Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What qualities does the Gender-Based Violence Lab look for when selecting its Research Assistants?

A: We are looking for undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate students who are reliable, goal-driven, collaborative, and whose research interests and ultimate career goals are a strong match with our research.

There are several prerequisite courses that we expect our Research Assistants to have completed prior to joining the Lab, including research methods or experimental psychology, statistics, and abnormal psychology. However, we may make a rare exception for an outstanding applicant who is currently enrolled in one of the prerequisite courses outlined above.

Given the prominence that issues of gender and sexuality hold in our research, we strongly recommend that students who are interested in joining the Lab have demonstrated an interest in these topics, especially through scholarly (i.e., women’s and gender studies and/or human sexuality courses) or community-engaged experience thoughtfully considering these issues. Mastery of the basics of SPSS, and experience with reading and analyzing scholarly articles are also highly desirable skills.

Q: What is expected of Research Assistants in the Lab?

A: Research Assistants are expected to contribute 10 hours each week to the Lab, for a minimum duration of one year. Scheduling your weekly hours in the lab can be flexible, but Research Assistants should be prepared and motivated to participate actively in our research projects. Please keep in mind that research labs continue to operate for the full calendar year, and projects will be ongoing beyond the academic semester.

Research Assistants who do not perform satisfactorily in accordance with these expectations may have their involvement in the Lab terminated.

Q: What kinds of tasks are Research Assistants responsible for in the Lab?

A: Research Assistants are trained in many areas, but primary lab roles for new undergraduate and post-baccalaureate RAs include running participants through studies in the lab, data entry and data management. Master’s-level, PhD-level and experienced RAs will have the opportunity for additional responsibilities in the Lab, including study design, IRB submissions, clinical interviewing, and project leadership.

Despite our interest in clinical topics, and our utilization of clinical interviewing for research, the Lab does not provide clinical training (i.e., training in clinical treatment) to its RAs. If you are interested in volunteering in a clinical setting, we recommend that you contact the Hunter Office of Career Services to learn about available opportunities.

Q: What do weekly Lab meetings entail?

A: Lab meetings occur once per week, and last for one hour. Lab members are expected to prepare and present a Powerpoint (or similar presentational tool) at least once per semester. These presentations can be used as an opportunity for Lab members to lead a discussion of a recent scholarly article germane to the Lab’s research, propose a research study, practice conference presentations, or discuss the findings of a research project.

As one of the Lab’s overarching goals is to train students for graduate study, Dr. Berke will also lead Lab meetings about such professional development topics as applying and interviewing for graduate programs in psychology.

Q: What steps will I need to take if I want to complete my undergraduate or master’s thesis in the Gender-Based Violence Lab?

A: There are several things to know about completing an undergraduate or master’s thesis in the Lab. Any individual who is interested in having Dr. Berke serve as their thesis advisor must join the lab as a regular RA receiving independent study credit for a minimum of one semester prior to the beginning of their thesis process. This training period is crucial, as it will help both Dr. Berke and the student get an idea of how the student’s research interests fit in with the projects that the Lab is doing.

Because the thesis process encompasses the full scope of an independent research process – including project conceptualization, study design, data collection, data analysis, etc. – students who are interested in completing their thesis in the Gender-Based Violence Lab can expect to spend a minimum of one year on the project. This process is intensive, and students who are successful will be well-prepared for doctoral training.

Please be aware that Dr. Berke does not advise thesis projects on topics that are not closely related to the work being done in the Gender-Based Violence Lab

Q: Are you accepting CUNY doctoral applicants for Fall 2020?

A: Yes, Dr. Berke is accepting CUNY doctoral applicants from both the Basic and Applied Social Psychology and Health Psychology and Clinical Science programs for Fall 2020.

We recommend that prospective doctoral students contact Dr. Berke via email with a description of their research interests and a current CV.