How To Get Involved

Potential 499s/Research Assistants

The ECCL is an excellent place to be a research assistant (RA). RAs have the opportunity to be directly involved with testing, which may not be the case in other labs. RAs are also encouraged to get as involved with the research as they would like. Previous RAs have taken on coding projects, designed and carried out original studies, and presented research at the University of Washington, as well as at professional conferences. You will also gain valuable skills and experience that will prepare you for graduate school.

RAs at ECCL perform multiple duties. In some studies, RAs are actors in experimental paradigms which involve playing various roles according to a script. In other studies, RAs act as observers (for example, by coding infant eye gaze). RAs are also responsible for coding infant behavior from video, data entry, subject recruitment and scheduling, video editing, babysitting, and other research-related tasks. RAs receive intensive training at the start of their RA-ship on how to perform these duties.

Our lab is open from 9 to 5 on weekdays, and on occasional weekends. Thus, daytime availability is required. We are a Macintosh-based lab, so experience with Macs and Excel are a bonus. We also prefer that our research assistants have experience working with children and have taken relevant coursework, such as Psych 206 (Developmental Psychology) or Psych 209 (Fundamentals of Psychological Research). If you are a UW student, you may receive Psych 499 credit for working at the ECCL. UW students are required to make a commitment of at least 9 hours a week (3 academic credits), for at least 2 consecutive academic quarters.

Summer Internship

During the summer, the ECCL accepts qualified interns from other academic institutions. Internship positions at ECCL are filled via a competitive application process. Each intern will be paired with a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow and will work together on a project. Summer interns will receive hands-on experience in every step of the research processs and will participate in professional development seminars throughout the summer. The internship is unpaid; applicants are encouraged to apply for funding from their home institutions or other external sources. Interns are required to commit to working in the lab full time (up to 40 hours per week) for the full summer quarter (typical dates are late June to late August). If you are interested in applying for an internship, please fill out the application to the right.

Honors Thesis Students

Students interested in pursuing individual projects concerning topics investigated by our lab may have the opportunity to complete an honors thesis through the ECCL. The honors experience includes completing 499 credit during the winter and spring quarters of junior year. During senior year, honors students pursue an independent project under the supervision of a graduate student or post-doctoral fellow and Professor Sommerville. This process involves data collection and/or coding behavior from video, data analysis. The project culminates in a written honors thesis, and a poster presentation at the Psychology Honors Research Festival. For general details about the honors program, click here. For information about pursuing an honors thesis under Professor Sommerville's supervision, please contact her at

Graduate Students

Professor Sommerville supervises PhD students through the Department of Psychology at the University of Washington. Students with an interest in Professor Sommerville's work are encouraged to contact her directly for more information ( More information about the Psychology PhD program at the University of Washington can be found here.