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Language, Experience, and Development (LEAD) Lab

Prospective Students

The LEAD lab is strongly committed to diversity in all forms and encourages applications from individuals with backgrounds underrepresented in academia, especially those from marginalized and historically disadvantaged backgrounds. We adamantly denounce discrimination of all forms. We believe that the inclusion of all individuals is critical to ensuring that our field represents the values, perspectives, and experiences of both who we are and who we study. We are committed to providing a supportive space for scientific dialogue and development, and to cultivating a safe and supportive community in which all members are able to be their full selves, regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, or any other applicable basis. YOU ARE WELCOME HERE. 

Dr. Romeo will NOT be considering new students for Fall 2025 start (AKA during the upcoming 2024-2025 application cycle). Because we are an interdisciplinary lab, Dr. Romeo can accept PhD students through three different programs: Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (in either Developmental Science or Educational Psychology), Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, or Hearing and Speech Sciences. Please look at the websites of these programs to determine which might be the best fit for your interests. 

When reviewing applications, we focus on (1) whether applicants have research interests that are a good fit for the questions we study in the lab, and (2) whether applicants have experience that suggests they will thrive here. This might be previous research experience, experience in another field, experience working with children, or anything else that shows you are prepared to pursue a research degree. If your background does not fit that of a "typical" applicant, that's ok! Please describe in your application what you think prepares you for this position. To determine if your research interests match those of the lab, please click on the Research page of our website to learn more about our topics and ongoing studies. Finally, Dr. Romeo encourages you to contact her directly at romeo@umd.edu to let her know of your interest and to ask any questions. 

We are committed to reducing the many barriers to graduate study for students from underrepresented and/or historically marginalized identities in the following ways: 

Applying to graduate school can be incredibly expensive, but no student should ever forego applying because of financial hardship. I do not consider GRE scores in my application review, so please do not feel like you have to pay for the test or prep courses. Additionally, here is information on programs to which UMD grants fee waivers, and if you don't belong to any of those programs (or it's too late to apply to them), then look into applying for the Big10 FreeApp. If none of these work out and application fees are still a financial barrier for you, please email Dr. Romeo directy and we will figure something out. 

Also, there is a brutal "hidden agenda" of academia and specifically grad school apps that has systemically disadvantaged many incredible prospective students who have not had access to this insider information. Fortunately, there are now many resources and programs that support prospective students through guided mentorship and feedback. Here is a continuously updated list of many of these programs. Some of Dr. Romeo's favorites (and ones she has mentored through!) are Project SHORTApplication Statement Feedback ProgramNext Gen Psych Scholars, and Prospective Ph.D. & RA Event in Psychology (PPREP) (note that these are primarily geared toward applications for psychology/neuroscience programs, which are very similar to the HD & NACS programs). You are highly encouraged to apply to and use these programs to help navigate the application process. 


Prospective undergraduate students, volunteers, and other research affiliates

Applications for our 2024-2025 RAs were due on Friday, April 12 at 11:59 PM. Applications are currently under review.

We request a minimum of a 2-semester commitment to ensure you get the most of your experience. UMD students can assist in LEAD lab research for course credit or work-study, and this can change from semester to semester. Students who have completed 2 semesters in the LEAD lab are eligible to complete an honors thesis in the lab. 

Please note that, at this time, the LEAD lab will only be considering applicants who attend the University of Maryland College Park. If you are NOT a current UMD student and would like to be notified of future opportunities to join our team, please email our Lab Manager Ellie Taylor at ektaylor@umd.edu.


Prospective MA students

Dr. Romeo accepts Human Development MA students on an individual basis. If you are interested in working in the LEAD lab as an MA student, please email Dr. Romeo.