Who joins the lab?
Dr. Fiez places a premium on recruiting a diverse set of individuals who can work independently, but who are comfortable giving and taking help from others. The individuals in her lab are at different stages of training (undergraduate students, research assistants, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows), they come from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and training programs (cognitive psychology, neuroscience, clinical psychology, communication sciences, philosophy, etc.), and they have varying personal backgrounds and interests. Most, but not all, of her graduate students complete a certification in Cognitive Neuroscience offered by the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, in addition to completing the requirments of their core Ph.D. training program.
Dr. Fiez's training philosophy is based upon an apprenticeship model. With beginning students she provides relatively well-defined projects and close supervision. However, even at this early stage she establishes expectations for independent discovery and learning, along with a respect for the value of each individual as a contributor to the lab. She sees herself as a mentor, not a taskmaster: each student has the final responsibility for his or her own professional development. She tries to support this development by making judgments about exactly what kinds of intellectual support each student needs, and what kinds of challenges they are ready to tackle on their own. By the time students reach their final years in my lab they have become full collaborators to programs of research: they strongly influence the new directions the lab takes, they make invaluable contributions to grant proposals, and they establish their own research identity through publications and public presentations.
How to join the lab
The lab has 2-4 undergraduates, 2-4 graduate students, and 1-2 postdoctoral fellows at any given time. Trainees are recruited into the lab when positions become available.
University of Pittsburgh undergraduates interested in gaining research experience in the lab should submit an application by clicking the button below. We usually select undergraduates at least a term in advance, and often have only 1-2 openings per year because most of our undergraduates work in the lab for two or more years. When we foresee an opening, we review the applications and invite those who are good matches to meet with us if they remain interested in the lab.
Prospective graduate students
Prospective graduate students interested in the lab should apply to one of the PhD programs in which Dr. Fiez has training privileges (the Cognitive and Clinical Programs in Psychology, and the Center for Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh). List Dr. Fiez as a potential faculty match in your application, and briefly explain your interest in her work in the research statement that accompanies your application. You may also want to complete a co-application with the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, but this is not a necessary step and can be done at a later point if desired. Contacting Dr. Fiez in advance of submitting an application is not encouraged, unless you have a specific question that impacts your application decision or materials.
Prospective postdoctoral fellows should contact Dr. Fiez directly via email to inquire about any openings in the lab. The inquiring email should include a CV and a short description of your potential research fit with the lab.