunities in my lab. I look forward to hearing from you.