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Prospective Post-doctoral Scholar


The laboratory, Context and Development Lab (CDL), of Dawn P. Witherspoon at The Pennsylvania State University, invites applications for a Post-doctoral Scholar position to begin August 1, 2021 (preferred, but negotiable). The goal of our research is to elucidate the development of adolescents, with particular attention to contextual supports and an examination of the ways in which cultural values and norms associated with race and/or ethnicity and socioeconomic status influence youth development and family practices. Primarily, we examine adolescent development from middle to high school to understand how aspects of places (e.g., residential neighborhood and daily locations), schools, and family contexts are related to adolescents’ academic adjustment and beliefs as well as psychosocial development (e.g., self-esteem, deviant behavior, identity). We do this using a multi-informant (e.g., caregivers and adolescents), mixed-method (e.g., surveys, focus groups, ecological momentary assessment [EMA]) design. 

 The ideal candidate will have:

  • Ph.D. in developmental or community psychology, human development and family studies, or a related field
  • Strong statistical and analytical skills (e.g., longitudinal, profile, mediation, and/or measurement invariance analyses, etc. using R, Mplus, SAS, or other statistical software), experience with mixed methods research designs is preferred
  • Experience writing manuscripts for publication; publications preferred
  • Interest in understanding how context and culture jointly impact youth development and parenting

The successful applicant will collaborate on research with Dr. Dawn Witherspoon, Department of Psychology, using multiple existing datasets as well as community-engaged research through primary data collection. Responsibilities will include data analysis, grant writing/preparation, participation in professional conferences, and undergraduate or graduate student mentoring. The successful applicant will also have the opportunity to pursue their own research using CDL datasets or other publicly available datasets. Also, the successful applicant can become affiliated with Parents And Children Together (PACT), a community-university partnership to enhance the lives of diverse children, youth and families in the greater Harrisburg, PA region. Bilingual speakers (English and Spanish) are strongly encouraged to apply.

In addition, successful candidates must either have demonstrated a commitment to building an inclusive, equitable, and diverse campus community, or describe one or more ways they would envision doing so, given the opportunity.

This is a one-year position with excellent possibility for renewal. Salary and benefits follow NSF/NIH guidelines. 

Applicants should submit:

  • Online application
  • CV
  • At least 2 Writing samples (e.g., preprints, reprints)
  • 1 – 2-page statement of research interests, including the candidate’s goals for research and training during the postdoctoral position
  • 2 letters of recommendations to be sent separately to Dawn Witherspoon, via email, Include in the subject line, “Post-doctoral Position”

The following clearances must be successfully completed for this position: 

  • Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Background Check 
  • Pennsylvania Child Abuse History 
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Criminal Background Check 

Review of applications will begin February 15, 2021 and will continue until the position is filled. 

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Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies. 

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