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Opportunities

NEW Opportunity for undergraduate research at SFIS

SFIS launched an 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 apply 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. (For Fall 2020, arrangements can be made to complete faculty meetings and Masterclasses online.) You will also be expected to present a research poster at an end-of-semester virtual symposium. Subject to student interest and faculty approval, students may participate in this program over multiple semesters.

Applications for the Fall 2020 research program will be open from August 7th, with a closing date of Thursday, August 13 at 11:59 p.m. Fall research projects will start the week of August 24th, 2020. If you would like to apply for a research position, please complete the online application.

For questions, please contact Elisha Thompson

 

Full Project Descriptions

1. Imaginative Practices for Resilience and Anticipation

Faculty advisor: Dr. Ed Finn, Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society and Director of the Center for Science and the Imagination

Research project overview: How do individuals and communities harness imaginative practices to deal with adversity, plan for the future, strive for equity, and make better decisions? This project seeks to identify and catalog imagination methods as they are deployed in a range of settings, including social activism, community governance, futures thinking, artistic practices, etc. The goal of the research project will be to start creating a taxonomy of such practices and connecting them to research on how imagination works. The work will include reviewing academic literature and news media, conducting interviews, making ethnographic observations of imagination activities, and distilling these findings and observations into a larger taxonomy. Students will have the opportunity to participate in related events and activities occurring at the Center for Science and the Imagination, and to share their work with the center’s network of researchers and collaborators.

Any pre-requisites needed? Prior experience in qualitative research, interviewing and/or ethnography is a plus, but not required. Diverse perspectives on what imagination is and how it works in different communities will be valuable for this position.

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

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes

 


 

2. Rethinking death in the digital era: What happens to your digital self after you die?

Faculty advisors: Dr. Faheem Hussain, Clinical Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview: We have so many types of digital assets: social media profiles, email archives, digital music and video purchases, image galleries, web browsing histories, online subscriptions, etc. How to deal with these assets after we die has become a critical consideration as more and more of our lives take place online. Global companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon all have their own protocols for managing the digital assets of their deceased users. However, until now, there has been no significant participation in such processes from any user groups or policymakers (either within or outside the United States).

This project focuses on the need to rethink postmortem design for digital products and platforms. Students will undertake a comparative analysis of the Digital Afterlife policies of Facebook and Google, will perform in-depth literature reviews on existing Digital Afterlife-related challenges and innovations for users within and outside the USA, and will develop a repository of existing government policies and regulations relating to Digital Afterlife.

Any pre-requisites needed? None.

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

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes

 


 

3. Defining Environmental Public Art for Environmental Conservation

Faculty advisors: Dr. Lekelia Jenkins, Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview: Environmental public art, in addition to raising awareness, is perceived to shape individual behavior within a complex socio-cultural context that influence one’s beliefs, norms, and attitude. This potential to change individual behavior could lead to positive environmental outcomes. But, what is “environmental public art”? Although artists, scholars, practitioners, and audiences may have an intuitive sense of what is or is not environmental public art, there is no established definition of environmental public art. In this project, the undergraduate research student will apply the Delphi method to create a consensus definition of environmental public art. The Delphi method will include: Emailing a questionnaire to environmental art experts, coding the responses with text analysis methods, and grouping the responses into themes.

Any pre-requisites needed? No

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

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes

 


 

4. Better Biology tests: Exploration and validation of a new assessment framework

Faculty advisors: Dr Lekelia Jenkins, Associate Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

with mentoring from Dr Gregory Crowther, Department of Life Sciences, Everett Community College

Research project overview: This project concerns Test Question Templates (TQTs), a new framework devised by the faculty advisors to improve the alignment between biology learning activities and summative assessments (i.e., exams).  Details on TQTs may be found in the following peer-reviewed article: http://tinyurl.com/biology-TQTs. Students will examine the usefulness and limitations of TQTs through two primary activities: (1) a survey of biology education literature, in which TQTs will be compared to and potentially reconciled with existing approaches to assessments; and (2) an analysis of student feedback on the implementation of TQTs in undergraduate biology courses. For Activity (1), the student will perform a meta-analysis of primary literature via the identification of key sources and extraction of key information from those. For Activity (2), the student will perform qualitative research via thematic coding of free responses.

Any pre-requisites needed? The ideal student will have taken three or more college-level courses in biology or closely related fields (e.g. biochemistry), and have a strong interest in STEM education (e.g. because teaching is a possible career)

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

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? No

 


 

5. Technology for the developing world: Responsible Innovation and factors for success

Faculty advisors: 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): No

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes

 


 

6. Human trafficking in Cuba’s foreign medical missions program

Faculty advisors: Dr. Kathleen Vogel, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview: International observers and former participants reported Cuban government officials force or coerce individuals to participate and remain in the Cuban government’s labor export programs, particularly the foreign medical missions program, managed by the Unidad Central de Cooperación Médica and Ministry of Health. The Cuban government has not taken action to address its exploitative and coercive policies in these missions, which are clear indicators of human trafficking. Observers note Cuban authorities coerced some participants to remain in the program, including by withholding their passports and medical credentials; restricting their movement; using “minders” to conduct surveillance of participants outside of work; threatening to revoke their license to practice medicine in Cuba; retaliate against their family members in Cuba if participants leave the program; or impose criminal penalties, exile, and family separation if participants do not return to Cuba as directed by government supervisors. In early 2020, the Cuban government sent more medical professionals to assist countries to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic under unclear financial arrangements.

The research student will gather open-source data from library databases, newspapers, and online NGO, think tank, and government sources regarding the history and background of Cuba’s foreign medical missions program and allegations of forced labor within that program.  The student will also gather information about Cuba’s foreign medical missions program and its response to the COVID-19 pandemic in various countries around the world. The student will collect, organize, and analyze the data and produce a report on their findings at the end of the semester.

Any pre-requisites needed? None. However, an ideal student would have Spanish language skills to search for sources in Spanish; other language skills could also be useful (e.g., Italian, Portuguese, French) but also not required.

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

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes