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Volunteer Research Assistant, Boston Children's Hospital, Boston, MA


The small object next to a computer keyboard is most likely to be a computer mouse, not an elephant. In the real world, objects often co-vary with other objects and particular environments. In the project, we have two primary goals. The first is to develop an understanding for the brain's ability to process and comprehend visual input based on surrounding context through a biological and quantified explanation. 


In particular, there are eight main experiments that we have tested and plan to test on both humans and machine learning algorithms with regards to the role of context in object recognition, including (a) varying amounts of context shown, (b) backward masking, (c) blurred context, (d) blurred object, (e) scrambling contextual information, (f) guessing objects from contextual information, (g) finding the effects of time on recognition, and (h) swapping context. 


Each of these experiments are run in-lab using eyetrackers and online through Amazon's Mechanical Turk. Second, we further hope to utilize this understanding towards building a robust computational model, which would contribute to enabling current technology to identify visual cues more meticulously. A paper related to our project:


The position is volunteer. In the project, students, who can commit at least 4 hours a week, will obtain hands-on experiences in designing, developing and implementing psychophysics experiments and acquire skills of using eyetrackers, coding psyschophysics experiments using MATLAB psychotoolbox, and coding online Amazon's Mechanical Turk experiments using HTML and javascript. 


In subsequent steps, students can also join in developing computational models for object recognition with various machine learning techniques, such as deep learning, on state-of-the-art machine learning platforms, such as tensorflow and pytorch. Moreover, students also have the opportunity to hone their critical thinking ability in analysing scientific results and drawing insightful conclusions based on experimental results.


NO background in computer science or neuroscience is required.


To Apply: Interested individuals should contact Mengmi at (posted 9/2019)


Opportunities for Current Students | Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Assistant Librarians, Edna V. Bynoe Library, Roxbury, MA

The Edna V. Bynoe Library at Orchard Gardens K-8 Pilot School in Roxbury, MA, is looking for Volunteer Assistant Librarians. The school has a student body of almost 1000 children, all of whom visit the beautiful library on a weekly basis. Kids in grades K-3 have scheduled classes, which consist of read-alouds and choosing books. The older kids visit the library with their teachers or on their own. The library is never empty. There is a constant buzz (we're working on making it a quiet buzz) of activity and excitement. Consequently, there are myriad tasks that need to be done, and you will be helping the librarian complete these tasks.


  • Re-shelve books
  • Check books in
  • Check books out
  • Set up book displays

If you would like to take on these responsibilities, you may, but they are not required:

  • Communicate with teachers about resources they need and acquire those resources
  • Engage in reading advisory conversations with students
  • Learn the Polaris system to catalog books

If you have questions or are interested in volunteering, please contact Erica Pastor, Orchard Gardens Librarian, at

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer: Mid-Autumn Festival, Brookline Public Library, Brookline, MA

What: The Brookline Public Library's Second-Annual Mid-Autumn Festival Event

Last year, this event attracted 200+ community members over the course of two hours. This year, we've opened up our entire library at Coolidge Corner for the event and are expecting to double the number of attendees.

Where: The Coolidge Corner Library at 31 Pleasant Street, Brookline, MA  

When: Sunday, September 15 from 12 - 5 PM

Who: You! We're asking interested volunteers to commit to a minimum of two hours. Volunteers will be working side-by-side with our own librarians and staff members and gaining a behind-the-scenes view of what goes into putting on a library-wide program

12 to 2 PM: Set up

2 to 4 PM: Staffing one of the below fun activities

1) Photo booth

2) Lantern Decorating Craft Station

3) Calligraphy Station (assisting the calligrapher, managing the line, etc.)

4) Riddles in both English and Chinese

5) Delicious snacks (including traditional mooncakes)

4 to 5 PM: Clean up

If you're interested, please contact Caroline at

Come help us! We have delicious mooncakes, Mid-Autumn Volunteer buttons, and exciting programming experience for you to add to your resume!

*ESL ability encouraged but not required*

Volunteer Opportunities

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