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.

Communication

Michael Stohl

Location:
SS&MS 4125
893-7935

Research Project

Title: Newspaper Framing of Terrorist Events and Organizations Research Objective: Identify the framing devices used by media organizations when discussing terrorist organizations and explore the factors influencing the selection of framing devices.

Description: The project has three phases: Identification of Terrorist events reported in major US and International Newspapers; Identification and categorization of the frames employed to characterize these events and groups and a comparative analysis of these frames and their implications.

Undergraduate Contribution

The Project
Data Collection
a. We will be investigating a large selection of American and
International newspapers, that the sampling frame will be
terrorist events in 2013 with an identified (or suspected)
perpetrator, and that we will specifically be looking for all
mentions of the terrorist organizations within our sample of
newspapers.
i. We will be cross coding all articles mentioning a specific
terrorist group or actor with the list of all 2013 terrorist
events.
2. Construction of a typology of frames used by media
organizations when discussing terrorist actors
a. We will be using a grounded theoretical approach to create our
typology. This requires an iterative and interactive process,
which means attendance at group meeting will be required.
3. Content analysis
a. Once we have developed our typology, we will use it to hand
code all articles collected in phase one.

Requirements

Interest in media
Comm 130 or Comm 137 or Comm major

Psychological and Brain Sciences

Karen Szumlinski

Location:
Psych East 2816
805-893-2984

Research Project

Current research in the laboratory has 3 major foci. One line of work examines the neurobiological underpinnings of drug-craving, with an emphasis on how time-dependent anomalies within prefrontal cortex might promote persistent drug-craving in abstinent individuals. A second line of work examines alcohol-stress interactions, with projects aimed at understanding the psychobiological effects of a history of repeated stress upon subsequent behavioral sensitivity to alcohol, as well as understanding the developmental impact of histories of binge drinking upon affect. The third major line of work relates to the neurobiology of methamphetamine addiction with on-going studies focusing upon the relations between dopamine and glutamate in addiction vulnerability. Research in my laboratory is interdisciplinary and involves behavioral, neuropharmacology, neurochemical and immunological approaches.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate research assistants help in all aspects of the research, pending proper training and completion of federal guidelines for working with laboratory rodents in a research setting. This can include assistance with behavioral analyses, histological and molecular techniques, data management, and routine laboratory upkeep. Assistants must be able to work safely in a laboratory environment and follow instructions in a meticulous fashion.

Requirements

•Grade point average of 3.0 or better.
•Commitment to research activities of at least 8-10 hours per week for a minimum of three quarters. 

Earth Science

Toshiro Tanimoto

Location:
Webb Hall 2112
893-8375

Research Project

I have two projects:
1. Tracking hurricanes/typhoons by dense seismic arrays. Hurricanes generate strong ground motions from which we can learn interesting spatial and temporal features.
2. Analysis of rotation seismograms. Measurements of rotation, as opposed to strain, have not been made historically. We have some ring-laser data from Germany that we want to analyze.

Undergraduate Contribution

The main tasks are to analyze time-series data. The data can be seismograms or ring-laser data from US, Japan and Germany.

Requirements

Some basic understanding and experience in programming (e.g., C, C++, Matlab) are required. Also some knowledge of Fourier analysis are helpful. Recommended courses are Earth 134, 135, 136, and ECE 130. But they are not required.

Religious Studies

Ann Taves

Location:
HSSB 3085

Research Project

We have created a survey to investigate how the kinds of unusual experiences that people have in different cultures and how they interpret them. We are interested in seeing to what extent the differences in the experiences that are valued or sought affects the kind of experiences people have.

Undergraduate Contribution

We want to administer the survey in Hindi and English in India. We are looking for native Hindi speaking students who can assist with the translation into Hindi.

Requirements

Students must be native Hindi speakers and fluent in English.

David Walker

Location:
HSSB 3086

Research Project

I am writing a chapter titled "Battling Brothers and The Mormon Giant: Wrestling, Villainy, and the Face-Turn of Modern Mormonism," on the subject of Mormon representations in popular culture -- and in professional wrestling, especially -- and the ways in which, contrary to some expectations, religions (generally) and Mormonism (in particular) have capitalized on their wrestling-ring projections and contestations.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate research assistant would conduct online research (e.g., looking at blogs, newspapers, and journals) and interviews with persons invested in the religious realms & representations of professional wrestling. 

Requirements

RS 7, RS 151B, RS 150B, RS 147, or equivalent. Familiarity with Mormon history and historical research methods.
 

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Douglas Thrower

Location:
LSB 2318
893-5964

Research Project

Microtubules are components of the internal skeleton of eukaryotic cells. Because of their role in cell division and cell migration, microtubules are targeted a number of anti-cancer drugs. Although most of these drugs suppress the growing and shortening "dynamic instability" behavior of microtubules, their exact mechanisms of action are currently unknown. Our goal is to measure the ability of different microtubule-targeted drugs to alter the structure of microtubules both in living cells and in a cell-free system. Such structural alterations are believed to regulate the dynamics of microtubules.

Undergraduate Contribution

Previous undergraduates have helped to develop an immunofluorescent assay that has made it possible to use a conformation-specific antibody to probe the structure of microtubules. Other undergrads have maintained stocks of growing monkey and human cells and have carried out preliminary studies of the effects of several different drugs on the structure of microtubules in living cells. The latter includes dosing cells with appropriate concentrations of drugs, treatment of cells with antibody-based fluorescent probes, imaging cells on a confocal microscope, and measurement/analysis of microscopic images. Current efforts by an undergraduate student under supervision of a graduate student are aimed at developing a cell free assay to determine the requirement for additional proteins in drug-induced changes in microtubule structure.

Requirements

Undergraduate participants in this study are expected to have completed introductory biology courses, MCDB 1A, 1B, 1AL, 1BL, and EEMB 2. Students should have basic laboratory skills including making dilutions, preparing laboratory reagents, use of serological and micropipetting devices "pipetmen". Previous experience with light microscopy is desirable but not essential.

Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology

Thomas Turner

Location:
Noble Hall 2128

Research Project

The Evolutionary Genomics Laboratory, headed by Dr. Thomas Turner, periodically has opportunities for undergraduate assistants to help with large-scale collaborative experiments. The Turner lab studies genome evolution and the links between DNA and behavior using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.

The specific project most assistants work on is focused on determining the genetic basis of variation in male courtship song. This is an entirely lab-based experiment, working exclusively with fruit flies. The majority of assistance will be needed during normal working hours, but some work may occasionally be needed on the weekend.

Ideally, we are looking for individuals with a lighter class schedule who can commit to several consecutive hours of work on busy days. Priority will be given to students who can commit a considerable chunk of time to research and those who can commit to work on the project throughout the summer and into the following academic year.

Please be aware that these are unpaid positions, but they provide a great opportunity for anyone wanting lab and research experience. Volunteers will participate in lab meetings, read and discuss papers with the PI, and develop a broad understanding ofthe research in the lab.

Undergraduate Contribution

Primarily data collection, but students are intellectually engaged in reading literature and discussing ongoing data analysis.

Requirements

Works well with others, great focus and attention to detail, independent critical thinking skills, educational background in general biology, and a positive attitude!

Sociology

France Winddance Twine

Location:
3320 Social Sciences & Media Studies Building
893-3118

Research Project

How do 'geek girls' negotiate masculinity and gender inequality in the male dominated tech industry? Interviews with 65 female and male tech workers employed in the San Francisco industry have been completed. This qualitative study draws upon life history interviews, participate observation at two Tech Inclusion conferences, and an analysis of tech industry reports, to provide an intersectional analysis of the ways that race, gender and sexuality shape the experiences of tech workers. This research will be published in a book that is under contract with Cambridge University Press.

Undergraduate Contribution

This research could benefit from the assistance of a disciplined and organized undergraduate research assistant, interested in sociology of work, technology industry and gender inequality, who is willing to do: 1) library database searches for journal articles, books, and related digital and print materials, 2) Transcribe interviews, and/or 3) identify and locate documentary films and YouTube videos that depict the challenges and experiences of female tech workers.

Requirements

Students must be a Sociology major or a Feminist Studies major. They must have earned a B+ in at least 4 upper division courses. Students must have completed SOC 1, SOC 99, and one of the following SOC 108A, 108B, 108C or 108 F. Students must provide a letter of recommendation from a faculty member or graduate student instructor in the Sociology Department, who is familiar with their work.

Anthropology

Amber VanDerwarker

Location:
HSSB 1038
893-8604

Research Project

This project seeks to understand how chronic and intensified warfare affected peoples’ abilities to produce enough food to feed themselves and their communities. The region of interest is the Central Illinois River Valley during the 12th century, a period intensive warfare and raiding throughout ancient North America. One of the sites that the project is currently examining was once a large, fortified village (Orendorf Site) that was repeatedly burned to the ground by violent aggressors. The site was excavated in the 1970s, and we will be processing and analyzing the food remains recovered from one of these burned occupations. There are assemblages from additional sites in this region as well, for which plant and animal bone assemblages require identification and analysis.

Undergraduate Contribution

Through participation in this project students may develop many archaeological lab skills including:

  • how to use a flotation system to recover macrobotanicals and small faunal remains
  • how to recognize both faunal and floral remains
  • taking metric measurements of carbonized plant remains via specialized computer/microscope software accessioning modern specimens in the comparative collection
  • sorting small archaeological fauna from flotation samples by taxonomic class (fish, mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile).

Requirements

You may enroll in ANTH 194P for 1-4 units. For each unit of credit you must work three hours per week, or a total of 30 hours per quarter (ten weeks long). The lab is generally open 9am-5pm Mon-Wed, and Friday mornings. Scheduling of lab time within these hours is flexible. There is no course work requirement outside of the lab. However, if you must miss a work period for any reason, you are obligated to make up the time through arrangement with the instructor.

Consent of the Instructor is required for enrollment. Prior coursework in archaeology is preferred but not required. Please contactvanderwarker@anth.ucsb.edu if you are interested in participating in this project. Make sure to include information such as your GPA, Anthropology/Archaeology courses you have taken, other lab/field experience, and why you are interested in this particular opportunity. Add codes are currently available.

Economics

Emanuel Vespa

Location:
3024 North Hall
917 497 8825

Research Project

We will conduct a series of computerized experiments to investigate several aspects of human behavior related to economics. We will also help update the recruiting technology in the experimental economics lab (http://www.econ.ucsb.edu/ebel/)

Undergraduate Contribution

Students can help compile and edit instructions, test the computer program, run sessions and analyze data. While some tasks are more mundane and clerical, students with more skill and experience will take part in the more analytical aspects of the research. Students can help upgrade the software used for recruitment and payment.

Requirements

Econ 10A, 100B (required); and Econ 171 (GameTheory) and 176 (Experimental Economics) recommended. Suited for Computer Science majors with Computational Economics Emphasis, Econ/Math majors and Econ majors.

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