Research Projects by Subject

Note: Each research project will involve background reading for the interns provided by their mentors. Each research project will involve a final presentation by the interns.

Interns are expected to work collaboratively on the same project and/or data set. This may preclude rising seniors from submitting papers based on such projects to the Intel Science Talent Search competition.

Astronomy & Astrophysics

Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-01 Title: Surface Compositions of Red Giant Stars in Globular Clusters
Primary mentor: Marie Wingyee Lau
Faculty advisor: Prof. Graeme Smith
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Globular clusters are collections of 10^3 to 10^6 old stars in the Milky Way and other galaxies. Within a globular cluster, the stars have usually formed at the same time out of material in the same nebula, with rather small chemical composition variations across stars of similar luminosities. The SIP interns and mentors on this research project will study the chemical compositions of the surface of red giant stars in globular clusters. While some astronomers think that the small chemical composition variations across different red giants were already present in the material that the stars formed from, the mentors on this project contend the stars’ own evolution will also change the chemical compositions on their surfaces.

Tasks: The SIP interns will download spectroscopic data of red giant stars of ten globular clusters. The interns will then study whether the oxygen and sodium abundances correlate with luminosities of the stars, which will be an evidence of stellar evolution effects. We will make use of the results from the SIP interns from last year, when we studied another ten globular clusters. If the oxygen or sodium abundance seems to depend on luminosity, the SIP interns will further quantify how strong the dependence is through running statistical tests. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-02 Title: Study of White Dwarf Stars in the Disk and Halo of our Milky Way Galaxy
Primary mentor: Emily Cunningham
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: White dwarf (WD) stars represent the final phase in the life of solar-mass stars as they fade into oblivion. The extreme low luminosity of WDs means that most detailed measurements of such stars are limited to samples in our immediate neighborhood in the thin disk of the Milky Way galaxy. The mentor is conducting the HALO7D survey, a survey of unprecedented depth of Sun-line main sequence turnoff stars in the Milky Way's outer halo using a combination of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images and Keck DEIMOS spectra. Faint WD stars are rare but useful by-products of this survey. They are identified by their relatively blue colors, large proper motion (both measured from the deep, multi-epoch HST images), and characteristic spectral Balmer absorption features (measured from Keck spectra). The WDs found in the HALO7D survey will yield new insights on the old stellar population associated with the Milky Way's thick disk and halo.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn about HST data and proper motion measurements derived from them. They will also learn about Keck DEIMOS spectra and the spectral characteristics of WD stars. The SIP interns will use the Python programming language to develop data analysis techniques for separating the WD population from the rest of the stars in the HALO7D sample. Finally, they will make radial velocity measurements and study the kinematics and spectral characteristics of the Milky Way thick disk and halo WD populations.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-03 Title: Galaxy Formation and Evolution: Comparing Supercomputer Simulations with Observations
Primary mentor: Christoph Lee
Faculty advisor: Prof. Joel Primack
Location: -
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Recent observations by the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) of galaxies in the process of formation compared with the mentor's group's supercomputer simulations have revealed unexpected aspects of galaxy evolution. It was generally thought that galaxies start as disks, that merging disk galaxies make stellar spheroids, and that larger disks can then form around these spheroids – bulges at the centers of disk galaxies like our own Milky Way. However, the HST observations are showing us that most galaxies start not as disks, but rather as elongated systems shaped like zucchinis or sausages. This is consistent with the mentors' simulations, which show that these elongated galaxies are oriented along the dark matter filaments of the Cosmic Web. Both simulations and observations indicate that most early star-forming galaxies have gigantic clumps of stars, hundreds or thousands of times more massive than the largest star-forming regions or globular clusters in the Milky Way or nearby galaxies, and that star-forming galaxies undergo "compaction" processes that make their centers so bright with new star formation that their visible size decreases. The mentors' are running many new simulations, and the SIP projects will be to analyze the simulations and compare them with the observations both by HST and ground-based observatories such as Keck. With a grant from Google, the mentors are using a convolutional neural net based machine learning method, also called Deep Learning, to analyze the simulation outputs and compare them with observations. The plan is to use observations to try to determine observational correlates of simulation phenomena, and SIP internship projects will be developed in this area that are at an appropriate level depending on the SIP interns’ capabilities.

Tasks: The SIP interns working will do analyses of the mentor's group's simulation outputs and compare them with astronomical observations. The interns will learn powerful computing and visualization tools, including using the mentors' Deep Learning code, and the interns will be welcome to use the UCSC Hyades astronomical supercomputer, the mentors' petabyte astro-data system and 3D AstroVisualization Lab.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-04 Title: What Happens Around Supermassive Black Holes
Primary mentor: Dr. Martin Gaskell
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Astronomers now believe that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole in its center. Because of the tremendous energy released as the black hole grows by swallowing gas, these black holes can be readily detected as so-called “active galactic nuclei” (AGNs) back to very early times in the Universe. The details of how supermassive black holes form and grow and how this is related to the formation of normal galaxies is one of the central mysteries of contemporary astrophysics. The mentor’s research group is analyzing spectra and spectral variability to try to understand how AGNs produce the intense radiation seen, what the structure of material around the black hole is like, and how supermassive black holes grow.

Tasks: SIP intern involvement in the project will consist of analyzing multi-wavelength spectral observations of relatively nearby actively accreting supermassive black holes to try to understand the emissions and how the black holes grow. This work will involve compiling data sets, applying corrections, making statistical estimates of parameters, and comparing the results with theoretical models of processes going on around black holes.

URL: http://campusdirectory.ucsc.edu/cd_detail?uid=mgaskell
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-05 Title: Ultraviolet Brightness of Solar-Like Stars
Primary mentor: Prof. Graeme Smith
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The Sun emits energy at far-ultraviolet wavelengths. This energy originates from a hot outer atmosphere. While the energy producing mechanism is still mysterious, it does appear to relate to the amount of magnetic activity that is occurring within the outer layers of the Sun. Theories of the strength of the Sun's outer magnetic field indicate that the field strength is likely to have varied significantly since the formation of the Sun. The young Sun is thought to have been much more magnetically active than at the present time. How can we test this theory? One method: there are a lot of stars out there that have masses and temperatures very similar to the Sun, but very different ages. We refer to such stars as "Solar analogs." The far-ultraviolet brightnesses of many such stars have been measured as a by-product of the mission of the Galaxy Evolution Explorer satellite (GALEX) in orbit around the Earth. This SIP project is aimed at compiling a database of  GALEX far-ultraviolet brightness measurements of Solar analog stars for which some independent information is known about the age of the star. The SIP interns can use these data to answer the question that is at the center of this project: Does the ultraviolet brightess of Solar analog stars change in a way that varies with the age of the star? If so, the project would obtain evidence that the magnetic fields in the atmospheres of Solar analog stars vary with stellar age. In a sense, this project would be using other Sun-like stars in the Galaxy to infer how the magnetic activity of the Sun has been changing since the formation of the Solar System.  

Tasks: GALEX data is available through a website hosted by the Space Telescope Science Institute. The SIP interns will use this website to compile lists of far ultraviolet brightness measurements for lists of Solar analog stars that will be provided by the mentor. In addition, the SIP interns will also collect other data for the stars  that can also be conveniently obtained through internet data bases. With the data in hand, the SIP interns will calculate ratios that compare the far ultraviolet brightess of each star to the brightness at visible wavelengths. Such ratios can then be graphed against stellar age to search for correlations and trends. This project will introduce SIP interns to some of the most fundamental properties of stars that astronomers study.

URL: http://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/profiles/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=ghsmith
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF ON ON ON REM ON ON OFF


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-06 Title: Population Study of VERITAS Gamma Ray Burst Follow-up Observations
Primary mentor: Skyler Scott
Faculty advisor: Prof. David A. Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Gamma ray bursts (GRBs) are the most luminous source of high-energy gamma rays observed to date, and, in terms of total electromagnetic power output,  are among the most energetic astrophysical phenomena currently known. The origin of GRBs is thought to be the core-collapse supernovae of hyper-massive stars or the merger of two compact objects, such as a pair of neutron stars. Though GRBs are routinely detected by the by spaced-based instruments, such as the Swift BAT and Fermi GBM in the hard x-ray and low-energy gamma-ray wavebands, a statistically significant detection of very-high-energy (VHE; E > 200 GeV) radiation remains elusive. The VHE astrophysics group at UCSC (PI: David Williams) participates in a collaboration that operates VERITAS, a ground-based gamma-ray observatory located at Whipple Observatory in Arizona. VERITAS has performed 150 follow-up observations in the 200 GeV to 10 TeV waveband on GRBs originally detected by Swift or Fermi. About two thirds of these have precise locations identified on the sky from the satellite observations.

Tasks: The topic of this project is the study of these well-localized GRBs, both as individual observations and as a population. The primary goal of the SIP interns will be to obtain constraints on the amount of very-high-energy emission from this set of GRB observations. These constraints will then be used to evaluate the validity of the various proposed models for gamma-ray emission from GRBs, which is a topic of interest to both experimenters and theorists in the astrophysics community. The SIP interns will use the data analysis tools developed by the VERITAS collaboration in the framework of the ROOT analysis package developed at CERN for high energy physics and astrophysics.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-07 Title: A Redshift Survey of Galaxies and Quasars in the Background of the Andromeda Galaxy
Primary mentor: Namrata Roy
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Astronomers have carried out redshift surveys of distant galaxies to study the evolution of galaxy properties over cosmic time. The mentor's research team used the Keck II 10-meter telescope and DEIMOS spectrograph to carry out the SPLASH spectroscopic survey of stars in the Andromeda galaxy (M31), our nearest large galactic neighbor. An unintended by-product of the SPLASH survey is a spectroscopic redshift survey of a few thousand distant galaxies and quasars in the background of M31. What is special about these M31 background objects is, unlike other distant galaxy redshift survey targets, these objects are star-like in terms of their image morphology (compact angular sizes). It would be interesting to compare the physical properties of M31 background galaxies – e.g., redshift distribution, color-magnitude distribution, emission line strengths/ratios, etc. – to those of galaxies in other redshift surveys.

Tasks: The SIP interns will use spectral cross-correlation techniques to measure the redshifts of M31 background galaxies and quasars. The interns will also carry out a variety of other spectroscopic and photometric measurements. A comparative analysis of the properties of the SPLASH survey background galaxy/quasars sample with the galaxies/quasars in the DEEP2/DEEP3 redshift survey will be particularly relevant.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-08 Title: The Ages and Chemistry of Globular Clusters and Nuclear Star Clusters
Primary mentor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Eric Peng, Elisa Toloba, Sungsoon Lim
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Globular clusters (GCs) are dense collections of ~100,000 stars that are bound to each other by their own gravity. The mentors' group has obtained spectra of hundreds of GCs in the Virgo cluster of galaxies, the nearest galaxy cluster to the Milky Way. Some of these GCs are satellites of known galaxies, while some are "orphans", free-floating among the galaxies themselves. The group has also observed many nuclear star clusters (NSCs), similar to globular clusters, but more massive and at the centers of galaxies. Both NSCs and "orphan" GCs could have their origins in satellite GCs, the former due to GC inspiral, and the latter if GCs are tidally stripped off of their hosts. The goal of this project is to use the spectroscopy of these three kinds of star clusters to compare the ages, metallicities, and chemical abundances of these three groups to see how related they may be.

Tasks: Because the individual spectra have relatively low signal-to-noise, the SIP interns will selectively combine the spectra of similar objects. On these "stacked" spectra, they will then be able to measure absorption line strengths and compare them to stellar population models, and also directly to other stacked spectra. They will compared the stacked spectra of satellite GCs with those of NSCs and orphans to see if their properties point to a common or different origin.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-09 Title: Spatial Substructure in the M87 Globular Cluster System
Primary mentor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Eric Peng, Elisa Toloba, Sungsoon Lim
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: One of the main predictions of living in a Universe dominated by cold dark matter is that galaxies should form through the continual merging and accretion of other smaller galaxies. Galaxies that form in this way should not be smooth, but rather be full of stellar streams, which are the shredded remnants of the smaller galaxies that merged in a long time ago. Globular clusters (GCs; small clusters of old stars that orbit about a galaxy) come in with these merged components, and are a tracer of galactic structure. A new data set containing thousands of GCs around the nearby massive galaxy, M87, presents a new opportunity to test whether galactic halos are smooth or as "lumpy" as expected from galaxy formation simulations.

Tasks: The SIP interns will analyze the spatial distribution of GCs around M87 and compare their real distribution to a theoretical "smooth" distribution. They will use tools to measure the large-scale GC distribution, and use that information to simulate a mock data set containing no substructure ("lumpiness"). They will also use visual inspection to mask regions with no data, or regions of known structure, applying these masks to the mock data set. The interns will use existing data (images, catalogs), but write their own computer programs to make the mock data set and do the statistical comparison. The SIP interns will also identify clusters of GCs in the data to look for new, heretofore undetected low surface brightness galaxies.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-10 Title: Globular Clusters in the Pandora Cluster of Galaxies from the Hubble Frontier Field Project
Primary mentor: Dr. Elisa Toloba
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Guillermo Barro, Sungsoon Lim, Eric Peng
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The goal of this project is to learn about the stellar content and chemical properties of globular clusters (GC; small groups of stars that orbit around a galaxy) in the Pandora cluster of galaxies, a large collection of gravitationally bound galaxies. GCs are fossil records of the violent interactions that shaped these massive clusters and the galaxies in them. With this study, the SIP interns and their mentor will gain new insight into galaxy cluster formation processes.

Tasks: The SIP interns will use the deepest images of galaxy clusters that the Hubble Space Telescope has ever taken – the so-called Hubble Frontier Fields. The mentor's team has catalogs of all the objects found in these very deep images. The SIP interns will use these catalogs to distinguish between different kinds of objects: galaxies in the cluster, galaxies in the background of the cluster, and GCs in the cluster. Once the samples are separated, the student will analyze the properties of these GCs using density plots, color-magnitude diagrams, and color-color diagrams.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Only out-of-area applicants will be considered for this virtually-mentored project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-11 Title: Characterizing the Performance of Atmospheric Cherenkov Telescopes for Searches for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
Primary mentor: Caitlin Johnson
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Imaging atmospheric Cherenkov telescopes (IACTs) are designed to record faint flashes of light produced in the Earth's atmosphere by the interactions of high-energy particles. These flashes are extended on the sky, and the telescope systems are optimized with that in mind. An optical flash from an extraterrestrial intelligence would similarly be a faint flash in the sky, but from a point source, rather than an extended one. IACTs have large mirror collection areas, giving them good sensitivity in principle to such faint flashes, but whether they would actually record them depends on the details of how the light illuminates the telescope cameras. In this project, the SIP interns and the mentor will use existing data from the VERITAS array of IACTs to study the camera response to stars, which are also point sources, in order to characterize how the telescopes would perform in an optical search for extraterrestrial intelligence (OSETI).

Tasks: The VERITAS telescopes are optimized to record light that falls across at least three pixels. This means that they are not optimized to detect point sources, such as stars, which likely cast light onto fewer than three pixels. The overarching goal of this project is to study what scenarios are possible for detecting point sources within the current VERITAS configuration. The SIP interns will need to study what quantities (e.g., star brightness or position on the camera) are important and impact the ability to make these detections. The interns will use pixel-level information about data taken by the VERITAS telescopes to work on their studies. The data have stars in the field of view which will allow the interns to study how light from the star is distributed across multiple pixels, the location in the camera, and how these change throughout an observation. The interns will download the pixel-level information from the VERITAS database and complete their studies using Python and geometry routines. No prior knowledge of programming is required, but interns will come away from the project having learned and used Python and MySQL.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-12 Title: Observational Biases in Tests of Gamma-Ray Attenuation, Continued
Primary mentor: Prof. David Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 1

Project description: Very-high-energy gamma rays from extragalactic astrophysical sources are attenuated by collisions with ultraviolet, optical, and infrared photons from stars. This starlight is known as the extragalactic background light (EBL) and is difficult to measure because of the Sun and the Milky Way. Models estimating the EBL use theoretical predictions of the rate of star formation or observational data on the number of galaxies as a function of luminosity. Some recent papers (e.g., Galanti et al. 2015, http://arxiv.org/abs/1503.04436; Rubtsov and Troitsky, http://arxiv.org/abs/1406.0239) have claimed that the gamma-ray data are not in good agreement with the best models, and that a new axion-like particle may be needed to explain the data.

Tasks: This project is for the continuation of work by a SIP intern that worked previously on the project during the 2016 edition of SIP. The SIP intern will work with the mentor to improve the models of the population of gamma-ray-emitting sources and combine them with better information on the sensitivity of the gamma-ray instruments, to study whether the observed disagreements could arise because all sources are not equally easy to detect.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF REM REM ON ON ON ON OFF


Biomolecular Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-01 Title: Investigating Cellular Sorting Function in Huntingtons's Disease Human RNAseq Data
Primary mentor: Gepoliano Chaves
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nader Pourmand
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Huntington's Disease is a neurodegenerative disease caused by an expansion in the glutamine codon of the Huntington (HTT) gene. Depending on the biological model, this neuropathy shows molecular mechanisms that are similar to other disorders, such as diabetes and Alzheimer's Disease (AD). For example, in a study submitted for publication, the mentor's group demonstrated that a gene, known to be a marker for both diabetes and AD, has its expression regulated by mutant HTT. Research of genes involved in several diseases has the potential to improve the understanding of the underlying biological processes, raising the possibility that drugs being investigated as a therapeutic alternative for one disease, could target the same gene in a parallel pathology.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will assist the mentor in identification of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in a human dataset from post-mortem HD patients collected from a paper previously published by a different group. The SIP interns will have the opportunity to see how genomic data is initially processed and analyzed, by installing software such as the Genome Analyses Tool Kit (GATK), and use a Unix interface. The aim of this step is to find evidence of dysregulation of signaling pathways that control the sorting function of the cell. The mentor's research group has identified protein sorting processes disruption to be a common feature between diabetes, HD and AD. The SIP interns will help understand whether and how the sorting process is being affected by mutant HTT in the mentioned dataset. The sorting function is the ability the cellular machinery has to transport its proteins to proper locations in order to establish the normal functioning of the cell. The end goal is to identify genetic variance (e.g. SNPs) associated with HD. The SIP interns will install tools for genome alignment, gene expression and SNPs calling.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Chemistry & Biochemistry

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-01 Title: Silver (Ag) Nanoparticles Deposited Onto Graphene Quantum Dots
Primary mentor: Rene Mercado
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Other mentors: Yi Yang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Fossil fuels have been the primary source of energy in our daily life – e.g., to heat or cool our buildings, power our cars, and run our appliances. However, fossil fuels are becoming limited in supply and will deplete by the year 2050, as predicted by the Department of Energy (DOE). Therefore, it is of urgent importance to develop a unique approach where chemical energy stored in fuel molecules is converted into electricity such as a fuel cell. Fuel cell operation typically involves two reactions, oxidation of small organic fuel molecules (e.g., methanol, ethanol, etc.) at the anode, and the reduction of oxygen into water at the cathode. Both require an effective catalyst. However, at the cathode a high mass loading of the catalyst is needed for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) because of its sluggish electron transfer kinetics. Therefore, this project is using Ag nanoparticles and depositing them onto nitrogen doped graphene quantum dots (GQDs). Nitrogen doped GQDs have showed thay they have comparable activity to that of Pt/GQD as a metal free catalyst, but by controlling the nitrogen content in the GQD matrix while having Ag deposited, this can lead to enhanced activity for ORR.

Tasks: The SIP interns will start by reviewing articles which will help them build a strong understanding of the material. They will learn how to synthesize nanoparticles, use characterizing techniques. Therefore, the will be able to plot their own data. Furthermore, the interns will learn how to intrepret data and will be expected to explain their results.

URL: http://chen.chemistry.ucsc.edu/schen.htm
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Statistical data analysis
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-02 Title: Study of Catalytic Performance of the Materials by Tuning the Interactions between Metal Nanoparticles and Supports
Primary mentor: Yi Peng
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Other mentors: Rene Mercado
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Some of the traditional metal nanoparticles (MNPs) based catalysts are limited by several disadvantages such as low accessible surface area, poisoning by surface capping ligands, poor durability, and internal inactivity. Moreover, most of the active MNPs are expensive and have low abundance on Earth. Thus, it is necessary and important to search for efficient methods to enhance the catalytic performance of the MNPs, however challenging this may be. Scientists have tried different ways of improving the performance of the catalysts, such as alloying MNPs, shape and/or size control of MNPs, etc. In this project, the SIP interns and mentor are going to study the effect of the interaction of MNPs and supports and try to enhance the catalytic performance of the catalysts by tuning the interactions.

Tasks: The SIP interns will start by reviewing articles which will help them build a strong understanding of the materials. The interns will learn a variety of strategies to synthesize metal nanoparticles on different supports, use a variety of techniques to characterize the materials, and learn how to plot and analyze the data. Furthermore, the SIP interns will learn how to interpret data and will be expected to explain their resuts.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-03 Title: Synthesis, Functionalization and Characterization of Bifunctional Janus Nanoparticles
Primary mentor: Jia Lu
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Janus nanoparticles – nanoparticles that have a different component on each side of its surface – have been studied extensively for their optical and catalysis properties. As a control experiment, bulk exchange nanoparticles with ligands randomly distributed on nanoparticle surface will also be synthesized. In comparing to bulk exchange nanoparticles, the unique properties of Janus nanoparticles can be observed due to nanoparticle self-assembly based upon segregation of ligands. Such unique properties include optical and catalytical properties. This study will focus on examining the chiral property of Janus nanoparticles upon surface ligand functionalization and self-assembly. This project will involve the synthesis of various noble metal nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes. Functionalization of bifunctional Janus nanoparticles will be done by interfacial ligand exchange using Langmuir-Blodgett trough. Characterization of nanoparticles will be done using UV-visible spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, etc.

Tasks: SIP interns will be taught to read and search research articles, and possibly come up with their own ideas. SIP interns will also be trained on noble metal nanoparticle synthesis and functionalization. Part of the nanoparticle characterization work will be done by the SIP interns: UV-vis spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, etc. Data analysis using a variety of software will also be taught to SIP interns.

URL: http://chen.chemistry.ucsc.edu/index.htm
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Basic knowledge in chemistry, Microsoft Excel
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-04 Title: Size-Control of Silver-Nanoparticles for Enhancement of Antibacterial Activity
Primary mentor: Gustavo Chata
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The overuse of antibacterial antibiotics has led to bacterial resistance. Beta-lactam antibiotics which are specific in targeting cell membrane have lost their antibacterial potency due to the production beta-lactamase (enzymes degrade beta-lactam antibiotics). Bacterial resistance has increased regardless of the concentration of the antibiotic and/or use of various analogues. The developed resistance of bacteria has driven the study of metal-based nanoparticles like silver-nanoparticles to incur activity via ionization of the metal. While silver-nitrate (a metal-based salt of silver) demonstrate enhanced antibacterial activity in certain biological media, its activity can decrease in the presence of certain type of anions such as Cl–. Therefore the design of a AgNP may improve activity of Ag in physiological conditions by allowing for control of its size, surface functionalization, and structure.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be trained in the synthesis, characterization, data analysis, and biological applications of metal-based nanoparticles. Literature readings will be assigned weekly to reinforce the SIP interns' knowledge of the technical and conceptual aspects of the research.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-05 Title: Advanced Transition Metal Chalcogenides for Electrochemical Water Splitting
Primary mentor: Tianyi Kou
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Hydrogen and oxygen play vital roles in state-of-the-art energy storage devices such as fuel cells, metal-air batteries, etc. Because it produces no hazardous by-products, electrochemical water splitting represents a sustainable way to produce hydrogen and oxygen. However, the overpotential and high price of noble metal catalysts largely restrict wide applications of electrochemical water splitting. In contrast, some transition metal chalcogenides have recently attracted a lot of attention due to their low price and high efficiency in lowering the overpotential. The project involving SIP interns will explore the synthesis of advanced transition metal chalcogenides and will attempt to figure out a strategy to further enhance their catalytic performance in water splitting. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn fundamental skills in the synthesis of nanostructured transition metal chalcogenides. Materials characterization methods such as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), etc. will be introduced to the interns and they will explore ways to characterize the as-synthesized materials using the strategies mentioned above under the mentor's supervision. Using the electrochemical workstation, the interns will investigate the performance of water splitting catalysts. The SIP interns will also learn how to analyze data and find possible ways to improve the performance of the catalysts.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-06 Title: Transition Metal Nitride for High Performance Li-ion Batteries
Primary mentor: Bin Yao
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, state-of-the-art energy storage devices, have received much research interest because of their high energy density and stable cycling performance. Over the past decade, various kinds of electrodes have been developed, such as transition metal oxides, carbonaceous materials, conducting polymers, and transition metal nitrides. Among them, transition metal nitrides are promising choices because of their high conductivity, excellent electrochemical property, low-cost, high molar density, and superior chemical stability. The SIP interns and the mentor will explore novel nanostructured transition metal nitride, as well as new chemical methods to increase their electrochemical performance.          

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn the basic principles of designing high performance electrodes for energy storage systems and will use various methods to synthesize nanomaterials. In addition, the interns will also gain hands-on experience with characterization of nanomaterials (electron microscopy and spectroscopy), Li-ion battery device fabrication, electrochemical tests, and data analysis.

URL: http://li.chemistry.ucsc.edu/people
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON OFF REM ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-07 Title: Salt Effects on the Structure and Spectroscopy of Conjugated Polyelectrolyte Complexes
Primary mentor: Will Hollingsworth
Faculty advisor: Prof. Dr. Alex Ayzner
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Conjugated polyelectrolytes (CPEs) are inexpensive, water soluble, self-assembling polymers with promise in light harvesting and alternative energy. Their light harvesting ability is connected to their physical orientation and structure. Whether they are straightened out, folded neatly, stacked, or crumpled on a microscopic level ultimately determines their function. Understanding and controlling how these complex structures are formed is vital to realizing their potential to harvest and transfer sunlight. One way to control CPE structures is by adding complex salts with varying ratios of hydrophobic and hydrophilic surface areas to CPEs while they are in solution. The effects of these salts can be studied by Dynamic Light Scattering to probe structure, and steady-state photoluminescence and absorption spectroscopy to probe their light-harvesting capabilities.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn the ins-and-outs of a physical chemistry laboratory including how to prepare conjugated polyelectrolyte samples, work with solvents, and general lab practice. In addition, they will carry out spectroscopic measurements using dynamic light scattering, and photoluminescence and absorption spectroscopy. The interns will learn data analysis and spectra interpretation using MATLAB software.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON


Computational Media

Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-01 Title: Media Values Through Game Mechanics: Building Meaningful Digital Games
Primary mentor: Katherine Green
Other mentors: Abigail Walsh, Barrett Anderson
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Video games have rapidly become one of the dominant forms of popular media today. Exploration of what people are learning from games is fraught with politics, ranging from overwrought headlines to academic psychological studies. But this, at least, is clear: the next generations of game designers have the responsibility to learn about the values their games are imparting. Critical and conscious game design must take into the account what the mechanics of the game are saying to players when combined with the games narrative framing. Even for games that exist purely for "fun," the personal and political values of designers speak through the game's systems. As a designer, this means stopping to ask yourself important questions about each interaction you allow the player, such as: What do I reward my players for doing, and what values am I conveying through my choices? If I replace shooting bullets with shooting a health spell, am I actually creating a game that talks about healing when the player's actions are the same as before but with a new frame? While proper testing afterwards can determine how successfully a design accomplishes these goals, it is important that those designing the test games are created by individuals with a developed critical design sense. From both a moral and scientific viewpoint, critical design skills are essential to understanding how to create video games that can entertain, teach, inform, and persuade. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will be expected to work in the free Unity game engine environment to create a game collaboratively. This game will aim for a specific design goal beyond typical industry ones: it will not serve only to entertain, but to teach about some important topic or persuade players to consider a social or political issue in a new way. The issue at hand should be something the game designers are passionate about. Readings about critical game design will be assigned, supplementing the hands-on exploration of Unity. Making games with Unity involves scripting with C# and JavaScript, asset creation and use with visual design software, and learning Unity's user interface. However, as game development is such a massive task on its own, designers will learn strategies for building a game from open source materials that exist online. Unity has a large and active community that helps designers with all different skill sets create important and interesting games. The focus here is learning design principles. The technical ins and outs of game design will be addressed flexibly, within the interests, scope and needs of the designers. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-02 Title: SpokeIt: An Interactive Game for Cleft Speech Therapy
Primary mentor: Jared Duval
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Cleft speech is a treatable condition that results from birth defects in the lip or mouth. At a young age, children with orofacial cleft undergo surgical procedures and will need long term speech therapy. SpokeIt is an interactive game designed to make practicing speech fun. SpokeIt benefits children in many ways: it makes practice seamless by using speech as the only form of input, it employs a dynamic curriculum that adjusts its difficulty as progress is made, it assigns appropriate words and phrases that are unique to the child's speech goals, it responds to and grades speech in real time, and it gives speech therapists access to patient progress in between speech sessions. SpokeIt is a hybrid IOS/HTML5 application for iPads.

Tasks: SpokeIt is a very large project with many moving pieces. Depending on the SIP interns' expertise and interests, there are many opportunities to work on the project. Some example tasks include working on animations, sprite sheets, game engine components, art assets, statistics, databases, and content generation as well as working with users, transcribing interviews and voice files. SpokeIt's speech system is written in native IOS Swift code, while the game engine is written in HTML5, CSS, and Javascript. All of SpokeIt's assets are created in various Adobe Creative Cloud applications. First, SIP interns will learn the necessary skills in their area of interest. Second, the interns will be given an overview of SpokeIt and how it works. For the rest of the internship, the interns will work on SpokeIt applying their newly acquired skills.

URL: http://jareduval.com
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Computer Science/Computer Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-01 Title: Activity Analysis in the Developing Brain
Primary mentor: Sydney Weiser
Faculty advisor: Prof. James Ackman
Other mentors: Brian Mullen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The Ackman Lab studies brain activity in newborn mice to determine how neural activity patterns affect the maturation of the developing brain. The mentor analyzes brain activity to identify developing circuits within the brain, and classify different brain states in the developing mouse (i.e., dreaming vs. alert states). One focus of the mentor's research is how spontaneous activity in the eye assembles and fine-tunes circuits in the regions of the brain responsible for visual processing.

Tasks: Depending on the SIP interns' areas of interest and expertise, they will either help in developing activity analysis tools, build interactive graphical user interfaces for viewing data, aid in analysis of visual processing circuitry, or help streamline the processing pipeline. The existing code is predominantly in Python; previous experience with Python is preferred, but not necessary.

URL: https://ackmanlab.com/research.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-02 Title: Computer Vision to Track Mouse Behaviors
Primary mentor: Brian Mullen
Faculty advisor: Prof. James Ackman
Other mentors: Sydney Weiser
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Development of functional brain regions has been shown to be associated with spontaneous and sensory signals throughout the nervous system. The mentor's research group is attempting to map brain regions throughout development. One facet of mapping involves understanding how an animal is behaving. This project will use computer vision (openCV) packages available to Python to track and identify mouse movements. Ultimately, the SIP mentors and the mentor will use their results to correlate with brain activity at various stages of development. This will give insight into how experience influences brain function. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to use Python to write scripts accessing openCV packages in order to identify when motion is occurring and record characteristics from all motion. In addition, the SIP interns will help build graphic user interfaces (GUIs) to better interact with the data. Finally, if time permits, the SIP interns will use machine learning to classify each behavior based on the characteristics of the motion. Previous experience with programming is preferred, but not required.

URL: https://ackmanlab.com/research.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-03 Title: Studying Internet Round-Trip Times
Primary mentor: Daniel Alves
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katia Obraczka
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: An important concept in networking is the Round-Trip Time (RTT), the time required to receive a reply (e.g., confirmation of receipt) to a message sent from one computer to another. RTTs are often used as indication of the load on the network, whether data has been lost, etc. Therefore, being able to estimate RTTs based on past ones can provide important insight into how the network will perform. One of the main challenges in studying Internet RTTs is related to the size of the Internet, the heterogeneity of the devices that connect to it, and the heterogeneity of the underlying networks that connect those devices. Consequently, observed behavior can vary greatly which makes it hard to predict the future. Another significant challenge is testing new RTT prediction methods: it is hard to test them in real network scenarios due to the difficulty in controlling the environment and ensuring a fair comparison with other methods. A more manageable approach would be to use network simulations to model a particular network. However,  this method also suffers from the scalability and heterogeneity problems mentioned above. This project aims to understand how to better model realistic RTT behavior in simulations using the ns-3 network simulation platform. The ns-3 simulator is a packet-level network simulator that models individual components of a network to model what happens in real scenarios as packets are transmitted. The work will consist of testing different network topologies on ns-3, collecting measurements, comparing those to real data, as well as testing and evaluating different RTT prediction methods.

Tasks: The SIP interns will take part mostly in the manipulation and analysis of data. This will involve creating programs to organize data for study as well as creating programs that will analyze the data, primarily through calculation of statistics and distribution fitting. Interns on this project will derive the maximum benefit from this project if they have prior (i.e., pre-SIP) exposure to computer programming.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-04 Title: Collision-Detection and Obstacle Avoidance for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles
Primary mentor: Yegeta Zeleke
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ricardo Sanfelice
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The focus of this project is to develop a system that consists of a mathematical model and numerical algorithms for a smart drone. The system serves as a testbed for an obstacle avoidance algorithm that uses Model Predictive Control (MPC) to plan linear trajectories for a small sized quad-rotor in the event of an incoming projectile. The predictive aspect of this system is to detect the event of a collision between the projectile and quad-rotor and react accordingly to avoid the projectile. The goal for the quad-rotor is to maximize its distance from the projectile while remaining within the bounds of our system. We will also explore the problem of uniting local and global controllers in which we will assess a method to overcome the problem of designing a continuous-time feedback controller that performs globally and robustly while avoiding obstacles. Experimental validation will be carried out in a motion capture system composed of eight medium range motion capture cameras. A Crazyflie 2.0 brand quad-rotor will be used along with the Motive Optical motion capture software. To prove the correctness of the mathematical models and system design, the SIP interns and mentor will experiment with the pursuit-evasion problem. The problem is comprised of two players: an evader, who wins if never caught by the pursuer, and a pursuer, who wins if it catches the evader. 

Tasks: Although this project is listed in the area of computer science/computer engineering, it is highly interdisciplinary with other fields such as mathematics and electrical engineering. There are numerous ways in which the SIP interns can assist with this project. On the programming side, the SIP interns can gain experience both from designing system algorithms for vehicle decision making and explicitly implementing a motion planning algorithm. In terms of mathematics and electrical engineering, the position will have an abundance of opportunities for the interns to witness electrical engineering design and components that are used in the mentor's lab. This project will provide excellent opportunities for the SIP interns: exposure to elegance, and the creativity and fun of mathematics that is rarely seen in the high school setting. Moreover, the interns will gain insight into higher level mathematical concepts and notation, as well as their importance and usefulness in the control systems that the mentor's research group designs and applies. In general, the mentor would like to see a degree of versatility in the work of the SIP interns.

URL: https://hybrid.soe.ucsc.edu/home
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Note: This project may not be eligible for science competitions; interns should check the competition guidelines.
Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-05 Title: Investigating the Impact of Audio on Biometric Data
Primary mentor: Rebecca Rashkin
Faculty advisor: Prof. Matthew Guthaus
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Music can affect our emotions; an upbeat tune can lift our spirits, and a tense composition can increase stress during a difficult video game. But what are the specific aspects of music that contributes to this mood shift? We are interested in breaking down music to its rudimentary components – e.g., tones and rhythm patterns – and exploring how it affects a person's body and mind. We have developed a mobile application that generates audio and collects cardiac data using a mobile heart rate monitor. By studying the correlation between heart data and changes in audio, we would like to develop applications that utilize sound to decrease a person's stress levels and ultimately improve heart health.

Tasks: The SIP interns will develop mobile applications to generate audio and test the effects of this audio on heart rate data. The interns will gain experience searching for and reading academic papers, designing user studies, and programming multithreaded Android applications. Enthusiasm for software development is required. Prior programming experience would be a plus.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-06 Title: Motivation Measurement using Physiological Signals
Primary mentor: Fatemeh Mirzaei
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Motivation is drive and desire to fulfill our goals and needs, and to solve problems. Our daily life is full of times when we are motivated versus when we are not. Sometimes we are actively working toward achieving our goals and sometimes we feel exhausted and have no passion for our goals. By learning how to regulate our motivations, we will be able to achieve our goal and have a life full of happiness and achievements. The first step to regulate motivation is to understand motivation and its important components. We then need to learn about motivation measurement methods. Special measurements for each particular domain (such as health, education, social, and decision making) is required. Each domain has its own factors that differentiate it from the others. Hence, data gathering and user study approaches may vary. Based on flow theory, the state of motivation happens when a task or goal is challenging enough and an individual has enough skill to fulfill a task or goal. In this project, flow experience theory along with autonomous physiological body responses are leveraged to measure motivation. These responses are collected while the subject performs a particular designed task such as playing a game. The experiments are done at different challenge and skill levels and the motivation state of the subject are explored.

Tasks: The SIP interns will participate in a practical scientific study and will become familiar with dealing with real word interesting challenges in this project. The interns will learn how to collect data using wearable sensors and become familiar with coding, visualizing, and analyzing the data using some basic statistical analysis methods.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM ON ON ON REM ON ON


Economics

Code Research Project Descriptions
ECO-01 Title: Transportation Choice and Pollution in Taiwan
Primary mentor: Bryan Pratt
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yihsu Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This research seeks to understand the environmental and welfare impacts of changes in transportation options available for traveling between cities in Taiwan. Most notably, the mentor's research group is examining the impact of the introduction of high-speed rail. The group relies on a broad set of transportation and air quality data to examine the full range of transportation choices over time and their effects on the environment. A key aspect of this research will be to determine what effect the introduction of high-speed rail had on: highway traffic, domestic air traffic, other rail traffic, highway vehicle accidents and fatalities, and emissions from transportation.

Tasks: The SIP interns will work to bring data from various sources together, using ArcMap or QGIS (Geographic Information Systems software) and Stata or R (statistical analysis software) to visualize and analyze the data. The mentor will help the SIP interns to learn at least one each of the GIS and statistics software packages, especially in the early stages. Subsequently, SIP interns will combine and match data, visualize data of interest, and conduct data analysis in partnership with and under the guidance of the mentor. Familiarity with economics and/or statistics not required.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON OFF ON ON ON OFF ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
ECO-02 Title: Event Discovery for Options Trading: A Machine Learning Approach
Primary mentor: Sameh Habib
Faculty advisor: Prof. Daniel Friedman
Location: -
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This project applies machine learning techniques to identify events defining profitable options trading strategies. The goal is to use security characteristics as well as macroeconomic vairiables as the bases upon which events are discovered. Events are triggered when a set of combinations of the feature space breaks a specific threshold. The project aims to: (1) uncover notable events by iterating through all possible combinations of the features conditional on a threshold being reached, and (2) analyze which events can provide a significant prediction to a profitable trading strategy, conditional on an event being triggered. Given the vast differences between types of options strategies, this process is to be repeated for every different options trading strategy under consideration. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will mostly be working in R compiling data in a format ready for analysis. Depending on the rate of early progress, perhaps the interns can write simple code to clean and do preliminary analysis of the data. Part of the analysis will be to run simple regressions to possibly narrow down the feature space, creating summary statistics tables for different strategies at different periods, and writing functions (preferably in R) that return vectors of strategy specfic returns. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming and statistical data analysis experience recommended
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-01 Title: Parasite Contamination of Soil from Community Gardens and Playgrounds Associated to Free-roaming Cats
Primary mentor: Luz Dewit
Faculty advisor: Prof. Donald Croll
Location: Other
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Throughout the Central coast of California native populatoins of small mammals, migratory birds and birds of prey are threatened by either predation or competition from free-roaming cats. Management of free-roaming cats is a contentious topic due to opposing social, ethical, and environmental views posed by animal rights activists and conservationists. Understanding the public health impacts of free-roaming cats can open a new channel of communication between these stakeholders that can potentially lead to more effective management programs. Cats are the only known definitive hosts of the parasite Toxoplasma gondii. Following acute infection, cats can shed hundreds of millions robust T. gondii oocysts in their feces, leading to subsequent contamination of soil and water. High densities of free-roaming cats can result in high T. gondii loads in the environment, potentially increasing risk of exposure for people. This project aims to evaluate the public health threat of 30 free-roaming cat colonies located in the greater San Francisco Bay area. SIP interns that participate in this project will aid in measuring abundance of free-roaming cats near playgrounds and community gardens located in the greater San Francisco Bay area, and will use lab techniques to analyze samples from these locations in order to assess whether the soil is contaminated with T. gondii.  

Tasks: SIP interns will be assigned three main tasks: (1) to become acquainted with literature that is relevant to this project. Topics include the impact of free-roaming cats in native wildlife, the life cycle of Toxoplasma gondii, and the different diagnostic techniques that are currently used to detect T. gondii in soil; (2) to aid in measuring the abundance of cats in 30 free-roaming cat colonies located in the greater San Francisco Bay area. This includes visiting different sites that have been identified as holding a free-roaming cat colony, and count cats to estimate relative abundance; and (3) to aid in laboratory analysis of soil that was previously sampled from community gardens and playgrounds located within movement range of free- roaming cats. This includes soil processing, DNA extraction, PCR amplification, and DNA sequencing of positive samples. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Lab work
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-02 Title: Environmental Effects on Rockfish (Sebastes spp) Reproduction in California
Primary mentor: Sabrina Beyer
Faculty advisor: Prof. Suzanne Alonzo
Other mentors: Susan Sogard
Location: Other
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Rockfishes in the genus Sebastes are live-bearers that release pelagic offspring every year off the coast of California. The SIP interns will participate in an on-going study to examine the effects of maternal size, body condition and oceanographic conditions on larval quality and quantity released by the females. Data for this study come from both collections of wild fish sampled in California coastal waters since 2005 and a laboratory study on Rosy Rockfish, which is a dwarf species commonly found in California. In the laboratory study, the mentor's research group is directly testing the effects of water temperature and food availability on reproductive output with a working hypothesis that eggs and larvae will develop more quickly at warmer water temperatures (up to a physiological constraint) and that females on high ration diets (greater food availability) will produce greater numbers of larvae a year and of higher quality, in terms of size and energy reserves. Results from this study will inform our understanding of how variability in oceanographic conditions and potential future effects of climate change will affect female health and reproductive output with implications for sustainable management of these economically valuable species.

Tasks: The internship is located at the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service on the UCSC Marine Science Campus. The SIP interns will assist with basic animal husbandry duties and larval collection in support of the Rosy Rockfish laboratory study. Additionally, the interns will process samples of preserved eggs and larvae from previous field collections and work on image analysis of archived photographs of larvae released in the aquarium during year 1 of the study. Other activities may include data entry, data quality control and summary data analysis to compare quality and quantity of larvae to maternal condition and experimental treatment. The SIP interns will be required to complete a safety training in order to work with live fish. The training will be completed the first week of the internship with the NOAA aquarium manager. Required skills: (1) enthusiasm to work alongside fishery biologists, (2) interest in learning about the reproductive ecology of rockfishes, and (3) demonstrated attention to detail. Desired skills (but not required): (1) previous husbandry experience working with live animals, and (2) laboratory skills gained through course work or other professional experience.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Attention to detail, ability to follow protocol, enthusiasm to work with a fisheries biologist
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: OFF ON OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-03 Title: Impacts of Pesticides on Intrinsic Plant Defenses
Primary mentor: Julie Herman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Kathleen Kay
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Application of pesticides is a key measure used in agriculture to protect plants from insect herbivores and pathogens. However, it is not well known how these extrinsic applications of chemicals impact plants’ intrinsic defensive traits or how application of pesticides may alter growth rates. The SIP interns will investigate these questions using a species that is closely related to many agricultural varieties but has a shortened generation time.

Tasks: The SIP interns will design standardized environments in which they will grow Wisconsin FastPlants (Brassica rapa). The interns will execute treatments to examine the effects of herbivore damage and pesticide application. They will analyze these plants for growth-related markers such as leaf expansion rate, height, reproductive output, total above and below-ground biomass, chemical/physical defense production, and leaf nutrient content. The SIP interns will also analyze the soil before and after plants are grown in it to determine how nutrient compositions have changed.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-04 Title: Selective Patterns on Pierid Detoxification Enzymes
Primary mentor: Hanna Dort
Faculty advisor: Prof. Kathleen Kay
Other mentors: Julie Herman
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Insect herbivores have developed a variety of strategies for exploiting food resources. In cases where plants have developed toxic chemicals as defensive strategies, insects have several options to respond. One method, used by Pierid butterflies to detoxify glucosinolate compounds found in mustard species, involved shunting chemical intermediates into non-toxic end products. However, plants often escalate their defense traits when herbivores are successful at overcoming them, meaning insects are likely under selective pressure to improve their detoxification mechanisms. In this project, interns will explore selective patterns in detoxification enzymes across the Pierid butterfly family.

Tasks: The SIP interns will obtain samples of Pierid butterflies from public and private collections. The interns will extract DNA from organisms and and use PCR to amplify the nitrile specifier proteins (NSP) responsible for detoxification, as well as the barcoding gene COII. The interns will then obtain DNA sequences for these genes and construct phylogenetic trees to determine relationships. The interns will analyze the NSPs for patterns of natural selection and examine these patterns in light of speciation rates.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-05 Title: Evolutionary Scaling Patterns of Musteloid Bite Forces
Primary mentor: Chris Law
Faculty advisor: Prof. Rita Mehta
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Bite force is a widely used measure of feeding performance. Although many scientists have used bite forces to examine relationships between skull morphology and dietary ecology, few have examined the scaling patterns of bite forces across evolutionary time. As animals increase in body size across evolutionary history, it is expected that their bite forces also increases (e.g. a lion's bite force is much larger than that of a cat's). However, whether these bite forces increase proportionally or disproportionally is not known. In this summer project, the SIP interns and mentor will examine the scaling patterns of estimated bite forces in musteloids. Musteloids (otters, weasels, minks, and ferrets) are a diverse group of carnivores that exhibit great dietary variation from rodents to hard-shelled invertebrates. The group will test the hypothesis that the scaling patterns of bite forces will differ between the different feeding ecologies.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn the basic concepts of evolutionary scaling (isometry and allometry) and its importance in the evolution of different animal body forms and functions. Next, the interns will learn to estimate bite forces from musteloid skull photos using the program ImageJ. With these data, the interns will be able to use phylogenetic comparative methods to infer the evolutionary history of biting ability across different musteloid lineages, examine the variation in craniodental traits related to biting, and examine the scaling relationships of bite force through evolutionary time. All data analyses will be conducted using the statistical program R.

URL: http://research.pbsci.ucsc.edu/eeb/cjlaw/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON REM REM ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-06 Title: Aquatic Community Ecology of Bar Built Estuaries
Primary mentor: Ben Wasserman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eric Palkovacs
Other mentors: Travis Apgar
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Due to California's mediterranean climate, coastal streams in the Santa Cruz Mountains are closed off from the ocean by a sandbar during the dry summer months. Water from the stream builds up in a coastal lagoon or bar-built estuary during this time. Over the winter, the rain breaches the sandbar. The mass of water drains into the ocean and a free-flowing stream is restored. This natural process repeats annually, but differently depending on the watershed area, rain conditions, etc. We are interested in how the biological community responds to this large disturbance. The aim of this study is to understand how the abundance and diversity of aquatic organisms including fish, invertebrates, plankton, and plants respond to differences in hydrological regime.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in field surveys of aquatic organisms at six field sites, all located within an hour's drive of the UCSC Long Marine Lab. Most of the work will be completed in the wet lab. SIP interns will identify, count, and measure samples of fish, aquatic invertebrates, and zooplankton that they helped collect in the field.

URL: https://wasserman.sites.ucsc.edu/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON REM


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-07 Title: The Effects of Incline on Terrestrial Locomotion in Fish
Primary mentor: Christiane Jacquemetton
Faculty advisor: Prof. Rita Mehta
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The transition from a fully aquatic to a semi-terrestrial lifestyle about 470 million years ago was a pivotal time in vertebrate evolution as it led to the diversity of all terrestrial vertebrates. Much research has focused on the fossil record (e.g., Tiktaalik), which has shown the importance of limbs in terrestrial locomotion. More recently, researchers have looked at extant aquatic species that are known to make forays on land such as the mudskipper. These studies of mudskipper movements up an incline demonstrate the importance of an elongate tail for propulsion. This project will examine the ability of eels and eel-like fishes to move across the water-land interface and quantify movement patterns of eels up an incline.

Tasks: In this project, SIP interns will help conduct trials where they simulate the incline fish encounter when moving across the water-land interface. This will involve conducting trials at 5, 10, and 15 degree elevations across a pebble substrate. Trials will involve handling and filming our various fish species including the snowflake moray eel (Echidna nebulosa) and the ropefish (Erpetoichthys calabaricus). The SIP interns will learn how to analyze high-speed video, organize data, create graphs using both Excel and R, interpret results, and present their results in the larger context of vertebrate evolution.

URL: http://mehta.eeb.ucsc.edu/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-08 Title: Understanding How and Why New Species Evolve: A Case Study in California Wildflowers
Primary mentor: Shelley Sianta
Faculty advisor: Prof. Kathleen Kay
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: One of the most fascinating aspects of biology is the vast diversity of species on this planet. The field known as "speciation" is concerned with how populations of a species split to become new species. The mentor's research interests are specifically in how adaptation to a new type of environment affects the process of speciation. The SIP interns will work with California native wildflowers that grow on a naturally-toxic soil type – serpentine soil. Speciation on serpentine soils is thought to happen when serpentine-adapted populations of a species split from non-serpentine-adapted populations of the same species, resulting in a new species that only occurs on serpentine (a.k.a., a serpentine endemic). However, there are many species with populations both on- and off-serpentine (a.k.a., serpentine tolerators), suggesting that speciation hasn't happened in serpentine tolerators. The mentor's goal is to understand why speciation hasn't happened in serpentine tolerators. One hypothesis is that serpentine-adapted populations haven't had enough time to speciate from non-serpentine-adapted populations, whereas serpentine endemics have had more time to successfully speciate from their non-serpentine relatives. SIP interns will use genetic tools to estimate the ages of multiple serpentine endemic species and populations within multiple serpentine tolerator species in order to test this hypothesis.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to use genetic techniques to build phylogenetic trees and determine the age of speciation events. Specifically, SIP interns will learn how to: make laboratory solutions, use micropipettes, perform DNA extractions, use PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to amplify a certain gene, get genes sequenced, build phylogenetic trees, and estimate divergence times of species. In addition, there will also be opportunities for side-research projects in the UCSC greenhouse. Greenhouse projects will involve learning how to rear caterpillars to use in plant-herbivore interaction tests, and growing plants species in different soil types to assess their tolerance for serpentine soils.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF ON ON ON REM ON ON OFF


Electrical Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-01 Title: Electrical Characterization of Thin Films and Nanostructured Materials Using DC/AC Analysis
Primary mentor: Mingran Liu
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobby Kobayashi
Other mentors: David Fryauf
Location: Other
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research group, Nanostructured Energy Conversion Technology and Research (NECTAR), is developing novel and innovative thin films and nanostructured materials for several areas of competitive technology, including thermoelectrics, transparent conducting films, anti-reflective coatings, and chemical corrosion barriers. Design, fabrication, and characterization of such materials require many types of scientific tools, and precise measurements of electrical properties give us insights to the quality and potential applications of sample materials. This project includes both DC and AC electrical characterization and analysis of novel materials using four point probe measurements.

Tasks: The SIP interns should have some basic understanding of electricity (V=IR), but the interns will primarily be learning how to analyze and model various thin film and nanostructured samples based on their IV curves and impedance spectrum response. The interns will be working hands-on with the probe station and electrical analyzer components, and they will possibly be able to upgrade the system to include temperature-dependent or optically-excited measurements. This project will take place entirely in our off-campus lab located at 2300 Delaware Ave in Santa Cruz, but the SIP interns will have the option to work remotely when performing data analysis and creating their final presentation.

URL: http://nectar.soe.ucsc.edu/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-02 Title: Photoluminescence of One-Dimensional Materials
Primary mentor: Ravipa Losakul
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobby Kobayashi
Location: Other
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Overview: One-dimensional materials, such as semiconductor nanowires, that are created by chemical vapor deposition process will be studied to assess the dependence of their photoluminescence properties (electromagnetic radiation) over a range of post deposition treatments (e.g., over-coating with dielectric materials). These materials are most commonly used for transistors, the fundemental hardware component in modern electrical circuits & devices. In a research environement, SIP interns will gain an understanding of the properties of semiconductors, chemical vapor deposition and post treatments. ——Key terms: (1) photoluminescence: light emission (in any form of matter – i.e., electrons) after the absorption of photons; (2) one-dimensional materials (a.k.a. nanowires): fabrication, properties (i.e., conductivity) and its applications; and (3) chemical vapor depostion process: how to create 1D materials.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be responsible for observing, recording, and analyzing the changes and results of one-dimensinal materials under various controlled post deposition treatments. Specfically, SIP Interns will: (1) understand the physics behind photoluminescence; (2) set up a photoluminescence measurement system; (3) perform measurements; and (4) analyze results. SIP interns may expect to ultilize simple software programs (MS Excel, LaTeX) to examine recorded data and document their findings into a lab report.

URL: http://nectar.soe.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Environmental Studies

Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-01 Title: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Urban Gardens
Primary mentor: Monika Egerer
Faculty advisor: Prof. Stacy Philpott
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Insect biodiversity is crucial for maintaining ecosystem services, or benefits that humans derive from natural processes, in agro-ecosystems (i.e., ecosystems managed for crop production). The main objectives of the mentor's research group's research project is to explore how ecosystem services are affected by changes in insect biodiversity and local habitat complexity in urban garden ecosystems. The mentor's research group seeks to understand how changes in insect communities may lead to changes in ecosystem functions and services. The mentor's research group focuses on pollinators and insect predators, both of which are especially important in agriculture for pollination and pest control services.

Tasks: The SIP interns will participate in field work and participate in lab work. The interns will identify insects and plants to species observed in the field, and identify the important traits that they have to categorize insect samples. This information will be used to: (1) inform data analysis common in community ecology, and (2) create an informational guide to publish on the mentor's research group's website. Second, the SIP interns will have the opportunity to assist with a participatory research project involving multiple gardens and gardeners, in which the gardeners' water use over the summer will be measured.

URL: http://ucscgardenresearch.weebly.com/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON OFF ON ON ON OFF ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Earth & Planetary Sciences

Code Research Project Descriptions
EPS-01 Title: Exploring Shallow Landslides and River Response to Winter Rainfall in the Santa Cruz Mountains
Primary mentor: Claire Masteller
Faculty advisor: Prof. Noah Finnegan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The winter of 2017 has been one of the wettest years on record, with the Santa Cruz Mountains being hammered with rain. As a result, numerous shallow landslides have occurred, many damaging major roadways, including Highway 17, Highway 9, and many others. Due to the impact that many of these slides have had on local roadways, the occurrence of these landslides have been documented by the Santa Cruz Public Works Department, as well as by many local citizens with camera phones. The SIP interns assigned to this project will compile a landslide inventory for the Santa Cruz Mountains and use this information to create landslide maps of the area. The interns will also examine the connectivity of these landslides to the San Lorenzo River utilizing suspended sediment measurements made by the Santa Cruz US Geological Survey. The integration of these datasets will allow for the quantification of the connectivity of hillslope sediment transport and subsequent river response.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will compile a landslide database through the integration of data from the Santa Cruz Public Works Department and crowd-sourced images with associated documentation. Using this database, the interns will create landslide maps of the Snata Cruz Mountains, focusing on the winter of 2017. Interns will also have the opportunity to compile landslide records from previous years to quantify the relation between precipitation rates and landslide activity. SIP interns will gain introductory coding experience through the analysis of suspended sediment data from the San Lorenzo River.

URL: https://geomorphology.sites.ucsc.edu/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON OFF REM ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EPS-02 Title: Did Predators Cause Evolutionary Trends in Ammonite Shell Ornamentation?
Primary mentor: Prof. Matthew Clapham
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Ammonites are an extinct group of animals, related to living squid or octopus but having a coiled shell. Some ammonite shells were smooth, but others were ornamented with ridges, bumps, or spines. Shell ornament is thought to help protect the ammonite against attacks by predators, and scientists have hypothesized that ammonites evolved heavily-ornamented shells when predators like fish became common around 100–150 million years ago. However, evolutionary trends in ammonite shell ornament are poorly known. This project will use image analysis to quantify the strength of ammonite shell ornament and will apply statistical analysis to test for evolutionary trends that may have been driven by pressure from evolving predators.

Tasks: SIP interns will use pre-existing code (written in the R programming language) to quantify the strength of shell ornament from published photographs of ammonites. The technique was initially developed, and is still widely used, in medical imaging procedures, but the mentor's research group has adapted it for use on ammonite photos. The SIP interns will receive instruction in data analysis, coding with the R programming language, and statistical assessment of evolutionary trends. Interns will analyze their data to test for long-term trends in shell ornament and whether they align with trends in predators. The interns and mentor will also read and discuss scientific papers to learn about the process of scientific inquiry and the practice of writing in scientific disciplines.

URL: https://people.ucsc.edu/~mclapham
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EPS-03 Title: Explore long-term drivers of Earth’s climate evolution
Primary mentor: Dr. Tali Babila
Faculty advisor: Prof. Christina Ravelo
Other mentors: James Zachos
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Deep-ocean sediment cores provide excellent archives for geoscientists to unravel Earth’s history. The mentor's lab group uses chemical signatures of fossil plankton shells extracted from sediment cores to reconstruct past ocean temperature, salt content, ice sheet extent and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations. Recently, UCSC scientists sailed on an International Ocean Discovery Program expedition in the tropical Pacific Ocean to obtain new material for paleoclimate research. This region was targeted because it contains the highest surface ocean temperatures and therefore is an important storage of global heat and moisture to the atmosphere. The Miocene epoch (23-5 million years) experienced dramatic warmth, major growth of the Antarctic ice sheet, expansion of widespread grasslands, massive volcanism, emergence of kelp forests, Asian Monsoon intensification and the first appearance of human ancestors. The mentors seek to understand the long-term drivers responsible for mediating climate over the enigmatic Miocene time interval.

Tasks: SIP interns will achieve an understanding of Earth History, geological processes, scientific method, and general oceanography. Laboratory work includes microscope time identifying and characterizing ocean plankton microfossils. Preparation of sediment samples for multiple geochemical (elemental and isotope) analyzes to be collected on specialized in-house instrumentation. Interns will gain technical laboratory skills commonly used in sedimentology, micropaleontology, and geochemistry. Interns will work closely with the project mentor to build their abilities in data interpretation and science communication. Interns will be part of dynamic paleoclimate research group and have the opportunity to engage in scientific discussions with fellow group members. 

URL: https://iodp.tamu.edu/scienceops/expeditions/pacific_warm_pool.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EPS-04 Title: Zooid Size in Phylum Bryozoa as an Indicator of Climate Change
Primary mentor: Stephanie Bosch
Faculty advisor: Prof. Matthew Clapham
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Bryozoans are a phylum of aquatic invertebrates that first appear in the fossil record in the Ordovician (~500mya), and continue to exist in marine and fresh waters today. Bryozoans are colonial organisms made up of a collection of individuals called zooids. Scientists have described and documented an inverse relationship between temperature and size in ectotherms, known as the 'temperature-size rule'. This can been seen in bryozoans, where, in general, colder temperatures produce larger zooids than warmer temperatures. One bryozoan colony therefore provides a record of water temperatures during its lifetime. This project will focus on intervals of known climate change in the geologic record and use zooid sizes from previously recorded individuals to quantify climate change and identify evolutionary trends in bryozoans.

Tasks: The SIP interns will work on measuring zooid size from a collection of photographs collected from previous studies. Interns will gain an understanding of different methods of image analysis. The interns will additionally apply statistical analyses to the data to look at evolutionary trends in Phylum Bryozoa. The SIP interns will gain an understadning of climate change through geologic time, as well as how organisms respond and adapt to such changes. 

URL: https://people.ucsc.edu/~mclapham/index.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-01 Title: Effects of Stromal Androgen Receptor on Prostate Cancer Initiation
Primary mentor: Corrigan Horton
Faculty advisor: Prof. Zhu Wang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The steroid hormone, androgen, plays critical roles in prostate development and cancer progression through its nuclear receptor, androgen receptor (AR). The normal prostate gland consists of a stromal layer that includes abundant smooth muscle cells, as well as an epithelial layer containing luminal and basal cells. AR is highly expressed in epithelial luminal cells and stromal smooth muscle cells. However, whether stromal AR plays a tumor-suppressing or tumor-promoting role remains controversial. This project aims to address this question by investigating the effects of AR gene loss specifically in the prostate stroma under various tumor-initiating conditions using mouse models in vivo.

Tasks: Depending on the SIP interns’ areas of interest, they may help in collecting mouse prostate samples, processing tissues for immunofluorescence staining, image acquisition, and most importantly, quantification and interpretation of staining results for various samples.    

URL: http://mcd.ucsc.edu/faculty/wang.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-02 Title: Investigating Cell Division in Fruit Flies
Primary mentor: Lotti Brose
Faculty advisor: Prof. Bill Sullivan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: All cells must divide properly to ensure growth or reproduction of the organism. In multi-cellular organisms, failure to divide properly can lead to a host of issues, including cancer. Several processes must come together in a tightly-regulated manner to ensure proper cell division. The mentor is interested in the timing, regulation, and outcome of cell divisions in different stages of life of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. These organisms are small, reproduce rapidly, and are an excellent model for genetic manipulation and cell biology. The SIP interns and mentor will use genetics, molecular biology, and microscopy to study how machinery required for cell division affects the development of the fly.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in characterizing cell division anomalies in flies expressing mutations in a protein that regulates cell division. Specifically, the interns will use light and fluorescent microscopy to determine the effects of these mutations on cell division in the adult fly and in the fly embryo. Further, the SIP interns will learn techniques in Drosophila genetics and molecular biology, as well as receive training in data analysis, reading scientific journal articles, and presenting their findings in a group setting.

URL: http://sullivan.mcdb.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF OFF

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-03 Title: Engineering of a RNA Binding Protein
Primary mentor: Dr. Tonio Schuetze
Faculty advisor: Prof. Melissa Jurica
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: RNA is a class of molecules that is widely used in cells. RNA can be bound by a class of proteins called RNA-binding proteins. The SIP interns will use basic cloning and protein purification technique to prepare a RNA binding protein for use in functional assays. The interns and mentor will need to genetically modify the protein to abolish the enzymatic activity. After purification, the interns and mentor will need to validate the RNA-binding function while enzymatic activity is abolished.              

Tasks: The SIP interns will gain insight into the work of a molecular biology lab. The interns will learn about macro-molecular biomolecules and their function. The SIP interns will experience how a lab is organized and learn many basic lab techniques like making buffer, cloning and E. coli expression systems which are widely used in biomedical environments. The SIP interns will need lab safety training.

URL: http://bio.research.ucsc.edu/people/jurica/home.htm
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology

As of yet, no mentors have submitted projects for this field of research. Mentors are still in the process of submitting projects so please keep posted for more projects to be submitted.
 

Ocean Sciences

As of yet, no mentors have submitted projects for this field of research. Mentors are still in the process of submitting projects so please keep posted for more projects to be submitted.
 

Other

As of yet, no mentors have submitted projects for this field of research. Mentors are still in the process of submitting projects so please keep posted for more projects to be submitted.
 

Physics

Code Research Project Descriptions
PHY-01 Title: Graph Theoretical Search for Magnetic Properties
Primary mentor: Michael Saccone
Faculty advisor: Prof. Onuttom Narayan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: New behaviors in condensed matter systems often result from the consideration of new microscopic structures. A simple example of these are geometrically frustrated systems. If three bar magnets are place on the corners of an equilateral triangle, the first two may align head to tail to minimize energy. In choosing to align with one, the third magnet does not align with the other, making either state "frustrating." Extending this to a system of triangles or even more complex arrangements of magnets can cause interesting properties to emerge, such as states mimicking magnetic monopoles and frequency depedent magnetization. As opposed to seeking to explain these properties as they emerge, graph theory provides a tool to design structures that generate desired properties. This project will leverage graph theoretical  and computer simulation techniques to extend analysis of existing magnetic materials and hypothesize magnetic structures with novel emergent properties.

Tasks: SIP interns will receive a rigorous introduction to practical concepts in Matlab programming, Monte Carlo simulation, and practical graph theory. Equipped with the appropriate tools, SIP interns will then survey the literature to determine what structure connected to what physical system may be better understood through graph based models. The SIP interns will craft numerical simulations to understand those systems.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming; Exposure to Calculus or Above
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Psychology

Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-01 Title: Forgetting and Reminding in Autobiographical Memory through Social Media
Primary mentor: Julia Soares
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ben Storm
Other mentors: Annie Ditta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Forgetting is a necessary aspect of human memory that helps bias our memory in useful ways. One such bias is the positivity bias, which is the finding that people report more positive events in their past than negative. This bias can help us maintain a generally positive outlook. Social media can disrupt forgetting of aspects of our past by providing (sometimes intrusive) reminders of past events. The mentor is interested in how reminding (like the reminding that occurs through social media) might change how memory is biased over time. The mentor is also interested in the mechanisms by which humans forget, and how memory becomes reliably biased over time.

Tasks: SIP interns will run participants in psychological experiments (supervised), code data, and run statistical analyses on quantitative data collected from human subjects. They will also be asked to do literature review on current work in human memory and read and discuss assigned journal articles. Interns will be asked to write up brief reports about research they have learned and will be instructed on APA-style writing. They will also have the opportunity to propose a research project and refine it in order to collect pilot data on a research project related to memory. Interns will have the opportunity to learn how to run psychology experiments using the e-Prime studio and will gain hands-on experience working in Excel, SPSS, and possibly R with datasets.

URL: https://people.ucsc.edu/~bcstorm/research.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: REM OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-02 Title: Is It a Big Deal to Copy from Others? Variability in Students’ Judgments About Cheating
Primary mentor: Talia Waltzer
Faculty advisor: Prof. Audun Dahl
Location: Other
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Academic cheating is on the rise in schools all over the country. Over the decades, research has striven to answer: who cheats, and in what situations, and what kinds of cheating are most common? The goal of this research project is to answer a different question: why do students cheat? Through interviews with students and analyses of their narratives and justifications, we aim to shed light on this question. This research will further our understanding of the differences in peoples’ perceptions of cheating, the sources of ambiguity about what counts as cheating, and ultimately how to provide better information to both students and educators. *Note: this project will take place both on-campus (at UCSC in Santa Cruz) and off-campus in the Bay Area.

Tasks: SIP interns will have the opportunity to be engaged in all stages of the scientific process. Interns will be involved in literature review, research design, development of experiments, data collection, and data analysis. There will be weekly lab meetings in which we discuss theory, literature and ultimate applications of the research. Interns will gain experience with field work, interviews, transcribing, coding, and analyzing responses from interviews. *Project location: UCSC Silicon Valley Extension (Santa Clara). Interns must be able to meet at this location regularly. There will be occasional trips to UCSC main campus and field work in San Jose, Fremont and Berkeley. The research mentor is willing to provide transportation to UCSC main campus and field work sites.

URL: http://esil.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Highly preferred: an interest in policy, education, moral development, and/or cultural diversity
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-03 Title: Gender in Television and Media
Primary mentor: Abigail Walsh
Faculty advisor: Prof. Campbell Leaper
Other mentors: Barrett Anderson, Katherine Green
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This summer research consists of a primary project and a secondary project. This goal is to give interns experience with different types of social science studies and methodologies.  The primary project is about assessing gender stereotypes in children's media. This project will consist of two parts. The first part will assess these stereotyped messages through a detailed content analysis. This analysis will focus on identifying gender-typed language and gender-pronouns based on the language used in the shows and gender identity of different characters in the shows. We will conduct statistical analyses to determine how stereotyped these shows are. After completing this analysis, the research team will conduct an experiment with undergraduate participants measuring how exposure to differently stereotyped shows affects participants gender-stereotyped attitudes.  The secondary project is a continuation of our work in gender stereotyped media from the SIP program last summer. Interns will work with the research team to create an interactive video game that presents different types of gender stereotypes. This game will be used to manipulate undergraduate participants' gender-stereotype attitudes and beliefs. 

Tasks: Interns will become familiar with background literature and content analyses methodologies. They will learn about different analysis methods and techniques. Interns will learn about reliability and validity in these aspects. They will help create and adapt a coding scheme, gain reliability as coders, and code the selected shows. For the second aspect of this project, interns will learn about data collection from adult participants. They will learn the ethics, protocols, and procedures of doing social science research with human participants. Additionally, interns will learn game design skills for the secondary project. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-04 Title: Memory and Education
Primary mentor: Kelsey James
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ben Storm
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Memory is an essential part of who we are as human beings. It is part of how we form our identities, how we communicate, and how we view the world. This research project involves memory as it pertains to education. The mentor's current line of research looks at how tests can improve our learning capabilities and under what circumstances testing can actually be harmful. This can also give us information about how the human memory system works. 

Tasks: SIP interns will learn about psychology as a science and specifically about memory as it relates to education. They will run participants in psychological experiments (with supervision) and learn how to organize and interpret data. As required in all SIP research projects, the interns will be expected to read academic articles pertaining to this research. Interns will be encouraged to develop their own research proposal for future work. 

URL: https://people.ucsc.edu/~bcstorm/research.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON REM

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 12, 2017.

Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-05 Title: Exploring Helping and Hindering Behavior in the Infant Lab
Primary mentor: Elizabeth Goldman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Su-hua Wang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This research project examines young children's understanding of helping and hindering behavior. Specifically, our research team will investigate 16-18-month-olds abilities to form an expectation about a social partner's future behavior. In the study, we are trying to identify how children form opinions of those around them. We will also investigate if children expect a person to continue to behave in the same way. For example, if Sally always helps Jack, will young children be surprised if Sally suddenly decides to no longer help Jack? SIP interns will also investigate the differences between helping and hindering behavior. Past research suggests that helping can be defined as two or more people working toward a shared goal or outcome. In contrast, there is no standard definition for hindering that is widely accepted and agreed upon by the psychology community. Hindering is often considered more complex and harder to identify as there are multiple ways in which to hinder another person. Our research team will work together to add cues that make hindering behavior easier for these young children to identify. For example, such a cue could include a facial expression or a verbal response. SIP interns will have the opportunity to assist with data collection and may also work on other projects the mentor is currently working on. 

Tasks:  Although SIP interns will be primarily working with the mentor on the project described above, they will also be involved in other ongoing research projects in the mentor's lab. This includes working together as a team with other SIP interns and mentors that are interested in child development. Specifically, interns will examine topics such as parent-child interaction, perspective taking, perceptual development, helping/hindering behavior, and technology use in children from 6- months to 5-years of age. 

URL: https://suhua.sites.ucsc.edu/contact/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-06 Title: Latina/o Children, Mural Making, Sense of Belonging, and Empowerment
Primary mentor: David Gordon
Faculty advisor: Prof. Regina Langhout
Location: Other
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Our research team teaches 4th and 5th grade students how to conduct social science research to create change in their school and ommunity. In the past, the students have decided to focus on creating a stronger connection between the school and community by collecting community stories, analyzing the stories, and creating murals that represent the thems and stories. This summer, the students will be developing a new problem definition that they would like to research going forward through the completion and analysis of a Photovoice project. In addition to guiding the students, our research team studies how the students move through this process, in terms of their literacy development, empowerment, and connections to the people in the school and community.

Tasks: In June, the SIP interns will meet weekly with their mentor to read studies and receive instruction on field notes. In July, the interns will participate in the program, including instructing 4th and 5th graders and taking field notes. The summer program runs Mon–Thu from 8:30–11:30 am at Live Oak Elementary School (exact dates being determined). In August, SIP interns will meet weekly to learn to analyze their field notes. Statistical analyses (e.g., t-tests, ANOVAs) are possible. SIP interns need not have experience with art or murals.

URL: http://people.ucsc.edu/~langhout/cprat/Research.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Comfortable working with children in a flexible environment; Spanish language skills recommended, but not required
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: OFF REM ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-07 Title: Learning from Games
Primary mentor: Barrett Anderson
Faculty advisor: Prof. Travis Seymour
Other mentors: Katherine Green, Abigail Walsh
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Recently the idea of learning from video games has been met with a great deal of excitement, but the enthusiasm has often outpaced the evidence.  We are currently interested in investigating the educational value of some of the unique properties of games as compared to other media: creating a feeling of agency, consequences for player actions, and relationships that can only be discovered through interaction.  We are exploring factors that influence the transfer of information from these mechanical/procedural aspects of games, with an interest in comparing the effectiveness of learning from game mechanics with learning from other information channels.  The current project builds on the work of interns in the past year, and involves designing a game designed to educate about a particular social issue (gender stereotypes, media literacy, etc.) and evaluating its effectiveness in doing so. This work can inform the design of more engaging and effective educational games.

Tasks: The SIP interns will work as part of a larger lab group to develop a game designed to communicate a specific idea and to test its effectiveness and psychological impact.  This will involve learning a variety of psychology research methods skills, including conducting some literature review, designing an experiment, collecting data from participants, conducting statistical analyses (using R or SPSS), and communicating research findings orally and in writing (APA style).  The game development portion may include the opportunity to learn additional game design and coding skills (Unity, Python, etc).  The interns may also have the opportunity to assist in some content analysis for a secondary project.  The interns will be involved in ongoing discussions about what conclusions can be drawn from existing work and plans for future research.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: OFF ON OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-09 Title: Developing Culturally-grounded, Growth Mindset Interventions in STEM
Primary mentor: Giselle Laiduc
Faculty advisor: Prof. Rebecca Covarrubias
Other mentors: Ibette Valle
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: As the demographic landscape of America rapidly changes, college campuses have failed to reflect this diversity. Researched-based interventions are vital in understanding how universities can mend the “leaky pipeline,” and recruit/retain diverse student populations in STEM. We will investigate the role of culture and mindsets in relation to students’ feelings of belonging and performance in the classroom. For example, students may have fixed (e.g., intelligence is static) or incremental (e.g., intelligence can be developed) mindsets that impact their performance. Studies have shown that classrooms and academic environments can endorse different mindsets too. This project will examine how classroom cultures and norms relate to student’s mindsets and academic achievement.

Tasks: Interns will be exposed to a variety of tasks related to the research process. These tasks include (but are not limited to) conducting an extensive literature review, critically analyzing research articles, identifying limitations from past studies, and building upon the literature by designing research-based interventions. Interns will also learn how to develop surveys, enter data, and analyze data. Interns will be exposed to both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. Interns will learn how to work collaboratively on projects with other interns and graduate students in a pre-established lab that examines issues of identity, culture, and equity in educational contexts. Students will be exposed to the process of bridging the gap between theory and application to directly serve the needs of diverse students.

URL: https://rcovarrubias.sites.ucsc.edu/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-10 Title: Exploring 3–5 Year Old's Experience With Touchscreens
Primary mentor: Nick Antrilli
Faculty advisor: Prof. Su-hua Wang
Other mentors: Elizabeth Goldman
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Young children's access to technology as a medium for play has grown substantially over the past decade, yet very little research has systematically examined the impact that this might have on development. The mentor's research examines how 3 to 5 year olds' use of touchscreens effect different aspects of cognition. Interns will have the opportunity to work on two projects. The first project is ongoing and focusses on how different types of play (touchscreen vs. traditional) are related to executive function (i.e. inhibition and working memory). The second project examines differences in how children play spatial games (like tangrams) on touchscreens and compares them to playing the physical versions. This study will look at differences in object manipulation as well as differences in the type of langauge that parents use while playing with their child. 

Tasks: Although SIP interns will be primarily working with the mentor on the projects described above, they will also be involved in other ongoing projects in the mentor's lab. This includes working together as a team with other interns and mentors that are interested in child development. Specifically, interns will examine topics such as parent-child interaction, perspective taking, perceptual development, helping/hindering behavior, and technology use in children from 6-months to 5-years-old. Interns will be involved in participant recruitment, data collection, data entry, and video coding. Interns will also be mentored on how to present scientific information to public audiences.  

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM REM ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-11 Title: Do I Belong? STEM Identity and Motivation Among High School Students in the Science Internship Program
Primary mentor: Christy Starr
Faculty advisor: Prof. Campbell Leaper
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers are some of the most well paid and widely available in the U.S., and the need for STEM professionals is expected to grow in the next decade (NSF, 2015). However, many qualified individuals do not pursue STEM for a variety of reasons, including feeling that they don’t belong in STEM fields. Summer programs like the Science Internship Program may help students feel that they belong in STEM, and increase their motivation to pursue them in the future. We will be investigating the effect the SIP has on high school students in the program. Specifically, we will be investigating if SIP increases science/STEM identity among high schoolers, growth mindset, and future motivation to pursue STEM fields. 

Tasks: SIP interns will help create survey questions to ask other interns. They will then interview other SIP students, both via surveys and through face-to-face interviews. Finally, they will analyze the data they gather. The SIP interns may also be involved in other, smaller projects about STEM motivation (e.g., among undergraduates). 

URL: http://psychology.ucsc.edu/about/people/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=cestarr
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON OFF REM ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-12 Title: Does Overt Action Influence Illusory Apparent Motion?
Primary mentor: Allison Allen
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nicolas Davidenko
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Why do we experience illusions? For psychologists, studying illusions helps to reveal some of the properties and quirks of perception. One such illusion is Illusory Apparent Motion (IAM) where ambiguous apparent motion is elicited by randomly refreshing pixel textures. Previous research using other apparent motion illusions has found that motion ambiguity can be resolved in favor of the direction of a performed action (for example, moving one's finger up may cause an ambiguous motion signal to be seen as moving up). The mentor's line of research explores whether IAM is similarly susceptible to disambiguation by overt action, and we are running and designing experiments to measure this in the lab.

Tasks: SIP interns will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of illusions and what each illusion reveals about the nature of the human sensory system. This will be done by reading scientific articles each week and discussing them with the mentor. Interns will learn how to conduct a literature review based on the experiment topics (i.e., apparent motion and action) and, in doing so, will learn about these topics in depth. Finally, interns will learn about research methods in psychology, both through instruction and hands on experience. They will learn how to run participants (supervised) in a laboratory experiment and will learn how to analyze data using Excel, SPSS, and/or Matlab.

URL: https://davidenko.sites.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-13 Title: It Wasn’t OK But I Did it Anyways: Understanding Moral Principles and Action
Primary mentor: Charles Baxley
Faculty advisor: Prof. Audun Dahl
Other mentors: Talia Waltzer
Location: Other
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Why do people do things they generally think they should not (i.e., cheating in class) and what does this tell us about our moral reasoning? What do we mean when we say something is not OK? In this project, we seek to study people’s moral principles and their understanding of permissibility and how they are applied in concrete scenarios. We will do so by conducting in-depth interviews and engaging participants in immersive hypothetical situations. This research can inform our understanding of the relationship between people’s principles and their decision making, particularly in concrete, real-life applications such as in academic integrity. (*Note: this project will take place both on-campus and off-campus in the Bay Area.)

Tasks: SIP interns will engage in multiple aspects of the research process. Interns will take part in research design by creating immersive hypothetical scenarios and other materials used in experiments. Interns will also be asked to enter data obtained from interviews. There will be weekly team meetings where we will discuss past literature related to the project and overarching theory.   —— Project location: UCSC Silicon Valley Extension and UCSC main campus. Interns must be able to meet at the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension location regularly. There will be occasional trips to UCSC main campus and field work in San Jose, Fremont and Berkeley. The research mentor is willing to provide transportation to UCSC main campus and field work sites.  

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-14 Title: Exploring the Cultural Transition of First-Generation College Students
Primary mentor: Ibette Valle
Faculty advisor: Prof. Rebecca Covarrubias
Other mentors: Giselle Laiduc
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: As the first in their families to attend college, first-generation college (FGC) students, particularly from Latino backgrounds, confront a disparity in opportunities available to them and to their non-educated family members. According to culture mismatching theory, when FGC students transition from their homes to the university, they may experience a mismatch in cultural norms between these contexts that hinder psychological and academic functioning. Indeed, as a result of this cultural transition, past work has found that Latino FGC students report experiencing family achievement guilt—an emotion tied to having more educational opportunities and success than family members. Consequently, this guilt is related to higher depression. This project examines the psychological factors that shape FGC student’s college experience and, ultimately, retention. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will be part of a collaborative lab that will meet weekly to provide project check ins as well as cover a variety of training in data coding, survey creation, resume writing, and college application prep. The interns will perform a variety of tasks including immersing themselves in literature in the fields of psychology, sociology, and education to investigate cultural norms, social class, and other factors influencing first-generation college students transition to college. Through this process, the interns will learn how to efficiently and concisely read and interpret academic articles, annotate articles, and analyze article limitations to inform research questions. Interns will participate in data analysis tasks that may include data input, interview transcriptions, theme coding, and statistical analyses using a statistical package (SPSS). 

URL: http://rcovarrubias.sites.ucsc.edu/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-15 Title: Creativity and Memory
Primary mentor: Annie Ditta
Faculty advisor: Prof. Benjamin Storm
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The ability to be creative is not something that only a few individuals possess – things we do in our everyday lives such as problem-solving, imagining the future, and designing new objects are also creative. The mentor is interested in the processes that underlie our ability to be creative on a daily basis; in particular, she is interested in incubation effects.  Such effects are well-documented in the literature, and refer to the experience of being able to solve a problem after taking a break from the problem, rather than continuing to work on the problem.  The mentor is interested in what cognitive mechanisms underlie such incubation effects when people try to solve problems; specifically, how remembering and forgetting play a role in such effects.

Tasks: SIP interns working on this project will learn how to run human participants (with supervision) in behavioral psychology studies in a lab setting.  Additionally, they will be asked to read and discuss scholarly articles on topics related to memory and creativity, to develop a strong theoretical background in the topics they are working on.  Occasionally, they may be asked to enter data into a spreadsheet for analysis, and will learn the basics of SPSS for statistical analysis on the data they help collect.  Their participation with the mentor's project will ultimately inform their ability to develop their own research project for which they can collect, analyze, and present data at the final SIP presentation.  Throughout the development of the mentorship, they will learn APA formatting, research method design, and how to write academic papers.

URL: http://people.ucsc.edu/~bcstorm/research.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON