Join the team
Researcher interest form
Thank you for your interest in our lab!
We will be accepting graduate students this upcoming cycle! You can read more about working with us as a graduate student below. Let us know that you are interested by filling out the form above or by emailing Dr. Wang directly.
We are also accepting applications for undergraduate research assistants. Fill out the interest form to get started. We especially encourage sophomores and juniors to apply!
Research assistants are required to work for 9 hours a week, for at least two semesters, as well as taking the class Infant and Child Development.
Research assistants’ responsibilities include: recruiting and scheduling infant and child participants and their families, assisting lab researchers in testing infants and children, reaching out to and interacting with families, coding infant looking time responses and toddler behavioral responses, assisting stimuli design for studies, coding adult verbal or behavioral responses, managing lab social media activities, and attending lab meetings.
We are constantly interacting with families with young children: keep in mind that they have a lot going on, and they are doing us a huge favor – be grateful and courteous. Remember that you are not just representing yourself, but also the lab, the university, and even the scientific community!
All research assistants will start as trainees, working with a more senior member of the lab. Seniority in the lab is defined by expertise working in the lab, instead of age or position. As time goes by, usually after a few semesters, you may be ready to develop your own research projects, including honors projects and honors theses. All the skills acquired as a trainee will come in handy. In addition, you will be more involved in developing research ideas and presenting ideas to scientific audiences. These may include presenting at conferences and preparing manuscripts.
Please note that we do not make exceptions for thesis projects. If you are interested in completing your thesis project at CALC, you’d also need at least one semester’s worth of experience working in a cognitive development lab (exceptions can occasionally be made for the research discipline, but not for the amount of experience).
Additionally, you will commit to supporting other ongoing projects and other members of the lab while completing your thesis project, as all work in a developmental lab like ours is team work.
Positions are only offered to individuals with the following traits:
- Excited about cognition and learning, in children, adults, or both
- Always try your best
- Honest, ethical, and a team player
- Able to communicate with team members effectively
- Independent and ready for challenges
- Open to feedback and willing to learn
- Motivated to conduct independent research and generate high quality work
Please fill out our Researcher Interest form above, and one of our current team members will reach out to you for the next steps.
We support students through various programs, including the Aresty, LSAMP, SUPER, and RISE programs at Rutgers. If you are interested in joining us through any of these programs, please look for projects from our lab and/or list Dr. Wang in your application.
Rutgers is one of the top public research universities in the US with one of the top rated graduate programs in Psychology. There are many faculty members that share research interests in cognitive development that you will get to know and even collaborate with, such as Drs. Randy Gallistel, Roche Gelman, Alan Leslie, Paul Pietroski, Vanessa Lobue, Kristen Syrett…
Dr. Wang is a faculty member in the Cognitive Area of the Psychology Department: https://psych.rutgers.edu/academics/graduate/co
Dr. Wang is also a member of the Center for Cognitive Science (RuCCS): https://ruccs.rutgers.edu/
If you work with Dr. Wang as a Ph.D. student, you will be a graduate student in the Psychology Department. Here are the learning goals and assessments for the Ph.D. program at Rutgers Psychology: https://psych.rutgers.edu/academics/graduate/phd-degree-learning-goals-and-assessment
You can find out more about funding and teaching opportunities here: https://psych.rutgers.edu/academics/graduate/graduate-program-overview#financial-aid
Usually, Ph.D. studies in Psychology are fully funded for five years. Department funding sources usually come with teaching and/or additional research responsibilities. You are also encouraged to seek external funding, such as applying for federal grants for graduate studies.
Where does knowledge come from? What structures and algorithms exist, such that a mind can acquire complex symbolic knowledge? These are the guiding questions for our research program.
A central line of our work focuses on numerical cognition as a window into this ancient puzzle. I ask questions such as how do experiences impact infants’ innate sensitivity to numerosity? Can these impacts extend to later symbolic mathematical thinking? In the next few years, I am especially interested in how numerical cognition intersects with other aspects of children’s life, such as how it may interact with children’s dietary preferences.
Another line of our work examines people’s intuitive beliefs about other minds. I take a developmental and cross-cultural approach to characterize what children and adults think other people (and non-people agents) know and how they know it. In the next few years, I am especially interested in how infants and young children make predictions about others’ numerical decisions based on their identity.
A third line of our work is inspired by information theories, asking how children and adult explore and learn about the world around them based on what they already know. In the next few years, I am especially interested in characterizing how children communicate their state of knowledge, and how changes in children’s knowledge influences what they find interesting.
I have had amazing mentors that cared about me as a person and filled me with curiosity and excitement about science, and I want to do the same for my students. I will try my best to provide you with resources for learning, research, teaching, and career planning. You should also expect supportive mentorship from me, offering you suggestions and advice every step along your way to become an independent researcher. We will establish career plans and goals for each semester, and we will meet on a regular basis. I am excited to learn and grow with you.
Cognitive developmental research is hard. It takes a lot of resources and manpower to complete any project. Therefore, nobody can succeed alone. We have an amazing team in our lab – everyone is incredibly generous and supportive. We have the best undergraduate research assistants – they are responsible, hardworking, warm, caring, and brilliant. We look for graduate students that will become an integral part of the team. That means, someone that can work well with the team and can become a supportive mentor for our undergraduates. At the same time, we always keep an open mind – we welcome new ideas and we challenge each other to improve our science.
Graduate school is one long and difficult journey. To succeed, you not only need passion, determination, and endurance, but also teammates that root for you and support you. The best way to keep people on your side is to be warm and open, and try your best to keep the communication flowing. Additionally, to be a good citizen of science, being open, ethical and honest are the basics. It is okay to make mistakes, and it’s always better to try to fix them earlier!
You can find out more about my past research through Google Scholar. You are advised to begin your graduate training by pursuing research projects well within my expertise. This way, you can learn more efficiently from me, and we will have the best chance of producing publishable results. After you have learned all the basic research tools, you are encouraged to branch out and bring new research ideas to our collaboration.
There will be times when something goes wrong. And there will even be times when you feel that there is no hope left. Talk to your friends and your mentors, and then try your best. One day you will look back and think, wow, it felt like yesterday! And now I’m a Dr.!
It’s great! Lots of great food, great people, diverse in every way. Conveniently located to be a train ride away (or a short drive) to NYC, Philly, and more. But also very easy access to quiet suburban life and the great outdoors.
if you are reading this, you are on the right track! The first step to becoming a graduate student, is to learn about the graduate program and advisor you are interested in.
After you have learned about the psychology program at Rutgers, and you have read about Dr. Wang’s work, please fill out the researcher interest form. If you want to be more impressive, come up with a question or two about her research, and send her an email!
To apply to the graduate program at Rutgers Psychology, follow the instructions here: https://psych.rutgers.edu/academics/graduate/graduate-program-overview#how-to-apply
Please select the Cognitive Area, and list Dr. Wang as your faculty of interest.
If you are looking for general tips for graduate school application, check out this thread: https://twitter.com/mscheuplein/status/1429947039912284164?s=20
Please fill out the researcher interest form if you are interested in working as a lab manager or post doc with Dr. Wang.