Home / Student Life / Opportunities

Opportunities

NEW Opportunity for undergraduate research at SFIS.

SFIS launched the Undergraduate Research Fellows program in Fall 2017, designed to give undergraduate students a chance to engage in research projects on science & society topics, working closely with SFIS faculty mentors.

Engaging in research projects as an undergraduate is a great way to broaden your ASU experience. You’ll get the chance to develop critical skills in how to gather reliable data, how to analyze this information, and how to present your findings to others in a clear and compelling way. These skills can prove very useful in the workplace. Research experience can also help you decide whether you’re interested in graduate school – and, if you are, it can significantly increase your chances of getting accepted.

Students participating in the SFIS undergraduate research program can choose to receive a stipend ($1200 per semester) or to receive research credit (2 credits per semester). You will be expected to spend 5-7 hours per week as a Research Fellow, including attending a weekly meeting with your faculty mentor and a series of Research Masterclasses. You will also be expected to present a research poster at an end-of-semester symposium. Subject to student interest and faculty approval, students may participate in this program over multiple semesters.

Applications  for the Fall 2019 research program will be open from August 1, with a closing date of Sunday August 11 at 11.59 p.m.. Fall research projects will start the week of August 26, 2019. If you would like to apply for a research position, please complete the online application.

For questions, please contact Elisha Thompson.

 

Faculty Advisor

Project Title

Available for Stipend? 

Available for Credit? 

Pre-requisites required?

Dr Faheem Hussain

Dr Mary Jane Parmentier

Sustainable communication and knowledge platforms for displaced populations: Experiences with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

No

Yes

See below

Dr Katina Michael

With participation from Dr Heather Ross (Clinical Assistant Professor, SFIS) and Rebecca Monteleone (HSD Graduate student, SFIS)

From Tattoos to Microchipping: Perceptions and Attitudes on Body Modification

Yes

Yes

See below

Professor Sasha Barab

Dr Anna Arici

ThriveCast: Platform innovations to unlock human potential in vulnerable populations

Yes

Yes

See below

Dr Mary Jane Parmentier

Technology for the Developing World:  Responsible Innovation and Factors for Success

Yes

YesNone
Dr Kiki JenkinsCommunicating conservation science through dance: Can dance help people to learn, care, and act?YesYesSee Below

Dr Laura Hosman

Dr Heather Ross

SolarSPELL: Scholarly research to inform improvements and publicationsYesYesNone

Dr Heather Ross

Dr Laura Hosman

With technical mentoring from Bruce Baikie

SolarSPELL: Building a digital medical library for South SudanNoYesSee Below
Dr Marta Berbés-BlázquezLooking Black-wards into the FutureYesYesSee Below
Dr Emma FrowGetting hands-on about learningYesYesSee Below

Dr Emma Frow

With mentoring from Annie Hammang (PhD student, SFIS)

Digital biology and the rise of biofoundriesYesYesNone

Dr Ira Bennett

Claudia ElDib, Logistics Program Manager, ASU Research Enterprises

Shade Shutters, Research Scientist, Global Security Initiative

Multi-Disciplinary Research on Dense Urban Environments, for use by the US Army’s Training and Doctrine CommandNoYesNone

 


 

Full Project Descriptions

 

1. Sustainable communication and knowledge platforms for displaced populations: Experiences with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

Faculty advisor:
Dr Faheem Hussain, Lecturer, School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Dr Mary Jane Parmentier, Clinical Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview:

How can one communicate with others while fleeing persecution at home? What are the ways a refugee can access her Facebook account in a makeshift refugee camp without electricity? Who can help in a foreign land with real-time, badly needed translation during emergency medical situations? What are effective ways to provide education for children who were until recently banned from going to school, and where formal schools do not exist? In recent times, around a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are facing these challenges. The primary focus of this project is to research and address communication and information needs of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. Students will assist with performing a literature review on information and communication technology (ICT) needs in refugee camps, collating information about existing initiatives to support Rohingya refugees, and identifying potential funders for future research projects.

Any pre-requisites needed? Some interest in global development, mobile applications, and/or refugee crises preferred.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): No

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes

 


 

2. From Tattoos to Microchipping: Perceptions and Attitudes on Body Modification

Faculty advisor:
Dr Katina Michael, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the School for Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering

With participation from Dr Heather Ross (Clinical Assistant Professor, SFIS) and Rebecca Monteleone (HSD Graduate student, SFIS)

Research project overview:

From the ancient tradition of tattooing to the modern trend toward functional RFID chip implants, body modification has always been a critical element of human socialization. Increasingly, modification has become tightly coupled with technological intervention, yet the relationship between traditional forms of body modification and technoscientific innovations remains under-researched. This project seeks to understand the relationship between various forms of body modification, from relatively socially accepted forms such as tattooing and piercing, to more contentious forms including functional implants. This project seeks to engage with two sets of stakeholders – tattoo artists and functional chip sellers/resellers – to understand the decision to adopt (or not adopt) chip implantation as part of service delivery, to identify individual business codes of conduct around body modification, their relationship to internal and external policies and regulations, and the complex relationship between body modifications on the body (i.e. tattoos), through the body (i.e. piercings), and in the body (i.e. subdermal nonfunctional implants and chip implants). Students will assist with preparing a literature review, qualitative and quantitative analysis of existing datasets, and potentially conducting interviews with owners of tattoo businesses in Arizona.

Any pre-requisites needed? Students should have some research experience and ideally be in their Junior or Senior year. In their applications, students should identify a preferred strength in either quantitative or qualitative research.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes

 


 

3. ThriveCast: Platform innovations to unlock human potential in vulnerable populations

Faculty advisor:
Professor Sasha Barab, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers’ College
Dr Anna Arici, Assistant Research Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview:

While people naturally aspire to great things, many of us lack the resources, motivation or support to sustain change in our lives. Some look to technology to ‘fix’ us, but we believe the power of innovation is to augment our own inner capabilities. To this end, the Center for Games & Impact has created ThriveCast, an innovative new connected growth platform for unlocking human potential, powered by innovation, supported by community, and driven by people’s desire to do great things.

The Center for Games & Impact aims to create innovations to help solve societal problems, especially for disadvantaged groups. We work with these groups to identify their needs and aspirations, design growth platforms to engage those goals, and then implement with these groups to measure progress and maximize impact. Over the semester, our undergraduate researchers will grow, cultivate, and test hypotheses about how to unlock human potential through the platforms and 3D immersive games, in our current projects which include: 

  • Positive Change for Youth in Detention Facilities
  • Parenting Skills for Expecting Teens & Young Parents
  • Innovating Teacher Recruitment & Retention (Platform and 3D Immersive Game)
  • Human Trafficking Curriculum for Educators
  • Helping Youth Lead Flourishing Lives (Building Character, Creating Value, & Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset)

Any pre-requisites needed? Previous research or design experience is awesome but not required. Desired skills include being responsible, good with people, comfortable interviewing people, able to think logically yet creatively, and empathetic to a diversity of needs and approaches. Students will be supported in learning anything they need for engaging in these innovations and the research process.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes

 


 

4. Technology for the Developing World:  Responsible Innovation and Factors for Success

Faculty advisor(s):
Dr Mary Jane Parmentier, Clinical Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview:
What happens when new technologies are introduced into developing regions? With technological interventions at the center of many national and multinational development projects around the world, it is assumed that it is a critical tool for enhancing quality of life. Yet it is well known that many technological projects fail, from large infrastructure to small-scale initiatives. However, there is a lack of organized data on how many projects fail, what makes them fail, and what contributes to success. This research project is going into its third year and based on the excellent work done by the undergraduate research team, we have identified a set of factors that help explain when and how development projects that implement technology can succeed. These factors are social, political, economic, and cultural, not technological! This year we will work to organize these factors, using a framework for responsible innovation, and analyze projects in energy, water, transportation, education, health and other sectors.  We look forward to welcoming new members to the team!

Any pre-requisites needed? None

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes

 


 

5. Communicating conservation science through dance: Can dance help people to learn, care, and act?

Faculty advisor:
Dr Kiki Jenkins , Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview:
Historically, dance was an important form of storytelling about nature. Embodying the plight of wildlife through dance can lead to a greater sense of connection to nature and a willingness to take action to protect it. Yet this promising form of nature storytelling is currently under-utilized and under-studied. The goal of this project is to conduct pilot research to answer the question: How does creating and participating in dance as a form of storytelling impact participants’ understanding of, empathy towards, and behaviors towards sea turtle conservation? We intend to test the potential of dance through a controlled, experimental study to compare dance-based programs with other forms of engagement (i.e. science lecture and science theater). The student researcher will conduct a literature review on science art: creating an Endnote database, annotated bibliography, and written summary. The student researcher will also take the lead in developing and distributing recruitment materials for research subjects.

Any pre-requisites needed? None, although preference will be given to applicants with: a genuine interest in the research topic, previous experience conducting literature reviews, and solid writing skills

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes


 

6. SolarSPELL: Scholarly research to inform improvements and publications

Faculty advisors:
Dr Laura Hosman, Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Polytechnic School
Dr Heather Ross, Clinical Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview:
SolarSPELL is an offline digital library designed to bring educational content to resource-constrained locations that may lack electricity, Internet connectivity, and/or traditional libraries. The SolarSPELL library emits an offline Wi-Fi hotspot, to which any Wi-Fi capable device (smartphones, tablets, laptops) can connect and freely browse the expansive content. The initiative is expanding rapidly: to date, there are 275 SolarSPELL libraries in-field, across 8 countries, and this year the team will focus on developing a health-focused library: SolarSPELL Health. Yet, one area of great need for this initiative is scholarly research: What can be learned from academic sources to inform SolarSPELL and SolarSPELL Health? What do SolarSPELL and SolarSPELL Health contribute to the scholarly body of knowledge?

Students will focus on: conducting research to address questions about SolarSPELL and SolarSPELL Health; creating a sorted, annotated databank of research findings (e.g. articles); and ultimately contributing to scholarly publications. Students will also identify academic journals for possible SolarSPELL & SolarSPELL Health publications, and support any research needed to accompany SolarSPELL impact evaluation findings for publication.
More information on SolarSPELL can be found at http://solarspell.org

Any pre-requisites needed? None.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes


 

7. SolarSPELL: Building a digital medical library for South Sudan

Faculty advisors:
Dr Heather Ross, Clinical Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Dr Laura Hosman, Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and the Polytechnic School

With technical mentoring from Bruce Baikie

Research project overview:
In South Sudan, health providers lack access to critical information at every level of health services. Costly electricity, internet, and books make medical libraries unfeasible and training difficult. Providers trained with outdated protocols do not follow current guidelines, so vulnerable populations are subject to misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment. SolarSPELL is a self-powered, portable, and offline library with the potential to transform South Sudan’s medical culture from ad hoc practices to guideline-driven, evidence-based practice (EBP). Students will be involved with designing a SolarSPELL Health South Sudan digital library in collaboration with stakeholders. Students will communicate via email and videoconferencing with SolarSPELL Health partner stakeholders in South Sudan to identify the reference materials desired by stakeholders for the digital library. They will work with the SolarSPELL team to assemble digital versions of the materials, identifying materials requiring copyright permission. Going forward, students may be involved with library deployment in the field, including conducting impact assessment.

More information on SolarSPELL can be found at http://solarspell.org

Any pre-requisites needed? None. However, basic familiarity with healthcare practices and terminology is a plus.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): No

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes


 

8. Looking Black-wards into the Future

Faculty advisor:
Dr Marta Berbés-Blázquez, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview:
“Looking Black-wards into the Future” is a collaboration emerging from the need to tell the story of the contributions of African Americans to the development of Phoenix as a departing point for co-creating Black-centric visions for the future of the city. The project focuses on South Phoenix, which is a historically underserved neighborhood with a majority Latino and Black population. We are collecting narratives from Black residents of South Phoenix to understand constraints and opportunities, leverage points, agents of change, and more importantly, a way forward. The narratives we are collecting come in two forms: recorded oral histories of long-time residents, and written responses of South Phoenix high school students to an essay contest titled: “The Future We Want to See.” Elders and students will be brought together in dialog in a workshop scheduled for early 2020 to envision future pathways for the community. The entire process will be captured in a documentary film that will be edited throughout 2020. The student participating in this project will conduct a literature review on the role and history of African-Americans in the Valley, relying on both academic sources and gray literature. They will also assist in the collection and analysis of oral histories.

Any pre-requisites needed? None. Members of visible minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply. Students will need to complete the online CITI Human Subjects Research Certification training.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes


 

9. Getting hands-on about learning

Faculty advisor:
Dr Emma Frow, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering

Research project overview:
This project is part of a larger, interdisciplinary scientific project focused on building synthetic cells able to show ‘smart’ or learning behaviors (like Pavlovian conditioning). As part of this project, we will develop a small set of hands-on activities designed for engaging public audiences around basic concepts relating to learning behaviors and synthetic biology. In Fall 2019, students will undertake a review of existing hands-on activities around the science of learning and of synthetic biology, and will help to develop learning objectives for our activities. In Spring 2020, students will develop and prototype a small set of activities, in collaboration with the broader project team.

Any pre-requisites needed? None, although a creative spirit and some familiarity with basic terminology around neuroscience and genetics are a plus. Ideally students would work on this project in both Fall 2019 and Spring 2020; please indicate your interest and availability on the application.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes


 

10. Digital biology and the rise of biofoundries

Faculty advisor:
Dr Emma Frow, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and School of Biological & Health Systems Engineering

With mentoring from Annie Hammang (PhD student, Human and Social Dimensions of Science & Technology)

Research project overview:
“I think the biggest innovations of the twenty-first century will be the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.” – Steve Jobs
“Digital biology” is a growing field that incorporates computer programming, internet technologies, and artificial intelligence into the development of new biotechnologies. One recent trend in digital biology has been to invest in the development of ‘biofoundries’ or biofabrication facilities. There is currently a lot of excitement and investment pouring into these facilities, in anticipation they will start churning out a host of new, valuable and world-saving bioproducts, ranging from cultured meats to biofuels to anti-malarial drugs and spider silk. Our project aims to construct a broader cultural history of biofoundries. The students involved in this project will assist with collection and curation of news articles, press releases, investment reports and academic articles about biofoundries in the US. They will use this information to help construct timelines for existing biofoundries, and to generate maps of people, products, funding sources and partners associated with these different facilities.

Any pre-requisites needed? None.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): Yes

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes


 

11. Multi-Disciplinary Research on Dense Urban Environments, for use by the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command

Project advisors:
Ira Bennett , Clinical Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society
Claudia ElDib, Logistics Program Manager, ASU Research Enterprises
Shade Shutters, Research Scientist, Global Security Initiative

Research project overview:
ASU and the School for the Future of Innovation in Society have formed a new partnership with the US Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and are looking for undergraduate researchers to help do current, mission-critical research to support the Security Force Assistance Brigade in providing up-to-date content to forces in the field. Questions and research topics will come directly from the Army and will be turned around in days or weeks as short reports, that will likely include graphics and multimedia content. Students will work alone and in teams with other ASU students, and will be part of a larger online community of researchers at universities around the nation. The Army is working with ASU because of its expertise in Dense Urban Environments (megacities) and much of the work will be in that area, meaning that a broad set of disciplinary perspectives are needed, including but not limited to; geography, anthropology, religious and cultural studies, innovation and technology studies, communication, ICT, computer science, urban planning, and history. Partners in the Army and security researchers at ASU will provide resources and guidance for students as they do their work. The Army seeks to conduct research to support environmental assessment-considerations of current conditions in the environments of interest, and their effects on a specific Foreign Security Force and their capability development. The Army is also interested in exposing students to an array of opportunities that exist within its umbrella organizations, many of which conduct advanced research that is used to assist in a variety of operations in dense urban environments, such as humanitarian assistance conducted on a global scale.

Any pre-requisites needed? None.

Research available for stipend? ($1200/semester): No

Research available for course credit? (2 credits/semester): Yes