Volunteer for Research

This laboratory conducts a wide variety of research projects each year that need volunteer participants. Many of these studies include payment for the participant’s time or can be used to meet class requirements for research experience. Study times are arranged to fit your schedule.

Current studies examine aspects of learning. We are interested in the strategies that individuals use when processing language. Some studies involve listening to words, phrases, and sentences and responding to test items. Other studies are designed to determine which brain regions individuals engage when processing language. These studies use magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI as a method of examining brain function.olunteer 

To Volunteer for any study, contact Rebecca Vance at rbvance[at]email.arizona.edu


Working in a lab is a great way to get involved in the research process. You will learn how scientific research advances knowledge and practice in the field and how individuals like you can contribute to scientific progress. It is a great way to both enhance your resumé for graduate school applications and to determine if you would enjoy research as a part of your professional career.

Undergraduates work in the lab
- As volunteers
- For research credit (SPH 492)
- For independent study credit (SPH 399, SPH 499)
- As a paid research assistant through the UBRP Program
Examples of projects that undergraduates have worked on include:
- Behavioral studies of children with language impairments
- Behavioral studies of adults with and without learning disabilities
- Studies of brain structure or function using MRI (warning: time intensive participation required)
Undergraduate students typically engage in some or all of the following activities as part of their research experience:
- Administration of standardized tests of speech & language
- Conducting hearing sceenings
- Help to design computer graphics used in experiments
- Manage data sets
- Work with preschool children or adults to collect data
- Assist with analysis of brain images

Undergraduates with no experience in Speech, Language, & Hearing Sciences can still take advantage of lab opportunities. We have projects that can accomodate all levels of experience. You will receive project-specific training in the lab.

Students typically select a project to work on and contract their work days and hours with Dr. Plante or Mrs. Vance, the lab’s senior research specialist. Contact Dr. Plante at eplante[at]email.arizona.edu for additional information on currently abailable opportunities.

Undergraduates are also encouraged to look into the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP)

Master's Students

Students in the master's program may become involved in research at many levels, including:
- As a research participant
- As a volunteer research assistant on an ongoing project
- By completing a master's thesis

Master’s theses completed in the lab typically consist of publishable research that takes 12 to 18 months to complete. Students typically arrange to complete a master’s thesis with Dr. Plante within the first year, and optimally within the first semester of the masters program. Projects must be approved by Dr. Plante and typically involve topics closely related to current research in the lab. This assures that the resources of the lab can fully support the master’s thesis project. Contact Dr. Plante at eplante[at]email.arizona.edu

Examples of published versions of previous master's theses include the following:

Greenslade, K.J., Plante, E., & Vance, R. (2009). The Diagnostic Accuracy and Construct Validity of the Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test – Preschool: Second Edition (SPELT-P2) Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 40, 150-160.

Fisher, J., Plante, E., Vance, R., Gerken, LA, & Glattke, T.J. (2007). Do Children and Adults With Language Impairment Recognize Prosodic Cues? Journal of Speech, Language, & Hearing Research, 50, 746 - 758.

Richardson, J., Harris, L., Plante, E., & Gerken, L.A. (2006). Subcategory Learning in Normal and Language Learning-Disabled Adults: How much information do they need? Journal of Speech, Language, & Hearing Research, 49, 1257 - 1266.

Perona, K., Plante, E., & Vance, R. (2005). Diagnostic Accuracy of the Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test: Third Edition (SPELT-3). Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in Schools. 36, 103 - 115.

Doctoral Students

Doctoral students may become involved in research at many levels, including:
- As a research participant
- As a volunteer research assistant on an ongoing project
- By completing a formal research rotation as part of the doctoral requirements (SPH900)
- Through independent study (SPH699)
- As a member of the lab who participates in multiple research projects

Students wishing to complete their doctorate under Dr. Plante’s direction must be accepted into the department’s doctoral program and be assigned Dr. Plante as their advisor. It is strongly advised that prospective students correspond with Dr. Plante in advance of their application to assure that their career and training goals are a good match to the training opportunities offered by the Plante Lab.

Doctoral students may become temporary members of the lab during the time they are working on a lab project. Temporary lab members may be members of other labs in the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, other departments on campus, or at other institutions. Those completing research rotations (SPH 900 or SPH 699) with Dr. Plante typically spend a year working in the Lab. The project and the student’s duties on it are arranged with Dr. Plante. It is expected that this work will contribute to a publishable product.

Representative publications that included doctoral students who were permanent or temporary members of the Lab include the following:

Fidler, L.J., Plante, E., & Vance, R. (in press). Identification of Adults with Developmental Language Impairments.  American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology.

Bahl, M., Plante, E., & Gerken, LA.  (2009).  Processing prosodic structure by adults with language-based learning disability.  Journal of Communication Disorders, 42, 313-323.

Spaulding, T.J., Plante, E., & Farinella, K.A. (2006). Eligibility Criteria for Language Impairment: Is the Low End of Normal Always Appropriate? Language, Speech, & Hearing Services in Schools, 37, 61 - 72.

Van Petten, C., Plante, E., Davidson, P.S., Kuo, T., Bajuscak, L. & Glisky, E.L (2004). Memory and executive function in older adults: Relationships with temporal and prefrontal gray matter volumes. Neuropsychologia, 42, 1313-35.

Alt, M., Plante, E., & and Creusere, M. (2004). Semantic Features in Fast-Mapping: Performance of Preschoolers With Specific Language Impairment Versus Preschoolers With Normal Language Journal of Speech, Language, & Hearing Research, 47, 407 - 420.

Mahendra, N., Plante, E., Magloire, J., Milman, L., & Trouard, T.P. (2003). fMRI Variability and Localization of Language in Bilinguals. NeuroReport, 14,1225-8.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Postdoctoral fellows are individuals who have completed their doctoral degree and are seeking additional opportunities to enhance their research skills and publication track record. Postdoctoral fellows typically participate in ongoing research and also design studies that they take the lead in conducting. Postdoctoral fellows are typically supported by grants.

If you are interested in completing postdoctoral work in the Plante lab, you should review current publications from the lab to determine whether the ongoing work is similar to your interests. Then, contact Dr. Plante (eplante[at]email.arizona.edu) about your interest in postdoctoral work.

Prospective postdoctoral fellows are strongly encouraged to explore avenues of postdoctoral funding including NIH Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship awards (F32) and foundations relevant to your area of interest. More information on these grants can be found at: http://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/pa-files/PA-07-107.html