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How to join ViTAL Lab

Image by Pawel Czerwinski


Dr. Galano (ViTAL Lab) will be jointly recruiting a doctoral student with Dr. Evelyn Mercado (FAM Lab) to be co-mentored across their labs. Research in the FAM Lab uses a biopsychosocial lens to investigate how family relationships can yield benefits for mental health among youth from diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds. Research in the ViTAL lab investigates mechanisms through which exposure to violence and interpersonal trauma, especially in early-life, leads to the development of psychopathology in diverse children and young adults. Both labs utilize community-engaged approaches to developing, conducting, and disseminating research; and research in both labs is grounded in understanding how socio-cultural factors shape connections between inter- and intra-personal processes and mental health.

Dr. Mercado and Dr. Galano are especially interested in students whose research interests intersect with those of both labs. Such interests include (but are not necessarily limited to): Dating violence in racial and ethnic minority youth; the effects of migration-related trauma in Latinx youth and adults. There is a large Spanish-speaking community in Western MA; students with bilingual Spanish/English skills will have opportunities to conduct research and clinical work with Spanish-speaking youth and adults.

Given the large volume of applications to our program, Dr. Mercado and Dr. Galano are unable to offer individual meetings to all potential applicants. In lieu of individual meetings, Dr. Mercado and Dr. Galano will host an open house this Fall (date forthcoming) for prospective applicants. This open house will provide an opportunity to learn more about ongoing research projects in each lab, to field specific questions you may have for Dr. Mercado and Dr. Galano, and to speak to current graduate students working in each lab.


The ViTAL Lab is currently accepting new research assistants for the Spring 2024 semester. To apply to our lab as an undergraduate research assistant, click below!

Click this link for Frequently Asked Questions about undergraduate research, the ViTAL Lab, and applying to be an undergraduate research assistant!

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