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.

Political Science

Amit Ahuja

Location:
3722 Ellison Hall
805-893-1427

Research Project

The project explores the effects of skin color in politics.

Undergraduate Contribution

The researcher is expected to perform a systematic search of reporting on skin color-related discussions across a set of news publications as well as search and identify corruption-related scholarly publications along assigned parameters. The student will update data-sets being built for the project. Timely submission of work and punctuality are a must for this position. The student will meet with the principal investigator once a week.

Requirements

Political Science/ Sociology/ History Majors. An interest in South Asia preferred but not mandatory. This course will count as a CP course and the student will be assigned a grade at the end of the quarter. The work requirements in this course are equivalent of a 4 credit hour course. The interested student should submit a cover letter detailing their expression of interest in the project and also a copy of their C.V. that contains their most current GPA.

Location:
3722 Ellison Hall
805-893-1427

Research Project

The project explores the differences in the experience of corruption across different economic strata in South Asia.

Undergraduate Contribution

The researcher is expected to perform a systematic search of reporting of corruption across a set of news publications as well as search and identify corruption-related scholarly publications along assigned parameters. Timely submission of work and punctuality are a must for this position. The student will meet with the principal investigator once a week.

Requirements

Political Science/ Sociology/ History Majors. An interest in South Asia is preferred but not mandatory. The work requirements in this course are equivalent of a 4 credit hour course. The interested student should submit a cover letter detailing their expression of interest in the project and also a copy of their C.V. The documents should contain the student's most current GPA.

Environmental Studies

Peter Alagona

Location:
Bren 4013

Research Project

Scientists and conservationists have long viewed cities as the antithesis of nature, and as destroyers of wildlife habitat. Over the past two decades, however, wild animals have appeared in American cities and in cities throughout the highly developed world in numbers not seen for generations. Urban ecosystems are some of the most dynamic and interesting spaces for understanding ecological change in the Anthropocene, but our understanding of these systems remains in its infancy. We know remarkably little about how wild animals travel, breed, consume resources, establish territory, and use the built environment in urban spaces. We know even less about how such animals interact with humans, or what people think about them. This project aims to produce the first major book to explore the history of wildlife in American cities designed to reach a broad audience.

Undergraduate Contribution

FRAP undergraduate assistants will assist in the creation of a bibliography and database of source materials on the history of wildlife in American cities. 

Requirements

Successful applicants must have excellent reading comprehension and writing skills.

Spanish and Portuguese Studies

Aline Alves Ferreira

Location:
Phelps 4327

Research Project

My laboratory (Bilingualism, Translation and Cognition Laboratory) has been created and I am developing an experimental design for a new data collection, divided in Part 1 and Part 2:

Part 1: Data will be collected in my lab. Participants are our language students (heritage speakers or speakers of Spanish as an L2) who received excellent training from our professors, instructors, and TA’s. However, those participants have different levels of proficiency, and often have to do translation and interpreting within their own communities without any prior specific training. There is a long way between being bilingual and being able to produce good quality written translations and provide good oral interpreting services - after developing translation competence. The development of awareness and familiarity with the nature and structure of specific problems and problem solving skills can be developed as a result of knowledge accumulation. It includes ongoing pattern learning, resulting in the recognition, representation, and storage of meta-knowledge. In order to become a translation expert, one has to know translation and all of its sub-competences better and at deeper levels than anyone else.

Part 2: Data will be collected in my lab (whenever is possible) and also at the translators’ office. As it is extremely difficult for translators to leave their work place to carry out a translation in experimental conditions, I am planning to go to the translators’ offices and conduct the study in an environment that is well known for the participants, without extreme interference on the ecological validity of the experiment. Those participants are professional translators and already have developed competence in translation; however, they are constantly challenged by their daily tasks resulting in an ongoing pattern leaning in a different way (in comparison to students).

It seems primordial to understand better our students’ and professional profiles, as each individual presents different linguistic characteristics that have to be investigated before the translation/interpreting training. I hope that the training will result in better prepared community interpreters and translators for our community. In order to improve the practice of translation, students’ individual characteristics should be investigated. A comparison with a professional group will be carried out. Results should indicate in which direction our programs could go in order to better answer to our students’ needs. Better professionals, in consequence, are beneficial to our community.

Aims

This study aims at investigating how translation competence is acquired in our context (students from UCSB, commonly Spanish heritage speakers, English dominant speakers), based on a detailed analysis of each student’s language skills, background, and performance. For instance, proficiency in both languages must be evaluated, along with student’s language and cultural dominance. Each of those variables plays a different role in the development of the translation competence and its sub-competences (e.g., linguistic, cultural, textual, subject, research, and transfer competence). In this sense, the proposed research aims at investigating the development of the bilingual sub-competences and how they are related to the translation performance into both languages (first language and second language). The study will also investigate patterns in professional translation’ behavior when carrying out translation tasks from English into Spanish and from Spanish into English. The same variables (language skills, background, and performance) will be analyzed.

Undergraduate Contribution

Different types of materials will be used to collect data about the translation process and product, as well the participants’ bilingual characteristics. The results will be triangulated. Research Assistants will help me to analyze the data in the laboratory (linguistics), and possibly co-author a study with me.

Requirements

SPAN100 or SPAN594F

Candidate must feel comfortable using computers and confident in their ability to learn any new programs quickly (including R and/or SPSS)

Education

Diana Arya

Location:
Building #275, Office #3151
(805) 893-2185

Research Project

There are several research projects under development or in full progress, each designed to make visible and potentially transform K-12 instructional and assessment literacy models and practices. Such projects include the study of innovative, after-school programs that emphasize environmental awareness and community-based literacies, school-based, dialogic reading experiences with diverse children's literature, and transforming K-12 literacy assessments for a multilingual, multicultural student population.

Undergraduate Contribution

Research opportunities for undergraduate students may include data collection, conducting interviews, transcription, analyses of transcribed and other recorded data sources, with the potential for co-authorship.

Requirements

For each opportunity, we are looking for undergraduate students in good academic standing to work as research assistants (RAs) for either course credit or hourly pay, depending on time of application and expertise of the applicant.

Location:
Education 3151
x 2185

Research Project

The Problem-based Initiatives for Powerful Engagement and Learning In Naval Engineering and Science (PIPELINES) program aims to create engineering and science design experiences that engage undergraduate students to Navy Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) careers and personnel. This program is an opportunity for veterans, underrepresented community college (CC) and university undergraduate students who major in STEM-related subjects and wish to pursue a civil career in the Navy, to participate in an 8-week immersive experience, where teams of students compete in finding the most innovative and effective design solutions to real-world Naval engineering and science design projects. We are currently in the first iteration of this program and are engaged in research and analysis of all collected data.

Undergraduate Contribution

We are currently searching for students who can support data organization of program materials and transcription. Students will have opportunities to engage in preliminary analysis and interpretation.

Requirements

Second to fourth year standing. 3.0 GPA or higher. Interested in educational research, STEM learning in higher ed contexts, or video transcription/analysis.

Mechanical Engineering

Paul Atzberger

Location:
South Hall 6712
893-3239

Research Project

Mathematical modeling and computational simulation of problems arising in fluid mechanics, soft materials, and biophysics. See the research website for more details at http://www.atzberger.org/

Undergraduate Contribution

Mathematical modeling and computational simulation work in collaboration with research members. Development of models, implementation of numerical methods, and performance of simulation studies. Present results in workshops and group meetings.

Requirements

Some experience with programming would be helpful, but not strictly required. Overall, a strong motivation and enthusiasm to use mathematical approaches to tackle problems arising in the sciences and engineering.

Mathematics

Paul Atzberger

Location:
South Hall 6712
893-3239

Research Project

Mathematical modeling and computational simulation of problems arising in fluid mechanics, soft materials, and biophysics. See the research website for more details at http://www.atzberger.org/

Undergraduate Contribution

Mathematical modeling and computational simulation work in collaboration with research members. Development of models, implementation of numerical methods, and performance of simulation studies. Present results in workshops and group meetings.

Requirements

Some experience with programming would be helpful, but not strictly required. Overall, a strong motivation and enthusiasm to use mathematical approaches to tackle problems arising in the sciences and engineering.

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Donald Aue

Location:
Chem 2134
805-967-6385

Research Project

We have projects that utilize computational chemistry to calculate reaction energies and other properties for organic, organometallic and bioorganic molecules. Reaction mechanisms, including novel bifurcation reaction pathways, are also studied. The computational methods utilized are based upon quantum mechanical calculations at various levels of approximation, from DFT(density functional theory) up to the most accurate CCSD and CCSD-F12 methods.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates have been fully involved in independent projects that utilize local Unix computers and supercomputers centers. Students learn to use the Unix/Linux operating system commands and the Gaussian and Molpro quantum calculation programs, together with the Molden and Gaussview 3-D input and output analysis software. Excel spreadsheets are used to analyze the numerical data produced.

Requirements

A general familiarity with computers and Word and Excel is desirable. Special programming skills are not required, though script writing is useful. Freshman and Organic chemistry classes are useful.

Global and International Studies

Javiera Barandiaran

Location:
SSMS 2129

Research Project

Water and oil, cornerstones of the state’s economy, are becoming increasingly scarce across California. The effects of this relative scarcity are particularly noticeable in central regions and in parts of Santa Barbara County where industrial agriculture and oil extraction have long co-existed, where ongoing histories of mineral and water rights are complex and contested, and where large numbers of once-abandoned oil wells are being redeveloped using water-intensive oil extraction techniques. To address such scarcity effects and their implications, policy-makers, communities, corporations, and scientists have developed new modes of knowing, governing, and engaging with the underground. For example, the state’s first legislative plan for sustainably managing groundwater resources (SGMA) was introduced in 2014, and affected groups and communities are currently forming management agencies and plans now required by law by 2020. Meanwhile, recent permit applications for oil well redevelopment have met with widespread resistance. Regional social science research to date has focused primarily on conflicts between different commercial interests, environmental concerns, water users, and management systems, but without specifically studying developments in how the underground is imagined and governed – the focus of our proposed research.

Undergraduate Contribution

We seek undergraduate student(s) who can assist with research on the following topics: (1) clarifying the permission process; (2) identifying the range of actors involved in developing the Cat Canyon oil fields in north Santa Barbara county; (3) identifying who owns the land and the business model proposed in the redevelopment of these oil fields; (4) analyze the EIR report submitted as part of the permission process; (5) identify the ranchers living and working in the area; (6) determining what water regime operates in the Cat Canyon area.

Requirements

Students must be comfortable working with government documents (or be willing to learn); be able to listen to instructions and follow them, as well as take the initiative when appropriate; be meticulous with note-taking and record keeping; be familiar with legal and technical terms in English. Interest in environmental and water issues is an asset, as is prior knowledge of oil extraction.

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