Jennifer Skeem, Professor

Closed (1) Digital Communicator

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

The Risk Resilience Research Lab at UC Berkeley conducts research that informs efforts to prevent violence and improve the lives of people at-risk. In order to add increased value to our efforts, the lab is seeking a student Research Assistant with interests relevant to psychology, policy, or other relevant fields to communicate on behalf of the lab via digital means. Efforts will include the use of social media for community outreach and engagement, public science communication writing (of current lab publications), current lab-relevant events reporting, and digital media and design handling to support these efforts. The goal of these efforts is to inform, include, and engage interested communities in the work of the Risk Resilience Research Lab.

This position will provide support especially to a student interested in pursuing graduate studies or a career in any of the following fields: advocacy, communications, design, journalism, marketing, policy, psychology, and other similar fields. Work published digitally for this project may be used for writing and design portfolios (with advance approval) and may be used to express the student’s abilities for interviews, freelance, academic or industry programs, or as a marketable skill. Student will be trained to use industry-standard web-based tools and digital marketing basics in order to aid in digital communication efforts. Skills are highly transferable to industry, freelance, or academic settings.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Sharon Farrell, PhD, Staff Researcher

Qualifications: Research Assistants must have a proven ability to write clearly, thoughtfully, and be able to engage an audience consisting of the public-at-large as well as an academically-interested audience. Due to the nature of public science communication writing, the Research Assistant must have the ability to read, understand, and summarize current lab publications and be able to communicate this information in an engaging and non-technical way for the public-at-large. Students must have the ability to use simple design techniques to support writing, such as the ability to include links or images in a social media post or write up, or to add text or captions to an image. Candidates with passion for writing, science communication, journalism, marketing, design, or community management are highly preferred, along with relevant interests to the lab’s work. Commitment and accountability are of extreme importance to this position. Available for multiple semesters preferred.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website: http://risk-resilience.berkeley.edu/

Closed (2) Reducing institutional violence

Applications for fall 2021 are now closed for this project.

Violence is an ongoing problem in state hospitals, where staff supervise and treat distressed adults who are detained against their will, restricted in their activities, and often involved in the criminal justice system. Current violence prevention strategies focus on managing a small group of high-risk patients. According to leading theories and some evidence, strategies must be broadened to target organizational climate, authoritarian relationships, physical blind spots, and other institutional factors to maximize violence prevention. Environmental factors that engender a sense of injustice, disrespect, and deprivation can provoke violence even among low-to-moderate risk patients.

At Napa State Hospital, we are identifying institutional risk factors that most robustly predict variation in violence rates across hospital units. More importantly, we are testing whether an intervention that specifically target a unit’s institutional risk factors adds value in preventing violence. Results will help inform system-wide change in one of the country’s largest hospital systems.


Qualifications: Research assistants will help us with this ongoing project. Students will be directly involved in working with data from patients and staff members on hospital units. They may participate in leadership meetings where professors, hospital administrators and others come to a consensus in formulating risk factors that maintain violence on a unit, which serves as the basis for an intervention plan. Students may also have the opportunity to work on other ongoing projects that interest them. Students need to have a good GPA, relevant interests, and be available for more than one semester. The should be interested in involvement in our lab, including professional development activities, that can contribute to successful graduate school applications.

Weekly Hours: 6-8 hrs

Related website: http://risk-resilience.berkeley.edu/