Skip to main content

Joining Our Lab

Swarthmore undergraduates who join our lab will gain insights into the way electrophysiological neuroimaging methods are used to address fundamental questions in cognitive neuroscience and psycholinguistics. This is an ideal research opportunity for students bound for graduate school and/or medical school.

The lab allows for 10-12 undergraduates to take on research positions each semester. We provide our incoming research assistants with training in EEG/ERP methods. After training, new RAs are paired with more experienced members of the lab and assigned to run 3-5 sessions of data acquisition per week. 

A one-year time commitment is requested.


  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Highly professional and reliable
  • Extremely thorough and detail-oriented
  • Able to multi-task
  • Background in psychology and/or neuroscience a plus
  • Comfort with programs such as Excel, Powerpoint, Photoshop a plus
  • Programming skills a plus

Advanced RAs can take on further responsibilities, including administrative and lab coordination functions. Students who participate in the lab for more than a year often go on to do advanced research (e.g., honors thesis) in collaboration with a faculty advisor, including experimental design and data analysis. 

Please e-mail Dr. Amanda Elam or one of our Swarthmore faculty collaborators if you are interested in joining the lab.

What it's like to be an RA in our lab

"Being a part of the Swarthmore College EEG lab has been an extremely rewarding experience for me. Working in this lab has taught me so much about how to properly conduct psychology research, how to collaborate with other students and faculty members, and how to adapt and problem-solve when things don't go exactly as planned. The most valuable part of this experience for me is being able to work closely with other students and professors to develop a project.

The project that I have been the most involved with is an EEG study examining metaphor comprehension. This experiment was developed with a handful of students and three faculty members as part of a seminar entitled 'Metaphor and Mind'. In this study, I have been involved in the study design, stimulus creation, and running participants through the study. These experiences have been invaluable to me, especially with regard to my future plans of working as a psychology research assistant."

- Cassie Strawser, 2013

"My experiences in the EEG lab have been crucial to my academic development at Swarthmore. Like so many others, I came to Swat looking for a small-school setting where I could build strong relationships with my professors and peers. These values are realized in the EEG lab, where I've been able to conduct research and develop ideas in close collaboration with faculty mentors and other students. I've also had opportunities to present research at professional conferences, which has improved my confidence and ability to share my projects with experts in psycholinguistics. Finally, my background in EEG has been important to my pre-med ambitions. These skills have opened several doors in clinical neurology, helping me pursue a research internship studying EEG and epilepsy at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia."

- Sam Tomlinson, 2015

"I first started volunteering in the Swarthmore EEG lab back in the spring of 2012. The lab was just getting on its feet then, and had only a handful of research assistants. I stayed that summer to help run psycholinguistic experiments with Professor Grodner, and had a chance to become involved in running in a series of ERP studies concerning online sentence comprehension. I learned a ton about EEG experimental protocol, as well as about experimental science in general, from my experience that summer.

The lab's small size and dedicated, friendly research team has given me great opportunities to become personally involved in maintaining the lab and playing an active role in designing and running EEG experiments. I'm grateful for the experience and education I've received from Les, and plan to continue working in the lab for as long as I can."

- Conor Heins, 2015