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How to Get Involved

Research Volunteer Families

We would love to tell you more about any of our research studies. We have many ongoing projects which require volunteers in the age range of 3 to 17. Future studies may require additional ages. Please feel free to call Terri L. Cravener, our Lab Manager and Research Coordinator, at 814-863-9841 for additional information.

FIRSt Families Database

The Child Study Center (CSC) at Penn State houses and administers the Families Interested in Research Studies (FIRSt) database, which has been established to connect Penn State researchers and families with infants and young children in central Pennsylvania who are interested in participating in research. At the CSC, faculty and students from psychology, education, human development and other disciplines develop research projects that will increase our knowledge of children's development and contribute to improved outcomes for children and families. Many families in the FIRSt database find that participating in research is interesting; gives insight into their children's development; and provides a sense of having contributed to important advances in knowledge. Some research projects also provide financial compensation to participants. If you would like to find out more about the FIRSt database, please visit our website at

Faculty Research

The Metabolic Kitchen and Children’s Eating Behavior Laboratory is a shared research facility directed by Dr. Kathleen L. Keller for experimental meal preparation and sensory evaluation in children and their families. The facility includes a 1600 sq. ft. metabolic kitchen and feeding laboratory. A toy-stocked reception area for parents and children and testing rooms equipped with video and audio recording equipment are available. Investigators interested in studying related issues can view the Facilities page for more detailed information. If you would like to use our facilities for your research project, please complete the Facilities Form.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Thank you for your interest in working with our lab. We are currently looking for responsible undergraduate students to assist with our research. We offer opportunities to work with child participants, enter and analyze data, and assist in participant recruitment. If you are interested in joining our team, please fill out a Research Application and contact our Lab Manager at