Student Research Assistant/Intern: Drawing and Neuroscience Project, Teachers College

Teachers College instructor seeks a student research assistant/intern to support several workshops for an NSF-funded research project: Harnessing the Power of Drawing for the Enhancement of Learning across Levels of Vision Function, which investigates drawing and its effects on cognitive, visuospatial, and motor skills.

Though humans have been drawing for at least 30,000 years, and across the world people draw and understand drawings without prompting or even any formal learning, little is understood about the activity cognitively– and its deep roots are not tapped in learning.  Recent scientific findings about drawing suggest that it can facilitate learning. It also appears that the capacities learned through drawing cross many more cognitive domains than previously assumed, including those involved in emotion, memory and attention.  Drawing could be a very potent, underutilized learning tool. A collaboration from the fields of neuroscience, art, education, neuro-rehabilitation, psychology, and embodied cognition has been funded by the National Science Foundation to seek information about the brain mechanisms involved in drawing, drawing’s impact on learning, and also to better understand the learning that occurs in drawing across sensory modalities—without the limiting assumption that the cognition is visual.

The TC workshops build on recent findings from a drawing-based training created by Dr. Lora Likova (Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute) used with the congenitally blind, that showed rapid enhancement of various spatial capacities, and a transfer of these to everyday skills, driving brain plasticity.

The study seeks a student research assistant/intern to support this research starting as soon as possible through August 2018. This is an unpaid position. Research experience in psychology, neuroscience, education, or a related field is a plus but not required.

Responsibilities include:

  • Researching available visual memory tests
  • Compiling a literature review for relevant studies
  • Outreach to and pre-screening of participants
  • Managing scheduling with participants
  • Tracking completion of pre-screening and consent forms
  • Copying and compiling test packages and stimulus drawings
  • Assisting with set-up, clean-up, and procuring materials and snacks for workshops
  • Photographing drawing process and the drawings themselves
  • Scoring test results and examining/scoring STEM diagram tests and spatial drawings
  • Checking PowerPoints and computer set-ups for workshop
  • Finding and training raters for drawing evaluation
  • Organizing participant file folders
  • Keep notes during workshop on students’ comments, questions, and drawing strategies

The commitment would begin as soon as possible and involve roughly 4 hours per week through August 2018, with 10-15 hours/week during 2 workshops. The first workshop is:

Monday, April 9: 7:00-9:30 PM
Wednesday, April 11: 7:00-9:30 PM
Friday, April 13: 7:00-9:30 PM
Saturday, April 14, 11:00-3:00 PM
Sunday, April 15, 11:00-3:00 PM
Monday, April 16: 7:00-8:00 PM
Wednesday, April 18: 7:00-8:00 PM

The position requires an individual with strong research, computer, and organizational skills as well as the ability to take direction and work unsupervised. Accuracy, confidentiality, and attention to detail are absolutely required of the incumbent.

If interested, please email Tara Geer at

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