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.

English

Enda Duffy

Location:
SH 2717

Research Project

The Catalyst Project supports 5 research assistants, members of the editorial board for the literary arts magazine, responsible for producing the 2017-18 issues of the magazine.

Undergraduate Contribution

The research assistants lead the production of the Catalyst magazine and related arts events in Isla Vista. This includes leading the writing, designing, and printing of the magazine copies as well as organizing and hosting events. The costs include designing and printing ($5000+ per issue), art supplies (around $200-400), and events supplies (around $300-400).

Requirements

Editorial skills

Technical or design skills

Organizational ability

Collaborative capacity

Adobe InDesign

Leadership

Education

Richard Duran

Location:
3141 Education
x3555

Research Project

Title: Ubiquitous Computing, Computational Thinking, Modular Robotics, MakerSpaces and New Forms of Learning

Our work examines how we can help young people from backgrounds (e.g., certain ethnic/racial backgrounds, low-income backgrounds, and women) underrepresented in STEM fields learn about edge developments in technology via hands on building and simple programing of mobile technology gadgets.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergrads contribute by acquiring skills on building, programming, and using mobile technology gadgets in a lab and then implementing these skills in local community settings under guidance of the project team. Undergrads also contribute new, creative designs for learning activities in community settings.

Requirements

Curiosity to learn how electronic and computational things work in the world around us and how these matters are coming to affect learning. No super technological background required, though such a background would always be welcome. Interest in working with young people from diverse backgrounds in our surrounding community is an important asset.

Counseling Clinical and School Psychology

Erika Felix

Location:
ED 2135

Research Project

We are conducting several research studies on the impact of collectively-experienced traumas, such as natural disasters, terrorism, and mass shootings, on youth, young adults, and parents. We explore how these traumatic events may impact mental health, and the risk and protective factors that may influence long-term adjustment. Currently, we are exploring how media coverage of these events may impact people who did not directly experience the trauma. This may include impact on their own well-being, attitudes towards others, perceived safety, and how parents may parent.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduate research assistants would help with developing the surveys, assist in programming the surveys into Qualtrics, data cleaning, and help with data analysis. There are also opportunities to provide feedback on the content of surveys and help with literature reviews. Undergraduates are able to work closely with the graduate students on the team, under the supervision of Dr. Erika Felix.

Requirements

A prospective volunteer would need to meet with Dr. Felix first, to discuss interest, availability of opportunities, fit, and expectations. Students need to be responsible, reliable, and in good standing academically. We are open to any major, although priority will be given to students in the CNCSP Applied Psychology minor (but this is not a requirement to volunteer).

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Ruth Finkelstein

Location:
2127 Bio II
893-4800

Research Project

We study mechanisms of signal transduction in response to abscisic acid (ABA), a hormone that affects many important features of plant growth including embryo development, dormancy, stress tolerance, and senescence. We are using a genetic approach by studying mutants of Arabidopsis with altered sensitivity to ABA. We have cloned several transcription factors and several proteins of unknown biochemical function involved in ABA response and are currently investigating their regulation, interactions, and mechanism of action in the ABA- and stress-signaling network.

Undergraduate Contribution

Students participating in this project build recombinant DNA expression and reporter constructs, then analyze their function in yeast or plants; these techniques are directly transferable to studies of many other organisms. Students participating in this project analyze gene expression by RNA analyses and reporter activity, protein accumulation by Western blots and expression of fusion proteins, and test the effects of altered expression on growth, stress tolerance and gene expression of mutant or transgenic plants. Many undergrads have contributed to peer-reviewed publications.

Requirements

Motivation and interest in scientific research. Course prerequisites: Introductory Biology (MCDB 1AB), Genetics (MCDB 101AB or EEMB129, may be taken concurrently).

Kathy Foltz

Location:
3156 Marine Biotech
893-4774

Research Project

A main research question in our group centers on how eggs are activated at the time of fertilization. We use several marine invertebrates as model systems to address this process, which is highly conserved across all multicellular species, including mammals. Some of our projects focus on specific proteins and signaling pathways, others are more discovery-based.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates can contribute in several ways. First, students can learn how to evaluate large, information-rich data sets and search public databases as we compile and annotate the thousands of proteins that undergo changes in phosphorylation state or exhibit dynamic interaction complexing in the first few minutes post fertilization. Students can also assist in validation and characterization of candidate proteins. Finally, we are initiating a transcriptome assessment using deep sequencing in order to gain even further insight into the changes occurring in the egg to embryo transition and students will participate directly in mRNA isolation, library construction, and sequence analyses. All undergraduates in the lab assist with husbandry of marine invertebrates in seawater aquaria, learn to collect gametes, and to set and culture embryos.

Requirements

Students should have a GPA of 3.0 or higher and be passionate about investigating biological phenomena, viewing this as an opportunity to immerse in the process of science. There are no specific course requirements, though a strong background in genetics, cell biology and developmental biology is desirable. Familiarity with computers is helpful and any experience with RNA isolation and library construction is a plus. A minimum time commitment of 15 hr per week is required.

Communication

Andrew Flanagin

Location:
SS&MS 4131
893-7892

Research Project

This study will take the form of an online experiment on the perceived credibility of information originating from a type of Yelp/Foursquare application that provides ratings of various venues (e.g., restaurants, parks, bars, etc.). The main focus is on the extent to which particular features matter (and how they matter) to users, including the geographic proximity of the "rater" (who provides the information) to (a) the venue being rated, and (b) to the "consumer" (the person seeking the information). The study will also assess other indicators of reputation, such as how much information the rater has provided previously, as well as the impact of other factors such as the sex of the people involved, the type of venue being rated, etc.

Undergraduate Contribution

The main duties of the RAship would require helping to plan, design, test, and execute the study. It would require some research, providing feedback on the experimental stimuli (which we will collectively design), and providing basic input on the study. The RA would learn a lot about this particular study, and would be in a position to see how research is designed and carried out more generally. Necessary skills include commitment to the research topic, familiarity with the various kinds of online tools examined in the study (as a user, not as a programmer, etc.), research skills (finding and reading relevant research, and communicating those ideas in meetings), and a natural curiosity about research. Also, people who are willing to speak up and give their opinions/ideas are highly valued.

Requirements

Prerequisite GPA of 3.0 or greater, interest in the topic.

Sociology

John Foran

Location:
3417 SSMS
893-8199

Research Project

“The Climate Justice Project” is an ongoing collaboration of UCSB-affiliated students, graduates, and myself on the global climate justice movement. We have conducted a number of in-depth interviews with climate activists at the last five U.N. climate summits including at Paris in December 2015, when a global climate treaty was signed. Our challenge is to contribute to the efficacy of global civil society in building a social movement capable of forcing the governments of the world to negotiate a binding, ambitious, and just climate treaty to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet, which the “Paris Agreement” does not accomplish.

At this network’s core is the principle of climate justice: the desire that all humans claim responsibility for our impact on the world’s climate, so that communities may reclaim their rights to “live well” with healthy, creative lives rather than to simply “live better” or consume more, and that together we construct a future based on equity, deep democracy, and cooperation.  This involves unlocking the creativity of everyone to re-imagine the world in which we live in order to make way for new possibilities.

The Climate Justice Project is excited to be part of this life-affirming movement.  Among our research products and projects are reports, scholarly articles, and videos. Our work can be viewed at www.climatejusticeproject.com and at www.iicat.org.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates have been working on this project for several years, in a variety of capacities: transcribing audio and video interviews with climate justice activists; making research notes on key books, articles, and other documents; helping log and edit video footage for films in the making, including a full-length film on the global youth climate justice movement, tentatively called "Not Yet the End of the World."

Requirements

There are no prerequisites except an interest in the topic.

Anthropology

Anabel Ford

Location:
North Hall 1043
(805) 893-8191

Research Project

A multidisciplinary anthropological archaeological project in the Maya forest of El Pilar. Lab work includes work in a variety of arenas: archaeological collections, historical documentation, community assessment, tourism potentials, GIS, data input and review of vegetation, site maps, independent research related to data. Work in Anthropology, archaeology, geography, botany, fauna, community outreach are just some of the facets of the work.

Undergraduate Contribution

Student volunteers, interns and directed studies will involve students in the multiple aspects of the project leveraging on their specific interests. Artifact photography and inventory, ceramic sorting and evaluation, mapping and drawing related to field maps and artifacts, as well as reviewing and organizing artifact collections and historical materials. The opportunities are as diverse as they are engaging.

Requirements

Interest, enthusiasm, and dependability. Classes in anthropology, geography, and Spanish helpful.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Peter Ford

Location:
4649C PSBN
2443

Research Project

The Ford lab researches biologically relevant small molecules such as CS2, NO, and CO. Projects involve synthesizing small molecule donors as well as nanoparticles to create systems for light activated small molecule release. In particular we have demonstrated the release of CS2 from dithiooxalate (DTO), a CS2 donor, and further studies are directed towards other reaction products. For example, the photocatalyzed reaction using quantum dots and DTO releases CS2.

Another project is concerned with developing new procedures for the conversion of biomass to chemicals and fuels.  We are working with catalysts prepared from Earth-abundant elements thus avoiding the consumption of irreplaceable rare elements

See website for details.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates are fully involved in the projects including synthesizing nanoparticles, small molecule donors, and studying their release using various instrumentation and techniques with guidance from graduate student mentors.

Requirements

Completion of the General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry sequences and the associated labs. The other essential requirement is the strong desire to participate in a creative process that requires intellectual involvement and commitment.

East Asian Languages and Cultural Studies

Sabine Frühstück

Location:
HSSB 2232

Research Project

Gender and Sexuality in Modern Japan. In nine short chapters, this book will provide an introduction to the experiences of and debates about sex, gender, and sexuality with regards to males and females in modern and contemporary Japan. It will draw from and integrate historical, ethnographic, and cultural studies scholarship and emphasize moments of debate and conflict. In addition, it will include critical assessments of a select number of black and white visuals. Each chapter will be accompanied by both a short bibliography of key scholarship and a list of literary and film examples that represent or address the historical moments and issues described in the text—all in order to facilitate further exploration by a broad range of readers in and outside the academy.

Undergraduate Contribution

Reference search and verification, creation of a bibliography, summaries of publications, image searches.

Requirements

Excellent English, basic research and documentation skills, reliability, time management and communication skills. Good Japanese language skills a plus.

Pages