ERT Student Opportunities

ERT + Students =  Applied Learning

At ERT, we provide students hands-on learning experiences in community-based evaluation and research. We offer multiple types of project opportunities, for university students from all levels and from a variety of backgrounds.

Types of Opportunities

We welcome inquiries from students at Pitt and other universities about becoming involved with our work. Recent students have been enrolled in a range of departments at Pitt including the School of Education, the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, the School of Social Work, and the Graduate School of Public Health.

ERT student position categories include:

See below for currently available opportunities.

*Funded positions have limited availability and follow the timelines of the sponsoring department.

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Sample Projects

Student project assignments are targeted to your program requirements, interests, and current ERT or related OCD project needs. Recent students have assisted with the following projects:

  • Design and delivery of professional development trainings for PK-3rd grade teachers on making reading lessons more racially affirming

  • Fundraising and distribution of books to schools and childcare centers with OCD’s annual book drive

  • Coding children’s books for racially and culturally affirming identities

  • Conducting literature searches and reviews on research related to early childhood education

  • Producing a data matrix table to summarize the activities and results of a five-year federally funded study aimed at improving child and family outcomes in Allegheny County

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Benefits for Students

ERT students work with staff who are experienced mentors in research, evaluation, and community-based work. In addition to project assignments, ERT students may also participate in team activities:

  • Literature review sessions and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs)

  • Project meetings with community partners

  • Contributing to research knowledge and program development with an emphasis on social justice and racial equity

  • Presenting at conferences, poster sessions, and program milestones or capstones


Students who are involved with OCD for at least a semester are eligible to apply for the OCD Student Fellows Program. This exciting opportunity gives students opportunities to connect with other OCD students, and includes:

  • Invitations to OCD office-wide trainings, events, and celebrations

  • Networking events with early childhood professionals from across the city and university as well as OCD Student Fellow alumni

  • Priority application status for additional internal opportunities

  • Access to OCD’s Social Justice and Equity Library

  • Being featured on the office’s social media channels about your work with OCD
    See OCD Student Stories

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Currently Available Opportunities

Research Assistants:

  • Summer or academic year
  • Volunteer or earn course credits
  • Open to students working on any degree, any university, with advisor and mentor approval
  • Contact Abby Chen for a list of potential projects and application instructions.

Frederick Honors College Fellowships

  • Summer and academic-year offerings
  • Open to eligible Pitt students working towards a Bachelor's degree
  • Prior experience with OCD or a partner organization recommended
  • Stipend and resarch seminar provided by the Honors College
  • Interested students should consult both Abby Chen, ERT Coordinator, and the advisor/mentor contact at FHC for the fellowship of interest.

If you have interests that do not fit directly with the listed opportunities, please describe your goals and program requirements when you Contact us.

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Recent Students


Photo of Helena Colbert, a woman with long brown hair, wearing a black t-shirt, necklace, and sitting with her arms on a table. A brick column and trees are behind her.Helena Colbert, Student Assistant, is a Pitt senior studying Politics and Philosophy. She is originally from Massachusetts, and her hobbies include reading and listening to podcasts. Outside of class, Helena is involved with Jumpstart, which is how she found out about OCD. At OCD, Helena is working with the 3Rs Classroom Strand of The Pittsburgh Study (TPS) and the P.R.I.D.E. in Early Childhood Special Education study. She says, “It’s been incredible learning about the importance and transformative capacities of social justice and community-based research. I’m very inspired by the dedication that everyone at OCD has to their projects, the office, and each other. Thank you for welcoming me!”


Headshot of Sarah Castleman, a woman with long brown hair, smiling, and wearing a reddish pink scarf. She is outdoors with a tree and hills in the background.Sarah Castleman, Graduate Student Assistant, (she/her) is a 2nd year PhD student in the Language, Literacy and Culture program. Before coming to Pitt, she was a middle school English teacher for 12 years, and worked in a wide variety of school settings in Arkansas, Brooklyn, NY, and Pittsburgh. At OCD, Sarah is currently working with the 3Rs Classroom Strand of TPS. She says “I’m grateful to be part of such a great team, and to be working on a project that aligns so closely with my interest in the impact of professional development on adults’ readiness to implement social justice pedagogy.” Pre-COVID, Sarah could be found enjoying good coffeeshops like the Bureau or Ace Hotel. In COVID times, she has been enjoying more time with her husband and 1-year-old Eléanor.


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Contact ERT

Contact us to learn more about student and volunteer opportunities.

Please describe your project interests and program requirements when you contact us.

Abby Chen
ERT Coordinator

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