Faculty Sponsored Research
This page lists research projects that are funded by individual faculty members. Student researchers are selected by the faculty member, not the URC, but are included in the SRP program with the same benefits and opportunities. Interested students are advised to contact each faculty member directly for more information. Opportunities for summer 2017 are being posted as we are made aware of them, but many faculty will have continuing projects, so you should check with them if you see something from 2016 that interests you.
Students selected for these projects are considered part of the Summer Research Program. Unless otherwise stated**, they are eligible for subsidized housing and other support, and are expected to participate in the activities of the program, including weekly seminars, area coordinator group meetings and, most importantly, the Research Ethics session and the End of Summer Conference on August 2, 2017. Students who participate in Faculty Sponsored research should note that they will also be required to turn in a final abstract and report to the URC (although it will not be necessary for the student to write two reports - the URC will accept a copy of whatever report the mentor requires, as long as it meets our minimum page guidelines). For questions about the URC's final report or presentation requirements, please contact the URC.
** Recent graduates may be eligible to apply for these opportunities, however they will not be eligible for the URC housing subsidy.
Note to Faculty: Opportunities will need to be posted by January 26, 2017 in order to be considered eligible for URC support. Grants that allow funding to be used to support housing costs, may not be eligible to receive standard URC housing subsidies.
Posted on or before January 26, 2017:
Faculty Sponsored Research Opportunities for Summer 2017:
Prof. Jeff Cannon may support up to four students working on projects in synthetic organic chemistry. Projects include the development of new catalysts, discovery of new transition metal-catalyzed reactions, and the total synthesis of biologically active natural products. Interested students with a background in chemistry or biochemistry are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Cannon directly. More details on current projects may be found on the Cannon group website: cannonchem.com
Prof. George Schmiedeshoff may be able to support one or two summer students to participate in his NSF-funded project "Dilatometric studies of quantum criticality in f-electron systems" studying the thermodynamic and transport properties of novel materials at low temperatures and in high magnetic fields. Interested students should contact Prof. Schmiedeshoff, Physics Dept.
Research on Farmers Markets and Food Justice: UEPI has an opportunity for interested students to conduct research on farmers markets in low-income and underserved communities. Despite the potential for farmers markets to increase healthy food access, farmers markets in lower income neighborhoods struggle to maintain economic viability, and are often seen as an amenity that caters to affluent customers--a trend that is exacerbated by the rapid gentrification of LA’s traditionally working class neighborhoods. Through our The Market Together project student research will help develop strategies for Los Angeles farmers markets to better meet the needs of low-income and underserved communities. Over the next three years, UEPI will be working with local farmers market operators and community groups to research, pilot, and disseminate community-based marketing strategies that will close the gap between consumer and farmer needs and create a model for how farmers markets can become thriving, accessible spaces that serve all community members. UEPI staff will be conducting comprehensive research at Northeast LA farmers markets (Highland Park, Lincoln Heights, Atwater Village) as well as other LA markets facing gentrification pressures and struggling to maintain both vendors and customers. The project will also involve a pilot co-marketing strategy and training program for markets across the City. Student research projects could involve participating in planned field research activities, or complementary research on a topic of their choosing. Summer student research projects will be considered to be part of the URC Summer Research funding (which offers College-subsidized housing and meal plan) but students must participate in SRP activities such as the weekly luncheons and must present their work at the end of summer confernece. To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume to Megan Bomba at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 10, 2017.
Faculty Sponsored Research Opportunities for Summer 2016 -- some may be continuing:
- Prof. Andrew Shtulman will supervise 2 to 3 students with a background in Psychology or Cognitive Science on an NSF-sponsored investigation of the causes and consequences of conceptual change, or knowledge restructuring at the level of individual concepts. Research questions include how prior knowledge constrains learning, how cultural input constrains learning, and how conceptual understanding constrains both communication and problem solving. Our approach to answering these questions will be fundamentally interdisciplinary in nature, combining methods from cognitive, developmental, and educational psychology. Interested students should contact Prof. Shtulman, Psychology Dept
- Prof. Andrew Udit may support up to 3 students working on projects that involve electrochemistry and biocatalysis with P450 cytochromes. Projects may include molecular biology, synthetic chemistry, and/or biophysical techniques. Interested students with backgrounds in chemistry and biochemistry are welcome to apply and should contact Prof. Udit, Chemistry Dept, directly.
- Prof. Margi Rusmore will be able to support full-time or part-time students who wish to participate in her resarch on the influcence of crustal deformation on magmatic processes in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Contact Prof. Rusmore in the Geology Department for further information.
- Prof. Dan Snowden-Ifft may be able to support students to help with his search for dark matter in the galaxy. Contact Prof. Snowden-Ifft in the Physics Department for further information.
- Profs. Aleksandra Sherman and Nancy Mithlo will support one summer student with a background in Cognitive Science on an NEA-sponsored cross-disciplinary investigation about the effects of mindsets on perception of Native American art and culture. Our approach will be fundamentally interdisciplinary, combining methods from psychology and visual anthropology. Interested students should contact Prof Sherman, Cognitive Science Dept.
- Professors Beth Braker, Shana Goffredi, and Gretchen North, and students, will conduct research focusing on the interactions between plants, animals, and microbes. In summer 2016, our projects will include studies of the relationship between insect herbivory and beneficial microbial symbionts, “phenome to genome” studies of an important rain forest tree, and physiological ecology of plants living perched in the forest canopy. International mentors in Costa Rica also advise Oxy students on aspects of their research.Students selected for this program will conduct research at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica. Located close to Braulio Carrillo National Park, the station is recognized as one of the premier facilities for rain forest research. The station property includes a 900 ha forest landscape, with old growth and secondary forests, accessible via more than 50 km of well-maintained trails. In addition to forest access, the station provides resources similar to those available to students conducting summer research on a university campus: several well-equipped laboratories, a library, herbarium, internet access, and access to experts as well as housing and meals. Specialized resources that are available to Occidental faculty and students at the station include analytical, ambient, and GIS laboratories, specialized equipment and a full complement of field gear and supplies. The research environment at the field station has served as a springboard for student learning and achievement in environmental science at Occidental and beyond. The station hosts an international research community of a great diversity of cultural and national backgrounds in which scientists and students from many countries converge to conduct research on many aspects of tropical biology. Due to the small size of Costa Rica and its world-renowned national park system, students can easily and safely travel to diverse ecological and cultural sites, such as coral reefs off the Caribbean cost, active volcanos in the Cordillera, and indigenous and archaeological sites, and effectively enhance their knowledge and understanding of the tropics. Students interested in applying to the summer 2016 Tropical Ecology Program should contact one of the above-listed Biology professors directly for more information. If selected, students will apply via the URC SRP process, and are required to submit an academic transcript, research proposal (with guidance from the professors), resumé, and personal statement detailing professional goals, their interest in the program, and key experiences which have nurtured that interest.
- Dr. Roberta Pollock and Dr. Karen Molinder may be able to support 1 to 2 students this summer to work on their study of the immune response of horses to Corynebacterium pseudotuberculosis. As part of this work, research students would be involved in purifying and characterizing recombinant proteins from this bacterium, and testing them as potential vaccine components. Contact Dr. Roberta Pollock in the Biology Department for further information.
- Professor Chris Craney may be able to support a student to help with the assessment of the TOPS program and the social impact of the program’s web site. Contact Professor Craney in the Chemistry Department for further information.
- Professor Wandschneider will support a student to help with her project on the historical origins of mortgage credit, funded by the Institute for New Economic Thinking. Students should have a background in economics and history and be interested in testing modern economic theories using historical sources. Knowledge of AcrGIS and/orGerman a plus! Students will work with original documents. Contact: Professor Wandschneider, Economics Department.
- Prof Alec Schramm may be able to support students interested in working on a project in mathematical methods of phyiscs. For more information, please contact Prof. Schramm, Physics Department.
- Prof. Virginia Parks will support a student to help with her NSF-funded research investigating the geographic variation of wage inequality and rates of low-wage work across cities. The research will focus on racial, ethnic, gender, and nativity differences across workers. Research assistance will involve a range of activities, including assistance with literature reviews, manuscript preparation, preparation of tables and graphs, data analysis, and writing up findings. Familiarity with Excel is helpful, but most important is an interest in learning data visualization methods that translate issues of economic inequality to a broad audience. Experience with ArcGIS a plus! Contact Prof. Parks in the Urban and Environmental Policy Department for more information.
- Professors Nancy Dess, Clinton Chapman, Anne Schell, Andrea Hopmeyer, and Brian Kim may have funding for 5 students to work on various psychology projects specific to the professors' respective laboratories. Research projects will range from working with laboratory rats to study how anxiety and energy are measured with various techniques (e.g., acoustic startle, open field behavior, vocalization, etc.) to how emerging adults manage socio-emotional experiences and risky college behaviors in the context of peer groups to how consulting practices can reduce the science-practice gap for professionals in business. Contact the Dept. Chair of psychology (Prof. Kim) for further information.
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