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 Regeneron Science Talent Search competition.

Applied Artificial Intelligence

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.
 

Anthropology

Code Research Project Descriptions
ANT-01 Title: Technology and Oral Story Collection of Indian Immigrants in the USA
Primary mentor: Dr Annapurna Pandey
Other mentors: Kati Greaney
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 4

Project description: These days, one often hears that we human beings are primarily story tellers. We tell stories about ourselves as well as about others. What these stories tell us is the rich experience human beings have acquired in their life. The world in which we live in today is largely created by technology. The mentor and SIP interns will use various tools provided by technology in their digital story telling research. This project will encourage SIP interns to collect stories about the immigrant experience in the United States. For the last three decades the mentor has been working on the Indian diaspora in the Greater Bay Area, California. The mentor has made two films, “Homeland in the Heart” and “Life Giving Ceremony of Jagannath” documenting the involvement of Odia people (people from the state of Odisha) in building a community and developing a sense of belonging to the United States. The mentor would like to broaden the scope of this research by incorporating experiences of other Indian immigrants.

Tasks: This project will give an opportunity to the SIP interns to collect oral history material about the experiences of immigrant parents, grandparents, and their American-born children. The material will include streaming audio and written transcripts accessible online in digital formats. The mentor and SIP interns will use various available technology tools. The mentor's aim in this project is to collect interviews of Indian immigrants in the USA. The SIP interns will interview various members of the Indian community and collect their experiences in this country compared to their experience in their homeland that they have left behind. These interviews are a unique source of contemporary history through the experiences of the immigrants. Past studies have shown that this kind of research has revealing consequences for both the researchers as well as the subjects of their research. The tentative plan is for the SIP interns to spend weeks 3–6 doing off-campus field work in various South Bay locations and to spend the remaining weeks working on the UCSC campus.

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
Mentor's availability: ON OFF ON ON REM OFF REM ON


Astronomy & Astrophysics

Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-01 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: Intern MUST have Microsoft EXCEL on their computer (NOT Google Sheets). Must have a mouse with their computer.
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON REM ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-02 Title: Cosmological Galaxy Simulation Data Post-Processing
Primary mentor: Clayton Strawn
Faculty advisor: Prof. Joel Primack
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Cosmological galaxy simulations have become increasingly meaningful in the last few decades, and mock "observational" tests of simulations can set meaningful constraints on how accurately the physical assumptions built into the simulation emulate the real Universe. In this project, the mentor intends to use mock quasar/galaxy absorption spectra created with the new software TRIDENT to emulate observations of the region directly outside of galaxies proper but within their dark matter halo, the circumgalactic medium (CGM). The CGM is relatively difficult to observe, because gas is not dense enough to form stars, and therefore this region is only detected in absorption, so only by simulating this observed quantity can we evaluate the simulation's CGM.

Tasks: The plan is for the SIP interns to help organize and collect data on these mock absorption spectra. This will involve creating useful interface methods between spectrum images and observational analysis methods, which have before always been applied only to observed spectra rather than simulated ones. The interns will become familiar with contributing to open-source software, as well as writing/testing/debugging well-documented code for science use. (The URL below is not strictly made by the mentor's research group and collaborators, but is a useful introductory page to look at.)

URL: http://trident-project.org
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-03 Title: Photometric Variability in the NGVS: Milky Way Halo RR Lyrae, Tidal Disruption Events in Star Clusters, and Distant Quasars
Primary mentor: Yuting Feng
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Eric Peng, Jared Geiselhart
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Despite its static appearance at first glance, the Universe is constantly changing. Monitoring the sky for these changes is time-consuming, but doing so allows us to identify unique celestial phenomena. Most images taken of the sky are not suitable for studying the “time-domain” because they are not taken with an appropriate spacing in time. The Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey (NGVS), a deep, multi-color imaging survey of the closest cluster of galaxies, adopted an observing strategy that spaced observations for a given field over a time period of hours to years. While not designed for time-domain studies, this observing strategy allows us to look for things in the sky that change in brightness. This project will focus on looking for three different types of variability, each with its own separate science question, although the technical aspects of the three are nearly identical. The three types are: (1) RR Lyrae variable stars in the outskirts of our Milky Way galaxy, excellent probes of our Galaxy's assembly history via the cannibalism of smaller galaxies, (2) tidal disruption events of stars in globular clusters by their central intermediate mass black holes, and (3) variability of distant quasars caused by stochastic accretion of material onto the supermassive black holes that power them.

Tasks: The SIP interns will use deep time series imaging of the sky to identify variable stars that could be RR Lyrae or quasars, using a set of known RR Lyrae and known quasars as training sets. They will first use colors to identify possible RR Lyrae and quasar candidates, and then determine the brightnesses of these candidates as a function of time. While there is no training set for tidal disruption events (TDEs), there are clear theoretical expectations for the time behavior of such events. This project will require the use of image analysis tools to measure brightnesses of individual stars, quasars, and star clusters. The SIP interns will develop computer scripts to do the data analsysi in an automated fashion. They will then develop tests for variability, and fit RR Lyrae and TDE light curves to the data.  

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-04 Title: Photometrically Variable Stars in the Andromeda Galaxy
Primary mentor: Sagnick Mukherjee
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Monika Soraisam, Alisha Choudhary
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The mentor's research group has been exploring photometrically variable stars in the Andromeda galaxy (M31). Photometrically variable stars are those that undergo variations, often repeated or even strictly periodic variations, in their brightness due to pulsations. Recent large time-domain surveys (e.g., the POMME survey with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and MegaCam imager) have discovered thousands of variable stars in M31. In addition, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has been used to carry out a large near UV/optical/near IR imaging survey called PHAT that covers a fraction of the bright disk of M31, and the mentor's group has led a large Keck DEIMOS spectroscopic survey of M31 stars called SPLASH. The combination of variable star light curve data from time-domain observations, HST brightness and color measurements, and Keck spectra presents a unique opportunity to understand the nature of these variable stars.

Tasks: The SIP interns will cross match variable stars found in one or more of the time-domain surveys with HST PHAT survey photometric data and Keck DEIMOS spectroscopic data. The matched data set can then be used to construct a variety of color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) and color-color diagrams. The SIP interns will work on new ways to identify variable stars in the PHAT dataset. They will group the variable stars according to CMD location and study systematic trends in light curve properties across and within the different groups. 

URL: https://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/index.php?uid=pguhatha
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-05 Title: Studying the Very High-Energy Gamma-Ray Flux Variations of Markarian 421
Primary mentor: Prof David Williams
Other mentors: Amy Furniss
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Very high-energy gamma rays from astrophysical sources propagate to Earth through the light emitted by galaxies (the "extragalactic background light" or EBL). Gamma rays that collide with a photon of this light can convert into an electron and positron (anti-electron) with a probability that can be calculated from the results of experiments using Einstein's special theory of relativity. The conditions are enough different from those that have been directly tested by experiments that it is important to confirm that special relativity is still giving the right result. This can be done using gamma-ray data obtained with the VERITAS telescopes. In particular, the highest energy gamma rays from two bright, (relatively) nearby sources, Markarian 421 and Markarian 501, can be used to look for any deviation from the expected behavior. Data from a third source bright source, the Crab Nebula, is useful for testing and optimizing the data analysis. The SIP interns will work on the analysis of VERITAS data from these three objects.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn to use computer programs for analyzing the VERITAS data and run the analysis on data sets from one or more of the objects of interest. They will also learn to inspect the output of programs which test the VERITAS data quality in order to remove poor-quality data (usually the result of bad weather) from the sample. They will compare different ways of doing the analysis in order to identify an optimum approach that gives the best (in the sense of most definitive) results. In doing so, the SIP interns will gain familiarity with standard tools used for astrophysics and particle physics data analysis and with working in the Linux computing environment.

URL: https://veritas.sao.arizona.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: The data analysis will be done in a linux computing environment and some familiarity with that environment would be desirable. The interns will need to have or develop during the summer some additional coding skills for processing the results.
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON REM


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-06 Title: Ages, Metallicities, and [alpha/Fe] of Virgo Cluster GCs and dE Nuclei from Coadded Keck/DEIMOS Spectra
Primary mentor: Kadri Mohamad Nizam
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Elisa Toloba
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The goal of this project is to learn about the origin of the nuclei observed in dwarf elliptical galaxies (dEs) and the relation, if any, between the globular clusters (GC; small groups of stars) found orbiting these dEs, orbiting ultra diffuse galaxies (UDGs), free floating in the Virgo cluster of galaxies (large collection of galaxies gravitationally bound to M87, a very massive elliptical galaxy sitting at the cluster center), and orbiting the M87 galaxy. The comparison between the different groups of GCs will tell us whether UDGs can be considered extended dEs, and will provide some information about the cannibalism history of M87 and the Virgo cluster itself. This project will also shed some light into the idea that the dE nuclei might be GCs that migrated to the center of the dwarf galaxy. To distinguish between this scenario for the formation of nuclei and other possibilities that describe nuclei as events of strong star formation in the center of the cluster, and to learn about the properties of dEs, UDGs, M87, and the Virgo cluster, the mentor and SIP interns will analyze the stellar content (ages and chemical composition) of these nuclei and GCs.

Tasks: The mentor's team has a catalog of spectroscopic data for a large sample of GCs and nuclei in the Virgo cluster of galaxies. The SIP interns will use the technique of spectral co-addition to analyze the spectroscopic properties of the GCs and compare them among the different categories of GCs and to the properties of the nuclei.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-07 Title: Proving the Evolution of Galaxy Dark Matter Content Since Cosmic Noon
Primary mentor: Jack Lonergan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Guillermo Barro
Other mentors: Raja GuhaThakurta, Elisa Toloba
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The goal of this project is to learn about the kinematics, stellar ages, and dark matter content of distant galaxies observed at cosmic “noon”, when the Universe was only half of its current age. For this analysis the mentor's group will make use of a large sample of deep (8+ hr) galaxy spectra taken with the state-of-the-art Keck 10-m telescope as part of the HALO7D survey. These spectra provide detailed data on the stellar continua and emission lines of galaxies which can be used to determine their stellar ages and their dark matter content. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to compare the average properties of these galaxies at cosmic noon to those of well-known galaxies in our local environment. Such comparisons will help us understand the evolution of the main galaxy properties with cosmic time.

Tasks: For this project, the SIP interns will use the vast collection of galaxy spectroscopic data taken as part of the Keck-based HALO7D survey. This data set will be combined with extensive photometric and structural information based on data products from the HST-based GOODS and CANDELS surveys. The interns will handle images and catalogs to make diagnostic diagrams and to analyze the properties of galaxies. Furthermore, the interns will use spectral co-addition and spectral fitting techniques to extract information about the galaxies from the emission and absorption lines detected in their spectra. One such property is the dynamical mass, which is a direct probe of dark matter content. The analysis requires the use of programming scripts written in Python. However, previous programming knowledge is 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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-08 Title: Globular Clusters in the Hubble Frontier Field Cluster Abell 2744
Primary mentor: Justin Barber
Faculty advisor: Prof. Elisa Toloba
Other mentors: Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

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

Tasks: The SIP interns will use the deepest images that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has taken for any clusters of galaxies, the so-called Hubble Frontier Fields. The mentor's research team has catalogs of all the objects found in these very deep HST images. The 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 of galaxies. Once the samples are separated, the SIP interns will analyze the properties of these GCs using density plots, color-magnitude, 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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-09 Title: Spectral Classification of Weak CN and Carbon Stars in M31 and M33
Primary mentor: Rachel Raikar
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Amishi Sanghi, Jiamu Huang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The Andromeda galaxy (M31), the nearest galaxy larger than our own galaxy, serves as an excellent laboratory for the study of stellar populations including rare stars. Carbon stars constitute one such class of rare stars. The distinguishing characteristic of these stars is their atmosphere contains carbonaceous molecules such as CN, CH, and C_2 that make their presence known via broad absorption bands in the spectra of these stars. The mentor's research group, working with previous SIP interns, has discovered a new class of rare stars called "weak CN" stars in which the CN spectral absorption feature at ~8000 Angstrom is much weaker than in carbon stars. The initial discovery/classification of the weak CN stars was based on visual inspection of spectra and the group has since been working on automated classification with the goal of using state-of-the-art machine learning methods.

Tasks: The SIP interns will analyze 1D spectra obtained with the DEIMOS spectrograph on the Keck II 10-meter telescope. The interns will be expected tto work closely with the mentors to develop and design machine classification algorithms. While some Python programs  for these tasks are already available, it is expected that the interns will write custom software to carry out the machine-based classification.

URL: https://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/index.php?uid=pguhatha
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-10 Title: Comparative Study of the Properties of Rare Stars in the Andromeda and Triangulum Galaxies
Primary mentor: Amanda Quirk
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Tim Marquez, Camila Aristimuno
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Our Milky Way galaxy is part of the Local Group of galaxies. Andromeda (M31) and Triangulum (M33) are two other large galaxies in the Local Group and are located 2.5–2.7 million light years from us. Our global yet detailed view of these two galaxies makes them excellent testbeds for the study of stellar evolution. The orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and Keck II 10-meter telescope and DEIMOS instrument have been used to carry out extensive photometric and spectroscopic surveys of the two galaxies. The mentor's research group has used these data sets to identify a few classes of rare stars: carbon stars, "weak CN" stars (a recently discovered class of stars), emission line stars, etc. M31 and M33 have different star formation histories and chemical abundances (metallicities). It will be interesting to study whether/how these differences affect the fraction and properties of rare stars in the two galaxies and compare the observations to the predictions of stellar population models.

Tasks: The SIP interns will work with visually-classified and machine-classified populations of rare stars in M31 and M33. The interns will use existing Python software and write custom software to analyze and compare these M31 and M33 samples in terms of the following diagnostics: various HST-based color-magnitude diagrams (with theoretical stellar tracks overlaid), fraction relative to normal oxygen-rich stars, co-added Keck DEIMOS spectra, kinematics (line-of-sight velocity dispersion and asymmetric drift relative to neutral hydrogen), etc.

URL: https://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/index.php?uid=pguhatha
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-11 Title: The Globular Cluster Systems of Virgo Cluster Dwarf Galaxies
Primary mentor: Prof Eric Peng
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Star clusters are collections of thousands to millions of stars formed together and still bound together by their gravity. The oldest and most massive star clusters are called “globular clusters” (GCs) for their round appearance. GCs can be seen at much greater distances than individual stars, because they shine with the combined luminosity of many stars coming from a relatively small amount of volume. This project will look for GCs around low-luminosity galaxies in the nearest cluster of galaxies, the Virgo cluster. One of the challenges in finding star clusters around nearby galaxies is that the brightness of the galaxy itself gets in the way. In the project, the SIP interns and mentors will model the smooth galaxy light and subtract it from the images in order to better find faint star clusters.

Tasks: The SIP interns will work with images of galaxies in the Virgo cluster from the Next Generation Virgo cluster Survey (NGVS), a deep survey of the entire Virgo cluster with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Using cutout images of the galaxies, the interns will use custom software (IRAF’s ELLIPSE and its modification, ISOFIT) to model the galaxy light and subtract it from the images. After the subtraction of the galaxy light, the SIP interns will use the SExtractor (Source Extractor) software to find GCs in the image.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-12 Title: Looking for Evidence of Intermediate Mass Black Holes in Star Clusters in the Virgo Cluster
Primary mentor: Vivian Tang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Piero Madau
Other mentors: Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Research over the last few decades has established that galaxies comparable in mass to the Milky Way host massive central black holes whose mass M_BH is tightly correlated with their host galaxy mass M_gal. Extrapolating this M_gal-M_BH relation down to star clusters of mass 10^6 M_sun would suggest that star clusters should host intermediate mass black holes: M_BH ~ 10^3 M_sun. However, observational evidence for/against the presence of intermediate mass black holes has remained the subject of vigorous debate. One useful observational signature of intermediate mass black holes in dense star clusters is the temporary light burst caused by a tidal disruption event (TDEs): the black hole's tidal disruption of an unfortunate star that strayed too close to the black hole's event horizon. The Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey (NGVS) has obtained repeat brightness measurements of tens of thousands of star clusters in the Virgo cluster of galaxies. This research project will be the theoretical counterpart to the observational TDE component of the SIP 2019 research project AST-03.

Tasks: The SIP interns will carry out the following set of theoretical calculations under the close guidance of the primary and secondary mentors: (1) trying out different slopes for the M_gal-M_BH relation to predict the abundance and mass of black holes in Virgo star clusters, (2) probability of TDEs given the density of stars in the vicinity of the central black hole, and (3) simulating the cadence of the NGVS observations on the theoretically predicted set of TDEs.

URL: http://www.ucolick.org/~pmadau/Research_Highlights.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.

Biomolecular Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-01 Title: The Presence of Immune Cell Types Influences Cancer Progression and Therapeutic Success
Primary mentor: Verena Friedl
Faculty advisor: Prof. Josh Stuart
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Cancer is a complex disease and a tumor contains more than just cancer cells. It has a microenvironment containing normal tissue cells, blood vessels, and immune cells mixed with the abnormal, cancerous cells. It has previously been shown that the types of immune cells present in a tumor influence the success of treatment against that cancer. In her research, the mentor is using data from a recently developed and now widely adapted technology called single cell RNA sequencing. This data provide information about exactly which genes are transcribed in a single cell, for thousands of cells. The mentor wants to use this information to detect immune cell types in tumor samples and analyze the effect of the immune cells on the cancer and the patient’s health.

Tasks: The research project will involve the statistical analysis of immune cell types detected in cancer samples. The cancer samples are part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project and have extensive genomic and annotation data available, including disease progression and survival information of the cancer patients, for example. The SIP interns will use statistical methods used in survival analysis to understand the influence of immune cell types on disease progression and therapy success. The data analysis can be done in R or Python, depending on the SIP interns familiarity and the availability of helpful analysis modules.

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
Mentor's availability: ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-02 Title: Genetic Sequencing Accuracy/Error Models
Primary mentor: Letitia Mueller
Faculty advisor: Prof. Russell Corbett-Detig
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Currently, the mentor is working in a lab that is focused on population and evolutionary genomics/bioinformatics. The mentor would love to have the SIP interns join her on a subproject about testing the efficacy of a novel form of genetic sequencing which involves a combination of rolling circle amplification and duplex sequencing. The mentor's research group is interested in understanding whether this sequencing method would allow us to sequence genomic data with higher accuracy. Improving sequencing accuracy is important for detecting small variations in complex samples such as tumors, microbial populations, and environmental communities.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will assist in testing the sequencing accuracy of the genomic reads. These tests are usually done by running the reads through a program written in Python. Although the work will be based on writing Python programs, the mentor is happy to take on interns who have little to no programming experience. The SIP interns may be asked to perform experiments in the wet lab. The mentor is looking for interns who have a can-do attitude and a genuine interest in bioinformatics!

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

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-03 Title: Machine Learning in Biology
Primary mentor: Brian Mullen
Faculty advisor: Prof. James Ackman
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

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 research project will use computer vision (openCV) packages available to Python to track and identify mouse movements. The mentor and SIP interns will use Machine Learning algorithms (scikit-klearn) to build a classifier to determine the state of an animal. Ultimately, the SIP interns 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 go through a complete Machine Learning project to classify the state of the animal based on videos of the body acquired while the researchers took brain recordings. First, the interns will handscore videos that that they will use to train the classifier. Second, the interns will determine, explore, and select approprate metrics. Third, the interns will train classifiers using several methods. Finally, the interns will test the classfier to determine efficacy of their machine learning task, looking at the quality of their classifier. If time permits, the SIP interns can start to assess how the brain functionally behaves during these different states and explore methods of analysis.

URL: https://mcd.ucsc.edu/faculty/ackman.html
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-04 Title: Investigation of Genetic Association Between Huntington’s Disease Gene Huntingtin (HTT) and Cancer Stem Cell Marker Tetraspani
Primary mentor: Gepoliano Chaves
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nader Pourmand
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Huntington’s disease is a rare neurological genetic disorder caused by a trinucleotide expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. Affected individuals suffer psychiatric and motor symptoms and currently there is no cure described for HD, with diabetes drugs a promise that has largely been underused. The mentor's research group has sought to determine the genetic nature of diabetes symptoms, such as impaired glucose homeostasis in HD individuals. Recently, by using analysis of mRNA expression (RNA-Seq) from rat HD model as well as genome wide association study (GWAS), the group was able to demonstrate that several genes acting to control the subcellular trafficking are affected in HD cellular model and HD human individuals. Briefly, the group found that the genes that participate in the process of organizing innate and adaptive immune responses are affected in the models they analyzed. One class of genes affected by HTT, or, more precisely, mutant HTT (mHTT) is that of tetraspanin genes. Tetraspanin genes express four plasma-membrane domain proteins which are translocated to the cellular membrane. Characterization of the genetic mechanisms that associate mHTT genetic variants and tetraspanins genetic variants is necessary to allow a better understanding of Huntington’s Disease.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to handle DNA sequencing files, and how to perform a genome wide association analysis, Linkage Disequilibrium, and epistasis analysis.

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


Chemistry & Biochemistry

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-01 Title: Inexpensive Metal Alloy for Oxygen Evolution Reaction
Primary mentor: Shanwen Wang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Hydrogen is considered a promising energy resource. Producing hydrogen via the water-splitting reaction is one of the most sustainable and environmental friendly ways. However, the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), as the half reaction involved in water splitting, consumes too much energy due to the sluggish reaction mechanism. Moreover, due to the high cost for Ir oxides (the benchmark electro-catalysts for OER), one cannot incorporatet the reaction into a commercially viable process. Therefore, it is critical to design inexpensive catalysts from Earth-abundant elements for the OER reaction. In this project, we will use the electrodeposition method to synthesize low cost and high efficient OER catalysts.   

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in the synthesis of OER catalysts, and will carry out some OER performance tests. The interns will also get the experience of using electro-chemistry techniques and an understanding of how to critically read scientific journal publications ad present one's research.  

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF OFF

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-02 Title: Nanoparticles Surface Functionalization and the Characterizations
Primary mentor: Yi Peng
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Other mentors: Qiming Liu
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Our goal of this study is to develop new methods to functionalize semiconducting nanoparticles such as TiO2, CdS, PbS, CuS, etc. by alkyne ligands. We will also use some charactization techiques to study functionalized nanoparticles and their properties such as NMR, FTIR, UV-Vis, SSPL, TRPL, Mott Schottkey Plot, XPS, TEM, etc. The applications will be finished by our collaborators off campus. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will perform lab work, including material synthesis, characterizations, and electrochemistry tests. The interns will also carry out data analysis and present their results at regular group meetings.

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

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-03 Title: 3D Printing of Carbon Aerogels for Supercapacitors
Primary mentor: Dr Bin Yao
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: As an emerging technique for energy storage, 3D printing has been widely used in energy storage and conversion fields. Carbon aerogels have extremely high specific surface area, and have been studied as a potential candidate for supercapacitor electrodes. However, traditional bulky carbon aerogels do not retain their good electrochemical performance under high mass loadings due to limited ion transportation. 3D printed carbon aerogels could help to alleviate this problem by providing periodic open channels. These large pores allow the electrolyte ions to directly go to the surface of electrode materials even for milimeter-thick electrodes. In this project, the mentor and SIP interns will print carbon aerogels using natural polymers and construct hierarchical porous structures. The electrochemical performance of these novel 3D printed electrodes will be measured. Supercapacitor devices based on these 3D printed electrodes will also be fabricated and tested.  

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), supercapacitor device fabrication, electrochemical tests, and data analysis.

URL: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bin_Yao7
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Lab work
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-04 Title: Metal-Organic Framework and Their Derivatives
Primary mentor: Qiming Liu
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Other mentors: Yi Peng
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Metal-organic framework (MOF) and their derivatives are attracting lots of research interest because their abundant porous structures. They are especially beneficial for mass transport of both gas and liquid. They provide good platforms for catalysts, supercapacitors and batteries. The mentor's research project is to synthesize some MOF nanoparticles and derivatives which can be applied to electrocatalysts.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to synthesize nanoparticles, charaterize materials, and analyze data.

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

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-05 Title: Noble Metal 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 contain two different components on their two surfaces — have been studied extensively for their optical and catalysis properties. In contrast to bulk exchange nanoparticles, those that have different components randomly distributed on their surface, Janus nanoparticles have a unique self-assembly property and are able to achieve different functionalization. This study will focus on an examination of the chiral property of Janus nanoparticles upon surface ligand functionalization. This project will include the synthesis of various noble metal Janus nanoparticles of different sizes and shapes. Functionalization of bifunctional Janus nanoparticles will be done by interfacial ligand exchange using a Langmuir-Blodgett trough. Characterization of nanoparticles will be done using UV-vis spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, circular dichroism spectroscopy, etc.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be taught to search for and read research articles and possibly come up with their own project ideas. The interns will also learn about noble metal nanoparticle synthesis and functionalization from the mentor. Nanoparticle characterization by the SIP interns will include UV-vis spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, etc. The SIP interns will be trained in the use of different kinds of data analysis software.

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
Mentor's availability: ON OFF REM ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-06 Title: Metal-Doped Carbon as Bifunctional Electrocatalysts
Primary mentor: Ting He
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Other mentors: Qiming Liu, Yi Peng, Qiaoxia Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The rapid depletion of non-renewable fossil fuels and climate change have triggered the development of sustainable clean energy technologies. Yet technological hurdles remain. For instance, the conversion efficiency of electrochemical water splitting is limited by the sluggish kinetics of the half reactions of hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) at the cathode and oxygen evolution reaction (OER) at the anode. Whereas noble metal-based electrocatalysts, such as Pt/C and RuO2, have shown satisfying activity for OER and HER, their high costs and scarcity in nature markedly hamper the industrialization of the technology. Recent studies have shown that carbon-based nanostructures can be used as effective HER and OER electrocatalysts, in conjunction with single metal atoms, metal nanoclusters, bimetals and metal/metal oxide catalysts. Thus, the main goal of the project is focused on the design and engineering of metal/carbon nanocomposites for effective electrochemical water splitting.      

Tasks: The SIP Interns will be trained in reviewing scientific articles and will learn the skills of sample synthesis, characterization, and performance tests. These include basic synthesis methods based on hydrothermal treatment and pyrolysis and structural characterization with UV-vis spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and electrochemical assessments of the electrocatalytic activity by cyclic voltammetry, linear sweep voltammetry, and electrochemical impedance.  

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

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-08 Title: Nanostructured Semiconductors for Photoelectrochemical Water Splitting
Primary mentor: Dr Jing Zhang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Other mentors: Bin Yao
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells offer the ability to convert solar energy into chemical energy through the splitting of water into molecular oxygen and hydrogen, analogous to the photosynthesis process used by nature. To transform the reaction into economically competitive technology, we need materials that can absorb sunlight broadly, transfer the energy to excited charges at high efficiencies, and catalyze specific reduction and oxidation reactions. Furthermore, the materials should be inexpensive and stable against photocorrosion. To date, an ideal material that satisfies all of these considerations remains elusive. In the past decades, nanostructured metal oxide semiconductors have been extensively studied as photoelectrodes for water splitting. However, the photon-to-current conversion efficiency still is quite limited. This research project is designed to develop high-performance nanostructured photoanodes for PEC water splitting.          

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn the basic principles of designing high performance anodes for photoelectrochemical water splitting, gain hand-on experience in the synthesis of nanomaterials, and carry out various types of material characterizations and electrochemical measurements.    

URL: http://li.chemistry.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
Mentor's availability: REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON


Computational Media

Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-01 Title: Using 360-degree Video Based Virtual Reality Games to Assist Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Primary mentor: Tiffany Thang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Individuals with developmental disabilities, such as Autism or Down Syndrome commonly have deficits in social-emotional skills. These skills include being able to recognize the emotions of others and being able to properly communicate emotions. Traditional methods of assisting individuals with developmental disabilities include behavioral therapy, which utilize flashcards and iPad games to aid in learning and strenghtening social-emotional skills. While these methods are effective, therapy tends to be expensive and unmotivating. This project aims to create a 360-degree video based virtual reality game to assist individuals with developmental disabilities in learning and strengthening social-emotional skills, addressing issues with cost and motivation present in traditional methods of learning such skills. The project includes the use of the GoPro Fusion, DaVinci Resolve 15, Unity and the Oculus Go in development of the game.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to use Unity, DaVinci Resolve 15, the GoPro Fusion, and the Oculus Go in developing a 360-degree video based virtual reality game. The interns will assist with writing scripts for those acting in the 360-degree videos, filming using the GoPro Fusion, editing videos using DaVinci Resolve 15 and developing interface and interaction components of the game using Unity. Once the game is finished, the SIP interns will learn how to import and use their game on the Oculus Go virtual reality system. Towards the end of the project, the interns will have the opportunity to conduct user testing of their game with members of the community who have developmental disabilities.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-02 Title: Co-Creating Therapy Games
Primary mentor: Jared Duval
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 6

Project description: Therapy is costly, time-consuming, repetitive, and difficult. Games have the power to teach transferable skills, can turn repetitve tasks into engaging mechanics, have been proven to be effective at delivering various forms of therapy, and can be deployed at large scales. Games move us. The SIP interns will have the opportunity to engage with four therapy games that are in various stages: (1) SpokeItTheGame.com, a speech therapy game for children born with orofacial cleft, is the primary project; it has recently partnered with SmileTrain—an organization that has supported over 1.5 million free cleft surgeries—and is gearing up to be deployed around the world! (2) Spellcasters is a social virtual reality game that is being adapted into a therapy game for stroke survivors; teams battle in magic duels by using gestures to cast various spells, and these gestures are designed to provide physical therapy. (3) PTKinect is a physical therapy game unlike Spellcasters in that it is being developed from the ground up to support physical therapy; it uses a Microsoft Kinect to analyze an entire body for physical therapy exercises. (4) The mentor's research group is collaborating on a new circus-themed physical therapy game for children who have motor impairments; the game uses custom wearable devices that transmit data to the game.

Tasks: Depending on the SIP interns' expertise and interests, there are many opportunities to work on the projects. All interns will be expected to work on polishing existing game content or creating new content as well as participating in conducting and analyzing user studies and playtests. Some example tasks include working on animations, sprite sheets, game engine components, art assets, databases, and analyzing user study data. For development, the mentor's research group works primarily in Xcode, Unity, and Android Studio. The group uses various Adobe applications for design work, such as Illustrator, XD, Photoshop, After Effects, and Character Animator.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-03 Title: Social Wearables
Primary mentor: Ella Dagan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katherine Isbister
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 4

Project description: The focus of the Social Wearables research project is the potential of incorporating computation in things people wear on their bodies as a way to enhance and strengthen in-person social interactions. Many current wearable devices are not focused on the co-located social interaction, and risk having a negative impact on our everyday social life by distracting people and taking their attention from one another. The mentor's research group uses Reseach-through-Design methods to leverage state-of-art technologies in order to envision new designs that address our basic need for human connection and support prosocial interaction. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will: (1) do literature review on topic and related materials; (2) follow tutorials from Adafruit website to practice skills; (3) brainstorm ideas for new wearable designs; (4) do quick and dirty design social wearables; (5) create low-fidelity prototypes of their ideas; and (6) potentially test their designs with users.

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
Mentor's availability: OFF ON ON REM OFF ON REM ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-04 Title: TownSim
Primary mentor: Julin Song
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jim Whitehead
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Map generation is used in games and virtual environment simulations. TownSim is a city map generator that uses simulation to realistically produce road-networks forming a city. It is part of a project to generate realistic virtual testing environments for self-driving car (autonomous vehicle) AIs. The core idea is fueling an emergent system of commute and movement with economic activities of simulated agents, simulated city planning policy, and chance. A prototype has been developed using Python, and can be accessed on github.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in developing and improving features of the software; planned work includes: implementing a policy entity, adding elevation to the map and incorporating environment variables in building decisions, and adding to the economic activity rules. The interns will be encouraged to read literature of related research and suggest ideas for the future direction of this project. The SIP interns will gain experience in programming, procedural content generation, and methodically reading academic papers. 

URL: https://github.com/AugmentedDesignLab/town-sim-py
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM REM ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-05 Title: Narrative and Game Design for Collaborative Play
Primary mentor: Devi Acharya
Faculty advisor: Prof. Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Other mentors: Mirek Stolee
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: There are currently many interesting spaces for collaborative play, from more freeform social formats such as tabletop roleplaying games to more mediated forms of play such as puzzle-oriented escape rooms. This research project explores how we can create and think about such spaces, both in terms of narrative provided by the game's designers and in terms of supporting emergent storytelling through play from users. Through theorizing about, designing, and testing how we can convey different stories in such play spaces, the mentor and interns can see what affordances each have in terms of allowing for different forms of play and narrative. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will work on researching, designing, and producing a series of games and play spaces with a focus on collaborative storytelling. This will culminate in user testing and evaluation of these different spaces, and refining designs based on feedback. The interns will be expected to assist with the following: (1) research and evaluation of previous work concerning collaborative play; (2) designing and paper prototyping different collaborative games; (3) user testing of games through play and qualititaive/quantitative metrics for evaluation; and (4) iterative re-design and creation based on feedback. This research project is especially recommended for those with an interest in storytelling, authoring for games, and game and puzzle design. 

URL: https://expressiveintelligence.github.io/
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON REM REM REM


Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-06 Title: Alternative Escape Room Design Studio
Primary mentor: Mirek Stolee
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nathan Altice
Other mentors: Devi Acharya
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The real-life escape room has seen a rapid rise in popularity, with over 2000 locations in the United States alone. This research project investigates new approaches to escape room design. Specifically, this project explores new avenues regarding the usage of time, space, and teamwork in escape rooms to discover new possibilities for storytelling. For example, dividing participants into subgroups in separate locations may offer new affordances for storytelling. By questioning popularly held assumptions about the affordances and limitations of the escape room, we can theorize about and design innovative experiences in this space. With user testing, we can improve our designs and discover which innovations are most effective.

Tasks: This research project will allow the SIP interns to develop skills in game design, storytelling, and user testing. The interns working on this project will begin by researching current trends in escape room design and other forms of experiential storytelling. The interns will then work together with the mentors on this project to theorize about, design, and implement a series of real-life escape rooms. The SIP interns will also assist in user testing of these designs and subsequent re-designs based on qualitative and quantitative feedback.

URL: http://www.mirekstolee.com
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON REM REM


Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-07 Title: Evaluating and Generating Explorable Explanations
Primary mentor: Barrett Anderson
Faculty advisor: Prof. Adam Smith
Other mentors: Jasmine Otto, Melanie Dickinson, Max Kreminski
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Explorable explanations are interactive and playful demonstrations of ideas. They support learning through play and encourage active reading. See https://explorabl.es/ for some examples.  There are two major strands to this research project: (a) reviewing and evaluting the state of existing explorables, and (b) creating novel explorables grounded in this evaluation. Ideally these new explorables will address social issues, contribute to STEM education, or otherwise meet an existing need. Their specific content will be partially determined by the SIP interns' interests, and the explorable creation process itself will be documented to facilitate similar future projects. Additionally, this research project is part of a shared set of Computational Media projects (see secondary mentors) which will allow the SIP interns to spend some of their time learning from and contributing to a larger variety of projects.

Tasks: The SIP interns on this research project will learn about the history and current state of explorables, develop skills with the technology that supports these experiences (from paper prototypes to JavaScript), and explore several ways that the effectiveness of explorables can be evaluated. The ultimate outcomes of this project will twofold: (a) an evaluation plan for several existing explorables, and (b) a set of novel explorables created by the interns themselves. The SIP interns on this project will be involved in conducting literature reviews, writing clear summaries and explanations, designing interactive experiences, and coding web-based prototypes of these experiences. In the evaluation phase of the project, the interns will learn about experiment design, conducting statistical data analysis, and reporting scientific findings to technical and general audiences.  

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF OFF

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-08 Title: Diarytown: Building a Diary-Based Videogame
Primary mentor: Melanie Dickinson
Faculty advisor: Prof. Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Other mentors: Max Kreminski, Barrett Anderson, Jasmine Otto
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The SIP interns will contribute to the development of an experimental game that uses a player’s real life as material for play. The game, called Diarytown, involves the player crafting daily diary entries from a symbolic action library. The entries are then used as input to a town simulation which imaginatively enacts and extrapolates on the events and people described in the diary entries. This is part of an ongoing research project to explore how personalized interactive media could better engage a user’s unique experiences, values, attitudes, sense of self, or cultural context through play, enabling new kinds of experiences, and facilitating creative, empowering self-reflection and self-understanding.

Tasks: The SIP interns will do at least some of the following: (1) help prototype and storyboard specific things that can happen in the town simulation based on diary entry patterns; (2) design and implement editable procedural art for houses, people, and landscapes in the town simulation in p5js; (3) run user tests of the diary entry crafting system; (4) make authoring tools to examine patterns in the huge possibility space of diary entries; and (5) keep daily diaries using the diary part of the game over the course of the summer. The game is being implemented as a web app in Javascript using various Javascript libraries. The mentor and others will teach Javascript the first week of the internship, but prior experience in some kind of programming language is strongly recommended. If the SIP interns are interested in making 2D visual art or animation, the mentor can devote the entire summer to designing and executing procedural art for Diarytown in p5js (the Javascript version of Processing). Otherwise, the research project will focus on prototyping and creating authoring tools.

URL: http://eis.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-09 Title: Coding the Spirograph
Primary mentor: Jasmine Otto
Faculty advisor: Prof. Angus Forbes
Other mentors: Barrett Anderson, Max Kreminski, Melanie Dickinson
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Spirographs trace beautiful figures that decompose into simple mathematical recipes. The mentor's research group is interested in these recipes because they characterize many interesting kinds of signal (e.g., audio, pen plots, planetary motions), and because the computer is ideally suited to drawing them. In the process of teaching the computer to draw, the SIP interns will gain a visual intuition for linear algebra (including matrix multiplication) and frequency spaces (which represent the same data by a different parameterization). This research project will thereby cover some fundamentals of data science with a uniquely visual approach. It is also part of a shared set of projects that will expose the SIP interns to a wider variety of computational media research.

Tasks: The SIP interns will ultimately reproduce an algorithm which traces any smooth closed contour or silhouette using a (complicated, virtual) spirograph. The interns will gain experience developing interactive representations of functions and signals, and exposure to mathematical modelling in a context where numerical implementation is expected.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-10 Title: Story Recognition for Simulated Worlds
Primary mentor: Max Kreminski
Faculty advisor: Prof. Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Other mentors: Melanie Dickinson, Jasmine Otto, Barrett Anderson
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The SIP interns will contribute to the development of a story recognition system for experimental simulation-driven games. The interns will work alongside the developers of an experimental game called Diarytown, in which players craft daily diary entries from a symbolic action library, to create a catalogue of narratively interesting patterns that might emerge in a player's diary entires. By cataloguing these patterns, the mentor and interns can then enable the game to automatically recognize and intelligently respond to them. Moreover, the SIP interns may also participate in the extension of the story recognition system to other simulation-driven games besides Diarytown. This SIP research project is part of an ongoing project to create games that function as intelligent storytelling partners for the player, helping players to craft stories they would not be able to on their own.

Tasks: The SIP interns will carry out some or all of the following tasks: (1) brainstorm and storyboard narratively interesting situations that might emerge within simulated storyworlds; (2) write code to automatically recognize and respond to narratively interesting situations as they emerge; (3) run user tests of the diary entry crafting system; (4) keep daily diaries using the diary part of the game over the course of the summer; and (5) play other simulation-driven games and write stories that retell their play experiences. Development will take place in Javascript using various Javascript libraries. The CPM mentors will teach Javascript during the first week of the internship, but prior experience in some kind of programming language is strongly recommended.

URL: https://eis.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Computer Science/Computer Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-01 Title: Static and Runtime Analysis of Application
Primary mentor: Sachet Mittal
Faculty advisor: Prof. Heiner Litz
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: A major bottleneck in computing performance is latency due to movement from SSDs to the CPU core. This is exacerbated with multi-core systems and concurrent programs due to frequent cache updates. There are two ways to address this challenge: (1) move the data closer to the core which means increasing the cache size; or (2) move the computation closer to the data. SmartSSDs leverage the second idea. By having a compute engine close to the data (SSDs), the applications can offload tasks (kernels) to the SSD so that the computation can be performed by hardwired logic on local data. This offload increases the overall parallelism and reduces data movement. It also frees cache to be utilized more efficiently by the CPU. However, not all the applications are suited for this architecture. So we are developing a tool which will characterize if the given application is amenable to this architecture. The tool will analyze the code statically and other runtime properties to provide characteristics which will help us determing if this a candidate for SmartSSDs or not.

Tasks: The SIP interns will help in developing and testing of the tool. The tool will either be in C++ or Python so It will be highly appreciated if the interns are familar with either of these languages and have worked in Linux environment before. At the end of the program, the SIP interns should have gained more confidence in building software projects. In addition, the interns will have exposure to a cutting-edge hardware architecture and genomics.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-02 Title: Rip Current Detection: A Machine Learning Approach
Primary mentor: Akila De Silva
Faculty advisor: Prof. Prof. Alex Pang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Rip currents are the main beach hazard affecting beachgoers who could even face death as a result. The mentor is currently working on building an application, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), that could easily detect and visualize potentially hazardous rip currents. This summer, the mentor and SIP interns will use ML and AI techniques to classify coastal images as rip current or non-rip current images. Furthermore, during this classification process, the SIP interns will visualize what unique features could be used to identify images of rip currents from non-rip currents. Finally, if time permits, the SIP interns will gain exposure to detection and localization of rip currents in a coastal image.

Tasks: The SIP interns will: (1) learn to use Python for programming; (2) gain exposure to machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and Keras; (3) gain exposure on how to collect data from online resources; (4) gain exposure to multiple ML/AI techniques for image classification; (5) gain exposure to detect and localize objects in an image (if time permits); (6) learn how to critically read reserach papers; and (7) learn how to be effective in a team research environment. 

URL: http://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~audesilv/
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-03 Title: Fluid Flow Pattern Analysis and Visualization
Primary mentor: Fahim Hasan Khan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Alex Pang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Flow visualization (FlowVis) is a subfield of scientific visualization and closely associated with computer graphics. Most fluids (gases and liquids such as air, water, etc.) are transparent, and their flow patterns are invisible to the human eyes without methods to make them visible. Flow visualization is the process of making the physics of fluid flow directly accessible to visual perception by making the flow patterns visible to get qualitative or quantitative information on them. These flow visualizations are often rendered using the same 2D and 3D computer graphics pipelines used for movies, games, and related applications thus making them closely associated with computer graphics. The mentor's research group works in the field of scientific visualization and computer graphics. One of his research focus involves the challenges of analyzing and visualizing time-varying 3D flow in an efficient manner for various real-life applications. One of the critical tasks in flow analysis and visualization is optimally utilizing the graphics processing unit (GPU) of computational devices. The GPU plays two different crucial roles in this process, (1) using GPGPU (General-purpose computing on graphics processing units) for faster processing of huge amount of flow data, and, (2) rendering the high-quality 3D graphics for visualizing the flow. This research group is currently working towards the goal of developing an iPhone/Android app to analyze and visualize rip current patterns from live video of a cellphone camera in a superimposed fashion. This app will render the visual information of the flow pattern directly on the live video, effectively converting mobile devices to visual analysis tools to be used by surfers and swimmers in real life.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in a research project for superimposed visualization of flow pattern analysis. They will learn basic programming using Python and/or C++, do literature reviews on a topic and read related research papers, and work on an academic research project. The interns will practice extensive and effective use of Google and other online tools to solve programming problems. The SIP interns will have exposure to a few visualization software tools, the 3D graphics development pipeline for developing visualization applications, and the use of GPU for both computations (GPGPU) and rendering (3D graphics). Depending on their level of expertise, the interns will participate in the development of the iPhone/Android app for rip current visualization. If time permits, the interns will have exposure to some machine learning techniques for pattern analysis of flow data. Some previous experience with programming is preferred, but not required.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON OFF ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-04 Title: Learning Memory Access Patterns
Primary mentor: Peter Braun
Faculty advisor: Prof. Heiner Litz
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The explosion in workload complexity and the recent slow-down in Moore’s law scaling call for new approaches towards efficient computing. Researchers are now beginning to use recent advances in machine learning in software optimizations, augmenting or replacing traditional heuristics and data structures. However, the space of machine learning for computer hardware architecture is only lightly explored. A key bottleneck in von Neumann architecture is the latency for accessing memory in DRAM, which is ameliorated with the use of small, fast caches. Prefetchers predict what memory will be used next and preemptively fetch that data to the cache for fast access. The mentor's research group focuses on the critical problem of constructing accurate and efficient memory prefetchers to address this bottleneck. The group explores the suitability of neural networks for learning these memory access patterns.

Tasks: The SIP interns will write/modify and test C programs for generation of different memory access patterns. The interns will run the tested program through our pipeline and analyze the generated memory traces. Other potential areas the SIP interns may work on: write Python scripts for data preparation to explore the effect of different inputs on neural network success and/or experiment with different neural network types or architectures. The interns will be expected to use Google and StackOverflow and be persistent when resolving bugs/issues within the code and/or Linux.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-05 Title: IoT Health Monitoring And Prevention
Primary mentor: Sam Mansfield
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katia Obraczka
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Hospitals are faced with an increasing patient population and a decrease in healthcare staff. In addition, deadly secondary conditions such as sepsis, pneumonia, and bed sores affect patients even though the patient is being treated for an unrelated condition. Luckily Internet of Things technologies are becoming ever-present and allowing for a new generation of healthcare. Sensing of patient conditions such as heart rate, temperature, pressure, etc. allow for continuous tracking of the patient and objective measurements can be presented back to the clinic. These strategies allow for healthcare staff to catch the formation of secondary conditions before it is too late. The mentor's research focuses on the system design of monitoring solutions to predict and prevent pressure injuries (a.k.a. bed sores). The work spans data collection from sensors, automated analysis in the Cloud, and graphical representations of analysis that can be presented in the clinic. The mentor's main affiliation is with UCSC, but the mentor is also affiliated with UCSF, which is where clinical guidance is given.

Tasks: The SIP interns will: (1) read and understand academic literature; (2) analyze sensor data using Python; (3) carry out graphical programming using Python; and (4) get experience with scientific writing.

URL: https://inrg.soe.ucsc.edu/project-pimap-pressure-injury-monitoring-and-prevention/
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-07 Title: Bio-inspired Tensegrity Robotics (Human Leg)
Primary mentor: Erik Jung
Faculty advisor: Prof. Mircea Teodorescu
Other mentors: Victoria Ly
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 4

Project description: This research project will imitate the behavior of human gait through tensegrity robotics. Tensegrity (tensile with integrity) robots consist of rigid elements suspended in a mesh of flexible tension elements. These hybrid (flexible-rigid) structures are capable of manupulating in a variety of ranges of motions comparable to the human leg. This will lead to a design of lower-limb exoskeletons and artificial (prosthetic) knees and hips. The SIP interns will not be required to take lab safety training. The end goal of this research is to take the knowledge gained through prototyping leg-inspired joints through tensegrity robotics, and implement it towards an assistive lower-limb exoskeleton.

Tasks: The SIP interns will: (1) understand how to create 3D models in Inventor and prototype them through 3D printers; (2) learn how to generate plots and figures in Matlab for scientific publications; (3) create circuits boards for hardware components; (4) write software in C++ with Arduino IDE and implement it on robotic structure; and (5) gain a basic understanding of the physiology of the human leg.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON REM REM ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-08 Title: Creating a Real-Time Hybrid Autonomous System for Solving Complex Scenarios
Primary mentor: David Kooi
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ricardo Sanfelice
Other mentors: Marco Carmona
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Hybrid Systems provide a framework to model and control systems with discrete and continuous components. This flexible methodology provides new ways to build power systems, renewable energy distribution, assistive technologies, and autonomous vehicle control, among others. One way of controlling dynamic systems is though model predictive control (MPC). However, one drawback of conventional MPC is inability to consider discrete events like timers and instantaneous changes in state. Combining hybrid systems and MPC results in hybrid-MPC, a framework that supports the control of systems with continuous and discrete dynamics. This research project involves creating an algorithm to solve the PacMan game. With multiple adversaries of differing behavior, multiple goals such as fastest time, highest points, and staying alive, multiple PacMan "states" – normal and invincible, the PacMan game is truly a complex scenario! The goal of this research project is to demonstrate and explore the abilities of hybrid algorithms. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will be tasked to assist the mentor in creating a real-time control algorithm for autonomously solving the PacMan game. The interns' tasks will include: (1) researching and creating a working PacMan game with multiple levels of increasing difficulty; (2) create a user interface to allow manual control of the PacMan game; (3) researching and creating a hybrid algorithm to compute optimal PacMan behavior; and (4) creating an interface between the PacMan game and the hybrid algorithm.

URL: https://hybrid.soe.ucsc.edu/lab
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-09 Title: Spokeit – Machine Learning for Speech Error Detection
Primary mentor: Leya Breanna Baltaxe-admony
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Other mentors: Jared Duval
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Spokeit is a game for speech therapy. It currently detects articulation errors (the way words are said), but the mentor's research group would like to be able to detect resonance errors (the tone used to say the words – i.e., nasality). By using this information, the group can: (1) provide more detailed information to the children, families, and clinicians who use SpokeIt, and (2) cater to a more diverse range of individuals within speech therapy. To detect these errors, the mentor's research group uses machine learning! Instead of looking at the words as text (articulation errors), the mentor and SIP interns will look at audio snippets (MP3) themselves. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will have the opportunity to learn machine learning (ML) basics. The broad goal will be to work together to create a working ML model that can be integrated into the existing speech therapy game. This is a significant research contribution! To get there, the SIP interns will learn about programming for ML contexts, some data processing techniques for audio, and introductory ML methods for classification problems (i.e., Logistic Regression). 

URL: https://spokeitthegame.com/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-10 Title: Designing Dialogue Strategies for Social Conversation in an Open-Domain Conversational AI
Primary mentor: Kevin Bowden
Faculty advisor: Prof. Marilyn Walker
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 6

Project description: Recent years have seen a huge resurgence of interest in social dialogue systems with a new generation of personal assistant platforms, including Apple's Siri, Google's Assistant, Microsoft's Cortana, Amazon's Alexa, Facebook's M and IBM's Watson. These new products exploit multiple new technology developments, including vastly improved speech recognition, search, and natural language understanding. To this end, the mentor's research group has developed SlugBot, a two-year semi-finalist veteran of the Amazon Alexa Prize Competition which is capable of open-domain conversation. Operating in the open domain necessitates a wide coverage of commonly discussed topics, as any interest of the user is fair game for the conversation. As a result, the mentor's group has developed streamlined tools which abstract most of the low level natural language processing technologies into simple building blocks, enabling the group to encode new topical knowledge for SlugBot without needing any real programming background (although an interest in programming would be beneficial). During this research project, the SIP interns will utilize these tools with the goal of making SlugBot conversational savvy in new and underdeveloped topics. Underdeveloped topics include, but are not limited to, Lord of the Rings, Sports, Fictional Characters, History, and Dinosaurs. New topics may include ideas such as Mythology, Nature, Cars, Hobbies, Makeup, and other student interests.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn about state-of-the-art natural language processing technologies which include hands-on experience with an industrial grade conversational AI in the mentor's lab. The interns will use this experience to design and develop a new conversational topic for SlugBot, which will eventually be deployed to real users. Additionally, the mentor will host a seminar, in which the mentor and his colleagues will present thought provoking research topics in the field of dialogue systems. The goal of these seminars will be for the SIP interns to think critically about the components involved in structuring a real dialogue and to be able to present this to their peers.

URL: https://nlds.soe.ucsc.edu/slugbot
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-11 Title: Braingeneers: New Architecture of the Human Brain
Primary mentor: Victoria Ly
Faculty advisor: Prof. Mircea Teodorescu
Other mentors: Erik Jung
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research group aims to combine advances in comparative genomics and cerebral organoid models with manufacturing using biocompatible materials, chemical and electrical sensors, microfluidics, and optogenetic control of neuronal activity to learn how brains are made and how to harness the power of neural circuits. With a few chemical patterning signals, it is now possible to grow ex vivo from stem cells a structure that is molecularly, morphologically, and functionally like a patch of cerebral cortex in a developing embryo, called a cerebral organoid. Our approach will apply fast prototyping and modern AI approaches to: (1) uncover how genetic changes enhanced human brain architecture and computing capacity during primate evolution by (2) enabling the unprecedented monitoring of brain development to (3) develop the first scalable ex vivo system to actively study the behavior neural circuits under stimulus-response-reinforcement training conditions. Ultimately, engineering and training of neural circuits in both tissue and silicon will allow us to compare machine and biological learning in a profound new way, teaching us lessons about both.

Tasks: The SIP interns will: (1) understand the basics of fast prototyping, developing electronic circuits and programming for cerebral organic research; (2) understand how to create 3D models and prototype them (e.g., through 3D printers); (3) learn how to generate plots and figures in Matlab for scientific publications; (4) create circuits boards for hardware components; (5) write software (e.g., C++ with Arduino IDE) and implement it; and (6) gain a basic understanding of the physiology of the human brain.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-12 Title: Confusion Detection in MOOC Discussion Forums
Primary mentor: Nikhil Varghese
Faculty advisor: Prof. Snigdha Chaturvedi
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: In recent years, there has been an explosion in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs). These courses are an affordable and efficient method to disseminate knowledge with high-quality resources, directly from world-leading experts. Since enrollment numbers in MOOCs are much higher than traditional classrooms, a key challenge is to moderate discussions and to identify which posts in the discussion forum need to be addressed first. Naturally, it is desirable for the instructors to prioritize the posts that are categorized as confused/urgent. The mentor's research group is focused on a project which uses the discussion forum data to identify confusion and urgency in each post using a multi-task neural network architecture.

Tasks: The SIP interns will: (1) be encouraged to explore innovative solutions to the research problem; (2) learn Python and get comfortable with widely used data science libraries and NLP toolkits; (3) perform exploratory statistical analysis on the dataset; (4) understand and develop an intuition for machine learning techniques and deep learning models; and (5) work as a team to implement these novel architectures.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-13 Title: Learning from Big-Ranked-Data
Primary mentor: Vishal Chakraborty
Faculty advisor: Prof. Phokion Kolaitis
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Learning from ranked data has recently gained a lot of popularity in the artificial intelligence, computational social choice, and economics research communities. The advent of big data has given rise to large amounts of preference and behavior data – e.g., user ratings on Netflix, instructor evaluations in schools and universities, and elections in the local government all give rise to preferential data, and the like. These data have valuable information stored in them, which can directly impact various facets of society. In this research project, the SIP interns will help the mentor's research group answer questions such as: (1) how can one design fast and accurate algorithms to explore and investigate ranked data? and (2) how can we efficiently elicit preference from users? Most of the work will happen via in-person advising by the mentor in the lab on the UCSC campus.

Tasks: The SIP Interns will achieve an understanding of how ranked data are modeled and will develop an overview of the state-of-the-art tools in this area. The interns will implement one or two ranking models in a programming language, preferably Python, and test the models on various data sets. The SIP Interns will gain valuable experience on how to work responsibly with data with a focus on experimental design and reproducibility.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM REM ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.

Economics

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.
 

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-01 Title: Mechanisms for Kelp Forest Resiliency
Primary mentor: Joshua Smith
Faculty advisor: Prof. Mark Carr
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 3

Project description: In kelp forests along the central coast of California, active sea urchin grazing has shifted a once continuous kelp forest landscape to underwater 'sea urchin barrens' that are void of kelp and associated species. Our current research focuses on the processes responsible for these shifts from forested to barrens states and the recovery (i.e., resiliency) of forested ecosystems. We explore sea urchin grazing behavior that has led to widespread kelp forest loss and how factors such as predators (e.g., sea otters, sea stars, crabs), urchin disease, and disturbance (e.g., large swell events, El Niño), might contribute to sea urchin population control and the recovery of kelp forest ecosystems. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will participate in both field and laboratory experiments. In the field, students will primarily participate in supervised boat-based crab trapping surveys. These surveys will be conducted in Monterey, Calfiornia and are designed to characterize the population size and distribution of these important predators of sea urchins. The interns will assist in daily deployment and retrieval of crab traps from UCSC research vessels and will be trained and directly responsible for gear preparation and maintenance, recording crab catch, and data management. In the lab, students will collect data on the distribution and abundance of kelp forest invertebrates and algae from high-resolution photos taken in the subtidal. Students will also participate in mesocosm experiments designed to investigate whether or not crabs prefer to eat healthy sea urchins from a kelp over over-starved sea urchins from a barren. This laboratory mesocosm experiment will become a semi-independent summer research project for the SIP interns that will ultimately culminate in a final research poster. Finally, the interns will collect and sort samples of juvenile sea urchins through a regional collaborative project (https://census.eeb.ucsc.edu) aimed at evaluating sea urchin recruitment dynamics around the Monterey Bay. 

URL: http://www.JoshuaGsmith.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-02 Title: Heating Up the Battle of the Sexes: Temperature Effects on Mosquitofish Reproductive Behavior
Primary mentor: Doriane Weiler
Faculty advisor: Prof. Suzanne Alonzo
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Rising global temperatures are one of many pervasive effects of anthropogenic climate change. Temperature shapes the rate of biochemical processes and has strong impacts on animal physiology and behavior. However, little research has been dedicated to understanding how chronic warming impacts reproductive behavior. This project uses western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) as a model system to explore how temperature shapes the evolution of male-female interactions. Mosquitofish are an invasive species of freshwater fish that have been widely introduced to consume mosquito larvae. Their mating system is characterized by persistent male mating attempts – males spend 70%–90% of their time pursuing females! While this behavior benefits males by increasing their reproductive success, it can be very costly for females, which can evolve special traits to avoid males, such as greater swimming speeds. Temperature may intensify or weaken this evolutionary "battle of the sexes,"  depending on how it impacts both male and female behavior. To understand how temperature impacts mosquitofish reproductive behavior, SIP interns will help run behavior experiments on mosquitofish from populations across a broad thermal gradient. This project will take place on the UCSC Coastal Campus and will include lab, computer, and field-based tasks. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will assist with: (1) running experiments to record mosquitofish behavior, (2) photographing mosquitofish and using ImageJ software to measure morphological traits such as body length and pigmentation, and (3) analyzing videos of mosquitofish to determine counts of reproductive behaviors. The interns will also learn and help with basic fish husbandry and aquarium maintenance. Over the course of this project, the SIP interns will gain an integrative perspective on studying animal behavior and will have a genuine experience working on many aspects of behavioral research, from experimental design to data analysis.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-04 Title: Variation in Floral Traits used for Communication with Coevolved Pollinators
Primary mentor: Mia Waters
Faculty advisor: Prof. John Thompson
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This research project is focused on the genetic variation in floral scent and morphology, two complex traits that plays an important role in the interactions and communication between plants and their pollinators. Specifically, the mentor's research group is working with Woodland Stars (Lithophragma), a native plant found in the foothills of western North America from southern California to British Columbia. These plants have co-evolved with a small prodoxid day moth (Greya), that depends entirely on the Woodland Star plants for its entire lifecycle while in return is a major pollinator for the plants. There is large variation in the amount and types of floral scent produced among Woodland Star species, and even among different localized populations within a single species. Morphological traits like petal shape and size also vary among these populations. The mentor's research group is investigating what the genetic basis for this variation might be, and how these traits are inherited in hybridized generations of plants from two parent species that are very different in both floral morphology and scent. If floral traits in the hybrids are different from that of the parent plants, then the coevolved interaction with the Greya moth pollinators might be broken in areas of natural hybridization or as ranges of these species shift due to climate change. Not only is this important to understand for the long-term conservation of this particular interaction, but it will provide new insight into the evolution of these traits in general, which will enhance our understanding of the evolution and ecology of plant-pollinator communication in ecosystems around the world.  

Tasks: The SIP Interns on this project will work in the Thompson Lab over the summer at UCSC's Coastal Biology Campus, helping to finish this long-term research project. Tasks could include photographing flowers using a standardized protocol, measuring flower morphology traits either with ImageJ software or with a dissecting microscope, harvesting bulbils, planting bulbils and/or seeds and managing the growth and watering of the plants, tracking the phenology of plants as they grow, and collecting/cataloging/storing leaves for future DNA analysis. The interns will have the opportunity to learn a wide range of skills essential for their development as scientists, including data collection, data entry and proofing, time management and goal-setting, how to use a microscope, and collaborating as part of a tightly knit research team. Additionally, the SIP interns will learn more specialized skills like how to dissect flowers, how to use image-processing software, greenhouse management techniques, and plant propagating and care. There is also potential to: (1) learn how to collect floral scent and learn the basics of the chemical analysis used to identify the organic compounds that make up the scent and (2) learn some basic statistics and help analyze data at the end of the project.  

URL: https://thompsonlab.sites.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON REM OFF


Electrical Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-01 Title: Optical and Electrical Properties of Laser-Crystallized Copper Oxide Thin Films
Primary mentor: Samm Garcia
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobby Kobayashi
Location: 2300 Delaware Labs
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor’s research group, Nanostructured Energy Conversion Technology and Research (NECTAR), focuses on studying state-of-the-art inorganic thin film structures in terms of their optical and electrical properties with emphasis on energy harvesting/conversion (e.g., conversion of sunlight and waste heat), microelectronics (e.g., memories in computing systems), and small/large-scale optics (e.g., optical waveguides, telescope mirrors). Design and development of thin film structures made of a wide range of materials require complementary assessments.

Tasks: This research project aims at studying optical and electrical properties of semiconductor thin film structures synthesized by physical vapor deposition and treated by laser crystallization processes. The resulting thin film structures could pave new ways of fabricating such devices as solar cells and flexible electronics. The SIP interns will be conducting the following tasks: (1) optical measurement of thin film structures with a spectrometric ellipsometer-reflectometer, (2) electrical measurement (current-voltage, capacitance) of thin film structures with a semiconductor parameter analyzer and a LCR meter, (3) optical modeling (transfer matrix) of thin film structures to extract optical parameters (refractive index and extinction coefficient) from experimental outcomes, (4) electrical modeling (finite-element) of thin film structures to assess experimental outcomes, and (5) complete the project by correlating optical and electrical properties to structural properties.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON REM REM ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-02 Title: Ag/AlOx Mirror Sputter Atomic Layer Augmented Deposition (SALAD)
Primary mentor: Justin Vargas
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobby Kobayashi
Location: 2300 Delaware Labs
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The development of large ground-based telescopes requires a range of critical technologies (e.g., high-level instrumentation and basic-level materials engineering) that need to be put together to bear on cutting-edge astronomical observations. While the advancement of these technologies has been inspired by the everlasting quest for astronomical observations, we are still far from perfecting the performance of large-scale metal mirrors—the most critical part of the telescopes—that offer high reflectance over a wide range of optical spectrum and robust endurance in field use. The mentor's research group is interested in developing new optical thin film materials and demonstrate a novel metal-mirror structure that shows performance as high as that of Ag-mirrors and endurance as good as that of Al-mirrors, each of which has its own pros and cons as stand-alone materials. This research project will offer unprecedented opportunities for systematic study of revolutionary optical thin films for advanced ground-based telescopes.

Tasks: The SIP interns will acquire knowledge in assembling vacuum components and acquire skills of operating a thin film deposition system and characterizing optical thin films using various analytical tools. The interns will also learn experimental design, statistical data analysis, and presentation skills.

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
Mentor's availability: REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-03 Title: Cu/AlOx Sputter Atomic Layer Augmented Deposition (SALAD)
Primary mentor: Jacob Sands
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobby Kobayashi
Location: 2300 Delaware Avenue
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor’s research group, Nanostructured Energy Conversion Technology and Research (NECTAR), focuses on studying state-of-the-art inorganic thin film structures in terms of their optical and electrical properties with emphasis on energy harvesting/conversion (e.g., conversion of sunlight and waste heat), microelectronics (e.g., memories in computing systems), and small/large-scale optics (e.g., optical waveguides, telescope mirrors). Design and development of thin film structures made of a wide range of materials require complementary assessments. This research project aims to study the optical properties of thin film structures artificially coupling metallic (e.g., Cu) atomic layers and dielectric (e.g., aluminum oxide) atomic layers. Resulting thin film structures could pave new ways of fabricating such devices as multi-state bi-stable resistive switches.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be conducting the following tasks: (1) optical measurement of thin film structures with a spectrometric ellipsometer-reflectometer, (2) electrical measurement (current-voltage, capacitance) of thin film structures with a semiconductor parameter analyzer and a LCR meter, (3) optical modeling (transfer matrix) of thin film structures to extract optical parameters (refractive index and extinction coefficient) from experimental outcomes, (4) electrical modeling (finite-element) of thin film structures to assess experimental outcomes, and (5) complete the project by correlating optical and electrical properties to structural properties. Hopefully, by the end of the summer session, the SIP interns and mentor will publish a paper on their research!

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Environmental Studies

Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-01 Title: Improving Coastal Prairie Restoration for Increased Resilience to Drought
Primary mentor: Justin Luong
Faculty advisor: Prof. Michael Loik
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Ecological restoration seeks to alleviate loss of unique ecosystems through native plant reintroductions and invasive species control. However, restoration outcomes can be unpredictable and may become more so with climate change. The mentor's research group is interested in exploring new methods to improve restoration success in coastal prairies to improve coastal ecosystem resilience to droughts. The group has planted native plant species under rain-out shelters designed to simulate a 1-in-100 year drought. The group is interested in understanding if plant traits and evolutionary relationships are predictive of plant survival and growth. The mentor's research group is also interested in whether plant traits can explain changes in plant communities. The SIP interns will be working in a lab and will be required to complete basic lab safety training. Work will take place at the UCSC Main Campus and the Coastal Campus.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved with quantifying plant traits such as specific leaf area, major vein length per unit area and leaf thickness using ImageJ software and a digital micrometer. The interns will also prepare leaf samples for carbon, nitrogen content analysis and changes in isotopic carbon analysis to determine plant water use efficiency using a leaf grinding mill. The interns will get a chance to work on basic statistical tests. Furthermore, the SIP interns will improve their ability to critically read scientific publications and present scientific research.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Earth & Planetary 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.
 

Linguistics

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.
 

Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-01 Title: The Developing Brain: How do Neural Stem Cells Generate the Incredibly Diverse Cell Types Needed for Building a Working Brain?
Primary mentor: Jeremiah Tsyporin
Faculty advisor: Prof. Bin Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The cerebral cortex underlies our highest cognitive abilities such as consciousness and perception. Neural stem cells are responsible for generating diverse cell types at precise times throughout development of the brain. The mentor's group seeks to understand how neural stem cells regulate the generation of distinct neural and glial subtypes, and how those cells properly migrate to, and integrate in, their final destinations. Understanding these processes will shed light on mechanisms of neurological diseases such as ALS, Schizophrenia, and Autism; these diseases have been linked to errors in these processes during development. The mentor's lab, the Chen lab, uses the mouse as a model organism to study the brain. There are many readily available genetic tools scientists have designed in the mouse to manipulate gene expression, and the mentor's group employs various genetic knock out and knock in models to do this. Basic in-person and online lab safety trainings will need to be completed before the SIP interns can begin doing lab work.

Tasks: The SIP interns will obtain a basic understanding of developmental biology, and how questions regarding development can be answered with available techniques in molecular biology. The interns will examine and analyze data, and perform experiments related to the mentor’s thesis work. Specifically, the SIP interns will take part in the following: (1) dissecting brains from mice; (2) sectioning and staining brains; (3) basic fluorescence microscopy and assistance with confocal microscopy; (4) data analysis: counting cells from obtained images, carefully examining brains and cellular morphology and gene expression to determine what changes are present in the wild-type versus the mutant brains; (5) taking care of mice colonies: this includes collecting tissue samples which will be used to look at the DNA of mice to determine the presence or absence of genes of interest; (6) reading primary papers from the field, and participating in related discussions at weekly lab meetings; and (7) understanding the logic behind the experiments being performed, and interpreting results from those experiments.

URL: https://mcd.ucsc.edu/faculty/chen.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-02 Title: Protein Machines: Dissecting the Molecular Mechanisms of Transcription in Yeast
Primary mentor: Zachary Morton
Faculty advisor: Prof. Grant Hartzog
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Transcription of messenger RNA from DNA is carried out by a molecular machine called RNA Polymerase II (RNAPII). RNAPII is composed of 12 proteins and depends on other proteins called transcription factors to help carry out its function of reading DNA and transcribing mRNA. One such transcription factor is called Spt5. Spt5 is found in every life form on earth and is essential for life in every organism, suggesting it has an ancient and important role in transcription. Despite such importance, we know very little about how Spt5 functions. The mentor's research project aims to uncover the molecular mechanisms of Spt5's contribution to transcription through yeast genetics and biochemistry. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn fundamental techniques in molecular biology and yeast genetics in order to create novel mutations in Spt5 with the goal of disrupting its function. The mentor and interns will then characterize these mutations and qualitatively assess the effects of these mutations on the process of transcription. These data will then be applied to existing virtual structural models of the transcription complex to gain new insight into how Spt5 functions. 

URL: https://mcd.ucsc.edu/faculty/hartzog.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-03 Title: Lineage Switch of Neural Stem Cell
Primary mentor: Xiaoyi Liang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Bin Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: In the developing cerebral cortex, cortical radial glial cells (RGCs) sequentially give rise to diverse excitatory neurons, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and inhibitory interneurons that migrate into the olfactory bulb (OB). Both spatial and temporal signals operate to generate diverse neuron and glia. Several siganling pathways, including Fibroblast Growth Factor (Fgf), Wnt, and Sonic hedgehog (Shh), pattern the neuroaxis leading to segmentation of the neuroepithelium into different progenitor domains responsible for generating distinct cell types. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate temporal lineage progression of RGCs in the mammalian brain are largely unknown. The mentor's objective is to understand the molecular mechanisms that regulate the lineage progression of RGCs. It has been shown that Pax6 gene is important in the developing cortex and the expression of Olig2 which lead to oligodendrocyte lineage is increased in Pax6 staight kock out mice. The mentor's goal for this summer is to determine if Pax6 involves in the lineage switch of neural stem cells from generating excitatory neurons to oligodendrocytes. The mentor will analyze the phenotype of mice that has been conditionally knock out Pax6 in GFAP-expressing neural stem cells. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will: (1) help with DNA precipitation, PCR, and loading gel; (2) learn to perfuse mice and dissect brain; (3) learn to section brain and do immunostaining for different cell markers of mouse nervous system.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-04 Title: Long Noncoding RNA and Inflammation
Primary mentor: Apple Vollmers
Faculty advisor: Prof. Susan Carpenter
Other mentors: Daisy Kuang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The innate immune system provides a first line of defense against pathogens by inititating a protective inflammatory response. Upon infection or tissue damage, circulating monocytes migrate to the site of inflammation, where they can differentiate into macrophages. Macrophages are central to performing and regulating host defense through use of Toll-like receptors (TLRs), which recognize invading pathogens or damage signals to initiate host defense pathways. Careful regulation of the immune response is essential for eliminating pathogens and preventing sustained inflammation and tissue damage, which can drive autoimmune disorders or cancer. Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been implicated as critical regulators of gene expression in the innate immune response, regulating the differentiation of precursor cells into mature immune cells, as well as the subsequent function of these mature cells during a pathogen response. We have identified a lncRNA that is conserved between human and mouse, and specifically expressed in macrophages. The mentor's research group has genetically engineered a mouse that overexpresses this lncRNA.

Tasks: The SIP interns will help genotype the mice as well as culture mouse bone-marrow derived macrophages and characterize changes in gene expression during inflammation. The interns will learn essential molecular biology skills, from genotyping, DNA electrophoresis, PCR, tissue culture, RNA extractions, and qPCR analysis.

URL: https://sites.google.com/a/ucsc.edu/carpenter-lab/
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
Mentor's availability: ON OFF REM ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-05 Title: Modeling Bladder Cancer in vivo
Primary mentor: Ofir Stefanson
Faculty advisor: Prof. Zhu Wang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The bladder is a part of the urinary tract and its role is urine collection and excretion. Bladder cancer is the 4th most common, cancer in men, and it is the most expensive cancer to treat. Recently, common mutations associated with bladder cancer have been identified by DNA sequencing. The mentor's lab is characterizing the role of epigenetic regulators in bladder cancer development. We use CRISPR to mutate target genes in animal models to study their effects on bladder cancer. This research project will solely take place at UCSC main campus. The SIP interns will need to take basic lab safety and biological saftey training.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn about CRISPR and how it can be used to mutate target genes. The interns will bioinformatically learn how to design CRISPR sgRNAs for gene mutation. The SIP interns learn how to clone sgRNAs into plasmids, express them in bacteria, and isolate and validate sgRNAs. 

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

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.
Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-06 Title: A Closer Look at the Visual System: Determining the Properties of Retinal Ganglion Cells
Primary mentor: Sadaf Zaki
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Feldheim
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Vision is arguably the most important of our five senses; it allows us to make sense of the world around us. Visual information is detected by a structure in the back of the eye called the retina. The mentor's research group is interested in the cells in the retina that are responsible for transmitting visual information to the brain, retinal ganglion cells (RGCs). To determine the properties of RGCs, the research group uses the mouse as a model organism. In addition to gaining hands-on lab experience, the interns will learn about the structure and function of the visual system. SIP interns are required to complete online safety trainings as well as basic in-person training prior to beginning work on the project. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn molecular biology, fluorescence microscopy, and data analysis techniques. They will assist the mentor in obtaining tissue samples and assaying for genes of interest by DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and gel electrophoresis. Additionally they will obtain and analyze immunohistochemical data via fluorescence microscopy and using the image analysis software, FIJI.

URL: https://feldheimlab.mcdb.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology

Code Research Project Descriptions
MET-01 Title: Microbial Improvements to Aquifer Water Quality
Primary mentor: Nicole Schrad
Faculty advisor: Prof. Chad Saltikov
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Much of the world relies on groundwater from aquifers as their primary water source. However, aquifers are being rapidly depleted from overuse. Managed aquifer recharge is one strategy that collects stormwater and allows it to infiltrate back into the aquifer. During the infiltration, microbes that exist in the soil can break down different pollutants that might be in the stormwater. The mentor's research group is interested in how soil microbes are able to break down the toxic byproducts of fertilizer (nitrates) that are in the runoff of agricultural fields. The mentor's group is also concerned with how to improve the conditions in the soil to promote this degradation. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will help set up column experiments and microcosms. The interns will gain experience making media and working in an anaerobic "glove box". The SIP interns will  extract DNA and RNA from soil samples. The interns will use these extractions to quantify the nitrogen cycling genes in different conditions. There is also a possibility for the SIP interns interested in bioinformatics to help analyze DNA that has been sequenced. 

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
Mentor's availability: ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
MET-02 Title: Studies in Antibiotic Resistance
Primary mentor: Aaron Clarke
Faculty advisor: Prof. Karen Ottemann
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Antibiotic resistance is a growing concern for public health and poses a challenge to treating many bacterial infections. The Ottemann laboratory studies the development of antibiotic resistance in the stomach pathogen Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that infects half the world's population. Determining the factors that lead to the development of resistance to common clinical antibiotics is a key concern for implementing alternative therapies to eradicate Helicobacter pylori. The mentor's research group will be accepting SIP interns who are interested in learning about microbiology and antibiotic resistance in an academic research environment. The interns will learn techniques used in antibiotic screening, microbiology, and molecular biology.

Tasks: This research project involves screening bacteria samples for resistance to several clinically relevant antibiotics. The SIP interns will practice aseptic techniques and employ basic microbiological skills including antibiotic screening and microscopy. Applications in molecular biology will also be used including polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis.

URL: http://www.metx.ucsc.edu/research/ottemann.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Ocean Sciences

Code Research Project Descriptions
OCS-02 Title: Bacterial Community & Metabolite Sampling of Monterey Bay Diatoms in Regards to Domoic Acid Production
Primary mentor: Nettie Calvin
Faculty advisor: Prof. Marilou Sison-Mangus
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This research project is at the intersection of ocean sciences, biochemistry, and microbiology and can be categorized as research on harmful algal bloom (HAB). The mentor's research group's present work focuses on how the diatom Pseudo-nitzschia may be influenced by surrounding bacteria, specifically in regards to the diatoms’ toxic domoic acid (DA) production. A hypothesis the group aims to support is that bacteria provide essential molecules that the diatom modifies to synthesize DA. Pseudo-nitzschia lack the enzymes to produce chemical precursors (terpenoids) for themselves, but it appears these molecules are necessary starting materials for DA biosynthesis. Research goals are to answer whether bacteria are producing terpenoids, and, if so, which bacterial species are responsible.

Tasks: In the lab, the SIP interns will learn to filter seawater to collect diatoms and bacteria in separate fractions (on filters). the interns will participate in performing DNA extractions from the filters and will learn the microbiological technique of PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to amplify (make many copies of) the extracted DNA. Finally, the SIP interns will gain hands-on experience in preparing an electrophoresis gel as a tool for visualizing whether a DNA extraction and amplification was successful. The interns will also learn the chemical and physical basis for why this valuable microbiology tool works the way it does. Additionally, the SIP interns may have the opportunity to learn how to carry out a fluorescence assay to quantify the extracted DNA.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


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: Fabrication and Characterization of Graphene Nano Devices
Primary mentor: Johnny Davenport
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jairo Velasco, Jr.
Location: 2300 Delaware Avenue (Materials Research Lab)
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Electrons carry current through the computer chips, solar cells, and LEDs that are ubiquitous in modern society. Understanding and manipulating the behaviour of electrons is of paramount importance for the advancement of technology and science. Graphene is a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon atoms that shows surprising and promising electronic properties because it confines electrons to travel in a flatland rather than through 3D space. Remarkably, graphene can be peeled from a graphite crystal using Scotch tape. As a result, graphene nanotechnology for researching new and exciting physics is readily accessible with minimal fabrication. This summer, the SIP interns will learn to fabricate and characterize graphene nanodevices. The interns will use the scientific method to optimize several nano fabrication processes, and they will learn techniques to characterize the results of their processes. Finally, SIP interns will attend group meetings and learn about the latest developments in the physics of graphene such as superconductivity and the quantum Hall effect through group presentation and discussion.

Tasks: The SIP interns will begin by learning to isolate graphene on ultra-clean silicon substrates. The interns will then learn to use several functionalities of a high end optical microscope to characterize and document their samples. Afterwards, the interns will develop a software program in Python to determe the color contrast of graphene flakes with different thicknesses, as well as the preferential geometries of graphene flakes. Once they have developed a robust program for optical characterization, the SIP interns will apply their techniques to new and exciting 2D materials such as black Phosphorus, hexagonal Boron Nitride and the Chromium tri-halides. Additionally, samples that the interns prepare will also be used by their mentor to make complete nano-devices based on layered 2D materials heterostructures. These samples will later (possibly in the Fall) be measured at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Florida.

URL: https://jvjlab.sites.ucsc.edu/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming; lab work
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON REM ON

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Psychology

Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-01 Title: World of Robots: Child-Robot Interactions
Primary mentor: Elizabeth Goldman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Su-hua Wang
Other mentors: Allison Nguyen, Yu Zhang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Robots are becoming a major part of our society. This research project aims to investigate how young children interact with robots. This is an important topic because many robots are being designed and marketed towards children. However, we do not understand how these robots impact children and their development. In this research project, children will watch a robot perform different behaviors, and SIP Interns on the project will then observe the children's reactions and take detailed notes. After the robot exhibits these different behaviors, children will be given an opporutinity to apprach the robot. Finally, children will watch the robot attempt to complete a task and will then be given the opportunity to help the robot finish the task. This research project has already been designed. This summer, the mentor's research team will work together to collect as much data as possible. The SIP interns and the mentor's research group will then work together to code and analyze the data they have collected. This research project could impact how robot designers create and build robots for young children. 

Tasks: This research project is for SIP Interns who are interested in learning about robots and who would like to work with children and families. No previous experience working with children is needed, as SIP Interns will be taught how to work with children. The Interns will get experinece speaking to families and explaining the study and consent forms to the family. The SIP interns will also learn valuable skills such as: naturalistic observation, taking detailed notes, eye tracking (tracking the eye movements of young children), and data analysis. The SIP Interns will help set up the study, run the study, enter data, and analyze the data that have been.will be collected. The interns will also be trained in how to use and program the robot; this involves some simple Python coding. Previous experience with coding is not necessary. In terms of data analysis, this research project will involve coding child behaviors and reactions. It will also involve coding those behaviors we have observed. The SIP Interns will be trained in coding and observation while working in the research lab. The interns will see the research process from start to finish and will gain valuable experience of working in a psychology research lab.

URL: /https://elizabethgoldman.weebly.com
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF OFF


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-02 Title: Understanding Spontaneous Communication
Primary mentor: Allison Nguyen
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jean Fox Tree
Other mentors: Andrew Guydish
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Why do we use the words that we use, and do we signal specific things with our choices? It is possible that specific discourse markers are used in specific contexts. The mentor is interested in how and why information and stories spread through populations. The mentor is also interested in other aspects of spontaneous communication and how people talk to one another.

Tasks: The SIP interns will code data, run statistical analysis on data collected, transcribe videos, and with supervision, run human participants in psychological experiments. They will also be asked to read and discuss current literature in the area of cognitive psychology, especially in the area of communication and the spread of information. The SIP interns will be asked to write up brief reports and will be given training in APA-style writing. The interns will have the chance to learn about running psychology experiments using Google Forms and LimeSurvey and will get experience working with Excel and possibly Python. 

URL: https://foxtree.sites.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON REM ON ON ON

Note: This project may not be eligible for science competitions; interns should check the competition guidelines.
Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-03 Title: Reciprocity in Conversation
Primary mentor: Andrew Guydish
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jean E. Fox Tree
Other mentors: Allison Nguyen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Do people work together to create reciprocal balances across conversations? The SIP mentor is interested in conversational dynamics and how people carry and maintain conversations. In particular, the mentor is interested in conversational balance between participants throughout the course of the conversation, and how these balances influence how individuals communicate with one another. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will work on numerous aspects of development regarding psychological experiments. The interns will work with the mentor in the development of experiments examining areas of interest pertaining to cognitive psychology (e.g., discussing experimental design, conducting literature reviews on related concepts), work with real data (e.g., transcribing videos, examining transcripts), as well as running participants in psychological experiments under supervision. Through this process, the SIP interns will gain experience in the following: writing APA style annotated bibliographies; processes associated with experimental development; running human participants; analyzing real data in IBM's SPSS; and development and use of Python algorithms for data parsing and analysis.

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
Mentor's availability: ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-04 Title: Infants' Exploration Behavior and Parent-Child Interactions in Math Related Activities
Primary mentor: Yu Zhang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Su-hua Wang
Other mentors: Elizabeth Goldman
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Learning and development in infants and young children is always fascinating. The mentor’s research examines how children learn in their first couple of years of life. The SIP interns will have the opportunity to work on two research projects. The first project focuses on 7-month-old infants' exploration behaviors after seeing magical events (e.g., a box remained stable when it's supposed to fall). The second project examines how mathematical ideas are embedded in children’s everyday lives. More specifically, the study looks at how parents from different cultural backgrounds use language and gesture in everyday math related activities (e.g., puzzle play, book reading, and sorting) with their 3-year-olds to help them understand early math concepts (e.g., spatial relation, cardinality, counting, and quantity). 

Tasks: Although the SIP interns will primarily be working with the mentor on the two research 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, the interns will examine topics such as children’s helping and hindering behaviors in different settings. The SIP interns will have the opportunity to assist in recruiting and collecting data from research participants, transcribing video files of experiment sessions, and coding transcribed files based on a developed coding manual.   

URL: https://suhua.sites.ucsc.edu/contact/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON REM OFF OFF


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-05 Title: Synthetic Monologues and Dialogues
Primary mentor: Yasmin Chowdhury
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jean Fox Tree
Other mentors: Allison Nguyen, Andrew Guydish
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: We communicate with synthetic (computerized) voices through various types of technology (e.g., Siri/Alexa) in our daily lives. Due to the increasing nature of this interaction, we want to research the persuasive implications behind these types of voices. In this project, the mentor and SIP interns will experimentally test how different synthetic voices, communicated through monologues and dialogues, influence persuasion and perceived power on various topics.

Tasks: The SIP interns will read research papers, complete literature reviews,code data, run experimental participants (with supervision), and transcribe interactions. The interns will have bi-weekly meetings with research teams where they will discuss ongoing and upcoming work.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON REM


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-06 Title: Everyday Moral Dilemmas: Why Do So Many Students Cheat?
Primary mentor: Talia Waltzer
Faculty advisor: Prof. Audun Dahl
Other mentors: Charles Baxley
Location: UCSC Silicon Valley Extension (in Santa Clara)
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This research project will primarily take place on the UCSC Silicon Valley Extension campus (https://siliconvalley.ucsc.edu/), located in Santa Clara, CA. It is crucial that SIP interns can arrive at this Silicon Valley site throughout the summer. The mentor can provide transportation from the Silicon Valley location to alternate project destinations (e.g., field work at high schools, occasional visits to main UCSC campus). The research project investigates moral decision-making through people's everyday experiences in academic situations, including those involving cheating and academic integrity. By studying the challenges people face in real-life ethical dilemmas, we can better understand moral psychology, education, and learning. 

Tasks: In order to understand when and why people decide to cheat, this research project will employ surveys, interviews, experiments, and observational methods. During the summer, the SIP interns may be involved in literature review, entry of existing data (e.g., transcribing interviews), data analysis (e.g., using R or spreadsheets), study design, or collection of new data. The interns will learn to interpret qualitative and quantitative data and engage with contemporary literature in psychology and education research. A typical schedule includes independent work on these tasks, daily check-ins with the mentor, and weekly or bi-weekly research team meetings in which the team discusses theories, design, and current progress.

URL: https://sites.google.com/a/ucsc.edu/aop/
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Local and out-of-area applicants will be considered for this project.
Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-07 Title: STEM education and Learning Communities
Primary mentor: Sylvane Vaccarino
Faculty advisor: Prof. Regina Langhout
Other mentors: Andrew Takimoto, Paulette Garcia Peraza
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research team generally focuses on educational equity. That is, we are interested in fairness and opportunity in higher education for underrepresented students. Recently, our team has been asked to evaluate a program on-campus that is designed to provide a more supportive environment for students in a pre-calculus course. Our team conducted interviews and participant observations to evaluate how students find a sense of belonging, support, and community in this program. This study has the opportunity to make a direct impact on new students next year since the findings of this study will inform best practices for early STEM education at UCSC. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will meet weekly with their mentor throughout the summer to read studies and receive instruction with social justice-oriented qualitative methods, reflexitivity, and  analysis of ethnographic fieldnotes and interview data. The interns will meet weekly to learn about the qualitative coding process and community-based psychological research. The SIP interns need not have experience with qualitative data analysis.

URL: http://people.ucsc.edu/~langhout/cprat/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
Mentor's availability: REM ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-08 Title: Mind-Controlled 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 controlled mentally (for example, one can mentally will ambiguous motion to appear in a clockwise, as opposed to a counterclockwise, direction). The mentor’s line of research explores how IAM is similarly susceptible to mental control in different contexts, and the group is running and designing experiments to measure this in the lab.

Tasks: The 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. The interns will also gain hands on experience running participants (supervised) in a laboratory experiment and will learn how to program and analyze data using 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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-09 Title: Experiences of First-Generation Graduate Students
Primary mentor: Paulette Garcia Peraza
Faculty advisor: Prof. Margarita Azmitia
Other mentors: Andrew Takimoto
Location: -
Number of interns: 2

Project description: First-generation (FG) college students (i.e., those whose parents did not graduate from a 4-year college) might have to learn to navigate certain unknown expectations, fit specific cultural norms, and manage their college experience along with multiple other obligations. However, these FG college students learn to navigate multiple cultures, create and maintain support systems, and become resilient and resourceful. These findings have been applied to undergraduate students but little is known about the experience of FG graduate students. The purpose of this study is to understand the experiences of first-generation graduate students through interviews with the hope of discovering the needs of FG graduate students.

Tasks: The SIP interns will work primarily with qualitative data to transcribe interviews and learn to analyze qualitative data. In conjunction with the researcher, the interns will develop codes and write up preliminary findings of the data. The interns will also gather and read background research on first-generation college and graduate students. The SIP interns will then develop an literature review and present the initial findings at the conference at the end of the year. No experience with interviews or working with qualitative data is necessary.

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF REM


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-10 Title: How Do Media Romanticize Problematic and Potentially Abusive Relationship Behaviors?
Primary mentor: Sona Kaur
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eileen Zurbriggen
Other mentors: Isabel Delano, Xena Refaie
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The media plays an important role in socializing viewers about gender roles and romantic relationships. However, many messages about these topics are problematic in nature. For instance, abusive relationship behaviors (e.g., extreme jealousy, stalking, toxic masculinity) may be depicted as romantic and desirable in a relationship. This may influence how viewers perceive themselves, their partners, and their overall relationships. This research project will examine how such behaviors are portrayed in various media forms (e.g., song lyrics, romantic comedies), as well as what contextual factors (e.g., gender of person engaging in problematic behavior) play a role in whether these behaviors become romanticized.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn to critically read research articles and write literature reviews on the topic of romanticized abuse. The interns will assist the mentor in developing research questions and hypotheses, as well as assist in identifying problematic relationship behaviors that are commonly depicted in the media and in real life relationships. Using this background knowledge, the interns will help create a coding manual covering the various ways abuse is romanticized. The SIP interns will prepare and deliver a presentation at the SIP conference at the end of the program. 

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON REM REM

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.

Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-11 Title: Exploring How Moral Reasoning Develops Over the Lifespan
Primary mentor: Charles Baxley
Faculty advisor: Prof. Audun Dahl
Other mentors: Talia Waltzer
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Children, adolescents, and adults reason and make judgments about what is right and wrong. The mentor's laboratory investigates how individuals at different ages reason and judge about moral issues, and how their judgments relate to their actions. The mentor's research group studies how children and adults behave in different situations and interview them about their thoughts and feelings. For instance, why do young children think it is good to help others and bad to harm others? Why do students sometimes decide to cheat in school, even though they think it is generally wrong to do so? The overall goal of the mentor's research is to understand how people make judgments and decisions surrounding right and wrong, and how one can help people make better decisions.

Tasks: The SIP interns may help develop a new research project, as well as work on existing projects. As part of this process, the interns will learn to develop theory by diving into the moral development literature and may also help develop interview protocol and materials. To gain experience with data analysis, the SIP interns will work with data from past projects which have explored topics such as academic misconduct. There will be weekly team meetings where the research group will discuss past literature related to the project and overarching theory. This research project provides an excellent opportunity for the SIP interns to learn about all stages of psychological research, from discussing scientific articles to reporting results. 

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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON OFF ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-12 Title: Communication in Varying Mediums
Primary mentor: Ryan Pili
Faculty advisor: Prof. Alan Kawamoto
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Recent advances in technology have provided new ways to communicate with others. Mediums such as video-chatting, instant-messaging, and voice-messaging each provide their own constraints on peoples’ conversations. How could these constraints influence how people communicate? This research project is a psycholinguistics study investigating how people might adapt their conversations to a given medium. The mentor's goal for this project is to find possible sources of face-to-face and computer-mediated communication, to analyze differences in how people communicate. This research project is ideal for SIP interns who are interested in cognitive science, linguistics, computer-mediated communication, human-computer interaction, and video-games.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn to read research articles under the mentor’s guidance to understand the background of the project. With this context, the SIP interns will code video and speech data of conversations for analysis. The interns may also edit video-data, carry out preliminary data analysis, recruit and schedule human participants, and administer computer experiments under the mentor’s supervision. The SIP interns will gain hands-on experience with data visualization (Matlab), video editing (Adobe Premiere), phonetics software (PRAAT), and face-recognition software.

URL: https://ceclab.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
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON REM ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-13 Title: The Role of Family support in First Generation Latinx Students' Adjustment to College
Primary mentor: Andrew Takimoto
Faculty advisor: Prof. Margarita Azmitia
Other mentors: Paulette Garcia Peraza
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: For Latino students who are the first in their families to go to college (first gen students), going to college can be both exciting and stressful. First gen Latino students can find it difficult to make new friends on campus because they feel stressed that their peers often know more about college than they do. Latino first gen students can also lack the confidence that they will do well in college and graduate. This research project will use survey data collected from first gen students at UCSC to find out family memebers support (or lack of) can help first gen students feel confident that they will do well in college, find a major they feel passionate about, and graduate. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn to read research articles critically and search for additional articles electronically and at the UCSC library. The interns will also learn to write an introduction to a research paper using the writing conventions in psychology. The interns will develop hypotheses to test about the role of friendships and self-confidence in succeeding in college and will use survey data collected from first gen students attending UCSC to test them. Finally, the SIP interns will develop a presentation of their research project that they will practice in the research group and deliver at the SIP conference at the end of the summer.

URL: https://psychology.ucsc.edu/faculty/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=azmitia
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
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON REM REM

Special age requirement: The applicant must be 16 years old by June 24, 2019.
This project is under the UC-CAS/SIP partnership.