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.

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.

Religious Studies

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.
 

Anthropology

Casey Walsh

Location:
HSSB 2081
(805) 893-2339

Research Project

This project reviews the content of 25 years of articles in the Journal of Political Ecology. We collect data on the authors and the topics of the articles and enter that data into a qualitative analysis software. We use the data to track trends and tendencies in authorship and topical interest in the field of Political Ecology, in order to write a review article for the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Political Ecology.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate assistant will gather information about the authors of the articles - their institutional affiliation and department at the time of their PhD, and at the present. The assistant will enter this data into a database using excel, and later NVivo.

Requirements

Knowledge of Excel. Social Science major, preferably Anthropology.

Location:
HSSB 2081
893-2339

Research Project

Agriculture in California is confronting a water crisis with both environmental and social drivers. Climate change and globalized agriculture are combining to increase the demand for groundwater and the depletion of aquifers. Conflicts have emerged in recent years in the Central Coast region of California as expanding agricultural production has led to increased demand for subsoil water. In this project we analyze the social use and management of groundwater in this region of California, especially where wine grapes are grown.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate research assistants will create a bibliography for this project, that will include government documents, published scholarly works, and newspapers/magazine articles. If possible, undergraduates will assist with fieldwork, including interviews in person and by telephone.

Requirements

1) Anthropology Major
2) 90 units completed
3) 3.0 GPA for preceding three quarters
4) Anth 2 completed
5) 2 upper division courses in Anthropology completed.
6) Consent of the Instructor

Marine Science Institute

Libe Washburn

Location:
4306 MSRB
893-7367

Research Project

In this project we are studying the coastal ocean using robotic vehicles. These vehicles use new, low-cost technologies for guidance, positioning, and other operations required for making measurements in the coastal ocean. For example, we use robotic quadrotor drones for multiple purposes including: (1) calibration of radar systems that we use to measure ocean surface currents; (2) collection of water samples for ocean acidification studies. Another example is a robotic boat for measuring ocean currents and surface water properties. A team of undergraduate mechanical engineering students built a prototype during two years ago. Since then we have been conducting sea trials to learn more about its performance in a range of ocean conditions. We will continue development of the boat and its sea trials in the coming year.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates work on a variety of design and development efforts in this project. For example, students are improving the design of quad-rotor drones for use over the coastal ocean. Another current effort is the development of payloads for the drones. Undergraduate students are currently working on a lightweight sampling bottle to be carried by quad-rotor drones that can be tripped automatically to collect water samples. Undergraduates also participate in a broad range of activities for making measurements in the coastal ocean. During the upcoming year we are looking for undergraduates interested in developing and testing the robotic boat described above. Undergraduates currently working in the lab are mechanical engineering students, but students from other majors are welcome. Students perform "hands-on" work for various projects and have opportunities to learn new technologies. A particular focus of the lab has been the use of 3-D printing for fabricating parts used in many of our development efforts.

Requirements

  1. The main requirement is the desire to learn new things and participate in creative design and development projects.
  2. Experience with robotics technology is desirable, but not essential.
  3. The ability to work and learn both independently and in small groups is important.
  4. Experience with programs such as MATLAB and Solid Works is desirable, but not essential.
  5. Some experience using hand tools.

Lizzy Wilbanks

Location:
2128 Noble Hall

Research Project

Our lab studies the activity, ecology and evolution of microbes in aggregates and biofilms from the oceans and salt marshes. We are working on phototrophic bacterial aggregates from an east coast salt marsh and on study systems in the Santa Barbara channel, such as the giant kelp microbiome and “marine snow”, aggregates of detritus colonized by bacteria. We are currently recruiting students for two different types of projects

1. Using high throughput metagenomic sequencing to characterize microbial populations. This will include molecular methods involved in sample preparation and potentially bioinformatics.

2. Culturing new microbes from marine aggregates and biofilms and describing their physiology. Research opportunities exist for both paid work and work for credit. We are staunchly committed to creating an equal and inclusive research group that reflects the diversity of the community at UCSB.

Undergraduate Contribution

All students working in the lab contribute to the general operation and maintenance of the lab, including making media, washing culture vessels, and preparing for field expeditions. Students will start out learning techniques for culturing and/or molecular biology and then move onto a specific project. Undergraduate contributions will involve DNA extraction, PCR, and preparation of samples for high throughput sequencing. Opportunities exist for students to pursue projects in bioinformatics and data analysis. Students are expected to devote several consecutive hours on days that they work in the lab. There is also a monthly lab meeting that students attend and periodically present their results.

Requirements

Students must be determined, hard-working, and excited about the research in our group. Students must be prepared to tackle a range of tasks from the exciting and high-tech, to the repetitive and menial. Students must bring to the project a great attitude in a team environment, resiliency in the face of failure, and the ability to maintain organized records.

Geography

Libe Washburn

Location:
4306 MSRB
893-7367

Research Project

In this project we are studying the coastal ocean using robotic vehicles. These vehicles use new, low-cost technologies for guidance, positioning, and other operations required for making measurements in the coastal ocean. For example, we use robotic quadrotor drones for multiple purposes including: (1) calibration of radar systems that we use to measure ocean surface currents; (2) collection of water samples for ocean acidification studies. Another example is a robotic boat for measuring ocean currents and surface water properties. A team of undergraduate mechanical engineering students built a prototype during two years ago. Since then we have been conducting sea trials to learn more about its performance in a range of ocean conditions. We will continue development of the boat and its sea trials in the coming year.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates work on a variety of design and development efforts related to these projects. For example, students are improving the design of quad-rotor drones for use over the coastal ocean. Other ongoing efforts are to develop new payloads for the quad-rotors and the robotic boat. Undergraduate students have worked on a lightweight sampling bottle to be carried by quad-rotor drones that can be tripped automatically to collect water samples. Undergraduates also participate in a broad range of activities for making measurements in the coastal ocean. Undergraduates currently working in the lab are mechanical engineering students, but students from other majors are welcome. Students perform "hands-on" work for various projects and have opportunities to learn new technologies. A particular focus of the lab has been the use of 3-D printing for fabricating parts used in many of our development efforts.

Requirements

1. The main requirement is the desire to learn new things and participate in creative design and development projects.
2. Experience with robotics technology is desirable, but not essential.
3. The ability to work and learn both independently and in small groups is important.
4. Experience with programs such as MATLAB and Solid Works is desirable, but not essential.
5. Some experience using hand tools is important.

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Thomas Weimbs

Location:
United States

Research Project

A major focus of this laboratory is the investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and related renal diseases. Research in the Weimbs Laboratory has already led to a better understanding of aberrantly regulated signaling mechanisms in PKD and suggested possile new strategies for disease treatment. The Laboratory is aiming to discover new basic mechanisms of epithelial cell function and kidney physiology. The training of future scientists at the postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate level is another important mission of the Weimbs Laboratory.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergrad research positions are for volunteers who are highly motivated and committed to learn experimental techniques, become intellectually highly involved and ultimately are able to help a senior member of the lab with their experiments, or even carry on research projects independently. In the beginning, it is more of a burden for a senior lab member to teach the undergrad student. But if a student is very good he/she can become a valuable member of the team and contribute to our research progress. Someone who is highly motivated should be able to come to the lab in between and after their classwork or on weekends for at least about 10 hours/week. The person should be very strong academically so that the lab work does not negatively impact the class work performance. A talented and motivated student should be able to quickly learn experimental techniques and start to do experiments with less and less supervision until they can be done, for the most part, independently. Undergraduate researchers typically want to go on to graduate school after graduation. An excellent letter of reference commenting on their outstanding undergrad research activity is invaluable for admission into a competitive graduate program. Such undergrad research experience is expected by graduate admission committees at all top tier universities. There are several summer research fellowships available to undergraduate students. Successful undergrad researchers in the Weimbs lab are strongly encouraged to apply for these fellowships and will then be invited to spend the summer doing full-time research in the lab.

Requirements

Email your CV and unofficial transcript to weimbs@lifesci.ucsb.edu. Please state why you are interested to work in the Weimbs lab.

Location:
United States

Research Project

A major focus of this laboratory is the investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and related renal diseases. Research in the Weimbs Laboratory has already led to a better understanding of aberrantly regulated signaling mechanisms in PKD and suggested possile new strategies for disease treatment. The Laboratory is aiming to discover new basic mechanisms of epithelial cell function and kidney physiology. The training of future scientists at the postdoctoral, graduate and undergraduate level is another important mission of the Weimbs Laboratory.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergrad research positions are for volunteers who are highly motivated and committed to learn experimental techniques, become intellectually highly involved and ultimately are able to help a senior member of the lab with their experiments, or even carry on research projects independently. In the beginning, it is more of a burden for a senior lab member to teach the undergrad student. But if a student is very good he/she can become a valuable member of the team and contribute to our research progress. Someone who is highly motivated should be able to come to the lab in between and after their classwork or on weekends for at least about 10 hours/week. The person should be very strong academically so that the lab work does not negatively impact the class work performance. A talented and motivated student should be able to quickly learn experimental techniques and start to do experiments with less and less supervision until they can be done, for the most part, independently. Undergraduate researchers typically want to go on to graduate school after graduation. An excellent letter of reference commenting on their outstanding undergrad research activity is invaluable for admission into a competitive graduate program. Such undergrad research experience is expected by graduate admission committees at all top tier universities. There are several summer research fellowships available to undergraduate students. Successful undergrad researchers in the Weimbs lab are strongly encouraged to apply for these fellowships and will then be invited to spend the summer doing full-time research in the lab.

Requirements

Email your CV and unofficial transcript to weimbs@lifesci.ucsb.edu. Please state why you are interested to work in the Weimbs lab.

Earth Science

Syee Weldeab

Location:
Webb Hall, Room #1113

Research Project

Using stable isotope geochemistry to determine the climate history of Central Asia and oceanographic evolution of Indian Ocean

Undergraduate Contribution

The student will prepare samples and measure stable isotope and trace elements of stalagmite (cave deposit) and marine micro-organisms and assist with data interpretation and presentation. The student will gain significant experience in advanced analytical techniques including using Stable Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometer (SIRMS), the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Electron Probe MicroAnalyzer (EPMA), and Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (LA-ICPMS).

Requirements

Geochemistry, paleoclimate, climate

Pages