University of Pittsburgh Center for Excellence in Autism Research (CeFAR)

Autism Health Disparity Scholars Summer Internship

University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh Center for Excellence in Autism Research, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and School of Health, and Rehabilitation Sciences.

While the health disparities project will be the primary focus for the summer interns, we are hoping to provide them with broad experiences in autism research and services to help them plan their careers.

In this position, the summer research intern will primarily work Monday – Friday from 8:00am-5:00pm. The ideal candidate enjoys interacting with diverse communities, is flexible, positive, friendly and a team player with excellent communication and organizational skills. The ideal candidate will have a strong interest in research and the ability to work independently under tight deadlines.


· Conducting qualitative interviews

· Helping with recruitment assist with recruiting and scheduling participants for research appointments

· Data collection and entry.

· Transcription

· Outreach

· Training, research, and educational experiences with other programs in CeFAR

· Visit community agencies that work with autistic children and do some observations.

· Attend labs in autism related to neuroscience and genetics.

· CITI Training

· Other duties as assigned by the Principal Investigator

· Organize references and materials for research projects and content areas.

· Maintain professionalism in all interactions with stakeholders and internal staff.

· Participate in meetings, trainings, research, seminars, and educational experiences both internally and externally.

· Participate in weekly qualitative study group meetings with Dr. Beck.

Perform approved research projects according to defined protocols and procedures including appropriate collection, recording, storage and analysis of data and reporting of results


Dates: May 30 to August 6, 2022; start and end dates flexible

Hours per Week: 40


Housing: Bouquet Apartments on campus with other summer intern students from engineering.

Work Included: Training, interviews and recruitment for Dr. Copeland’s study, and broad experiences in the Center for Excellence in Autism Research.

Summer 2022 Costs

Hourly Rate: $15

Travel costs: We will support your travel to and from Pittsburgh one time over the summer so you can return to visit family when you like.

Housing costs: Will be covered by this internship at no cost to you.

Food and incidental costs: You will be responsible for budgeting these out of your work pay.

Program Director

Dr. Valire Copeland


2022 Summer Scholars

Greetings! I am Taja Jones, a junior Health Science major with a concentration in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the Illustrious Tennessee State University. This Summer, I have the opportunity to work as an intern for the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Excellence in Autism Research (CeFAR)—where Dr. Valire Copeland is conducting a research study on health disparities Black families face, as it pertains to autism. My ultimate career goal is to be a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, who works primarily with children on the autism spectrum. I hope to take away from this internship, is the chance to gain knowledge on the experience Black families face with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and apply it to how it is taught in speech pathology and therapy. 

My name is Shataya Taylor and I have recent joined a great team of people to do research about African American Families and their children that live with Autism. I am a Pittsburgh native; I am alumni of The Neighborhood Academy and I have recently graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work. I will be continuing my education at the University of Pittsburgh to receive my Masters in Social Work. Pittsburgh and the University has become apart of me unexpectedly but I am excited to start my journey with research and to continue my journey with Social Work. HAIL TO PITT!!!!!!