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Summer Scholar

  • Part Time
  • Philadelphia, PA 19104
  • 600 $ / Week

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  • Drexel University profile
  • Salary: 600
  • August 20, 2025

Drexel University

Full job description


Job no: 502778
Work type: Full-Time
Location: Hybrid/Flexible Work Arrangement
Categories: Drexel University, A.J. Drexel Autism Institute

Job Summary

The A.J. Drexel Autism Institute (AJDAI) was founded 10 years ago as the first autism research center in the US to focus on public health research in autism. Its work is grounded in community engagement, and many of the research questions from its transdisciplinary team address issues at the population level. The Institute pioneers research to better understand autism and drive impactful change in our communities and worldwide and they strive for a more inclusive world where all people can participate and flourish. We are excited to announce the 2024 AJDAI Summer Research Program. We aim to provide students the opportunity to immerse in rich and innovative mentored research experiences focused on autism. Students will be paired with a one or more faculty mentors in our programs: ·

  • Modifiable Risk Factors: studies to identify risk and protective factors and the mechanisms that link them to the development of autism or autistic traits and the trajectory of autism across the lifespan.
  • Early Detection and Intervention: community-partnered studies of screening in primary care, diagnosis, and early intervention; physiological investigations (eye tracking, EEG) to understanding aspects of learning and emotion expression in young children with autism; research on factors that shape outcomes in response to early intervention for young children with autism.
  • Policy and Analytics Center: Local, state, federal, and international initiatives to identify policy opportunities and changes, including using embedded research partnerships, to improve outcomes; big data approaches to addressing disparities in access and service use among people on the autism spectrum, their families, providers and communities.
  • Life Course Outcomes: Research and community impact programs that empower people and organizations to improve quality of life for people on the autism spectrum; innovative and population-level data approaches to track change across the life course; using social network science to improve outcomes for people on the spectrum and their families.

Our program is interested in talented undergraduate students from diverse ethnic, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds who seek to immerse themselves in research and public health community impact programs. The personal and professional growth experienced is essential for fostering aspirations for graduate school training and the pathways towards meaningful scientific and public health careers, especially those interested in autism research. Prior research experience is not required. All eligible students are encouraged to apply, especially students who are members of underrepresented groups in the Sciences (e.g., Pre-Medicine, Epidemiology, Policy, Neuropsychology), which include but are not limited to students who:

  • are racial/ethnic minorities, first-generation college students, women, veterans, or neurodiverse or
  • have experienced educational and/or economic disadvantage or other personal circumstances that may have impeded training and other opportunities to prepare for a science or public health career

A hands-on education is provided on the scientific process, from idea conception to presentation of results. Students will also have an opportunity to work with faculty and staff from the AJDAI Clinical Core to observe assessment and treatment sessions with autistic individuals and their families and participate in weekly didactic sessions. Mentored research and structured experiences provide practice in writing, problem-solving, technical, collaboration, and presentation skills. All projects will culminate in a presentation to the staff and faculty at the Autism Institute. In most cases, students will get broad experience contributing to ongoing research projects, although they might also delve into a more focused investigation. Research activities may include opportunities to learn skills at multiple points in the research cycle.

Program Dates: The Summer 2024 program will be a minimum of 8 weeks long beginning on June 3rd and ending on July 26th. A stipend of $600/week will be provided. There may be opportunities for hybrid work in Summer 2024, depending on the students’ and mentors’ needs.

Essential Functions

  • Developing a research idea or hypothesis, e.g.,
    • Literature review, which includes searching research articles under a research topic and summarizing relevant papers
    • Hypothesis/research question development
  • Study set-up and implementation, e.g.
    • 1. Learning about study design
    • Research and analysis planning, e.g., identifying data sources and how to securely acquire and use data
    • Monitoring funded projects and funding sources
  • Study recruitment and data collection, e.g.
    • Engagement and outreach to potential study sites
    • Building or contributing to a community engagement database
    • Supporting clinical data collection (e.g., set up, film and observe clinical research sessions)
    • Data entry and basic data management
    • For more advanced students (e.g., returning students) data collection opportunities may include clinical data collection, eye tracking collection and/or processing, coding behavior from video recorded sessions
  • Data management and analysis
    • Contributing to data analysis, qualitative or quantitative (depending on prior experience)
  • Results reporting, presenting, communicating
    • Contribute to the development of data visualizations, and data-oriented products, such as infographics to communicate to professional and lay audiences
    • Networking with policymakers, community stakeholders, and/or program administrators
    • Contributing to scientific presentations and manuscripts
  • Research funding efforts
    • Contributing to grant proposal preparations
  • In addition to these project-specific opportunities, the student will have ample opportunity to learn about the research of others at the Institute, such as attending lab meetings, journal clubs, informal lunch discussions, Works in Progress presentations, etc. and also opportunities to learn about clinical and outreach activities.

Required Qualifications

  • High School or GED
  • To be eligible, each student must fulfill the following requirements by the start of the program:
    • be a U.S. citizen or non-citizen permanent resident
    • be enrolled as a full/part-time student at a college/university in or near Philadelphia
    • have at least one semester of undergraduate school remaining before graduation (eligible applicants should not be graduating seniors)
    • complete background checks before the beginning of the program
  • Applicants must have experience with Microsoft Word and Excel. Successful applicants will have a desire to learn and have attention to detail and organizational skills, professional behavior, punctuality, responsiveness to feedback from senior personnel, teamwork skills, and strong oral and written communication skills.

Physical Requirements

  • Typically sitting at a desk/table
  • Typically standing, walking


  • Hybrid/Flexible Work Arrangement – Philadelphia, PA

Additional Information

This is a full-time Temporary position classified as Non-Exempt. The offered pay is based on the successful candidate’s qualifications and experience, department budget, and an internal equity review.

For information about benefits, please review Drexel’s Per Diem/Casual/Temporary Benefit Fact Sheet.

Special Instructions to the Applicant

Applications are due April 5, 2024, for the Summer 2024 program. Interviews will be scheduled within 2 weeks, and applicants will be notified by the end of April. Please contact Meredith Bloom at [email protected] if you have questions about the application process.

Required Application Materials

  • Résumé/Curriculum Vitae
  • A written essay of 500 words or less OR a brief 3-5 minute video addressing the following questions:
    • Why do you want to be in the summer research program? Why is it that you are applying to this program? What do you hope to get out of it?
    • Share any relevant experience that you might have. Also, share if you have a special area of interest that you would like to gain experience in.
    • Tell us about a time when you were excited to learn something. It could be an example from school or an example of something you learned in a real-world setting.
    • **Please note, if you would like to record a video, email it to [email protected] as the application system cannot accept videos.
  • Letter of reference from a faculty member at your school.
  • Please submit all application materials via PageUp, Drexel’s online application system, by April 5, 2024.

Advertised: Mar 12 2024 Eastern Daylight Time
Applications close: Apr 12 2024 Eastern Daylight Time

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