Research Projects by Subject

Note: If a research project is listed as having openings for more than one SIP intern, it should be assumed that the interns are expected to work collaboratively on the same project and/or data set. This may preclude rising seniors from submitting papers based on such projects to the Intel Science Talent Search competition.

Astronomy & Astrophysics

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

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

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

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-02 Title: Galaxy Formation and Evolution: Comparing Supercomputer Simulations with Observations
Primary mentor: Christoph Lee
Faculty advisor: Prof. Joel Primack
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Recent observations by Hubble Space Telescope of galaxies in the process of formation compared with supercomputer simulations from the mentor's research have revealed unexpected aspects of galaxy evolution. Astronomers used to think that galaxies start as disks, that merging disk galaxies make stellar spheroids, and that larger disks can then form around these spheroids – bulges at the centers of disk galaxies like our own Milky Way. Stellar spheroids without disks are called elliptical galaxies. The HST observations are showing that most galaxies start not as disks, but rather as elongated systems shaped like zucchinis or sausages. Simulations from the mentor's research show that these elongated galaxies are oriented along the dark matter filaments of the Cosmic Web. These simulations and the observations also show that most early star-forming galaxies have gigantic clumps of stars, hundreds or thousands of times more massive than the largest star-forming regions or globular clusters in the Milky Way or nearby galaxies, and that star-forming galaxies undergo "compaction" processes that make their centers so bright with new star formation that their visible size decreases. The mentor's research group is running many new simulations and the SIP intern's project will be to analyze the simulations and compare them with the observations both by HST and ground-based observatories such as Keck.

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

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-03 Title: Large Scale Structure of the Universe
Primary mentor: Dr. Aldo Rodriguez
Faculty advisor: Prof. Joel Primack
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research group has run and analyzed some of the largest and highest resolution simulations of the large scale structure of the universe, based on the standard Lambda CDM cosmological theory with the Planck satellite team’s cosmological parameters. Their Bolshoi-Planck simulation is of a typical region of the universe that is a billion light years across, and their other simulations are even larger than that. The mentor's research group has already published several papers on these simulations, but there are interesting features that can usefully be analyzed with the help of SIP interns. One of the projects SIP interns will work on is to analyze how the dark matter halos that host galaxies are different in different regions of the cosmic web — the cosmic voids, sheets, filaments, and nodes. Although most galaxies lie in cosmic filaments, the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies appear to lie in the middle of a cosmic sheet, providing an opportunity to see the properties of galaxy-hosting dark matter halos that lie in such cosmic sheets.  For example, the disk of the Milky Way galaxy is perpendicular to the cosmic sheet, and many of the satellite galaxies around the Milky Way and Andromeda lie in our cosmic sheet. The goal of this project is to see how often this pattern occurs in the mentor's large simulations.

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

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


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

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

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

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-05 Title: Studying Orphan Globular Clusters in the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies
Primary mentor: Dr. Elisa Toloba
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: Remote Project
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The goal of this project is to learn about the spatial distribution, kinematics, chemical composition, and mean stellar age of globular clusters (GCs; small groups of stars that orbit around a galaxy) in the Virgo cluster of galaxies (large collection of galaxies gravitationally bound to M87, a very massive elliptical galaxy sitting at the cluster center). Of particular interest is a subset of GCs dubbed “orphan GCs”. The mentors’ group has spectroscopically observed a sample of 300 globular cluster candidates in the Virgo cluster. Of these, 82 are confirmed GCs that are gravitationally bound to Virgo cluster dwarf elliptical galaxies while 68 are candidate orphan GCs that are not obviously associated with any of the dwarf galaxies or normal galaxies in the Virgo cluster but are instead likely to be remote GC satellites of M87.

Tasks: The SIP interns will analyze the photometric and spectroscopic properties of these candidates orphan GCs to remove likely sample contaminants (e.g., non-GCs) and test whether all of the remaining objects or only a subset are likely to be remote satellites of M87. For those objects that are likely to be remote M87 satellites, the interns will study the number density of GCs as a function of distance from the center of Virgo, the velocity dispersion of these GCs, and will compare their stellar populations to those of GCs that are gravitationally bound to other galaxies in Virgo. The interns will use existing computer programs and write some programs of their own to carry out these tasks.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-06 Title: Big Bang Meets Big Data
Primary mentor: Dr. Guillermo Barro
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Koo
Location: Remote Project
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The most recent advances in extragalactic astronomy are data driven. New surveys that unlock a new spectral domain or provide improved spatial or spectral resolution are key for obtaining ground-breaking results. However, these breakthroughs are rarely based on an individual new data set. In the era of big data, it is the synergy between new data sets and the wealth of other high quality data sets that have been accumulating over the years that really makes the difference. Such richness of data, however, comes at the price of complex data sets with many layers of information. While much of this information is available to the community through online archives and virtual-observatory services, it requires a lot of effort on the user’s part to collect and prepare all the data for analysis. Multipurpose image viewers or catalog tools allow access to the primary data products of deep extragalactic surveys but there are no specific resources to inspect or mine all the available information for a galaxy that combines all the primary products in a consistent way. Given this data bottleneck, a simple eye-to-mind visual inspection tool becomes an invaluable resource.

Tasks: The SIP interns will help the mentors’ group create a one-stop-shopping online resource to collect, inspect and analyze the increasingly complex data products of deep cosmological surveys. The primary goal is to improve and expand the existing infrastructure of the Rainbow Database by creating new applications such as: (1) Data plotter — make interactive plots on-the-fly using the web browser (similar to http://filtergraph.com/); and (2) Google Sky maps — generate sky maps for the HST images using the well-known Google Map interface.

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 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-07 Title: Kinematics of H-alpha Emitting Stars in Andromeda
Primary mentor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The Andromeda galaxy (M31) is our nearest large galactic neighbor. The mentor's research group has obtained spectra of ~10,000 individual stars in M31 using the Keck 10-m telescope and DEIMOS spectrograph and Hubble Space Telescope images of these (and many other) stars in ultraviolet, optical and infrared light. Using these data, the mentor's group has made two recent discoveries: (1) While the spectra of most normal stars show H-alpha (and other) absorption lines, a population of stars has been found whose spectra show H-alpha emission lines. (2) A clear correlation has been found between stellar age and the degree of order in the motion of stars. The H-alpha emitting stars fall into two distinct stellar age categories: young main-sequence stars and intermediate-age asymptotic giant branch stars. In order to better understand the nature of these two classes of H-alpha emitting stars, this SIP project will build on the above two discoveries and will compare the kinematics of H-alpha emitting stars to the kinematics of normal stars of comparable age.

Tasks: The SIP interns will use Python to read in and analyze the vast database of spectroscopic and photometric information on H-alpha emitting and normal stars in M31. They will use novel statistical methods to carry out comparative kinematical analyses. Time permitting, the interns may be asked to explore the other spectroscopic and photometric properties of the H-alpha emitting stars.

URL: http://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/profiles/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=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 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-08 Title: 2D Kinematics of Distant Galaxies: Settling of Galaxy Disks
Primary mentor: Dr. Jose Torres
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The formation of disk galaxies remains a subject of active research. A few years ago, the mentor's UCSC-based research collaborators showed that the disks of very distant galaxies – so distant that the light from these galaxies has taken about half the age of the Universe to travel from the galaxy to us – are much more chaotic than those in present-day galaxies. This finding allowed the group to study the gradual settling of gaseous material from a chaotic configuration to well-ordered rotating galactic disks over the course of billions of years. This study was based on multi-object spectroscopy in which each distant galaxy was observed through a slitlet. The mentor's research group has recently obtained new high quality slit spectra of several tens of distant galaxies using very deep exposures with the Keck 10-meter telescope and DEIMOS spectrograph. This new distant galaxy data set is a by-product of the ongoing HALO7D program. What makes this new spectroscopic data set special is the fact that each distant galaxy has been observed using a few different slit position angles. These new data will allow for 2D kinematical mapping of these galaxies with an unprecedented level of detail and precision.

Tasks: The SIP interns will construct detailed 2D kinematical models for each distant galaxy and fit the model parameters to the available series of slit spectra for that galaxy. The observational/instrumental data that will be used to constrain the model will include: (1) Hubble Space Telescope images, (2) Keck DEIMOS slit spectra at a few different position angles, (3) blurring due to the earth's atmosphere ("seeing"), and (4) finite spectral resolution of the instrument. The model fitting parameters will include: (1) galaxy rotation curve parameters and (2) spatial distribution of the ionized gas.

URL: http://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/profiles/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=pguhatha
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-09 Title: An Enigmatic Population of Stars with Weak CN Absorption in Andromeda
Primary mentor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: The Andromeda galaxy (M31) is our nearest large galactic neighbor. The mentor's research group has obtained spectra of ~10,000 individual stars in M31 using the Keck 10-m telescope and DEIMOS spectrograph and Hubble Space Telescope (HST) images of these (and many other) stars in ultraviolet, optical and infrared light. Using these data, the mentor's group has recently discovered a relatively rare population of carbon-rich asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars – a.k.a. carbon stars – in the disk of M31. Carbon stars have distinctive spectra that are characterized by spectral absorption features produced by carbonaceous molecules. One of the most prominent of these spectral features is the CN feature at 7900 Angstroms. In the process of searching for carbon stars in M31, the mentor's research group has discovered a mysterious and even rarer population of stars that have an apparent weak CN spectral feature but none of the other spectral features associated with carbon stars. The goal of the SIP interns' project is to better understand the nature of these mysterious weak-CN stars.

Tasks: The SIP interns will use Python to read in and analyze the vast database of spectroscopic and photometric information on weak-CN stars, carbon stars, and normal stars in M31. They will use novel statistical methods to carry out comparative analyses of the properties of these three populations of M31 stars. The properties that will be studied include distribution of the stars in color-magnitude diagram space (based on existing 6-filter HST photometry ranging from the ultraviolet to the near infrared), spatial distribution, spectroscopic properties, and kinematical properties.

URL: http://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/profiles/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=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 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-10 Title: Observational Biases in Tests of Gamma-Ray Attenuation
Primary mentor: Prof. David Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

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

Tasks: The SIP interns will work with the mentor to assemble models of the population of gamma-ray-emitting sources and combine them with information on the sensitivity of the gamma-ray instruments, to study whether the observed disagreements could arise because all sources are not equally easy to detect.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-11 Title: Galactic Wind in Galaxies with Active Black Holes
Primary mentor: Hassen Yesuf
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Koo
Location: Remote Project
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Gas accretion onto galaxies and the ejection of gas by galactic winds are poorly understood phenomena and remain active topics of research. Galactic-scale winds are important for the evolution of galaxies from a blue star-forming phase to a red quiescent phase because they remove gas that fuels star formation. A Google search for the phrase "Fermi bubbles" (in the Milky Way or nearby M82 galaxy) will bring up cool images of the kinds of galactic winds that will be studied in this project. These galactic winds are thought to be driven by the radiation pressure of starlight and/or energetic processes associated with active black holes. This project will involve a study of winds in galaxies with active black holes that are in the process of quenching star formation in their host galaxies. The Doppler shifts of absorption and emission lines in the spectra of galaxies will be measured. The properties of winds will be compared between galaxies that harbor active black holes and those that do not. The goal is to learn whether black holes drive more powerful winds than stars do and to learn about the relative importance of these two phenomena in the evolution of galaxies. The data and most of the necessary analysis tools already exist.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to: (1) Download spectroscopic data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and query (SQL) the SDSS database for existing measurements that are relevent to the project. (2) Read and manipulate the data in Python, make wind-related measurements by fitting curves in an optimized way, and present the measurements using plotting tools in Python. (3) Learn and implement advanced statistical and opimization algorithms such as Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) in the process of making the measurements. The mentor will emphasize deep and thorough learning of the analysis tools as opposed to the use of existing tools as black boxes.        

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Previous computer programing experience in Python would be a plus but is not a requirement
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-12 Title: Nanolaminate Films to Protect Silver Coatings for Astronomical Telescope Mirrors
Primary mentor: Dr. Andrew Phillips
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 1

Project description: Durable silver-based mirror coatings for telescopes are highly desired in astronomy to increase the light-gathering efficiency of telescopes, but such coatings have remained elusive. Silver thin films are fragile and tarnish or corrode easily, and require transparent protective layers. At the University of California Observatories’ Advanced Coatings Lab (ACL), the mentor's research group has undertaken a project to develop robust silver-based coatings. The group has achieved some success, but so far has not produced coatings capable of withstanding 5–10 years under normal observatory conditions. Recently, nanolaminates – very thin alternating layers of different materials – have been found to produce efficient moisture barriers for protecting electronics. The nanolaminate thin films appear to provide superior film structure and low internal stress. Nanolaminates thus are a promising concept for protecting silver-based optical coatings also. In the project, the SIP interns and mentor will design and deposit test nanolaminate coatings to protect silver thin films, and evaluate the results.

Tasks: The SIP intern will work in the ACL’s vacuum deposition system to produce the coating samples. There will be opportunity to help design the coatings and choose the nanolaminate materials for best results. The intern will: (1) operate the coating chamber (with appropriate supervision); (2) measure the reflectivity of the samples with a spectrophotometer; (3) perform simple mechanical tests to characterize the film adhesion and abrasion resistance; (4) perform environmental stress tests on the samples; and (5) use an ellipsometer to characterize the deposited materials. A report will be generated at the end describing the results. There will be opportunities for the intern to interact with the SIP interns in Prof. Nobby Kobayashi's group (they own/operate the ellipsometer and collaborate with the mentor's research group on coatings).

URL: http://coatings.ucolick.org
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Familiarity with thin film deposition practices and equipment
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM ON REM ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-13 Title: Stellar Populations of Dwarf and Compact Galaxies
Primary mentor: Dr. Aaron Romanowsky
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Dwarf galaxies occupy an important place in our view of the universe, as occupants of small dark matter subhalos, and as building blocks for the giant galaxies. Compact galaxies have the reverse origin, as remnants of giant galaxies that were stripped down to smaller sizes by gravitational tides (see http://www.noao.edu/news/2015/pr1504.php). More understanding of the life histories of and connections between these species of galaxies can be obtained through studying the types of stars that they contain, in particular how old they are and how polluted they are with heavy elements. This "stellar populations" approach will be the topic of this summer's project, using existing spectra and imaging of nearby galaxies along with modeling tools to infer the properties of their stars, and to make comparisons between the different galaxy types.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to download and visualize astronomical data including images and spectra. They will use stellar populations analysis tools to infer the properties of dwarf and compact galaxies. These tools will be provided, but additional programming (generally in Python) will be needed to interface between data and analysis code, produce plots, etc. The students will also write up a description of their project for eventual publication in a research journal.

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


Biomolecular Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-01 Title: Precision Immunotherapy for Cancer Treatment
Primary mentor: Arjun Rao
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Haussler
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Cancer is a generic term used to describe a group of diseases characterized by uncontrolled cell growth in the body. It is one of the leading causes of human deaths (8.2 million casualties in 2012 — World Health Organization). The standard of care to treat cancers involves chemo- or radio-therapies. Both these methods are extremely effective in their cell-killing potential; however, they are also extremely toxic to healthy normal cells in the vicinity of the tumor. The immune system is geared to protect the body from infection. Tumors develop ways to inhibit the immune system and the body is unable to fight them off by itself. The mentor’s research involves looking for ways to boost the immune reaction to a tumor in an attempt to provide a non-toxic therapy for cancer.

Tasks: The SIP intern will: (1) study immune reaction modulating functions of tumors from the literature and identify genes of interest; (2) parse microarray and RNA-sequencing data for genes identified in the previous step; and (3) run pipelines to detect immune targets in tumors.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-02 Title: Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in RNA-seq Data
Primary mentor: Gepoliano Chaves
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nader Pourmand
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Sequencing of mRNA (RNA-seq) became a popular biology application because it costs less than genome sequencing and provides information about different aspects of genomes such as gene expression levels, splicing variants, detection of allele-specific expression and gene fusion. It is important to characterize genetic variation because this is a step that links genes or genomic regions to phenotypes. Important applications of this knowledge include the identification of phenotypic traits of economic interest in livestock and variation related to disease severity. This project aims to analyze SNPs, or single nucleotide polymorphisms by using bioinformatics tools from RNA-seq datasets.

Tasks: SIP interns will have the opportunity to learn the workflow of a DNA/RNA sequencing lab. The internship will expose the student to Next Generation Sequencing technologies, and also to routine molecular biology techniques such as PCR, cell culture and research involvement with graduate students and post-docs in a biotechnology lab. Specifically, the SIP intern will learn about sequencing files, how to download sequencing analysis tools, and how to run an alignment experiment, obtain gene expression from RNA-seq data, and finally, use tools for SNPs discovery using data previously sequenced.    

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-03 Title: Analysis of Clinical Mutation Data
Primary mentor: Jay Kim
Faculty advisor: Prof. Manel Camps
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The Camps Lab studies how human diseases and pathogens evolve during infection and drug treatment. The researchers analyze whole genome sequencing data and sequencing results from mutagenesis experiments to decipher mutational patterns, which can provide insights for identifying mutation sources and improving treatment strategies. Computational analysis is performed using state-of-the-art machine learning and statistical techniques. Prior computer programming experience is highly desirable. In particular, scripting experience with Python or R is highly relevant, but not necessary. In previous years, SIP interns have used their internship in this lab to learn Python. One of three projects will be assigned to SIP interns depending on skills, experiences and interests. Two interns can be assigned to the same project to promote collaborative learning. Only project titles are provided because of space limitations. Please contact primary mentor jaykim@soe.ucsc.edu for descriptions of the three projects: (1) Detecting distinct mutation signatures arising in HIV clinical evolution, (2) Finding genetic markers for predicting clinical antibiotic resistance, (3) Predicting the evolutionary role of individual amino acid substitutions in protein evolution. 

Tasks: The internship will consist of an initial training phase (approx. 2 weeks), during which SIP interns will get started on learning new programming languages and basic biology concerning their topic of interest. The remaining weeks will be dedicated to research and problem-solving; interns will be requred to meet with the primary mentor regularly (1–2 times per week) to discuss research progress and obstacles. The primary mentor will also be available throughout the week (in lab office) to help outside of the weekly meeting times. Collaboration among interns is highly encouraged. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-04 Title: Testing Bioinformatics Tools for Cancer Immunotherapy
Primary mentor: Jacob Pfeil
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Haussler
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Cancer has been described as a genetic disease, but many researchers have begun thinking about cancer as an immune disorder because the immune system normally destroys cancer cells. In the Haussler lab, we are working on using genetic information to identify patients who would benefit from immunotherapy treatments. For instance, there are now medicines that excite the immune system to attack cancer, and some researchers are even engineering T-cells to target specific cancer cells. These therapies are not appropriate for every patient, so we are using DNA sequencing and computers to identify which patients would benefit the most.

Tasks: The role of the SIP interns will be to investigate what tools are available for identifying mutations in DNA sequencing data. The mentors and interns will then compare these tools against the workflow the group has built and assess ways they can incorporate new tools and methods. The tasks for the SIP interns will include searching the scientific literature for bioinformatics tools, building and running these tools on servers, and analyzing the output.

URL: https://genomics.soe.ucsc.edu/haussler
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 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Chemistry & Biochemistry

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-01 Title: Alloy Effect of Gold/Palladium Nanoclusters and Their ORR Activity
Primary mentor: Samantha Sweeney
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: With the ever increasing popluation and current energy demands, our natural resources are being depleted. Therefore, it is imperative to find alternative energy soucres. One device that has sparked interest is the fuel cell because it uses simple products like alcohols or hydrogen and produces water as a byproduct. The problem is that one of the reactions that governs this device, the oxygen reduction reaction (ORR), has sluggish kinetics. The goal of this research project is to design a catalyst that will speed up the reaction increasing the overall efficiency of the fuel cell, with a focus on studying how changing the properties of the catalysts will affect the overall ORR activity.

Tasks: SIP Interns will gain insight into the Chen Lab and the specific way in which researchers in this lab study catalysts. This will include nanoparticle synthesis, basic characterization of optical and physical properties, electrocatalysis studies, reading scientific papers, and data analysis.

URL: http://chen.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 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

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

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-02 Title: Platinum Nanoparticles Deposited on Sulfur Functionalized Graphene Quantum Dots
Primary mentor: Rene Mercado
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Fossil fuels have been the primary source of energy in our daily life: to heat or cool our buildings, power our cars, and run our appliances. However, fossil fuels are becoming limited in supply and will deplete by the year 2050, as predicted by the Department of Energy (DOE). Therefore, it is of urgent importance to develop a unique approach where chemical energy stored in fuel molecules can be converted into electricity such as a fuel cell. Fuel cell operation typically involves two reactions: oxidation of small organic fuel molecules (e.g., methanol, ethanol, etc.) at the anode, and the reduction of oxygen into water at the cathode. Both require an effective catalyst. However, at the cathode, a high mass loading of the catalyst is needed for oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) because of its sluggish electron transfer kinetics. SIP interns will work on a project which uses sulfur doping/functionalized graphene quantum dots (GQD). It has been shown that Sulfur GQDs (S-GQDs) have comparable activity to Pt-GQD as a metal-free catalyst. Controlling the sulfur content in the GQD matrix where Pt has been deposited can lead to enhanced activity for ORR. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will start by learning the main concepts that form the basis of the publications by the mentor's lab. They will then learn how much of reagents are needed to successfully synthesize nanoparticles. Once the metal nanoparticles have been deposited onto S-GQDs, they will use characterizing techniques to verify whether metal nanoparticles were indeed deposited onto the S-GQDs. The interns will also use other techniques such as photoluminescence (PL), cyclic voltammetry (CV) and ORR. Finally, the interns will learn how to plot and interpret their data in order to give a presentation.  

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

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

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

Project description: Janus nanoparticles inherited their name from the dual-faced Roman god “Janus,” and refers to bifunctional nanoparticles with different ligands and/or metals on opposite sides of each nanoparticle. Self-assembly of such nanoparticles leads to the formation of microstructures in a highly organized fashion and gives rise to unique chemical properties. Polyethylene glycol, a well-studied polymer in both the biological and chemical field, was recently found able to encapsulate ions in an organized fashion, known as a "crown ether" conformation, and to increase ion conductivity of solid-state devices. In functionalizing Janus nanoparticles with such a polymer the highly organized microstructures that form will be expected to further enhance ion conductivity of the material and, therefore, enhance the performance of solid-state devices.

Tasks: SIP interns will learn synthetic and characterization methods. The synthetic methods will include the proper handling of chemicals, safety precautions for performing specific experiments, and proper clean up and waste disposal techniques. The interns will utilize microscopic and spectroscopic equipment to collect experimental data and will analyze the resulting data with corresponding software. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-04 Title: Exploration of Novel Carbonaceous Materials for Supercapacitors
Primary mentor: Tianyu Liu
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Supercapacitors, also known as ultracapacitors, are emerging as a new class of electrochemical charge storage devices that can be used in powering electric vehicles. In comparison to lithium ion batteries, the advantages of supercapacitors are their capability of ultra-fast charging and discharging (done in seconds) and ultra-long lifetime (can be charged and discharged for more than 100,000 cycles without obvious performance degradation). However, the energy densities of supercapacitors are still substantially lower than that of lithium ion batteries which limits their applications as energy storage devices. Therefore, improving the energy density of supercapacitors is highly desirable. Previous studies have shown that the specific capacitance of an electrode is directly related to its effective surface area and electrical conductivity of electrode material. This project aims to boost the energy density of supercapacitors by developing novel porous and conductive carbonaceous materials as supercapacitor electrodes.

Tasks: SIP interns will participate in the design of novel carbon-based nanostructured electrodes. They will gain hands-on experience in material synthesis and characterizations (electron microscopy and various spectroscopies), supercapacitor fabrication, electrochemical testing, and data analysis.

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

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

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-05 Title: Transition Metal Nitride Array for High-Performance Supercapacitor
Primary mentor: Bin Yao
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Supercapacitors, state-of-the-art energy storage devices, have received much research interest because of their higher power density (compared to Li-ion batteries) and higher energy density (compared to traditional electrostatic capacitors). Over the past decade, various kinds of electrodes have been developed, such as carbonaceous materials, conducting polymers, transition metal oxides, and transition metal nitrides. Among them, transition metal nitrides are promising choices for their high conductivity, excellent electrochemical property, low-cost, high molar density and superior chemical stability. 3D array structured nanomaterials have shown unique characteristics and better performance as electrodes in energy storage because of their larger specific surface areas, faster ion transfer, and higher electron conductivity. The project involving SIP interns will explore novel nanostructured transition metal nitride array, as well as new chemical methods to increase their electrochemical performance.          

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn the basic principles to design 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.    

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-06 Title: Advanced Transition Metal Chalcogenides for Electrochemical Water Splitting
Primary mentor: Tianyi Kou
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

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

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

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


Computational Media

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.
 

Computer Science/Computer Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-01 Title: Predicting Network Internal Status through External Metrics
Primary mentor: Daniel Alves
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katia Obraczka
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: This project studies the possibility of estimating the internal state of a computer network through available metrics with special focus on round trip time (RTT), the interval between sending a message and receiving an acknowledgement of its delivery. In conjunction with other factors, such as time of day and distance between ends, RTT can provide information on current problems the network may be facing (such as congestion) and can help adjust communications as to avoid loss of messages and improve communication quality.

Tasks: The SIP interns will take part in the manipulation and analysis of data. This will involve creating programs to organize data for study as well as creating programs that will analyze the data, primarily through calculation of statistics and distribution fitting.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-02 Title: Healthy IoT
Primary mentor: Sam Mansfield
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katia Obraczka
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The Internet of Things (IoT) is a hot research area in academia. It is predicted by 2020 there will be 6.4 billion IoT devices. But what is an IoT device and should we be scared or excited? An IoT device is a small device whose only function is to measure or control one thing, such as measuring temperature or signaling to turn on a lightbulb. What makes it an IoT device is that it can also connect to the internet. This technology is interesting because it opens up the possibility of conveniences, such as maintaining a comfortable light and temperature level in your home, or something more beneficial, such as reducing your home's energy consumption. Healthcare has also taken an interest in IoT. A common problem in hospitals is patients who develop bedsores from prolonged pressure on the skin, such as lying in a bed for an extended period of time without moving. By deploying an IoT network inside a hospital room or bed the IoT network can easily detect when someone is not moving. It can then signal to the closest nurse that the patient should be moved, give a vibration to a certain part of the bed to let the patient know they should move, or both. The project involving SIP interns explores the success of applications of IoT in healthcare, both in simulation and in real deployments. This is explored in 3 different ways: how the devices communicate, the use of different sensor technologies, and the use of different device platforms.

Tasks: SIP interns will be involved with understanding/modifying existing code, running simulations/deployments, and evaluating the results of the simulations/deployments. SIP interns will also get experience working with IoT hardware, which will involve soldering and hardware troubleshooting. By the end of the project SIP interns will have experience reading academic papers, reading/programming code, running and working with simulations, and building and deploying IoT hardware.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-03 Title: Extensible Augmented Reality for Human Internal Body Parts
Primary mentor: Gbolahan Adesoye
Faculty advisor: Prof. Alex Pang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Basic knowledge about human anatomy is an important component of education. While there have been many advances in the way the subject is being taught, there is still a very large gap in bringing this knowledge to the average person as much of the focus to date has been on professional medical practitioners. The mentor is interested in implementing an augmented reality mobile application for anatomy education. The main goal of the project is to present a fast and accessible means of communicating anatomy information without the use of specialized and sophisticated devices. The proposed project will also provide a means of extending the viewable dataset to suit any anatomy visualization need.

Tasks: (1) Assist in hacking the sensors of Google Project Tango. (2) Read publications on effiicient methods of background subtraction in images and silhouette identification. (3) Make use of medical visualization tools for CT scans, such as 3D slicer. (4) Assist in Implementing algorithms for Kinect on Google Project Tango. (5) Understand the fundamental concepts of computer vision: pinhole camera, edge detection, image filtering, and simple feature tracking based on Lukas-Kanade optical flow.

URL: https://classes.soe.ucsc.edu/cmps261/Fall15/projects/gadesoye/final/finalProjectPage.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; good understanding of the basics of computer vision/graphics
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-04 Title: RF Localization of Robotic Rovers
Primary mentor: Nick Cramer
Faculty advisor: Prof. Mircea Teodorescu
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Applications that require coordination between robots like formation following, exploration/mapping, and searching require that each robot is capable of locating the others. When the robots are operating where GPS is denied or unreliable, their capability to determine their counterparts' location is severely limited. Localization in these environments is often done using the received signal strength, but the common technologies for doing this (WiFi, Bluetooth, and ZigBees) tend to operate on the same frequency as common indoor signals like WiFi. The mentor's research group is using a low cost readily available 434 MHz RF module to localize efficiently and organize robot rovers in signal rich environments.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in the integration of the RF Localization board onto a set of rovers, designing experiments to test the RF Localization, programming the rovers, and experimenting with the rovers. Through these tasks, the interns will be exposed to the engineering design process and gain some software engineering skills.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-06 Title: Hybrid Predictive Control of Autonomous Systems
Primary mentor: Calvin John
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ricardo Sanfelice
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Our research project seeks to successfully integrate hybrid dynamics and model predictive control – denoted as M.P.C..   Hybrid Dynamics provides a system that is controlled autonomously with the ability to operate on both continuous and discrete time. Intuitive sense can be made of this concept by considering that some components of a system, like a computer, operate on discrete time, while others, such as velocity, do not.   M.P.C., on the other hand, takes care of the "thinking," aspect of a self-automated system. M.P.C. enables a system to select effective system inputs according to desired behavior.   While both of these ideas have well-established literature independently, their unification does not. This further motivates us to investigate their integration. 

Tasks: Control engineering and robotics are highly multi-disciplinary. This research project will have numerous opportunities for SIP intern assistance.   On the programming side, the SIP intern can gain experience both designing algorithms for system input selection, and explicitly coding system design and control selection with MATLAB.   For the mechanically and electrically oriented SIP interns, an abundance of opportunities to assist in the electrical design and construction of real-world robots will be available. Specifically, the design and construction of the mbot, as well as experimentation.   An ample amount of opportunities to witness the creative and highly useful applications of higher level mathematics will also be present. 

URL: https://hybrid.soe.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis; mathematics; electrical engineering; computer engineering; mechanical engineering; Technical Writing
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: OFF OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Economics

Code Research Project Descriptions
ECO-03 Title: Event Discovery for Options Trading: A Machine Learning Approach
Primary mentor: Sameh Habib
Faculty advisor: Prof. Daniel Friedman
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

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

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

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
ECO-04 Title: Capital Controls and Foreign Exchange Rate Intervention
Primary mentor: Jae Hoon Choi
Faculty advisor: Prof. Kenneth Kletzer
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Mundell's trilemma states that a country cannot simultaneously have free capital flows, independent monetary policy, and a fixed exchange rate. The historical levels of capital controls show that developing countries have managed capital flows more actively than developed countries have. Then, given the trilemma, we would expect developing countries to peg their exchange rates to retain their monetary autonomies. However, the evidence shows that the exchange rates in developing countries are not steady, and are in fact as volatile as in developed countries. It implies that more countries in developing countries have floated their exchange rates since 1997, and other empirical studies support this observation – Klein and Shambaugh (2008), Batini et al. (2006), and Fiess and Shankar (2009). The project will develop nma New Keynesian Small Open Economy model, which now accounts for capital controls and foreign exchange market intervention. Furthermore, the model includes the signaling channel of switching exchange regimes; another chapter of the mentor's dissertation and other previous studies [Alesina and Wagner (2006) and Jahjah et al. (2013)] find that switching exchange regimes may deteriorate foreign investors’ country risk assessment, which induce the risk premium shock in the economy. The project hypothesizes that the signaling effect of switching exchange regimes would explain the high levels of both capital controls and exchange rate volatility in developing countries, and therefore aims to prove that the classical international economic theory does not hold.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in the empirical study that aims to identify the signaling channel of switching exchange rate regimes to international economic policy portfolio. The interns will get hands-on experience in: [1] Data management— (a) Country-level data collection from Bloomberg, IMF, World Bank, OECD, Federal Reserve Economic Data: 15–40 (depending on data availability) developing countries data (exchange rate volatility, capital controls, risk premium) over time; the interns should expect to manage 50,000–100,000 observations; and (b) Data management using Excel and Stata (versatile data analysis and statistical software used in many research institutes and private firms, such as consulting firms); and [2] Statistical analysis— (a) Stata: Using the data collected, the interns will perform various types of statistical analysis, such as simple/multiple regressions, difference-in-differences analysis, regression discontinuity, event study, and panel regressions (the interns will be required to program for statistical analysis); (b) Excel: Graphical analysis of different variables (c) Minimum statistical knowledge and/or programming is required, as the interns will learn basics throughout the program from the mentor, who has taught the undergraduate Econometrics class multiple times (http://www.choij.com/teaching).

URL: http://www.choij.com/research
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Statistical data analysis
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis; data collection (Bloomberg, IMF, OECD, FRED)
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-01 Title: Exploring Trade-Offs in Plant Defense
Primary mentor: Julie Herman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Kathleen Kay
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Plant-insect interactions are a cornerstone in our understanding of how ecological interactions translate into evolutionary phenomena. Plants are under constant pressure to develop various kinds of defenses to deter or tolerate their herbivores. However, one of the key questions in plant defense theory concerns why not all plants display all defenses. One hypothesis is that limited resources are a primary factor preventing organisms from evolving to be "perfectly" adapted to their environments–thus, a species never has access to enough nutrients or energy to support the evolution of a full array of defensive measures. In this experiment, we will test this hypothesis by putting plants in controlled-nutrient environments and inducing some of them to produce higher levels of defense. We predict that plants producing more defenses will be able to allocate fewer resources to growth. 

Tasks: SIP interns will design standardized resource-limited environments in which they will grow Wisconsin FastPlants (Brassica rapa). They will execute treatments to produce groups with varying rates of defense production. They will analyze these plants for growth-related markers such as leaf expansion rate, height, reproductive output, total above and below-ground biomass, and leaf nutrient content. They will also analyze the soil before and after plants are grown in it to determine how nutrient compositions have changed. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-02 Title: Sexual Dimorphism in the Skull of North American River Otters
Primary mentor: Chris Law
Faculty advisor: Prof. Rita Mehta
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The superfamily Musteloidea (badgers, martens, minks, otters, raccoons, red panda, weasels, etc.) is the most species-rich group within the mammalian order Carnivora. Equally impressive is the diversity of form and function found across Musteloidea. Musteloids exhibit diverse lifestyles—arboreal, fossorial, or aquatic—as well as a variety of diets ranging from the omnivorous diets of raccoons, skunks, and badgers to the specialized diets of the bamboo-eating red panda, carnivorous weasels, and fish-eating otters. The primary goal of this project will be to examine how sexual dimorphism contributes to the diversity of form and function within Musteloidea, with an emphasis on the North American river otter.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will work together to: (1) perform computational geometric morphometric analyses to quantify craniodental shape between male and female river otters, (2) learn to conduct searches through the scientific literature, (3) learn to write a scientific paper showcasing our results, and (4) assist in three-dimensional reconstruction of other mammal skulls.   

URL: http://research.pbsci.ucsc.edu/eeb/cjlaw/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number:
Mentor's availability:


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-03 Title: Cows, Birds and West Nile Virus: Impact of Local Host Communities on Pathogen Transmission
Primary mentor: Tony Kovach
Faculty advisor: Prof. A. Marm Kilpatrick
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Mosquitoes are important vectors of many pathogens. Where mosquitoes get blood from can change the amount of local pathogen transmission. Particular sites with certain animals that are highly infectious can lead to hotspots of pathogen transmission, whereas other sites with less infectious animals may reduce local transmission of pathogens. The contribution of each host to transmission intensity varies depending on host infectiousness and vector/host contact rates. If mosquitoes alter feeding behavior in response to host community composition, local transmission may be dampened or amplified. Previous studies on mosquito feeding preferences are limited by the absence of local host surveys conducted at the same time and scale at which blooded mosquitoes were captured. In addition, previous studies have largely ignored the importance of non-avian hosts, such as cattle. This project examines the effect of local host community changes on West Nile virus (WNV) transmission in 60 small wetland sites, half of which are surrounded by large herds of cattle. For each of the 60 small wetland sites, we already have data on mosquito abundance, local host abundance, and infection rates of WNV in mosquitoes. We have also collected blood-fed Culex mosquitoes at each site. The SIP interns in this project will use lab techniques to analyze blood meal compositions of collected mosquitoes in order to analyze mosquito feeding preferences and determine how variation in host communities may influence transmission of WNV.

Tasks: This project will have three main components: (1) Mostly lab-based focus on determining blood meal compositions in mosquito abdomens. This will include extractions, PCR amplifications, and sequencing of blooded mosquitoes. (2) Computer modeling using the program R and DISTANCE to estimate the abundance of birds at various locations using point count data that was collected at the same time and place where blooded mosquitoes were captured. (3) Assembling data sets on mosquito abundance in an effort to generate maps useful to identify areas of future pathogen transmission. We will compile data on mosquito abundance (from primary literature sources and vector control districts) into a database and use ArcGIS to generate spatial maps of mosquito abundance across the US. This may include contacting and interacting with county and state vector control agencies to ask for access to datasets.

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

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

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-04 Title: Which Would a Whelk Want?: Testing Predator Senses
Primary mentor: Gina Contolini
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eric Palkovacs
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Dogwhelks are intertidal, predatory snails that drill into mussels to consume them. Though both Blue and California mussels exist in the intertidal, dogwhelks always prefer to eat Blue mussels. However, it is not known how the dogwhelks determine a mussel's species. The goal of this project is to test if dogwhelks use chemical cues (e.g., smell) to determine mussel species. This will be done in a controlled experiment in the lab. If necessary, and if time allows, additional experiments can be done to determine if dogwhelks use physical touch to determine a mussel's species. 

Tasks: Tasks directly related to the project: (1) Starting the experiment: setting up the choice apparatus (a flume with a divider) and placing the animals inside. (2) Maintaining the experiment: checking on the animals and choice apparatus. (3) Sampling the experiment: recording dogwhelk behavior, temperature, and salinity every day. (4) Entering data: inputting all recorded data into Excel and/or a statistical program. (5) Analyzing data: making graphs and looking for trends. Other tasks include: feeding and cleaning live dogwhelks and mussels in the lab; dissecting dogwhelks and mussels, especially to learn more about dogwhelk feeding structures; possibly attend field trips to intertidal sites nearby to learn about intertidal ecology; helping another intern with a closely related project.

URL: http://rediscoveringevolution.blogspot.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 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON OFF ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-05 Title: Does Feeding Mode Influence the Morphological Diversity of Fish Skulls?
Primary mentor: Vikram Baliga
Faculty advisor: Prof. Rita Mehta
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Roughly half of all species of vertebrates are fishes. Accompanying the astounding diversity of fishes (~30,000 species) is incredible ecological, morphological, and physiological variation. When researchers focus on morphological diversity alone, they find that there are many clades that are extremely diverse while others are not. A central question in evolutionary morphology is, “What drives uneven patterns of biological diversity?” The goal of this project is to explore this question using the skulls of teleost fishes as a model system. Specifically, the researchers will ask, “Does feeding behavior relate to skull diversity in labrid fishes?” The researchers chose the saltwater fish family Labridae (parrotfishes & wrasses) as the focal group because they have a clear understanding of the family's phylogenetic relationships, the researchers can see their tremendous morphological diversity, and they know that there is variation in feeding mode within the group.

Tasks: The SIP interns will learn how to use high-speed video cameras to record feeding behaviors in live fishes. They will then collect kinematic data from their recored videos to quantify how the jaws and the rest of the skull move during these behaviors. These data will be used in the current study and can also be useful for future comparative studies. The interns will also learn how to collect morphological data related to feeding in different labrid species. They will work with the primary mentor to collect these data from museum-loaned specimens and specimens purchased from the aquarium trade. Finally, interns will learn how to use "phylogenetic comparative methods" to: (1) infer the evolutionary history of feeding modes across different labrid lineages, (2) examine the variation in morphological traits related to feeding, and (3) determine whether feeding mode affects morphological diversity of the skulls in labrid fishes. All data analyses will be conducted using the languages R and/or Python; some exploratory work may also be done in Excel. Kinematic data from high-speed videos will be acquired using the program Tracker.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-06 Title: Quantifying Trait Change in Mosquitofish Populations Recently Exposed to Geothermal Springs
Primary mentor: David Fryxell
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eric Palkovacs
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Climate warming will have pervasive effects for organisms. To predict the effects of future ecosystem warming researchers can use naturally occurring thermal gradients across ecosystems. For this project, the mentor is using a natural gradient in temperature along geothermally-influenced ponds to understand how temperature has modified the physical characteristics and ecological role of the dominant fish species, western mosquitofish. The mentor has collected fish from various geothermal ponds and preserved them for measurements of their characteristics related to reproduction and feeding. This summer, SIP interns will be asked to assist in quantifying trait differences among fish taken from those ponds with various temperatures. Exact plans remain TBD; however, there are potential opportunities to work indirectly with live mosquitofish in the lab setting and to help with some field work on the UCSC Long Marine Lab campus.

Tasks: SIP interns will work in a team to quantify traits of preserved mosquitofish. This involves dissecting fish, using an analytical balance (a scale to weigh fish and their dissected parts), and using a microscope to get photographs of fish parts, including quantification of gut contents. Mosquitofish are small (>3 inches), so dissections and trait measurements require precise motor skills and careful attention to detail. After traits have been measured the team will work to see how the pond temperature from which the fish were taken may be correlated with traits. 

URL: http://people.ucsc.edu/~epalkova/Palkovacs_Lab/Palkovacs_Lab_Home.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number:
Mentor's availability:


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-07 Title: Investigating Evolutionary Consequences of Speciation in Sea Urchins
Primary mentor: Christopher Kan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Grant Pogson
Location: Remote Project
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The Pogson Research Lab seeks to investigate the forces that create species and the consequences of speciation. The project that the SIP interns will assist with specifically focuses on two areas: temperature adaptation and reproductive isolation. Temperature adaptation in proteins is a burgeoning topic because of climate change. Our lab seeks to understand which proteins adapt and why. The results have obvious applications for human and planetary health. Secondly, the project will investigate reproductive isolation genes in sperm and eggs. Speciation as a process is incompletely understood and the SIP interns will assist in investigating how this process occurs.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be taught how to use software to obtain answers from genetic data. They will assist with collecting information about key proteins in sea urchin genomes. Past SIP interns have improved their critical thinking, data analysis and computer programming skills.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-09 Title: Climate Impacts on Species Distributions in a Desert Ecosystem
Primary mentor: Sarah Skikne
Faculty advisor: Prof. Erika Zavaleta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Across the globe climate change has already caused shifts in species ranges with species moving polewards and upwards in elevation in parallel with suitable climate conditions. Understanding how such range shifts have unfolded will help conservation biologists predict and respond as species react to accelerating climate change in the future. The mentor’s research investigates species range shifts using records of animal and plant distributions collected since the 1970's along an elevational gradient in Boyd Deep Canyon, a UC Natural Reserve near Palm Desert, California. The mentor is building on this unique dataset to test whether species have shifted their elevational ranges, and if so, what ecological processes have unfolded to create these shifts.

Tasks: The SIP interns will most likely be involved in one of two potential research projects, depending on their skills, interests, and the project status: (1) identify and measure plant species in paired historic and contemporary photographs in order to quantify changes in species distributions, and/or (2) analyze local climate data to quantify historic climate change in the area. Interns may also have the opportunity to help with field work over an approximately 5-day trip to the site in Southern California.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-10 Title: Examining Phylogenetic Patterns of Pollinator Shifts
Primary mentor: Shelley Sianta
Faculty advisor: Prof. Kathleen Kay
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: A central goal in evolutionary biology is understanding why certain groups of organisms are more diverse than others. One hypothesis is that the evolution of new traits opens up new "niche space" for an organism, allowing them to specialize and diversify into multiple species. Adaptation to different types of pollinators is one such trait that may affect diversification. Pollinators affect gene flow among populations and thus have a direct effect on how likely it is for plant species to split into new species. Plants adapt to different "functional groups" of pollinators (e.g., hummingbirds, bees, moths) through the evolution of a suite of floral traits that work well with that pollinator group (think: red, tubular flowers - probably hummingbird pollinated). This project involves examining evolutionary shifts between pollination syndromes. In other words, how frequently do bee-pollinated lineages evolve hummingbird pollination? Does the reverse happen? What traits are associated with shifts in pollination syndrome? And finally, how do pollination syndromes affect diversification rates? SIP interns will learn more about the concepts mentioned above, and will learn how to use phylogenetic comparative methods to answer these sorts of questions. They will collect phylogenetic and trait data and will be involved in analyzing the data. Depending on time, interns may focus on one smaller group of plants, so that they can take the analysis from start to finish. 

Tasks: The interns will: (1) read relevant literature to gain a broader understanding of the above mentioned concepts; (2) gather DNA sequences from online databases; (3) construct phylogenetic trees using DNA sequences; (4) do literature and database searches to determine various traits for species with different pollinator syndromes (e.g., bee-pollinated, hummingbird-pollinated, hawkmoth-pollinated); and (5) analyze phylogenetic trees to determine (a) correlations between trait changes and pollinator shifts, and (b) diversification rates associated with different pollinator syndromes.  The traits that the interns will be searching for include range size (this involves some GIS use), habitat characteristics (may involve downloading and using climate data), life history data and floral traits (may involve some trips to herbaria in the Bay area).  Interns will improve their broader understanding of processes of diversification, pollinator syndromes, and traits that affect diversification in plants. They will also improve data management, literature searching, GIS, programming and phylogenetic analytical skills.  Some of this work (e.g., contruction of phylogenetic trees) may be done prior to the arrival of the interns. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-11 Title: Geospatial Analysis of Gray Wolf Movement Patterns and Behaviors
Primary mentor: Caleb Bryce
Faculty advisor: Prof. Terrie M. Williams
Location: Long Marine Lab; Main UCSC Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research interests focus primarily on the physiological constraints of locomotion for terrestrial carnivores, namely top canid predators such as grey wolves. Their research is centered on how the elevated energetic demands of these elusive carnivores structure the ecological communities they inhabit. Top carnivores are rare and particularly vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbance because of their high energy requirements. It is imperative to understand their resource requirements and activity patterns in order to predict their likely response to ongoing ecosystem change (e.g., prey availability, habitat fragmentation). If their energetic needs are not met and their populations decline, the landscapes they inhabit could change profoundly.  The mentor uses innovative wildlife collar technology to remotely monitor the activities and energetic demands of wolves and other carnivores. In order to be useful for investigators and wildlife managers, the mentor calibrates these collars via treadmill experiments and ground truthing in the field. Ultimately, this technology enables scientists to monitor behavioral and energetic diaries of free-ranging animals, thereby affording a more mechanistic understanding of why top carnivores are so ecologically important. 

Tasks: The SIP interns would assist the mentor in analyzing a unique dataset of wolf GPS locations in Alaska's Denali National Park. The interns would be encouraged to develop their own questions about the movement patterns of wolves in relation to habitat variables (terrain/topography, hydrology, land cover type, etc.) and prey densities over the course of several seasons. SIP interns will learn to use a powerful, flexible spatial analysis program, ArcGIS, to conduct these analyses. While no previous experience with GIS is required, any prior knowledge may help. Additional programming experience may be of assistance should the interns care to take on another element of the study, developing machine learning algorithms to classify wolf behavior from accelerometer data. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-12 Title: Underwater Foraging Behavior of Sea Otters
Primary mentor: Sarah McKay Strobel
Faculty advisor: Prof. Tim Tinker
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Southern sea otters are extremely efficient at finding and capturing their prey, which includes invertebrates such as snails, crabs, and clams. Since sea otters maintain one of the highest metabolic rates among mammals, they must consume 25%–30% of their body weight in these prey each day. For the past 15 years, scientists have studied sea otters in central California; here, individual sea otters specialize in catching two to three prey types, such that neighboring sea otters might eat completely different diets over their lifetimes. Although scientists know what these sea otters are eating, they do not know how specialists develop in individuals, or at the most basic level, how sea otters find and capture their prey underwater. The mentor is currently studying the sensory and cognitive abilities of sea otters that enable them to be incredibly efficient at finding food in a dark, cold environment. The goal of this project is to link environmental data to a 15-year dataset to explore how light levels and tidal flow affect sea otter foraging success. For example, do sea otters capture more prey when light levels are high (i.e., during a full moon or low cloud cover)? If so, does this vary if the prey is visually camouflaged (clams buried in sand) or not (snails on kelp)?

Tasks: This SIP project will involve a mixture of data analysis in the lab at Long Marine Lab and field work in Monterey, CA. In the lab, the SIP intern will assemble data from NOAA records and link these with foraging bouts (a series of foraging dives) of individual sea otters. Interns will gain experience organizing and manipulating data in Microsoft Excel and using statistical tools to test specific hypotheses. In the field, the SIP intern will assist with an ongoing field project to capture underwater footage of foraging sea otters. Interns will gain experience in the study of animal behavior by observing and collecting foraging data on wild sea otters and analyzing videographic records of underwater behavior.  

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

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

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-13 Title: Understanding How Fish Evolve in Fluctuating Environments
Primary mentor: Ben Wasserman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eric Palkovacs
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentors are investigating evolutionary responses of the short-lived threespine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to an ever-changing environment. Due to the seasonal pattern of rainfall in central California, sand bars form at the mouths of rivers and streams during the dry season, disconnecting these waterways from the ocean. Throughout the dry season the water in these bar-built estuaries becomes increasingly fresh, but when winter rains come the high flows breach the sandbars and are inundated with saltwater. By repeatedly collecting fish and measuring their characteristics the mentors can observe the pace and direction of evolution. Note: This project may not be eligible for science competitions; interns' should check the competition guidelines.

Tasks: The SIP interns will measure traits in stickleback caught in these estuaries at different times of the year. This includes staining, measuring, and photographing fish. There will also be opportunities to assist in field work including catching fish using nets and traps, and maintaining time lapse cameras that record whether the estuaries are open or closed.

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

Note: This project may not be eligible for science competitions; interns should check the competition guidelines.
Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-14 Title: Whose Egg Is This? Telling Apart Krill Eggs to Estimate Adult Krill Abundance in the California Current Pelagic Marine Ecosystem
Primary mentor: Cynthia Carrion
Faculty advisor: Prof. Baldo Marinovic
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 3

Project description: Euphausiids (krill) are a protected forage species within EEZ waters off the west coast of the United States. The characterization of the spatial and temporal distribution of key forage species including krill, market squid, and sardines/anchovies is an important step in an ecosystem-based management strategy.  Krill distribution and abundance demonstrate a high degree of spatial and temporal heterogeneity and existing measurement protocols are both expensive (ship time, equipment costs) and problematic. Schooling fish such as sardines and anchovies present similar sampling challenges but one alternative approach has been to utilize egg distribution and abundance as an independent measure of spawning stock distribution and abundance. Krill eggs share many features with sardine and anchovy eggs: They have relative short hatching intervals and thus are an excellent indicator of recent and proximate spawning activity, they are easily distinguished in plankton samples, and their small size and near surface distribution make them relatively easy to sample with a variety of techniques including low tech, easily deployed nets. Although eggs are easy to sample, once the egg dies or is preserved, visually distinct species specific features are lost. Species level egg distribution and abundance is currently unknown but needed to understand how it relates to spawning stock distribution and abundance. The mentor has designed species specific DNA primers to distinguish eggs and thereby incorporate a molecular approach to learn if there are differences in distribution and abundance between co-occurring species. The current project will optimize the molecular tool developed and provide key data that will permit such an approach to be adopted.

Tasks: SIP interns will test DNA primers for species specificity and reliability in amplifying a region of mitochondrial DNA by testing different optimization conditions in PCR reactions. In addition, they will analyze samples collected in 2014 and 2015 from a variety of locations off the California coast and enumerate both adult krill (microscopy) and krill egg abundance (molecular) to learn of possible differences in spatial spawning patterns for the two species involved. These data will be utilized in the development of predictive hindcast fecundity models designed to estimate adult krill biomass as a function of krill egg abundance.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-15 Title: Evolution of Reef Fishes in an Oceanic Island in the Atlantic Ocean
Primary mentor: Hudson Pinheiro
Faculty advisor: Prof. Giacomo Bernardi
Location: California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco); Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: This research project addresses the evolutionary history and ecology of reef fishes found at Trindade Island, situated 1200 km offshore in the South Atlantic. The main questions are related to speciation processes, genetic diversity, and age of the species. More information about the fish fauna of Trindade can be found at:  Link 1, Link 2, Link 3

Tasks: The SIP intern will learn laboratory procedures of DNA extraction and genetic data analysis. Most of the laboratory work will be performed at the California Academy of Sciences, in San Francisco. Data analyses and additional studies and activities will be held at the Long Marine Lab, in Santa Cruz. Thus, at the end of the summer the intern will be able to estimate the age of speciation/isolation of the species, and the genetic diversity of continental and island populations. The SIP intern will study different kinds of speciation, such as allopatric, parapatric and ecological.

URL: http://bernardi.eeb.ucsc.edu/people/hudsonpinheiro/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number:
Mentor's availability:


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-16 Title: Native Plant Species Response to Climate Stress and Foraging Impacts on Bumblebees
Primary mentor: Angie Ashbacher
Faculty advisor: Prof. Laurel Fox
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Pollination is one of the most important species interactions that occurs on earth. It is a relationship that has been in the works for thousands of years and continues to evolve each year. Humans rely on pollination of crops around the world. In fact, a majority of the food humans eat is the result of a pollination interaction. Pollination is also occurring in natural ecosystems. California is a highly diverse area with a large number of endemic (unique) species of both plants and pollinators. Santa Cruz County alone boasts nearly 200 individual bee species! The goal of this project is to understand how future climate might impact the relationship between plants and pollinators in and around Santa Cruz. Specifically, the mentor's research group is interested in how plant rewards (nectar and pollen) change under climate and how bees respond in turn. The mentor and SIP interns will explore how impacts of climate cascade through plants, pollinators, and back again with controlled greenhouse experiments. This project will examine how climate stress impacts nectar rewards in four native plant species. The mentor and interns will then test if and how bumblebees respond to those plants in controlled choice trials. The project involves three main parts. First, nectar will be extracted and measured in four different plant species grown under 5 climate scenarios. Next, plants will be offered to bumblebees in a flight cage. The visitation behavior of a bumblebee with these plants will be monitored and then the plants will be allowed to produce seed. After collecting mature seed, the mentor and interns will count how many seeds grow into the next generation of plants.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will be responsible plant care until plants bloom. Next they will help with data collection. They will use microcapillary tubes to extract floral nectar and measure sugar on a refractometer. They will also help collect pollen and set it onto microscope slides. After nectar and pollen data are collected, the mentor and interns will move on to bumblebee choice trials. The interns will watch bee behavior and visitation. The mentor and interns will use a voice recorder to collect data and then transpose the voice data to spreadsheets. The interns will NOT be asked to handle bees. After all data are collected, the mentor and interns will work on basic data exploration and data analysis and write up a final report of the project. Interns are encouraged to present their work at an appropriate forum.

URL: http://borg5.ucsc.edu/research/eeb/fox/?page_id=83
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; greenhouse work: plant care
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF OFF


Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-17 Title: Examining Interspecific Interactions Between Native Chinook Salmon and Invasive Mosquitofish
Primary mentor: Travis Apgar
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eric Palkovacs
Location: Long Marine Lab
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Mosquitofish are a globally invasive freshwater fish that were introduced to California within the last century, while native Chinook salmon have played an important role in California's freshwater ecosystems for thousands of years. However, salmon populations have been on the decline in recent times and new methods are being developed to help their populations recover. One of these new methods are to raise juvenile salmon in agricultural rice fields that simulate historic floodplain habitat. Fish in these field grow many times faster than their hatchery counterpart. However, mosquitofish are also stocked in these rice fields to control mosquito populations which may lead to a negative ecological interaction and decreased growth rates for salmon. We have conducted an experiment simulating rice field like conditions in hopes to answer the questions about how these fish interact with each other and their environment.       

Tasks: The SIP interns will be processing samples from the previous experiment in the laboratory to help determine the interactions between these species. They will learn basic laboratory skills and how to use a dissecting microscope to identify zooplankton and benthic invertebrate species. They will also periodically participate in another experiment to learn the process of how these samples were collected. Finally, they will venture into the field to learn basic freshwater ecology skills that can be translated to a variety of projects.       

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


Electrical Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-01 Title: Nanoscale Thin-Film Growth of State-of-the-Art Electro-Optical Materials
Primary mentor: Ryan Hartnett
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobuhiko Kobayashi
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave., Santa Cruz (NECTAR Lab)
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The Nanostructured Energy Conversion Technology and Research (NECTAR) group focuses on synthesis and characterization of state-of-the-art inorganic thin-film materials for electro-optical applications. Emphasis is placed on energy harvesting/conversion (e.g., sunlight and waste heat), microelectronics (e.g., memories in computing systems), and small/large-scale optics (e.g., optical waveguides, telescope mirrors, etc.). Design and development of thin-film structures made of a wide range of materials requires complementary assessments. The project aim is the study of optical and electrical properties of thin-film structures to experimentally and theoretically obtain the correlation between these two parametric categories. 

Tasks: SIP Interns will be conducting the following tasks: (1) optical measurements of thin-film structures with a spectrometric ellipsometer-reflectometer, (2) electrical measurements (current-voltage, capacitance) of thin-film structures with a semiconductor parameter analyzer and an 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 analysis) of thin-film structures to assess experimental outcomes, and (5) completing the project by correlating optical and electrical properties of thin-film structures. 

URL: https://nectar.soe.ucsc.edu/members
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Statistical data analysis
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: OFF ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-02 Title: Characterization and Modeling of Optical Thin Tilms
Primary mentor: David Fryauf
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobuhiko Kobayashi
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave., Santa Cruz (NECTAR Lab)
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research group, Nanostructured Energy Conversion Technology and Research (NECTAR) is developing novel and innovative thin films and nanostructured materials for several areas of competitive technology, including but not limited to thermoelectrics, transparent conducting films, anti-reflective coatings, and chemical corrosion barriers. Design, fabrication, and characterization of such materials require many types of scientific tools. In this project, the SIP intern will be trained to use a state-of-the-art spectrometric ellipsometer-reflectometer that requires knowledge of the physics behind refractive index and optical absorption, and also material modeling with the software available from the ellipsometer.

Tasks: The SIP intern will be able to measure different optical films – namely antireflective coatings, encapsulation barriers, blanket layers, graded layers, etc. – and will also be given access to a copy of the modeling software, so the student will be able to work independently modeling all these films. The ultimate goal for the intern's research is to comprehend how ellipsometry-reflectometry works and to create a library of optical thin films available in the lab. 

URL: http://nectar.soe.ucsc.edu
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number:
Mentor's availability:


Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-03 Title: Demystifying Electromagnetic Coupling within Antenna Arrays
Primary mentor: Patrick Ellis
Faculty advisor: Prof. Benjamin Friedlander
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Antenna arrays have long been used to detect objects by retrieving information within impinging electromagnetic (EM) waves. Locating ships, airplanes, and even lost adventurers in remote areas are all tasks that antenna arrays are used for. As such, the accuracy in which these arrays can predict locations is vital. Various factors contribute to the accuracy of this task: Whether there are objects around the antenna array, whether the EM waves have bounced off layers of the atmosphere or the surrounding ground, and if there is significant coupling. Coupling is parastic EM radiation – an example – when an EM wave hits an antenna and then bounces off and hits another antenna. The bouncing, or re-radiation, upon another antenna is coupling and it can greatly hinder the antenna array's ability to correctly detect objects. It is a well known but not completely understood phenomena that this project looks to investigate thoroughly.  

Tasks: SIP interns will learn antenna basics and how antenna arrays can gather electromagnetic waves and intuit such things as location and speed of objects in the air.  The interns will become familiar with a powerful electromagnetic modeling software called 4NEC2, and use MATLAB to draw preliminary results and further physical insight on coupling for a half wavelength dipole or monopole antenna arrays in various physical scenarios.

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


Environmental Studies

Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-01 Title: UC Santa Cruz Puma Project
Primary mentor: Veronica Yovovich
Faculty advisor: Prof. Chris Wilmers
Location: Remote Project
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Mountain lions hold the dubious distinction of being California’s last top carnivore, and are a vital part of natural ecosystem balance and integrity. Human development threatens their future persistence by encroaching on their habitat and disrupting important dynamics. The mentor's research group has been GPS-collaring mountain lions in the Santa Cruz Mountains since 2008 and studying how they interact with their environment as well as other species, from deer to plants. They also use motion-sensitive camera traps as an effective, non-invasive way to document the activity of mountain lions, humans, and other species, to research how all beings use their shared environment.

Tasks: The SIP interns can expect to be involved with data processing associated with the Puma Project. Interns will become familiar with data entry, handling, and integrity using Excel, as well as learning how to use the photo-processing program Picasa. Depending on motivation, computer proficiency, and available data, the intern could explore manipulating data in geographical information system (ArcGIS), a program designed to analyze spatial data.

URL: http://santacruzpumas.org/
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Data entry and handling
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-02 Title: Drone-Mounted Multispectral Cameras in Agriculture
Primary mentor: Graeme Baird
Faculty advisor: Prof. Carol Shennan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The use of remote sensing and spectral imaging techology in agriculture is a rapidly expanding field. Spectral imaging uses specialized cameras to detect changes in leaf reflectance as plants respond to various stresses: diseases, nutrient deficiencies, water deficits, etc. By using vehicle-mounted cameras, large fields can be repeatedly surveyed for these stresses, allowing scientists to get a better understanding of these stresses across space and time, and allowing farm managers to improve the precision of their management. Our project is interested in how this technology can be used to improve agricultural management and sustainability in the California Central Coast region. This project aims to refine the use of spectral imaging (plane-, and UAV-mounted cameras) for evaluating general plant health, as well as for detecting and identifying soilborne plant pathogens in vegetable and strawberry cropping systems. The project will focus on linking remote-sensed data with samples collected directly from experiments and on-farm trials, both at the UCSC farm and at field sites in Watsonville. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will assist with a mix of lab and field work: (1) assist flying the lab UAV over the UCSC farm site to collect imagery data (field); (2) post-processing imagery data for analysis (lab); (3) imagery data analysis (lab); (4) field monitoring and collection of plant-level information for cross-comparison (field); (5) collection of soil and plant samples (field); (6) sample processing (lab); and (7) data analysis (lab).

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

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

Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-05 Title: Climate Change and Hydropower Development Along the Brahmaputra River in Northeast India
Primary mentor: Costanza Rampini
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jeffrey Bury
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: All of Asia's main rivers originate in the glaciers of the Himalayas and depend at least partially on summer monsoon rains to supplement their flows. As increased temperatures due to anthropogenic climate change cause the accelerated melting of Himalayan glaciers and alter the South Asian summer monsoon, Asia's main rivers, such as the Yarlung-Tsangpo-Brahmaputra, are experiencing changes in their flows and summer flood regimes. The Yarlung-Tsangpo-Brahmaputra is one of the world's largest rivers both in terms of volume and sediment load. It originates in the glaciers of Tibet and flows through China, Northeast India and Bangladesh before emptying out into the Bay of Bengal. In Northeast India, it is considered the lifeline of the region and its people as it provides numerous ecosystem services including irrigation and fertilization, food sources, groundwater recharge, transportation and cultural services. Changes in the river's flow and flood regime as a result of climate change have cascading impacts on downstream communities and ecosystems. At the same time, the Brahmaputra has been identified as India's 'future powerhouse' and over 130 new dam projects are planned in the river basin in an effort to harness the enormous and yet-untapped hydropower potential of the river. The combined impacts of dam building and climate change on the river and the riparian communities that depend on it have not yet been studied. This project uses interviews, dam planning documents and hydrological data to understand the impacts of dams along the Brahmaputra River on the vulnerability and adaptability of local riparian communities to floods, which are expected to increase in both frequency and magnitude as a result of climate change. 

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in reviewing scientific and grey literature on the topic of climate change adaptation and vulnerability, and in the analysis of interview data. The interview data consist of 74 semi-structured interviews conducted with riparian communities in Northeast India and includes information on demography and livelihoods, flood vulnerability, adaptation strategies, and dam impacts. The interns will learn to enter data, compute and re-code variables, and analyze data using descriptive and inferential statitistics. 

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


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.
 

Molecular, Cell & Developmental Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-01 Title: Investigating Genome Stability in Baker's Yeast
Primary mentor: Michael Doody
Faculty advisor: Prof. Grant Hartzog
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: All plant and animal cells package their genetic material into chromatin. This protein-DNA complex allows the two meters of DNA in our genome to be packaged within the cell's nucleus, which is only a few microns in diameter! The mentor is interested in understanding how packaging of DNA as chromatin affects its ability to be used by the cell. The mentor will study this problem in the baker's yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, which grows rapidly, is cheap, and packages and expresses its genes using a similar set of strategies and proteins as do human cells. The mentor will use genetic approaches, which examine the effects of mutations on chromatin and gene expression, and also biochemical approaches, in which the SIP intern and mentor will purify and study proteins and DNA in the test tube.  

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in the genetic characterization of chromatin loss of function mutants which are believed to disrupt chromatin and make the ORF more fluid/permissive to transcription. Specifically, the SIP intern will use fluctuation analysis to measure DNA mutation rates, measure chromosome instability, and screen for genetic suppressors that result in increased chromosome stability or decreased mutation rates of the chromatin loss of function mutants. In conjunction with this, the SIP intern will also get hands-on experience with primary molecular biology techniques and an understanding of how to critically read scientific journal publications and present research in a group meeting.

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

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

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-02 Title: Investigating the Role of Chromatin Structure in Gene Expression
Primary mentor: Robert Shelansky
Faculty advisor: Prof. Hinrich Boeger
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Plant and animal cells exhibit physical variations. Typically these variations are attributed to the regulation of gene expression. Gene expression is well described by the central dogma of molecular biology: a gene is written in DNA and is transcribed into many individual molecules of RNA that are then finally translated into protein. The mentor is interested in using single molecular techniques to anlayze the dynamics of transcription in the organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The SIP interns and the mentor will examine the chromatin structure of individual DNA molecules to better understand variation in gene expression. The SIP interns and mentor will also preform single cell microscopy and general molecular biology experiments.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be involved in analyzing single molecule chromatin data by: (1) assisting in building the tools required to parse these data; (2) generating visualizations to better understand the dynamics of chromatin structure of an individual gene; and (3) critically evaluating the data with respect to hypothesis at the cutting edge of the field. The SIP interns will have the opportunity to get hands-on experience with techniques in molecular biology, including but not limited to molecular cloning. They will also learn how to evaluate scientific literature and present research to peers.  

URL: http://bio.research.ucsc.edu/people/boeger/Index.htm
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

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

Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology

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

Ocean Sciences

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

Other

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

Physics

Code Research Project Descriptions
PHY-01 Title: Thin-Film Perovskite Solar Cells with Quantum Dots for Improved Electrical Properties
Primary mentor: Heather Sully
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sue Carter
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Perovskite solar cells are a hot topic in energetic device research. They are solution processed, making them "one thousand times less expensive than silicon" (Los Alamos National Laboratory), and their efficiency has rapidly improved since 2009, going from 2.2% to 20% efficiency, and rivaling silicon based technology (National Renewable Energy Laboratory).  Semiconductor quantum dots have unique optical and electrical properties based on composition, size, and surface chemistry. This project will examine how these effects contribute to charge extraction and transport in perovskite thin-film solar cells by incorporating them into the active layer of the device. The main trust of this project is understanding how quantum dots can be engineered to improve device function through surface passivation, energy band matching, light-matter interaction, and charge transport. 

Tasks: This projects involves wet lab synthesis, electrical characterization, and materials engineering concepts to contribute to a renewable energy technology. SIP interns can expect to make functioning solar cells by depositing solutions, "baking" aka sintering, and evaporating metal electrodes inside a glovebox. The solar cells will be tested for electrical function, and physics-based models, along with data analysis, will be applied to understanding their energetic properties. Size matched perovskite shells will be grown on germanium-based quantum dots for effective incorportation into energy matched perovskite film. 

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 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

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

Psychology

Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-01 Title: Learning from Games
Primary mentor: Barrett Anderson
Faculty advisor: Prof. Travis Seymour
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Games have played an important role in learning since well before the beginning of modern education. Uniquely among educational tools, games have a "mechanical" or "system" component that is responsive to a player's agency, and can be discovered through interaction. The implications of a game's system has been described as that game's "procedural rhetoric." Currently, the mentor is investigating factors that influence the transfer of information from these mechanical aspects of games and comparing the effectiveness of learning from game mechanics with learning from other information channels. This work can inform the design of more engaging and effective educational games.

Tasks: The bulk of the work is expected to be statistical analysis of data from completed experiments. The SIP interns will learn to run analyses, generate reports, and communicate their findings. This will involve using a statistical software package (R), learning some aspects of APA style, and (depending on need and comfort level) possibly learning some simple programming in Python. The SIP interns may also have the opportunity to assist in data collection from research participants. The intern will be involved in ongoing discussions about what conclusions can be drawn from existing work and plans for future research.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-02 Title: Is It a Big Deal to Copy from Others? Variability in Students’ Judgments About Cheating
Primary mentor: Talia Waltzer
Faculty advisor: Prof. Audun Dahl
Location: UCSC Silicon Valley Extension (Santa Clara); UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

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

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

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-03 Title: Latina/o Children, Mural Making, Sense of Belonging, and Empowerment
Primary mentor: David Gordon
Faculty advisor: Prof. Regina Langhout
Location: UCSC Main Campus; Live Oak Elementary School
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research team teaches 4th and 5th grade students how to conduct social science research to create change in their school and community. The students have decided to focus on creating a stronger connection between the school and community by collecting community stories, analyzing the stories, and creating murals that represent the themes and stories. This summer the students will assess community responses to their their mural, which is focused on hopes and dreams for the school and community. In addition to guiding the students, the mentor's research team studies how the students move through this process in terms of their literacy development, empowerment, and connections to people in the school and community.

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

URL: http://people.ucsc.edu/~langhout/cprat/Research.html
Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Comfortable working with children in a flexible environment; Spanish language skills recommended
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Field work; qualitative data analysis
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-04 Title: Video Game Representations
Primary mentor: Abigail Walsh
Faculty advisor: Prof. Campbell Leaper
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Despite the fact that half of video game players are women, female characters are still underrepresented in mass market video games. Most video games have a playable female character, but compared to the many male character choices there are far fewer options for female characters. When they are presented in video games, female characters are often represented in stereotypical gender-typed ways. Female characters often fit neatly into overly sexualized characters or the stereotypical damsel in distress. How do men and women perceive these gender portrayals? This reserach project examines the female character representations in mass market and independent video games. It strives to assess participant's opinions of women based on those representations, their perception of those representations, and the impact of the gender representations. The mentor has experience working with diverse age groups and will ensure that the research activities are age appropriate for the interns and that the research has undergone UCSC Institutional Review Board (ethics board) approval.  

Tasks: SIP interns will assist in the design of the study assessments, aid in data collection, and data analyses. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Some experience with lab work, statistical data analysis, and/or field work is recommended but not required
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work
Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Mentor's availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-05 Title: Do Toddlers Attend to Speakers' Interactions When Overhearing a Conversation?
Primary mentor: Neda Namiranian
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nameera Akhtar
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Young children can learn words from overhearing conversations between others. They selectively accept or reject information from linguistic sources. Although they tend to accept new words from accurate and familiar speakers, it is unclear what cues children attend to when overhearing conversations between unfamiliar people with no past record of accuracy. To address this question, the research group will present children with videos in which an adult labels new objects and another adult either agrees or disagrees nonverbally with the speaker. We will measure children’s word learning by asking them to identify the new objects labeled by the adult in the video.  

Tasks: This is a collaborative research project between a developmental and an adult psycholinguistic lab, which will allow the SIP interns to engage in hands-on experience of the psychological research process. The interns will be involved in recruiting participants, assisting with data collection, coding videos, and organizing data.   

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-06 Title: Summer of Laughter: Humor As a Multimodal Process
Primary mentor: Patrawat Samermit
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr.
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Humor – we all do it. Despite its everyday use, cognitive scientists and linguists still don't know what makes things funny. The mentor's research examines how humans understand humor cognitively, and how humor is related to metaphorical language. The purpose of these studies is to examine the multimodal nature of humor cognition. The first study examines how multimodal cues, such as facial expression and body language, influence how funny things are as well as their effects on insight problem solving (i.e., having an "AHA! I got it!" moment). The second study is an interview where participants watch humorous content and discuss what is funny/not funny while being filmed. This study examines the gestures, facial expressions, and language used to talk about humorous or offensive content to gain a broader understanding of how humans conceptualize humor.

Tasks: SIP interns will have the opportunity to learn about humor, embodied cognition, and psycholinguistics by reading and discussing articles with the mentor at weekly meetings. They will also learn how to run participants, conduct interviews in a formal lab setting, and code data. Additionally, interns will learn how to analyze both quantitative and qualitative data from the multimodal experiment and interview videos through the use of SPSS statistical analysis software. The mentor has lots of experience in giving presentations on these topics and has a focus on teaching strong communication skills. As such, interns will be trained in how to write and speak academically to a broad audience. Interns interested in this project will gain a wealth of knowledge in both quantitative and qualitative skills required to succeed in cognitive science.

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-07 Title: Remembering and Forgetting
Primary mentor: Julia Soares
Faculty advisor: Prof. Benjamin Storm
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Sometimes we need to forget some information in order to effectively remember other, more important information or update memory. Research has shown that retrieving some information from memory causes forgetting of related information that is not retrieved. This can be important for forgetting negative events in the past, moving past ideas that impede creative problem solving, and forgetting information that in inconsistent with our current opinions. The mentor's current line of research focuses on testing how exactly we forget old information in order to update memory and how forgetting can contribute to successful remembering.

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

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-08 Title: "I Didn't Know it Would be Like This": Students' Transitions to College
Primary mentor: Brittany Young
Faculty advisor: Prof. Margarita Azmitia
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: SIP interns will have the option of working on one of two projects. The first is a longitudinal project examining first generation students' transitions to college. Survey and interview data has been collected to explore the developmental changes of social identities; e.g., race and gender. These factors will be associated with college students' perceptions of challenges and resources available to them in order to understand their pathways to success. The second project focuses on understanding the immediate cognitions and behaviors of students of color to subtle racial discrimination. This interview study assesses how immediate responses influence students' sense of belonging to the university and their mental health.           

Tasks: SIP interns will have the opportunity to gain a diverse skill set. First, all interns will acquire the necessary skills to find, understand, and annotate empirical psychological articles. Secondly, interns will gain extensive knowledge on coding interview data, extrapolating interesting themes, and identifying new emergent patterns. Interns interested in working on the second project will assist in finding and preparing materials and measures for the project, e.g., surveys and videos. They will also aid in testing the effectiveness of the logic, design and procedure of the study. Finally, all students will learn how to convert qualitative data into quantitative data, in order to use statistical software to analyze results. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-09 Title: Media Literacy and Games
Primary mentor: Christy Starr
Faculty advisor: Prof. Campbell Leaper
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: Media consumption is related to many poor outcomes among children, such as increased gender and ethnic stereotyping. Media literacy intervention programs generally aim to teach students about how to understand and be critical of the media they are consuming, be it social media (e.g., Facebook, Instagram) or more traditional forms of media such as TV and movies. The mentor's research group aims to create a short game that teaches media literacy to younger students in an engaging and informative way. They will also be putting together psychological survey measures to give to participants after they complete the game, to see if the game succeeds in its educational goals. The mentor has experience working with diverse age groups (1st graders to 8th graders) and will ensure that the research is age appropriate for the interns and has undergone UCSC Institutional Review Board (ethics board) approval.

Tasks: SIP interns will be working together with the mentors to create a project together from start to finish, beginning with literature review, method design, and programming, and ending with piloting the experiment among a small group of people. The SIP interns will be involved with ongoing conversations about what makes a good experimental design based on past literature and theory. The interns may also be involved in other projects that the mentor is currently working on: college women, school climate, and STEM; self-objectification and STEM interest in 6–9 year old girls. These projects will involve the same or similar tasks. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-11 Title: Race/Ethnicity in College and High School Contexts
Primary mentor: Alexandra Merritt
Faculty advisor: Prof. Christy Byrd
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The mentor's research is aimed at examining the influence of race in the college and high school contexts. The mentor has three projects that cover specific topics: (1) microaggressions, (2) culturally relevant teaching, and (3) various aspects of school climates. The research project studying microaggressions (defined as brief commonplace transgressions against a person based on some aspect of his/her identity) uses a crowd mapping iPhone/Android application as an innovative way of collecting data regarding such experiences of discrimination when they occur. The second project, involving culturally relevant teaching, aims to understand how teaching that incorporates students’ backgrounds is perceived by students themselves, thus affecting their psychological and academic outcomes. Lastly, the third project, which addresses high school climate, uses interviewing as a method of understanding students' experiences of their high school’s racial climate.  

Tasks: SIP interns will learn how to transcribe interviews collected during the regular school year from the high school climate project. Additionally, SIP interns will also gain experience in coding qualitative data from the incidental reports collected from the microaggressions mobile app as well as aid in the development of the future directions of this project. Those interested in the effects of culturally relevant teaching will have an opportunity to research the ways that such practices are incorporated into teaching resources as well as assist with coding of the literature. Lastly, the SIP interns will receive training on how to use statistical software by aiding the mentor in running analyses with data after coding. Interns will have the opportunity to gain a wealth of experience in the different project areas. 

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


Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-12 Title: Creative Cognition
Primary mentor: Annie Ditta
Faculty advisor: Prof. Benjamin Storm
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description: The ability to be creative is not something that only a few individuals possess – things we do in our everyday lives such as problem-solving, imagining the future, and designing new obejcts are also creative. I am interested in the processes that underlie our ability to be creative on a daily basis; in particular, I am interested in the role that remembering and forgetting play in our ability to generate new ideas.

Tasks: The SIP interns will be expected to help with data entry, data scoring, and running human participants in the lab.  They will also be expected to read academic articles, and encouraged to develop their own research proposal for potential future work.

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