Faculty Research Assistance Program (FRAP) Directory

The FRAP Directory allows students to identify UCSB faculty who are looking for undergraduate students to participate in their research projects or creative activities. Please use the links below to find opportunities by discipline. Students, if your desired discipline is not listed, please contact the Undergraduate Research Initiatives office at 805-893-3090 or urca@ltsc.ucsb.edu for assistance. Faculty, if you would like to post your research or creative activity opportunity, please complete the online submission form.

Education

Jin Sook Lee

Location:
ED 3131
(805) 893-2872

Research Project

Research assistants are needed for the School Kids Investigating Language in Life and Society (SKILLS) project, an outreach project that works with local elementary and high schools to support students to conduct original research and activism projects on language, culture, power, and identity in their own lives and communities through which they gain the opportunities to develop their academic skills.

Undergraduate Contribution

Research assistants will work in multiple capacities for the project. In the fall, RAs will process previously collected audio and video data of classroom interaction and student work as well as work on development of the SKILLS curricula. In winter and spring, RAs may continue to work on data or assist in collecting new data through fieldwork in local high schools and other settings.

Requirements

Desirable but not required: Proficiency in Spanish, previous coursework in Linguistics, Chicana/o Studies, and/or Education, experience in working with youth, experience in collecting, editing, and/or analyzing audio or video data, and/or website experience.

History

John Lee

Location:
HSSB 4210

Research Project

I am working to create an interactive map, database, and online research platform for the Athenian and Achaemenid Persian Empires during the fifth century BC. Areas to be included: land and naval warfare, garrisons, fortifications, tribute, trade patterns, coinage.

Undergraduate Contribution

I am looking for an undergraduate with excellent web design, database, and computer programming skills (especially GIS) to help create this online research platform.

Requirements

No course prerequisites. Student should have expertise in computer programming (especially GIS) and web design. An interest in ancient history and ancient warfare would be a plus.

Nelson Lichtenstein

Location:
HSSB 4256
893-4822

Research Project

Intellectual Property Rights in Southern California and the Silicon Valley as 21st Century Labor Law

Undergraduate Contribution

Develop the framework, methodology, as well as analysis of this project. The student will spend a particular amount of time researching the current definitions of a knowledge economy and develop a framework for a working definition of intellectual property rights as they pertain to labor law. The student, once a working definition has been drafted, will work diligently to obtain working contracts from workers within the defined knowledge economy. Once contracts have been obtained the student will analyze the contracts for workers rights to their intellectual property and place these ‘rights,’ found in said contracts, into working definitions of labor law in the 21st century.

Requirements

Must have been enrolled in HIST 294 Winter & Spring 2014 / 2015. Must have taken HIST 167CB with a grade of A or better. Enrolled in HIST 199 Spring 2015.

Bren School of Environmental Science & Management

Hunter Lenihan

Location:
Bren 3228
(805) 893-8629

Research Project

The overall project focuses on the community ecology of coral reefs, using a model ecosystem in Mo’orea, French Polynesia. The undergraduate's project is related to examining how the role of coral-fish interactions, specifically predation by fishes on corals (corallivory), in determining coral distribution and abundance. In July-August 2017 and 2018, we erected large-scale field experiments to test whether the interaction of corallivory and water depth control the growth of different coral species, those that create reef important fish habitat that helps maintain biodiversity. The undergraduate's project is to test whether variation in coral symbionts (mutualistic algae living within corals, that provide them with energy) change as a results of water depth and being injured by fish. This is a key co-variate in the experiment, and requires cutting-edge, detailed, and exacting laboratory work, as well as follow-up statistical analyses to quantify the density symbionts in the coral tissues that we collected in the experiment. The results the undergraduate will produce in the laboratory and statistical work will be a key component of the overall results of the experiments.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate will conduct laboratory work using high-power microscopes to quantify coral symbionts, and will learn statistical analyses as well as how to computer code in R (if not already known). The undergraduate will work with coral physiologists and ecologists to extract, procure, and quantify symbionts. The next step will be to organize the data and conduct the first stage of statistical analyses, which the undergraduate will do with me.

Requirements

- Interested in marine research

- Prior research experience preferred

- Open and willing to try new things

East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies

Ann-Elise Lewallen

Location:
HSSB 2256

Research Project

My current project focuses on energy justice and transnational resistance movements in India and Japan. I am focusing on how indigenous communities in India seek to exercise self-determination in choosing their own energy futures and responding to the Indian government's development projects. For example, the Japanese government is contributing development aid to indigenous (Adivasi) communities in India, with the goal of expanding energy infrastructure. I am trying to understand what development and all-too-frequent displacement means for these communities, as well as seeking to understand the government's rationales for the type of development projects it proposes in these communities.

A second, related project focuses on Youth Empowerment for Adivasi in Jharkhand, India. Using social media, communications workshops, mapping applications such as PPGIS, and ArcGIS, I seek to map several layers of demographic data for young Adivasi in Jharkhand, and correlate this information with mineral deposits and other natural resources across the region. This project involves mapping, ethnographic data collection, and social media analysis, as well as analysis of government documents.

Undergraduate Contribution

1) Project one: I seek students with a working knowledge of HINDI or TELUGU or JAPANESE to assist with transcribing, translating, and summarizing interviews. Also literature review and summaries. For English speakers, I need assistance in reading through the government's documents explaining the project development plans (ToRs), as well as official documents on the environmental and social impact statements. (EIA and SIAs). Students working on these projects would also assist with summarizing Hindi, English, and Telugu news reporting.

2) Project two: I seek students with a working knowledge of HINDI and/or TELUGU. English speakers also welcome! Research activities to include assistance with collecting demographic data, using social media applications, basic video editing, mapping applications, and ethnographic mapping.

Requirements

I seek a student who is proficient in Hindi AND English, OR, Telugu AND English. English speakers only also welcome. Other skills include proficiency in Dragon Dictate (transcription software), Atlas Ti (coding software), social media apps such as Facebook, WhastApp, Twitter, also ArcGIS and other mapping applications, and basic library research skills (periodicals, etc.)

Ann-elise Lewallen

Location:
HSSB 2256

Research Project

1) Project one, Global Cultures of Marginalization: Race, Gender, and Indigenous Women’s Empowerment examines Ainu women’s engagement with civil society and their critique of the sex/gender structures of both ethnic Japanese and Ainu society. Women use multiple discrimination as a tool of analysis to assess how the complex relations between ethnicity, race, and gender intersect and may be transformed into more compound forms of discrimination.

2) Project two, Space Beyond the Nation: Digital Ainu and Indigenous Modernity, seeks to analyze how transnational spaces facilitate Ainu in negotiating global indigenous citizenship and positions as Japanese citizens. Transnational spaces are central to Ainu negotiations of indigenous citizenship and essential to overcoming discrimination anxiety, or a paralyzing fear of racism, inside Japan. Increasingly, these transnational spaces are being constructed within the digital domains of interactive social media wherein Ainu youth build on the translocal networks borne from global exchange.

Undergraduate Contribution

For the first project I seek students who have a working knowledge of Japanese to assist with organizing communications with Ainu women in Japan. Next, I seek students to assist with a literature review, to work on a broad survey of the literature on indigenous women and intersectionality, and to assist with summarizing the main contributions of each article.

For the second project, I seek students to assist me as I embark on a data-mining project in mining the social media universe for discussions of indigeneity, sovereignty, racism/discrimination, and especially for linkages between Ainu and other indigenous youth overseas. I plan to conduct data-mining of Twitter as well as Mixi and LINE (Japanese applications). Knowledge of the softwares Gnep or Datasift, or programming, or programming languages such as Python are welcome.

Requirements

I seek a student who is proficient in Japanese AND
English. Other skills sought include knowledge of the softwares
"R," Gnep or Datasift, or programming, or programming languages
such as Python are welcome.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Zoe Liberman

Location:
Psychology East 3821
(805) 893-5498

Research Project

Research in the Social Cognitive Development Lab focuses on learning and development in infancy and early childhood. We conduct studies in our on campus lab and with local partners off site. The majority of the research focuses on topics relevant to understanding and navigating or complex social world. For example, how do infants learn from other people? Or, do infants think about people as members of social categories? Additionally, how do different social experiences (such as regular exposure to multiple languages) influence social cognition and learning? Most of our studies are interactive where we play short games with kids and record their behavior. We also do story/survey studies with older children, and looking time studies with infants.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will participate in all aspects of the research process, including recruiting families to come into the lab, contacting interested families to schedule appointments, creating stimuli for studies, running studies with participants in the on campus lab and off site (at MOXI museum and the Santa Barbara Zoo), entering data, analyzing data, and developing new project ideas.

Requirements

Research assistants must have a GPA of at least a 3.0 average over the last three quarters. Research assistants must also be comfortable interacting with infants and young children, and with contacting parents/local preschools/organizations over the phone. A commitment of at least 2 quarters is required, and an interest in continuing on for further quarters and developing independent research projects is preferred. Past research experience, or coursework in developmental psychology is preferred but not required.

Political Science

Pei-te Lien

Location:
EH 3709
893-4983

Research Project

Who are the Asian Pacific American elected officials serving at state and local levels offices? How did they get to where they are? And what obstacles did they need to overcome? Taking advantage of a one-of-a-kind dataset collected for the Gender and Multicultural Leadership (GMCL) project in 2006-7, I propose a systematic examination of the political trajectories of the nation’s population of APA men and women serving in various subnational offices as state legislators, county commissioners, city mayors, city council members, and school board members. Factors to consider include their ethnicity, educational and family background, political orientation, community organizational involvement, non-electoral and electoral career track, and key issue concerns.

Undergraduate Contribution

An undergraduate student interested in US electoral politics, especially Asian American politics, can contribute by helping conduct on-line search for the background information of each of the elected officials identified in the GMCL project. He or she can also help organize data using the Excel spreadsheet and provide preliminary analysis.

Requirements

PS 12 and PS 161 or PS 160, plus PS 15 or 104 or the equivalent.

English

Alan Liu

Location:
South Hall 2521
(805) 893-7488

Research Project

The Arnhold Collaborative Research Group that I lead in the English Department is titled "Making the Humanities Public." The group researches media coverage of the humanities with the assistance of a machine-learning "topic model" of thousands of newspaper articles, draws up analyses and recommendations for humanities advocacy based on its findings, and builds digital and other projects that act on its recommendations (e.g., projects that demonstrate how to represent the humanities in a new light to the public).

Undergraduate Contribution

Working under my supervision and that of a graduate student, undergraduates collaboratively use analyses and findings from research into media coverage of the humanities to design projects that show how the humanities can be presented in new ways to public audiences--e.g., with new narratives, evidence, examples, etc. The imagined audiences for these projects include legislators, journalists, business people, parents, and others.

Requirements

Students need to have been involved in the preceding Winter 2017 "Making the Humanities Public" Arnhold Collaborative Research Group. The English 199RA associated with the project in Spring 2017 builds from the earlier research activities of the project.

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Matthieu Louis

Location:
Biology II 3141
(805) 893-5877

Research Project

Animals navigate sensory gradients to find food and to avoid danger. Navigation in response to chemicals is called chemotaxis. This process involves sensory coding (internal representation of the stimulus) and decision making (directional control of locomotion). We tackle both problems in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster larva. Our research aims to explain how odor tracking comes about in terms of computations achieved by neural circuits. We combine a variety of experimental and computational techniques to define how naturalistic olfactory stimuli are represented and processed by the larval olfactory system. In addition, we seek to identify and functionally characterize the neural pathways involved in the combination of olfactory information (food odors, pheromones) with signals from other sensory modalities (temperature, light) to make coherent navigational decisions.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate students joining our lab will be exposed to the tools and approaches of systems neuroscience. They will be mentored by a graduate student or a post-doctoral fellow. Undergraduates with an experimental background will enjoy discovering techniques of data analysis and computational modeling. In addition, they will have the opportunity to familiarize themselves with a variety of lab techniques including fly molecular genetics, behavioral quantification and optogenetics (control of neural activity with light). Undergraduate students with a more theoretical background (physicists and engineers) will be introduced to experimental neuroscience; they will learn how to design and perform behavioral experiments.

Requirements

Undergraduate students should be sophomores or above, and they should have minimum 3.4 of overall GPA. Given the sensitive nature of behavioral experiments in general, we are looking for highly motivated individuals who can commit to working in the lab a minimum of 10 hours per week for 1 year. Students with a background in physics, engineering and computer sciences are welcome to apply too.

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