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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 Spring 2022 research program will be open from December 6th, with a closing date of Thursday, December 16 at 11:59 p.m. Arizona time. Spring research projects will ideally start the week of January 10, 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
Lauren Keeler, John Harlow and Michael Bernstein Social Value of Innovation and Business for a KAITEKI FutureYesYesNo
Christy SpackmanFree Food EcologiesNoYesSee below
Christy Spackman and
Marisa Manheim
Embodied Approaches to Water GovernanceYesYesYes
Clark Miller, Lauren Keeler, Danae Hernandez-Cortes, Dominic BednarEnergy Poverty in ArizonaYesYesNo

Full project descriptions

1. Social Value of Innovation and Business for a KAITEKI Future

Faculty advisor

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

John Harlow, Assistant Research Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Michael Bernstein, Assistant Research Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview

This project articulates social values in the future and the present, for intended uptake by businesses to target their research and development at sustainable and KAITEKI futures. A range of methods will be explored for these purposes, including scenario construction, and generation of responses to scenarios for clustering. An undergraduate student working on this project could expect to clean data (interview transcripts, scenario responses), transfer data between Mural, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Word, generate responses to scenarios, and draft annotated bibliographies or literature reviews for academic journal articles.

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

2. Free Food Ecologies

Faculty advisor

Christy Spackman, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Research project overview

This project will create an inventory of projects running through the BRAIN Initiative What role does free food play on campus in undergraduate student life, especially for students with dietary restrictions? Students who participate in this research fellowship will learn qualitative social science skills by attending events around campus and observing what types of food are being served. Fellows will learn to perform participant observation and semi-structured interviews, as well as how to analyze data collected from those approaches. Fellows will collaborate with the PI to write up observations for presentation at the CGF student showcase and for a paper to be submitted for publication.

Any pre-requisites needed? Fellows must have completed Human Subjects training (Group 2) before beginning the fellowship (https://researchintegrity.asu.edu/human-subjects/training). The project is open to all, but especially welcomes students who have dietary restrictions due to religious and/or health reasons. This is an in-person research project aimed at understanding the student experience with free food on campus. As such, research fellows will be expected to be in residence at ASU. Meetings with faculty will be conducted face-to-face or remotely depending on the research group’s schedule.

Research available for stipend? ($1,200/semester): No

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

Research opportunity available to ASU Online students? No

3. Embodied Approaches to Water Governance

Faculty advisor

Christy Spackman, Assistant Professor, School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Marisa Manheim, Doctoral Candidate, School of Sustainability

Research project overview

What role does the taste and smell of water play in how people understand their environment? In this project, the research fellow will work with the PI and research team to collate and analyze data collected during the November 2021 Canal Convergence Festival in Scottsdale and to use collected images and audio to develop outreach materials. The research fellow will be responsible for tabulating numbers of tokens placed on tables during the exhibit from video/photographic materials, for creating a short “trailer” from collected footage of the exhibit, and for assistance in transcription and analysis of audio content.

Any pre-requisites needed? Applicants should have experience using video editing software.

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. Energy Poverty in Arizona

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

What role does the taste and smell of water play in how people understand their environment? In this project, the research fellow will work with the PI and research team to collate and analyze data collected during the November 2021 Canal Convergence Festival in Scottsdale and to use Energy poverty in Arizona is an enduring challenge that has become especially critical in the context of the COVID housing crisis. Yet, the coming transition to clean energy offers the potential opportunity to significantly reduce energy poverty. In this project, students will find, analyze, and visualize data on energy poverty in Arizona to help decision-makers understand the problem and find ways to tackle it.

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