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

Jeremy Douglass

Location:
South Hall 2518

Research Project

The Transverse Reading Project is studying the media structures in comic page layouts, poetic rhyme schemes, and video game plots. This phase focuses on gamebooks -- that is, playable print stories. This project will data mine, analyze, and visualize branching plot structures in hundreds of interactive stories, principally gamebooks from the Demian Katz Gamebook Collection.

Undergraduate Contribution

Researchers will receive training and conduct archival research at UCSB Library Special Collections, encode game narratives, map interactive stories, and participate in data analysis, information visualization, and write up research results.

Requirements

Reliable and eager to learn. Archival research requires being detail-oriented and organized. No technical skills required, but researchers should be open to working with software and learning new things. Interests in literature, games, and interactive media are an asset.

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

Linguistics

John DuBois

Location:
3520 South Hall

Research Project

Students with an interest in language and linguistics are invited to participate in a research team called the Rezonators. We work with a program called the Rezonator to markup, visualize, and analyze resonance in conversation. Resonance is based on similarity, parallelism, synonymy, antonymy, co-reference, or any other aspect of affinity that connects one word or phrase to another. Currently we are developing the software as a Game With a Purpose (GWAP) to support crowd-sourced research and discovery about the role of resonance in language and interaction.

Undergraduate Contribution

Students will use the Rezonator to markup resonance in conversation; participate in weekly lab meetings; give feedback to team members on their work; participate in studies of inter-annotator reliability; and prepare a final presentation and research report. Students are expected to contribute a minimum of 5-8 hours per week to these activities.

Requirements

To qualify for participation, students should have a GPA of at least 3.5 at UCSB, and be pursuing a major or minor in Linguistics or a related discipline (such as Computer Science). Students should be willing to contribute actively to all individual and group activities (see above).

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.

Earth Science

Zachary Eilon

Location:
2116 Webb Hall

Research Project

The physical properties of the Earth's crust are dictated by the chemical composition, temperature, deformation history, and presence of subsurface fluids or melt. In turn, these properties control how the shallow Earth responds to the passage of seismic waves, both for strong shaking caused by nearby earthquakes and for light vibrations resulting from earthquakes thousands of miles away. Understanding these shallow properties is therefore essential for improving our estimates of seismic hazard and for interpreting seismic signals used to probe the deeper Earth interior.

This project involves: 

1) Analysis of thousands of earthquake signals recorded at seismic stations across the US, using pre-written MATLAB codes to measure shallow wave speeds. 

2) Statistical interpretation of the apparent wave speeds to extract information about the sub-surface. 

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate researcher will undertake the following tasks using pre-written MATLAB codes:

1) Download seismic data from online databases

2) Check waveforms and select time windows to perform wave speed measurements

3) Compile measurements from multiple earthquakes and stations into a master dataset

4) Conduct statistical analysis on the data, looking for patterns and best-fitting results at each station

5) Interpretation of results in the context of Earth's physical properties

6) Publication of results, including database of best-fitting wave speeds + statistical uncertainties Computational resources will be made available for all data analysis.

Requirements

Some experience with coding (especially MATLAB)

Earth 2, 100 (+ ideally 131/134/135/136)

Math 2A, 3A, 3B, 4A, (+ ideally 6A)

Physics 1, 2, 3 (+ ideally 4)

** If you are interested in this project, please contact me (eilon@ucsb.edu) to discuss your experience even if you don't have all the prerequisites above. Hard work and interest are just as important as coursework. Women and underrepresented minority students are particularly encouraged to apply. **

Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology

Stu Feinstein

Location:
5123 Bio II
(805) 893-2659

Research Project

Tau is a microtubule-associated protein whose dysfunction and/or dysregulation are associated with many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Recent work from the Feinstein lab and others indicates that tau may operate as a dimer or higher order oligomer as part of its normal and pathological action. This project will use a split luciferase strategy to test the hypothesis that tau's N-terminus is necessary for oligomerization in HEK 293 cells and then identify residues necessary for this activity.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will employ a number of widely used molecular and cell biology techniques, first by building recombinant tau cDNA constructs using techniques such as bacterial cell culture, cloning, and gel electrophoresis. Students will also learn how to analyze sequencing data for cloning validation. Upon construct completion, students will learn to culture and transfect mammalian cells and confirm protein expression by SDS-PAGE and Western blotting. Students will also assist with data analysis of from split luciferase assays, including an introduction to statistical techniques commonly used in the biological sciences.

Requirements

Students should have a strong genetic and biochemistry background and a curiosity and passion for basic research. Looking for a minimum commitment of 15 hr per week and the ability to work summers.

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).

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).

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.

French and Italian

Claudio Fogu

Location:
Phelps 5324

Research Project

I need a student to scan several articles and portions of books as well as conduct some research in the library over Spring Quarter 2018 for my research project on "Italy Seen from the Mediterranean."

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate contribution to the project will be as described one of helping me assemble my research in digital format for easy consultation and doing some targeted subject research online and at the library.

Requirements

Interest in historical matters and ability to navigate library websites.

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