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.

Sociology

Lisa Hajjar

Location:
SSMS 3018

Research Project

I need help organizing the research I have been conducting over the past 15 years for a book project, The War in Court: The Legal Campaign against US Torture. Specifically, this research includes approximately 200 interviews with lawyers who have worked in some capacity to challenge the US torture program in the context of the "war on terror," as well as field notes from my observations at Guantanamo military commission trials, and conferences and other torture-related events. I need to create a searchable database of this research, a summary of each item, and an electronic scan of the materials.

Undergraduate Contribution

An undergraduate research assistant would use my materials to create the database, summarize each item, and produce electronic scans. The student will work with me to devise a framework for the searchable database and delineate the key elements to be included in summaries (e.g., names of interviewees, dates and locations, nature of interviewee's work, topics discussed in the interview, etc). This would provide the student with the opportunity to learn by my example how longitudinal qualitative research is conducted, and how to organize such research in a user-friendly manner for a book project.

Requirements

The student must be an upper-level student who has taken at least one of the following courses and earned a grade of B+ or higher: Soc 173 (Sociology of Law), Soc 173R (Sociology of Human Rights). The student must be highly organized, capable of learning how to use a database software (TBD), and interested in the topic of my research.

Psychological and Brain Sciences

David Hamilton

Location:
Bldg. 251, Rm. 3819
805-893-2456

Research Project

People form first impressions of others quickly and easily, even from minimal information. Research has shown that people routinely infer trait qualities about a person from information they learn about the person’s behaviors. In fact, this happens spontaneously, without intention and even without the perceivers’ awareness that they are making these inferences. In other words, they begin forming a first impression immediately and automatically. Our research has shown that perceivers spontaneously make similar trait inferences about groups, based on the behaviors performed by a group. Again, perceivers are forming group impressions immediately and automatically, without being aware they are doing so.

The current project builds upon and extends this line of research. A series of studies (1-2 per quarter) are planned in which we will determine whether perceivers can spontaneously form simultaneous, yet different, impressions of two or more groups. The paradigm used in these studies can determine whether this can happen even when people are not intending to do so (their task presumably is simply to remember the sentences) and they are not aware that they are in fact making those inferences. In these experiments we will present information about two different groups and will test whether two distinct impressions can be unconsciously formed and retained in memory under these conditions.  The results of these studies will be very informative regarding the nature of human inference processes in group and intergroup perception, with implications for foundations of stereotype formation.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will assist in several phases of the research: preparation of experimental materials, conducting experimental sessions, data coding and entry, library research.

Requirements

3.0 GPA, Psychology majors only. 

Mary Hegarty

Location:
Bldg. 251, Rm.3812
893-3750

Research Project

This project will focus on individual difference and sex differences in various spatial abilities and skills, including mental and manual rotation and navigation in real and virtual environments.  A major question this work seeks to explore is how participants at different levels of spatial abilities use different strategies in performing spatial tasks.

Undergraduate Contribution

The contribution of the undergraduate involved in this work will include running participants, data management such as entry and coding, and organization of the research.

We are also interested in finding students with a computer science background who would be interested in programming experiments using virtual environment technologies.

Requirements

We require at least a 3.0 GPA and previous training as a lab assistant is preferable. Additionally, the student should be interested in spatial abilities and research in general.

Education

Danielle Harlow

Location:
ED 3105

Research Project

MOXI, the Wolf Museum of Exploration and Innovation is a new museum being built in Santa Barbara. We will be investigating how children and adults interact with the museum exhibits and the role of playful interactions, creative design, and making sense of observations in learning about science and engineering.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will help by collecting data (observing, surveying, and interviewing visitors at MOXI), analyzing data and presenting reports.

Requirements

Interest in museums, informal science learning, teaching and/or working with children.

Location:
EDUC 3105

Research Project

We are investigating how children learn computer programming and how the curriculum supports their learning. We are working with children and teachers in local 4th-6th grade classrooms.

Undergraduate Contribution

Undergraduates will work with faculty and graduate students in multiple stages of the research project from collecting data data, transcribing video, and analyzing video data.

Requirements

Students should have some familiarity with block-based computer programming (scratch.mit.edu) or be willing to learn.

History

Tsuyoshi Hasegawa

Location:
Hssb 4252

Research Project

I am looking for an undergraduate research assistant with reading knowledge of Russian to assist me on my research on crime and police during the Russian Revolution in Petrograd, March 1917-Marcy 1918.

Undergraduate Contribution

Library work, copying, scanning, organizing notes

Requirements

Reading knowledge of Russian

English

Elizabeth Heckendorn Cook

Location:
South Hall 2503

Research Project

The "Early Modern British Theater: Access" project is creating a searchable database that collects and catalogs multimedia resources relating to British theater and dramatic literature, 1500-1800. Our goal is to help instructors and students get a sense of the collaborative and multisensorial aspects of theater in the period. Part of our team research involves identifying current 'best practices' for digital humanities projects. We aim to 'go public' in early 2015; right now our 'front end' (only) is available athttp://embta.english.ucsb.edu/about.

Undergraduate Contribution

Following EMBTA protocols and under graduate-student supervision, undergrad team members will review and standardize the items already identified for the database. They will also identify and report on new resources (databases, performance materials, other publications).

Requirements

Reliable; detail-oriented. Interest in theater studies and / or digital humanities projects a plus!

Environmental Studies

Robert Heilmayr

Location:
Bren 4023

Research Project

Global markets for palm oil are an important driver of deforestation in Southeast Asia. However, there is increasing hope that the global supply chains driving land use change may also provide unique opportunities to halt deforestation. Eco-certification and zero-deforestation commitments seek to change the environmental footprint of palm oil production. In this research project, the Heilmayr lab is combining remote sensing and econometrics to quantify the impact of these new policies.

Undergraduate Contribution

While companies are beginning to make data about their oil palm supply chains public, the data is messy and inconsistent. The Student Research Assistant (SRA) will support efforts to collect, clean and organize this data in a more consistent format. Working under the guidance of Prof. Heilmayr, the SRA will aggregate this information in a geospatial database. Using this database, the SRA may support preliminary analysis of oil palm market structure and environmental impacts.

Requirements

At a minimum, applicants should have a high attention to detail and be available to work 20 hours per week during the fall and/or winter quarters. Ideal candidates would also meet several of the following criteria:
- Track record conducting quantitative, academic research;
- Experience with geospatial information systems (GIS);
- Ability to read Bahasa Malaysia or Bahasa Indonesia.

Ecology Evolution and Marine Biology

Scott Hodges

Location:
4105 LSB
805-893-7813

Research Project

This project seeks to determine the genetic dominance effects of naturally varying alleles of a floral homeotic gene AP3-3, which affects petal development. The petals of flowers of the columbine genus, Aquilegia, produce distinctive nectar spurs that aid in pollination. However we have identified multiple alleles at this locus associated with the homeotic transformation of petals into a second set of sepals. These alleles vary in their predicted severity of the mutation to the coded protein product. We seek to determine whether some of these alleles differ in their dominance effects.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate will use PCR amplification of the AP3-3 followed by restriction enzyme digestion to identify plants with different alleles. They will then make crosses with wild type or mutant plants to create offspring differing by being either heterozygous or homozygous for the mutant allele. They will then grow these, determine whether they are homozygous or heterozygous and correlate the genotypes with the phenotype of the flowers.

Requirements

Have taken Introductory Biology, and preferably Genetics.

Enthusiasm for plant biology and genetics.

Location:
4105 LSB
805-893-7813

Research Project

The goal of this project is to test the function of candidate genes predicted to affect the development of nectar spurs in columbines, the genus Aquilegia. Previous experiments have implicated a number of genes, including specific transcription factors, that have expression patterns highly correlated with the development of nectar spurs. To test these predictions we will utilize Viral Induced Gene Silencing (VIGS) that allows us to specifically knockdown the amount of mRNA for any specific gene and thus reduce the amount of protein for which it codes. We then see if the knockdown of a gene has the predicted effect, i.e., that nectar spurs are no long produced.

Undergraduate Contribution

The undergraduate for this project will work closely with a postdoctoral associate in our laboratory. The undergraduate will assist all aspects of the VIGS experiment including the molecular biology of producing constructs to specifically target a gene, production of the bacterial vector delivery system, inoculation of plants, growing and scoring the plants for changes in phenotype, collecting and testing tissue for successful inoculation and testing affected tissue for the predicted change in mRNA amount and exploring the potential effects on the expression of other genes.

Requirements

Introductory Biology

Other: Introductory genetics strongly encouraged, laboratory courses which utilize molecular biology or microbiological techniques and organizational skills

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