decorative

Student research opportunities

New opportunities 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 ($1,200 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 Masterclasses on research and professional development (online Masterclass options will be available). You will also be expected to present your research 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 2022 research program will be open from July 27th, with a closing date of August 5 at 10 a.m. Arizona time. Fall research projects will ideally start the week of August 16, 2022. If you would like to apply for a research position, please complete the online application here.

For questions, please contact Elisha Thompson ([email protected]).

Faculty advisorProject titleAvailable for stipendAvailable for creditPre-requisites required
Kirk Jalbert Producing Just Futures for Public Engagement in Petrochemical Pipeline InfrastructureYesYesNo
Beza Merid Anti-Racist Digital Health FuturesYesYesNo
Emma FrowThe possibilities and limits of biological containment in the age of synthetic biologyYesYesYes
Kathleen VogelAssassinations involving Chemical and Biological AgentsYesYesNo
Kathleen VogelHuman Trafficking in GuyanaYesYesNo
Clark Miller, Lauren Keeler, Danae Hernandez-Cortes, Dominic Bednar Addressing Equity Issues Through Salt River Project (SRP)YesYesNo
Robert Cook-DeeganHuman PangenomeYesYesNo

Full project descriptions

1. Producing Just Futures for Public Engagement in Petrochemical Pipeline Infrastructure

Faculty advisor

Kirk JalbertAsst Professor, Sch Future of Innov in Society

Research project overview

Petrochemical pipelines are at the center of debates about the importance of public participation in the governance of large-scale energy projects. However, participation can also be hindered by gaps in public availability of knowledge and procedural justice issues. This project investigates how advocacy groups use mapping, mobile apps, environmental monitoring, and other projects to engage with pipelines. Through a series of workshops, we will study how these groups imagine their projects leading to more robust forms of participation. In interviews with pipeline operators and regulators, this study also examines the industry’s plans to adopt new standards for how the pipeline industry must engage with the public.

Any pre-requisites needed? Not required, but experience with statistics and/or quantitative social science methods, GIS; speculative design; and sustainability research methods such as instructional analysis for development (IAD) and/or coupled infrastructural systems (CIS) is preferred.

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): Yes

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes


2. Anti-Racist Digital Health Futures

Faculty advisor

Beza Merid Asst Professor, Sch Future of Innov in Society

Research project overview

This project explores how structural racism is a barrier to adopting innovative digital health technologies. In response, we will imagine what explicitly anti-racist digital health futures should look like. Students participating in this project will learn about community-engaged research methods and focus on the technologies, expertise, and values that should constitute this anti-racist work. Outputs for this project will include drafting literature reviews and annotated bibliographies, cataloging data about digital health technologies, and collaborative writing to produce academic journal articles and public-facing essays.

Any pre-requisites needed? Not required, but experience with literature reviews and annotated bibliographies is preferred.

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): Yes

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes


3. The possibilities and limits of biological containment in the age of synthetic biology

Faculty advisor

Emma Frow, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview

Since the early days of recombinant DNA research in the 1970s, scientists have worked on approaches for keeping genetically modified organisms “contained” – keeping researchers safe and preventing genetically modified organisms from surviving and spreading in the environment in unintended ways. As part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation, we are researching the history of containment strategies to understand how containment ideas might (or might not) apply as cutting-edge synthetic biology technologies develop. We are looking for SURF Fellows to assist with building a database of containment strategies used by researchers working with genetically modified organisms. This will involve conducting reviews of scientific literature, reading technical papers to extract information about containment strategies and efficacy, and helping the project team determine useful ways of cataloging this information. This database will provide a jumping-off point for our studies of the possibilities and limitations of containment in the age of synthetic biology. *Note all meetings for this project will be over Zoom*

Any pre-requisites needed? Students should have taken one or more university-level courses in molecular biology or related fields and be comfortable reading and analyzing scientific papers.

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): Yes

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes


4. Assassinations involving Chemical and Biological Agents

Faculty advisor

Kathleen Vogel, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview

The project will examine cases of state use of chemical and biological agents (radioactive isotopes, poisons, chemicals, pathogens, and toxins) in the assassination of political opponents, leadership rivals, dissidents, defectors, and other “enemies of the state” since the end of World War II. The project will consist of a literature review of primary and secondary sources referencing cases of chemical and biological agent used in assassination and the population of an existing dataset with new data.  This project will attempt to discern patterns over time in using chemical and biological agents in the assassination.  Understanding the scope and impact of chemical and biological agent used in assassinations may galvanize civil society and governments to face this threat with greater resolve and act to strengthen the norms against their use.  The deliverables will involve a PowerPoint and a written summary.

Any pre-requisites needed? No

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): Yes

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes


5. Human Trafficking in Guyana

Faculty advisor

Kathleen Vogel, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview

This research project aims to gather data about the state of human trafficking in Guyana by analyzing data from the annual U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report and library and other online open sources.  The student will collect and store gathered data and analyze trends that are visible over time-related to human trafficking in Guyana.  The student will also examine the strengths and weaknesses in how the Guyanese government is trying to combat human trafficking in the areas of law enforcement, victim protection, and prevention activities. This will be primarily a qualitative research project, but the student will also be gathering quantitative data to track the number of investigations, prosecutions, convictions and victims identified each year in Guyana. The student will produce a PowerPoint presentation and a written summary of the data.

Any pre-requisites needed? No

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): Yes

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes


6. Addressing Equity Issues Through Salt River Project (SRP)

Faculty advisor

Clark Miller, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Lauren Keeler, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Danae Hernandez-Cortes, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Dominic Bednar, Postdoctoral Scholar, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview

This project aims to develop a definition, set of priorities, and processes for identifying and addressing equity issues through Salt River Project (SRP) decision-making. SRP is one of the electrical utilities serving the Phoenix Metropolitan Area and has identified the development of a strategic approach to equity and social justice an important priority. Our team will work with SRP to develop equity and social justice definitions and metrics to be considered in future SRP decisions and build capacity within SRP to engage community stakeholders to effectively inform and co-develop appropriate responses and strategies. The undergrad researcher will support this task by helping identify important equity and social justice issues and doing literature reviews of existing studies that have provided definitions of equity and social justice.

Any pre-requisites needed? No

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): Yes

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes

7. Human Pangenome

Faculty advisor

Robert Cook-Deegan, Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview

The Human Pangenome Reference Consortium is a cluster of some of the world’s most accomplished genome scientists working to improve the reference DNA sequence of the human genome, making it more accurate, complete, and inclusive of human diversity.  It will 8 percent of the genome that has gone missing until recently and display the information that makes clear there is no one ideal genome but will display variations found commonly around the world.  The effort to include diverse populations will confront vexing questions: What kind of diversity?  How to decide whose genome should be included?  What about groups who wish to retain sovereignty over their data and samples but must be included in the reference resource because it is widely used in clinical genetic tests?  The student will prepare a background paper on missteps that other efforts to sample human genetic diversity have made, precedents to build upon from successful projects, and lessons learned from genome projects of the past.  This SURFer will have a partner in Venus Kapadia, helping compile an inventory of genome projects conducted worldwide.  The work will extend for both semesters of the academic year 2022-2023.

Any pre-requisites needed? No

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): Yes

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? Yes