Research Projects by Subject

Note:
Each research project will involve background reading for the interns provided by their mentors.
Each research project will involve a final presentation by the interns.

Interns are expected to work collaboratively on the same project and/or data set.
This may preclude rising seniors from submitting papers based on such projects to the Regeneron Science Talent Search competition

Keep in mind that the list below is not yet complete. Mentors are still in the process of submitting projects, so please check back periodically for updates.

Applied Artificial Intelligence

Code Research Project Descriptions
AAI-01 Title: Game Simulation Engine for Evolutionary Game Theory Research
Primary Mentor: Golam Md. Muktadir
Faculty advisor: Prof. Luca de Alfaro
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of Interns: 3

Project description:
The mentor’s research group is developing a complete game simulation engine for research purposes in the area of Evolutionary Game Theory. In an example scenario, there will be a grid world with different kinds of animals and resources. The engine will simulate evolution of the environment over time and try to find if it can reach a sustainable state. This project is developed in Python and TensorFlow. There are also some AI animals who are weak but can learn to survive!

Tasks:
The SIP interns’ primary tasks will be to learn Python and add to research ideas. Their secondary tasks will include designing and implement a few animals and running simulations. Designing a good animal is difficult because, if the animal is too strong, the world may collapse, and if it is too weak, it may go extinct! This is also the fun part.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; game theory; machine learning

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Anthropology

Code Research Project Descriptions
ANT-01 Title: Technology and Oral Story Collection of Indian Immigrants in the USA
Primary Mentor: Dr. Annapurna Pandey
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of Interns: 4

Project description:
These days, one often hears that we human beings are primarily story tellers. We tell stories about ourselves as well as about others. What these stories tell us is the rich experience human beings have acquired in their life. The world in which we live in today is largely created by technology. The mentor and SIP interns will use various tools provided by technology in their digital story telling research. This project will encourage SIP interns to collect stories about the immigrant experience in the United States. For the last three decades the mentor has been working on the Indian diaspora in the Greater Bay Area, California. The mentor has made two films, “Homeland in the Heart” and “Life Giving Ceremony of Jagannath” documenting the involvement of Odia people (people from the state of Odisha) in building a community and developing a sense of belonging to the United States. The mentor would like to broaden the scope of this research by incorporating experiences of other Indian immigrants.

Tasks:
This project will give an opportunity to the SIP interns to collect oral history material about the experiences of immigrant parents, grandparents, and their American-born children. The material will include streaming audio and written transcripts accessible online in digital formats. The mentor and SIP interns will use various available technology tools. The mentor’s aim in this project is to collect interviews of Indian immigrants in the USA. The SIP interns will interview various members of the Indian community and collect their experiences in this country compared to their experience in their homeland that they have left behind. These interviews are a unique source of contemporary history through the experiences of the immigrants. Past studies have shown that this kind of research has revealing consequences for both the researchers as well as the subjects of their research. The tentative plan is for the SIP interns to spend weeks 3–6 doing off-campus field work in various South Bay locations and to spend the remaining weeks working on the UCSC campus.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis; field work

Astronomy & Astrophysics

Code Research Project Descriptions
AST-01 Title: What Happens Around Supermassive Black Holes
Primary Mentor: Dr. Martin Gaskell
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of Interns: 3

Project description:
Astronomers now believe that every large galaxy contains a supermassive black hole in its center. Because of the tremendous energy released as the black hole grows by swallowing gas, these black holes can be readily detected as so-called “active galactic nuclei” (AGNs) back to very early times in the Universe. The details of how supermassive black holes form and grow and how this is related to the formation of normal galaxies is one of the central mysteries of contemporary astrophysics. The mentor’s research group is analyzing spectra and spectral variability to try to understand how AGNs produce the intense radiation seen, what the structure of material around the black hole is like, and how supermassive black holes grow.

Tasks:
SIP intern involvement in the project will consist of analyzing multi-wavelength spectral observations of relatively nearby actively accreting supermassive black holes to try to understand the emissions and how the black holes grow. This work will involve compiling data sets, applying corrections, making statistical estimates of parameters, and comparing the results with theoretical models of processes going on around black holes.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: http://campusdirectory.ucsc.edu/cd_detail?uid=mgaskell

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON OFF ON ON ON ON ON

AST-02 Title: Cosmological Galaxy Simulation Data Post-Processing
Primary Mentor: Clayton Strawn
Faculty advisor: Prof. Joel Primack
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of Interns: 2

Project description:
Cosmological galaxy simulations have become increasingly meaningful in the last few decades, and mock "observational" tests of simulations can set meaningful constraints on how accurately the physical assumptions built into the simulation emulate the real Universe. In this project, the mentor intends to use mock quasar/galaxy absorption spectra created with the new software TRIDENT to emulate observations of the region directly outside of galaxies proper but within their dark matter halo, the circumgalactic medium (CGM). The CGM is relatively difficult to observe, because gas is not dense enough to form stars, and therefore this region is only detected in absorption, so only by simulating this observed quantity can we evaluate the simulation’s CGM.

Tasks:
The plan is for the SIP interns to help organize and collect data on these mock absorption spectra. This will involve creating useful interface methods between spectrum images and observational analysis methods, which have before always been applied only to observed spectra rather than simulated ones. The interns will become familiar with contributing to open-source software, as well as writing/testing/debugging well-documented code for science use. (The URL below is not strictly made by the mentor’s research group and collaborators, but is a useful introductory page to look at.)

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: http://trident-project.org

AST-03 Title: Photometric Variability in the NGVS: Milky Way Halo RR Lyrae, Tidal Disruption Events in Star Clusters, and Distant Quasars
Primary mentor: Yuting Feng
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentors: Eric Peng, Jared Geiselhart
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Despite its static appearance at first glance, the Universe is constantly changing. Monitoring the sky for these changes is time-consuming, but doing so allows us to identify unique celestial phenomena. Most images taken of the sky are not suitable for studying the “time-domain” because they are not taken with an appropriate spacing in time. The Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey (NGVS), a deep, multi-color imaging survey of the closest cluster of galaxies, adopted an observing strategy that spaced observations for a given field over a time period of hours to years. While not designed for time-domain studies, this observing strategy allows us to look for things in the sky that change in brightness. This project will focus on looking for three different types of variability, each with its own separate science question, although the technical aspects of the three are nearly identical. The three types are: (1) RR Lyrae variable stars in the outskirts of our Milky Way galaxy, excellent probes of our Galaxy’s assembly history via the cannibalism of smaller galaxies, (2) tidal disruption events of stars in globular clusters by their central intermediate mass black holes, and (3) variability of distant quasars caused by stochastic accretion of material onto the supermassive black holes that power them.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will use deep time series imaging of the sky to identify variable stars that could be RR Lyrae or quasars, using a set of known RR Lyrae and known quasars as training sets. They will first use colors to identify possible RR Lyrae and quasar candidates, and then determine the brightnesses of these candidates as a function of time. While there is no training set for tidal disruption events (TDEs), there are clear theoretical expectations for the time behavior of such events. This project will require the use of image analysis tools to measure brightnesses of individual stars, quasars, and star clusters. The SIP interns will develop computer scripts to do the data analysis in an automated fashion. They will then develop tests for variability, and fit RR Lyrae and TDE light curves to the data.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

AST-04 Title: Photometrically Variable Stars in the Andromeda Galaxy
Primary mentor: Sagnick Mukherjee
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentor: Monika Soraisam
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
The mentor’s research group has been exploring photometrically variable stars in the Andromeda galaxy (M31). Photometrically variable stars are those that undergo variations, often repeated or even strictly periodic variations, in their brightness due to pulsations. Recent large time-domain surveys (e.g., the POMME survey with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope and MegaCam imager) have discovered thousands of variable stars in M31. In addition, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has been used to carry out a large near UV/optical/near IR imaging survey called PHAT that covers a fraction of the bright disk of M31, and the mentor’s group has led a large Keck DEIMOS spectroscopic survey of M31 stars called SPLASH. The combination of variable star light curve data from time-domain observations, HST brightness and color measurements, and Keck spectra presents a unique opportunity to understand the nature of these variable stars.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will cross match variable stars found in one or more of the time-domain surveys with HST PHAT survey photometric data and Keck DEIMOS spectroscopic data. The matched data set can then be used to construct a variety of color-magnitude diagrams (CMDs) and color-color diagrams. The SIP interns will work on new ways to identify variable stars in the PHAT dataset. They will group the variable stars according to CMD location and study systematic trends in light curve properties across and within the different groups. 

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: https://sagnickm.github.io/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

AST-05 Title: Proving the Evolution of Galaxy Dark Matter Content Since Cosmic Noon
Primary mentor: Jack Lonergan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Guillermo Barro
Other mentors: Raja GuhaThakurta, Elisa Toloba
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
The goal of this project is to learn about the kinematics, stellar ages, and dark matter content of distant galaxies observed at cosmic noon, when the Universe was only half of its current age. For this analysis the mentor’s group will make use of a large sample of deep (8+ hr) galaxy spectra taken with the state-of-the-art Keck 10-m telescope as part of the HALO7D survey. These spectra provide detailed data on the stellar continua and emission lines of galaxies which can be used to determine their stellar ages and their dark matter content. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to compare the average properties of these galaxies at cosmic noon to those of well-known galaxies in our local environment. Such comparisons will help us understand the evolution of the main galaxy properties with cosmic time.

Tasks:
For this project, the SIP interns will use the vast collection of galaxy spectroscopic data taken as part of the Keck-based HALO7D survey. This data set will be combined with extensive photometric and structural information based on data products from the HST-based GOODS and CANDELS surveys. The interns will handle images and catalogs to make diagnostic diagrams and to analyze the properties of galaxies. Furthermore, the interns will use spectral co-addition and spectral fitting techniques to extract information about the galaxies from the emission and absorption lines detected in their spectra. One such property is the dynamical mass, which is a direct probe of dark matter content. The analysis requires the use of programming scripts written in Python. However, previous programming knowledge is not required.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

AST-06 Title: Globular Clusters in the Hubble Frontier Field Cluster Abell 2744
Primary mentor: Justin Barber
Faculty advisor: Prof. Elisa Toloba
Other mentor: Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
The goal of this research project is to learn about the stellar distribution and chemical properties of globular clusters (GCs; small groups of stars that orbit around a galaxy) in the Pandora cluster of galaxies (large collection of gravitationally bound galaxies). GCs are fossil records of the violent interactions that shaped these massive galaxy clusters and the galaxies in them. The goal of this study is to gain new insight of cluster formation processes.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will use the deepest images that the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has taken for any clusters of galaxies, the so-called Hubble Frontier Fields. The mentor’s research team has catalogs of all the objects found in these very deep HST images. The interns will use these catalogs to distinguish between different kinds of objects: galaxies in the cluster, galaxies in the background of the cluster, and GCs in the cluster of galaxies. Once the samples are separated, the SIP interns will analyze the properties of these GCs using density plots, color-magnitude, and color-color diagrams.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

AST-07 Title: The Globular Cluster Systems of Virgo Cluster Dwarf Galaxies
Primary mentor: Prof. Eric Peng
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Star clusters are collections of thousands to millions of stars formed together and still bound together by their gravity. The oldest and most massive star clusters are called “globular clusters” (GCs) for their round appearance. GCs can be seen at much greater distances than individual stars, because they shine with the combined luminosity of many stars coming from a relatively small amount of volume. This project will look for GCs around low-luminosity galaxies in the nearest cluster of galaxies, the Virgo cluster. One of the challenges in finding star clusters around nearby galaxies is that the brightness of the galaxy itself gets in the way. In the project, the SIP interns and mentors will model the smooth galaxy light and subtract it from the images in order to better find faint star clusters.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will work with images of galaxies in the Virgo cluster from the Next Generation Virgo cluster Survey (NGVS), a deep survey of the entire Virgo cluster with the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT). Using cutout images of the galaxies, the interns will use custom software (IRAF’s ELLIPSE and its modification, ISOFIT) to model the galaxy light and subtract it from the images. After the subtraction of the galaxy light, the SIP interns will use the SExtractor (Source Extractor) software to find GCs in the image.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

AST-08 Title: Gamma-Ray Analysis of the Most Energetic Blazars to Probe the Cosmos
Primary mentor: Dr. Olivier Hervet
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Williams
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Supermassive black holes at the center of distant galaxies can be very powerful factories of gamma rays. Along their journey toward the Earth, a fraction of these gamma rays are absorbed by the optical-infrared radiation field bathing the Universe (a.k.a. “Extragalactic Background Light”, or EBL). By quantifying this absorption on a sample of the brightest gamma-ray blazars, one can measure the EBL density and deduce information on the global composition and evolution of the Universe. As a first step, the SIP interns will extract gamma-ray spectra from data obtained by the NASA’s Fermi-LAT Space Telescope. Their results will contribute to the creation of a map of the EBL density across the sky and the quantification of possible anisotropies.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will work on gamma-ray data collected by the NASA space telescope Fermi-LAT, on a sample of bright gamma-ray blazars selected by the mentor. The interns will perform a full gamma-ray analysis of approximately 12 years of cumulated observations to produce the best possible gamma-ray spectrum for each of the selected sources. With the mentor’s support, the interns will carefully follow the different analysis steps from raw data to clean, scientifically workable, results. By working on a local computer cluster at SCIPP, the SIP interns will develop skills on Linux-bash commands and Python scripts. The interns will also get insights into statistical data analysis, astrophysical ideas, and the operation of a gamma-ray telescope.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: http://fermi.gsfc.nasa.gov/science/eteu/ebl/

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON REM OFF ON ON ON ON

AST-09 Title: Optimizing Analysis of Very High-Energy Gamma-Ray Data
Primary mentor: Prof. David Williams
Other mentors: Olivier Hervet, Amy Furniss
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Very high-energy (VHE) gamma rays are used to study some of the most powerful systems in the Universe, including pulsars, supernova remnants, and the black holes at the centers of galaxies. They are also the most energetic form of electromagnetic radiation observed from astrophysical sources, a trillion times more energetic than optical light and a million times more energetic than X-rays. Using data from the VERITAS VHE gamma-ray telescopes, the SIP interns will investigate several ideas for improving the way the data are analyzed, with the goal to develop analysis methods that are more sensitive. These studies will primarily use data from the Crab Nebula, a strong and steady VHE gamma-ray source powered by the Crab Pulsar. If time allows, the methods developed may be applied to some other gamma-ray sources of interest.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will learn to use computer programs for analyzing the VERITAS data and run the analysis on data sets from one or more of the objects of interest. The interns will also learn to inspect the output of programs which test the VERITAS data quality in order to remove poor-quality data (usually the result of bad weather) from the sample. They will compare different ways of doing the analysis in order to identify an optimal approach that gives the best (in the sense of most definitive) results. In doing so, the SIP interns will gain familiarity with standard tools used for astrophysics and particle physics data analysis and with working in the Linux computing environment.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Some familiarity with computer programming preferred
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: http://scipp.ucsc.edu/~daw/

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON REM ON ON ON ON

AST-10 Title: Weak CN Stars, Carbon Stars, and Other Exotic Stars in M31 and M33
Primary mentor: Caelum Rodriguez
Faculty advisor: Prof. Raja GuhaThakurta
Other mentor: Rachel Raikar
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 4

Project description:
The Andromeda galaxy (M31), the nearest galaxy larger than our own galaxy, and its companion the Triangulum galaxy (M33) serve as an excellent laboratories for the study of stellar populations including rare stars. Carbon stars constitute one such class of rare stars. The distinguishing characteristic of these stars is their atmosphere contains carbonaceous molecules such as CN, CH, and C_2 that make their presence known via broad absorption bands in the spectra of these stars. The mentor’s research group, working with previous SIP interns, has discovered a new class of rare stars called “weak CN” stars in which the CN spectral absorption feature at about 8000 Angstrom is much weaker than in the spectra of carbon stars. The initial discovery/classification of the weak CN stars was based on visual inspection of spectra and the group has since been working on automated classification with the goal of using state-of-the-art machine learning methods. Other rare stars in M31 and M33 include two classes of emission line stars.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will analyze 1D spectra obtained with the DEIMOS spectrograph on the Keck II 10-meter telescope. The interns will work with visually-classified and machine-classified populations of rare stars in M31 and M33. The interns will use existing Python software and write custom software to analyze and compare these M31 and M33 samples in terms of the following diagnostics: various HST-based color-magnitude diagrams (with theoretical stellar tracks overlaid), fraction relative to normal oxygen-rich stars, co-added Keck DEIMOS spectra, kinematics (line-of-sight velocity dispersion and asymmetric drift relative to neutral hydrogen), etc.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: https://www.astro.ucsc.edu/faculty/index.php?uid=pguhatha

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

AST-11 Title: Galactic Evolution Through the Far-Ultraviolet Lens
Primary mentor: Sara Crandall
Faculty advisor: Prof. Graeme Smith
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
In this research project, the SIP interns will be astronomical “archeologists”, looking into the Universe’s past to understand the Milky Way’s evolution. Contradictions in how astronomers interpret the evolution of our Galaxy often stem from difficulties in determining stellar ages. The interns will learn how to use far-ultraviolet observations from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) space-based telescope to estimate stellar ages. With stellar ages in hand, the mentor and interns will test two important relations that give us insight into the Milky Way’s evolution: the age-velocity relation and the age-metallicity relation. The nature of these two relations is currently contentious. However, with far-ultraviolet—determined ages, the mentor and interns will test these relations with recently innovated methods.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will use programming tools to calibrate a relationship between age and GALEX telescope far-ultraviolet observations. This calibration will be used to test the age-velocity relation. In addition, the interns will use programming tools to search online databases and find an overlapping sample of stars with observations taken by GALEX and stars with metallicities in the the Geneva-Copenhagen Survey. This sample will be used to test the age-metallicity relation.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON REM REM

Biomolecular Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
BME-01 Title: Targeted Sequencing for Studying 1q21
Primary mentor: Colleen Bosworth
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sofie Salama
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
This project looks at a small piece of the genome called 1q21. Mutations in this region are strongly associated with a variety of developmental disorders including autism, congenital heart disease, and certain cancers. To study these disorders, the mentor’s research group needs high quality sequencing data using both long (e.g., Oxford Nanopore) and short (e.g., Illumina) reads. The SIP interns will be designing targeted sequencing techniques to study 1q21 and identify deleterious mutations in patient and normal samples.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will be working hands on in a molecular biology lab, growing human lymphoblast cells, extracting gDNA, running electrophoresis gels, and depleting off-target DNA from their samples. Interns will be performing library preps on their samples. They will have access to the UCSC Genomics Institute’s compute cluster, where they will learn bioinformatics analysis pipelines. Interns will be expected to read assigned papers providing background on the project and to ask questions when they are unfamiliar with concepts or vocabulary they are unfamiliar with. By the end of the summer, the SIP interns will evaluate the usefulness of their targeting technique for detecting mutations in their samples.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work

URL: https://hausslergenomics.ucsc.edu/

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON REM ON REM ON ON ON ON

BME-02 Title: DNA/RNA Modification Detection Algorithms Comparison
Primary mentor: Andrew Bailey
Faculty advisor: Prof. Benedict Paten
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Cell regulation depends on interactions between proteins and nucleic acids like DNA or RNA. Understanding the specific chemistry of DNA and RNA is crucial for understanding cell function. For example, we determine the DNA and RNA sequence of cancer cells in order to determine what genes have been mutated. Standard DNA/RNA sequencing determines the order of the “canonical” nucleotides adenines (A), thymines (T), guanines (G) and cytosines (C). However, there are “non-canonical” nucleotides which traditional sequencing platforms cannot detect but nanopore sequencing can detect. The mentor is interested in using nanopore sequencing to detect these “non-canonical” or “modified” nucleotides.

Tasks:
This project asks SIP interns to compare the state of the art nanopore sequencing modification detection tools. Interns will learn the mechanics of nanopore sequencing and how this sequencing platform is different than other sequencing platforms. SIP interns will learn about the importance of modified nucleotides for cell regulatory function. During this process, SIP interns will be installing software on servers, analyzing sequencing data and comparing accuracy metrics between the various software tools. The plan is to spend the first 3–5 weeks getting up to speed on the technology, tools and basic computer skills required. As long as interns are showing progress, the final half of the program will allow the interns more flexibility to work when and where they want.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON REM ON ON ON ON ON ON

BME-03 Title: Development of Enzyme Free Biosensor for Bilirubin
Primary mentor: Dr. John Stanley
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nader Pourmand
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Bilirubin is an orange-yellow substance made during the normal breakdown of red blood cells. Bilirubin passes through the liver and is eventually excreted out of the body. Higher than normal levels of bilirubin may indicate different types of liver problems. Bilirubin testing is usually done as part of a group of tests to check the health of the liver. Colorimetric, fluorometric, polarographic, and enzymatic methods have been employed for the detection of bilirubin. Of these, the enzymatic method is the most preferred method of detection, but is plagued by drawbacks such as higher cost, stringent operating conditions and shorter shelf life. To overcome these drawbacks, the development of an enzyme free electrochemical biosensor is proposed. This will be achieved through the use of novel materials and the nanopipette technology.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will assist and perform wet lab work which includes screening novel materials for bilirubin detection and electrochemical characterization of the developed sensor for selectivity and sensitivity. The interns will be taught data analysis and will be required to present their results at the weekly group meetings.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

BME-04 Title: Machine Learning in Biology
Primary mentor: Brian Mullen
Faculty advisor: Prof. James Ackman
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Development of functional brain regions has been shown to be associated with spontaneous and sensory signals throughout the nervous system. The mentor’s research group is attempting to map brain regions throughout development. One facet of mapping involves understanding how an animal is behaving. This research project will use computer vision (openCV) packages available to Python to track and identify mouse movements. The mentor and SIP interns will use Machine Learning algorithms (scikit-klearn) to build a classifier to determine the state of an animal. Ultimately, the SIP interns and the mentor will use their results to correlate with brain activity at various stages of development. This will give insight into how experience influences brain function.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will go through a complete Machine Learning project to classify the state of the animal based on videos of the body acquired while the researchers took brain recordings. First, the interns will hand-score videos that they will use to train the classifier. Second, the interns will determine, explore, and select appropriate metrics. Third, the interns will train classifiers using several methods. Finally, the interns will test the classifier to determine the efficacy of their machine learning task, looking at the quality of their classifier. If time permits, the SIP interns can start to assess how the brain functionally behaves during these different states and explore methods of analysis.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Chemistry & Biochemistry

Code Research Project Descriptions
CHE-01 Title: Inexpensive Metal Alloy for Oxygen Evolution Reaction
Primary mentor: Shanwen Wang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Hydrogen is considered a promising energy resource. Producing hydrogen via the water-splitting reaction is one of the most sustainable and environmental friendly ways. However, the oxygen evolution reaction (OER), as the half reaction involved in water splitting, consumes too much energy due to the sluggish reaction mechanism. Moreover, due to the high cost for Ir oxides (the benchmark electro-catalysts for OER), one cannot incorporatet the reaction into a commercially viable process. Therefore, it is critical to design inexpensive catalysts from Earth-abundant elements for the OER reaction. In this project, we will use the electrodeposition method to synthesize low cost and high efficient OER catalysts.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will be involved in the synthesis of OER catalysts, and will carry out some OER performance tests. The interns will also get the experience of using electro-chemistry techniques and an understanding of how to critically read scientific journal publications ad present one’s research.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Lab work; statistical data analysis
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis

CHE-02 Title: Efficient Hydrogen Evolution Reaction Electrocatalyst in an Alkaline Medium
Primary mentor: Mingpeng Chen
Faculty advisor: Prof. Yat Li
Other mentor: Shanwen Wang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Water electrolysis is an alternative and cleaner approach to producing hydrogen gas compared to the traditional steam reforming method used in industry. Hydrogen evolution reaction (HER) is the cathode reaction of water electrolysis and it requires an electrocatalyst to decrease the overpotential and the required electrical energy of this process. It is usually easier for HER to proceed in an acidic medium because of the higher concentration of protons in the solution. However, the acidic medium tends to generate acidic fog and corrodes equipment easily, and this makes it unfavorable for industrial applications. Compared to the acidic medium, HER is more sluggish in an alkaline medium. In this research project, the mentor and interns will develop an HER electrocatalyst that is active and stable in an alkaline medium.

Tasks:
Based on background reading, the SIP interns will get an idea of the basic concepts and challenges in this field of research and what can be done to further address the issues. The interns will receive lab safety training before they start doing experiments. They will also be trained on basic experimental methods such as precise weighing of the mass of chemicals, washing glassware, preparing solutions, etc. After that, the interns will be taught to make electrochemical measurements. Once the data are collected, they will learn to process and analyze the data using software packages such as Origin. If the experiments don’t go according to plan, which is very common for experimentalists, the interns will learn how to deal with the issues and push the project forward.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Lab work
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

CHE-03 Title: B-Doped Metal–Organic Frameworks Derived Co9S8@Carbon Nanocomposite as Bifunctional Electrocatalysts
Primary mentor: Dr. Xiue Zhang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Owing to the increasing worldwide concern over the energy crisis and environmental issues, great attention has been triggered for the development of clean and highly efficient energy conversion and storage techniques by electrocatalytic reaction in recent years. At present, highly efficient electrocatalysts are crucial for lower overpotential to improve the energy transfer efficiency in hydrogen evolution reaction (HER). MOFs are crystalline regular porous materials that are prepared by the coupling of metal ions with organic linkers, and their derived composites, like nitrogen doped porous carbon, exhibit large surface area and hierarchical pore structures, which play important roles to ample various catalytic reactions, such as HER, oxygen reduction, and evolution reaction. To improve the electron transport and valid mass diffusion path for HER, the mentor’s lab applies this concept by using B-doped porous hollow spheres to confine MOF-derived Co9S8 nanotubes.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will be taught to search for and read research articles and possibly come up with their own project ideas. In addition, the interns will learn how to synthesize hollow carbon spheres and MS@Carbon nanocomposites, characterize materials, and analyze data.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Lab work
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

URL: http://chen.chemistry.ucsc.edu/research.htm

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

CHE-04 Title: Metal-doped Carbon Nitride Electrochemical Catalyst
Primary mentor: Dr. Weiya Zhu
Faculty advisor: Prof. Shaowei Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
The new generation of energy technology is booming, but there are still technical obstacles to the development of sustainable clean energy technologies. For example, the efficiency of a fuel cell is limited by the slow kinetics of the half-reaction of the oxygen evolution reaction (OER) at the anode. In order to find a better solution to replace the existing expensive platinum precious metal catalysts, the mentor’s research group is exploring metal-doped carbon nitride, a catalyst that is simple to prepare and low in cost. The goal of this research project is to obtain good electrocatalytic performance through reasonable composition and structural design of this material.

Tasks:
The mentor and SIP interns will start with the weighing of chemicals and go through specific chemical synthesis methods to obtain the required materials, after which they will test their electrochemical performance. After that, the necessary characterization of the material will be performed, such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM) for obtaining morphological structure information, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) for obtaining chemical composition information, and UV-vis spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, X -ray diffraction, and so on. In the process, the interns will learn scientific methods of problem analysis and acquire experimental operation skills.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Computational Media

Code Research Project Descriptions
CPM-01 Title: Using 360-degree Video Based Virtual Reality Games to Assist Individuals with Developmental Disabilities
Primary mentor: Tiffany Thang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 4

Project description:
Individuals with developmental disabilities, such as Autism or Down Syndrome commonly have deficits in social-emotional skills. These skills include being able to recognize the emotions of others and being able to properly communicate emotions. Traditional methods of assisting individuals with developmental disabilities include behavioral therapy, which utilize flashcards and iPad games to aid in learning and strenghtening social-emotional skills. While these methods are effective, therapy tends to be expensive and unmotivating. This project aims to create a 360-degree video based virtual reality game to assist individuals with developmental disabilities in learning and strengthening social-emotional skills, addressing issues with cost and motivation present in traditional methods of learning such skills. The project includes the use of the GoPro Fusion, DaVinci Resolve 15, Unity and the Oculus Go in development of the game.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will learn how to use Unity, DaVinci Resolve 15, the GoPro Fusion, and the Oculus Go in developing a 360-degree video based virtual reality game. The interns will assist with writing scripts for those acting in the 360-degree videos, filming using the GoPro Fusion, editing videos using DaVinci Resolve 15 and developing interface and interaction components of the game using Unity. Once the game is finished, the SIP interns will learn how to import and use their game on the Oculus Go virtual reality system. Towards the end of the project, the interns will have the opportunity to conduct user testing of their game with members of the community who have developmental disabilities.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; design

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

CPM-02 Title: Co-Creating Therapy Games
Primary mentor: Jared Duval
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 6

Project description:
Therapy is costly, time-consuming, repetitive, and difficult. Games have the power to teach transferable skills, can turn repetitve tasks into engaging mechanics, have been proven to be effective at delivering various forms of therapy, and can be deployed at large scales. Games move us. The SIP interns will have the opportunity to engage with four therapy games that are in various stages: (1) SpokeItTheGame.com, a speech therapy game for children born with orofacial cleft, is the primary project; it has recently partnered with SmileTrain—an organization that has supported over 1.5 million free cleft surgeries—and is gearing up to be deployed around the world! (2) Spellcasters is a social virtual reality game that is being adapted into a therapy game for stroke survivors; teams battle in magic duels by using gestures to cast various spells, and these gestures are designed to provide physical therapy. (3) PTKinect is a physical therapy game unlike Spellcasters in that it is being developed from the ground up to support physical therapy; it uses a Microsoft Kinect to analyze an entire body for physical therapy exercises. (4) The mentor’s research group is collaborating on a new circus-themed physical therapy game for children who have motor impairments; the game uses custom wearable devices that transmit data to the game.

Tasks:
Depending on the SIP interns’ expertise and interests, there are many opportunities to work on the projects. All interns will be expected to work on polishing existing game content or creating new content as well as participating in conducting and analyzing user studies and playtests. Some example tasks include working on animations, sprite sheets, game engine components, art assets, databases, and analyzing user study data. For development, the mentor’s research group works primarily in Xcode, Unity, and Android Studio. The group uses various Adobe applications for design work, such as Illustrator, XD, Photoshop, After Effects, and Character Animator.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis; field work

URL: http://SpokeIttheGame.com

CPM-03 Title: Social Wearables
Primary mentor: Ella Dagan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katherine Isbister
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 4

Project description:
The focus of the Social Wearables research project is the potential of incorporating computation in things people wear on their bodies as a way to enhance and strengthen in-person social interactions. Many current wearable devices are not focused on the co-located social interaction, and risk having a negative impact on our everyday social life by distracting people and taking their attention from one another. The mentor’s research group uses Research-through-Design methods to leverage state-of-art technologies in order to envision new designs that address our basic need for human connection and support prosocial interaction. 

Tasks:
The SIP interns will: (1) do literature review on topic and related materials; (2) follow tutorials from Adafruit website to practice skills; (3) brainstorm ideas for new wearable designs; (4) do quick and dirty design social wearables; (5) create low-fidelity prototypes of their ideas; and (6) potentially test their designs with users.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

CPM-04 Title: Rumors
Primary mentor: Julin Song
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jim Whitehead
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
The goal of this research project is to investigate the generative power of cascading rumors in simulating a world with a rich history. The research question is to investigate the potential for emergence using cascading errors (differing from cascading changes in that errors/rumors would be corrected when they are recognized as errors, say if the new story spreads back to the original source). Concrete deliverables will include a game with the simulation engine running, giving players the option to intervene in the world by manually injecting events, or view the networks of cascading rumors from different perspectives.

Tasks:
The SIP interns’ tasks will include: (1) specific, bite-sized programming tasks with lots of detail (involving user interface and internal logic); and (2) authoring of content in the form of simple stories like “somebody’s chicken laid a blue egg” with a subject, event/action, possible object, and some descriptor like color or number, as well as authoring the possible values for names, object types, actions and descriptors (which will serve as seeds for procedural content generation). If the interns and mentor make enough progress for a paper submission, interns will also be involved in processes of paper-writing and literature review.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON NO NO ON ON ON ON

CPM-05 Title: Towards Immersive Media for Emotionally Intelligent Virtual Reality Experiences
Primary mentor: Aviv Elor
Faculty advisor: Prof. Sri Kurniawan
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Immersive Virtual Reality games are powerful mediums to help make task-based rehabilitation more accessible, affordable, and accurate. Subsequently, emotion and self-perception are crucial elements of mental health but are not often explored or monitored in the modern healthcare context. How could a virtual world be personalized if we understand how users feel as they undergo rehabilitation? What if the very world the user performs their rehabilitation in becomes transformed around them – to help motivate and adapt to the difficulty of therapeutic tasks based on each individual’s emotional state? With recent advances in immersive virtual reality and affective computing, this research project will explore the development of a virtual world to accomplish such through utilizing commercially available Virtual Reality systems, haptic feedback vests, olfactory masks, biofeedback sensors, and the Unity Game Engine.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will work together to collaboratively solve complex design problems towards creating interactive playable prototypes using Unity. The interns will prototype engaging experiences that incorporate runtime data communication, adaptive game engine content, and immersive media 3DUI interaction as well as collect user feedback to iteratively improve and support the design process. The interns will communicate with engineers and partner researchers during implementation and coordinate development efforts.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis; field work; game development

URL: https://www.avivelor.com/blog

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: REM REM ON ON ON ON ON ON

CPM-06 Title: Design and Development of a Social Wearables Kit for Use in Educational Live Action Role Play
Primary mentor: James Fey
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katherine Isbister
Other mentor: Devi Acharya
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Using a design-based research approach, we propose to design, develop, and repeatedly deploy a kit of hardware and activities that targets the issue of creating coding communities with a novel combination of instruction and technology–the use of edu-LARP (a structured, live-action roleplay experience that teaches through social enactment and reflection) as the primary mode of engagement, and a focus on computational interest-building through the creation of social wearable devices aimed at augmenting the campers’ interactions during the camp experience. Both of these strategies place the emphasis on social interaction during the learning, and the solving of socially-relevant technical challenges.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will: (1) design and test social wearable technology; (2) iterate on existing maker kits to improve their use; (3) explore new and interesting ways of fabricating hardware; (4) create games and activities with these social wearables; and (5) identify how the creation of social wearables can improve interest in computational communities of making.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; field work; human computer interaction design techniques

URL: https://setlab.ucsc.edu/

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

CPM-07 Title: Creating a Digital Storytelling Assistant for Tabletop Roleplaying Games
Primary mentor: Devi Acharya
Faculty advisor: Prof. Noah Wardrip-Fruin
Other mentor: Michael Mateas
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
One may be familiar with Dungeons & Dragons (D&D), a tabletop roleplaying game system where players take on the role of fantasy heroes, with a game master (GM) leading the game and giving the players the details of the world, obstacles to face, and consequences of their actions. D&D and other tabletop roleplaying games comprise an interesting space for exploring storytelling through collaborative, improvisational play, and a space in which digital tools may be useful in helping players run and play these games. This research project consists of two parts. The first is understanding the design and storytelling space of tabletop roleplaying games through playing these games and creating content and experimental designs for such games. The second is exploring how we can create digital tools to help people run and play in tabletop roleplaying games through paper and digital prototypes.

Tasks:
The SIP interns’ tasks can be grouped as follows: (1) game design — understanding the fundamentals of interactive storytelling through play and reading papers, working on prototypes and iterating on them based on feedback, playing and analyzing games; (2) programming (hardware) — creating physical hardware using microcontrollers and sensors that can help facilitate running and playing in tabletop roleplaying games; (3) programming (software) – creating digital prototypes using Javascript to make tools that can help facilitate running and playing in tabletop roleplaying games; and (4) game writing – creating content for collaborative games including tabletop roleplaying games. The hope is that this research project provides new insights into how we can use digital tools to help augment the tabletop roleplaying game experience through deepening our understanding of how these games work and prototyping tools to help with this goal.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming

URL: https://eis.ucsc.edu/

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON REM REM

CPM-08 Title: Software Generation on the Game Boy
Primary mentor: Isaac Karth
Faculty advisor: Prof. Adam M. Smith
Other mentor: Prof. Nathan Altice
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
The SIP interns will contribute to the development and evaluation of a playable Game Boy ROM generator. After assisting in the ongoing design and development of the generator, the interns will work on the evaluation of the results. Using existing content-retrieval tools, the mentor and interns will use their game-playing AI to index the interesting moments within a particular generated game and compare them to other game ROMs. Working in collaboration with an expert on the Game Boy platform, the mentor and interns plan to run the final ROMs on the original hardware. This research project will contribute to the fields of software validation, generative design, code generation, and game design.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will do some or all of the following: (1) write code to expand the scenarios that the generator can generate; (2) research and compile data on existing examples; (3) brainstorm and diagram possible small games or software to implement; (4) construct datasets (of ROMs, images, etc.) for machine learning; and (5) run tests on generated ROMs, help write research reports, and contribute to the evaluation of generated artifacts. Development will take place in Python and JavaScript. The mentors will teach the programming languages, but prior experience with some kind of programming is recommended.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming

URL: https://designreasoning.soe.ucsc.edu/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON REM REM

CPM-09 Title: Automatic Generation of Game Boy Games
Primary mentor: Tamara Duplantis
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nathan Altice
Other mentor: Prof. Adam M. Smith
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
The SIP interns will contribute to the design and development of a generator that will make playable games for the Game Boy platform. Guided by an expert on developing for the Game Boy platform, the interns will work on generating the ROMs via a variety of machine learning and constructive procedural generation techniques (via programming and artistic asset creation). Working in collaboration with another SIP team, the mentor and interns will evaluate the results and implement them on original Game Boy hardware. Work on this research project will contribute to the fields of software testing, generative design, game design, and platform studies. Development will take place in Python, JavaScript, and potentially C. The mentors will teach the programming languages as necessary, but prior experience with some kind of programming is recommended.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will be asked to: (1) setup game generation software environments; (2) collect and play relevant games for inspiration; (3) brainstorm approaches to game generation; (4) implement at least two approaches to game generation, one focused on automatically remixing existing games, and one focused on assembling authored components into a cohesive whole; (5) analyze and interpret the generated games; and (6) coordinate with the Automatic Playtesting team on how to auto-test each generated game.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming

URL: https://designreasoning.soe.ucsc.edu/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON REM REM ON ON REM REM

CPM-10 Title: Game-Making Tools Survey
Primary mentor: Jared Pettitt
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nathan Altice
Other mentor: Celeste Clark Jewett
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
There are many different tools used to produce different kinds of video games, from casual tools like Twine, to professional tools like Unity 3D. These tools have, built into their design, certain affordances or expectations that shape what people tend to make using them. The mentor is working on research regarding game-making software, and this research project is a survey of different game-making tools, by using the tools to produce small games and then evaluating them afterwards. If the SIP interns are interested in making games, either in learning how to use high-level software, or just want to learn how to do it because it seems fun (it is), then they will definitely find this research project interesting to work on!

Tasks:
The SIP mentor and interns will be using several design game creation tools to make small games over the course of the summer, while evaluating how using the tool feels and how its design affects what they make using it. There are many tools that do not require any kind of programming or video game knowledge at all, so if the interns are at all interested but feel that you may not know enough to be helpful, they should not worry about that! The SIP interns will be learning, making games with, and evaluating several of the following tools, depending on their programming skill level: Twine, Bitsy, Pico-8, Unity 3D, Unreal Engine, and GameMaker.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: OFF ON ON REM REM ON ON OFF

Computer Science/Computer Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
CSE-01 Title: Rip Current Detection: A Machine Learning Approach
Primary mentor: Akila De Silva
Faculty advisor: Prof. Alex Pang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Rip currents are the main beach hazard affecting beachgoers who could even face death as a result. The mentor is currently working on building an application, using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), that could easily detect and visualize potentially hazardous rip currents. This summer, the mentor and SIP interns will use ML and AI techniques to classify coastal images as rip current or non-rip current images. Furthermore, during this classification process, the SIP interns will visualize what unique features could be used to identify images of rip currents from non-rip currents. Finally, if time permits, the SIP interns will gain exposure to detection and localization of rip currents in a coastal image.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will: (1) learn to use Python for programming; (2) gain exposure to machine learning frameworks such as TensorFlow and Keras; (3) gain exposure on how to collect data from online resources; (4) gain exposure to multiple ML/AI techniques for image classification; (5) gain exposure to detect and localize objects in an image (if time permits); (6) learn how to critically read reserach papers; and (7) learn how to be effective in a team research environment.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming; statistical data analysis
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: http://users.soe.ucsc.edu/~audesilv/

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

CSE-02 Title: Fluid Flow Pattern Analysis and Visualization
Primary mentor: Fahim Hasan Khan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Alex Pang
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Flow visualization (FlowVis) is a subfield of scientific visualization and closely associated with computer graphics. Most fluids (gases and liquids such as air, water, etc.) are transparent, and their flow patterns are invisible to the human eyes without methods to make them visible. Flow visualization is the process of making the physics of fluid flow directly accessible to visual perception by making the flow patterns visible to get qualitative or quantitative information on them. These flow visualizations are often rendered using the same 2D and 3D computer graphics pipelines used for movies, games, and related applications thus making them closely associated with computer graphics. The mentor’s research group works in the field of scientific visualization and computer graphics. One of his research focus involves the challenges of analyzing and visualizing time-varying 3D flow in an efficient manner for various real-life applications. One of the critical tasks in flow analysis and visualization is optimally utilizing the graphics processing unit (GPU) of computational devices. The GPU plays two different crucial roles in this process, (1) using GPGPU (General-purpose computing on graphics processing units) for faster processing of huge amount of flow data, and, (2) rendering the high-quality 3D graphics for visualizing the flow. This research group is currently working towards the goal of developing an iPhone/Android app to analyze and visualize rip current patterns from live video of a cellphone camera in a superimposed fashion. This app will render the visual information of the flow pattern directly on the live video, effectively converting mobile devices to visual analysis tools to be used by surfers and swimmers in real life.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will be involved in a research project for superimposed visualization of flow pattern analysis. They will learn basic programming using Python and/or C++, do literature reviews on a topic and read related research papers, and work on an academic research project. The interns will practice extensive and effective use of Google and other online tools to solve programming problems. The SIP interns will have exposure to a few visualization software tools, the 3D graphics development pipeline for developing visualization applications, and the use of GPU for both computations (GPGPU) and rendering (3D graphics). Depending on their level of expertise, the interns will participate in the development of the iPhone/Android app for rip current visualization. If time permits, the interns will have exposure to some machine learning techniques for pattern analysis of flow data. Some previous experience with programming is preferred, but not required.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

URL: https://www.soe.ucsc.edu/people/fkhan4

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

CSE-03 Title: Learning from Big-Ranked-Data
Primary mentor: Vishal Chakraborty
Faculty advisor: Prof. Phokion Kolaitis
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Learning from ranked data has recently gained a lot of popularity in the artificial intelligence, computational social choice, and economics research communities. The advent of big data has given rise to large amounts of preference and behavior data – e.g., user ratings on Netflix, instructor evaluations in schools and universities, and elections in the local government all give rise to preferential data, and the like. These data have valuable information stored in them, which can directly impact various facets of society. In this research project, the SIP interns will help the mentor’s research group answer questions such as: (1) how can one design fast and accurate algorithms to explore and investigate ranked data? and (2) how can we efficiently elicit preference from users? Most of the work will happen via in-person advising by the mentor in the lab on the UCSC campus.

Tasks:
The SIP Interns will achieve an understanding of how ranked data are modeled and will develop an overview of the state-of-the-art tools in this area. The interns will implement one or two ranking models in a programming language, preferably Python, and test the models on various data sets. The SIP Interns will gain valuable experience on how to work responsibly with data with a focus on experimental design and reproducibility.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

CSE-04 Title: Exploring Distributed Learning Paradigms
Primary mentor: Harikrishna Kuttivelil
Faculty advisor: Prof. Katia Obraczka
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Machine learning is a field that is proliferating and drawing in high interest and investment as it continues to diversify to meet the demands of its various applications. Recently, factors including privacy concerns, increasing prevalence and computational ability of personal devices, the proliferation of IoT devices, and the general trend of decentralization in technology have led to the increased research and development of distributed learning paradigms. This research project applies networking principles to validate the principles of federated learning and extend it into decentralized learning approaches while using real, low-cost devices to form a network and collectively gather data and learn from all nodes within the system.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will first learn about the basics of machine learning and implementing machine learning algorithms within Google’s TensorFlow platform. Then interns will assist the mentor in configuring Raspberry Pi devices for TensorFlow, and then assess the performance of these devices in handling basic machine learning tasks. The interns will then learn about the basics of distributed machine learning. They will help organize multiple Raspberry Pi devices into a network and support the mentor to develop communication protocols efficient for the intended application. Finally, the interns will get a chance to experiment with different variations of distributed learning by implementing such schemes on the Raspberry Pi network and analyzing the results of the experiments. Throughout the process, the SIP interns will also aid the mentor in collecting, labeling, and processing data to use for the tests. The interns will gain skills in research, programming, applying machine learning, distributed systems, networking, and data processing.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
EEB-01 Title: Mechanisms for Kelp Forest Resiliency
Primary mentor: Joshua Smith
Faculty advisor: Prof. Mark Carr
Location: UCSC Coastal Campus
Number of interns: 4

Project description:
In kelp forests along the central coast of California, active sea urchin grazing has shifted a once continuous kelp forest landscape to underwater ‘sea urchin barrens’ that are void of kelp and associated species. The mentor’s current research focuses on the processes responsible for these shifts from forested to barrens states and the recovery (i.e., resilience) of the forested ecosystem. The mentor’s research group explores sea urchin grazing behavior that has led to widespread kelp forest loss and how factors such as predators, disease, and disturbance might contribute to sea urchin population control and the recovery of kelp forest ecosystems.

Tasks:
SIP interns will participate in both field and laboratory experiments. In the field, the interns will primarily participate in weekly sampling of juvenile sea urchins through the CenCal Network for Sea Urchin Settlement (CENSUS; https://census.eeb.ucsc.edu). These surveys will be conducted weekly at the Santa Cruz Municipal wharf and the pier in Capitola. The interns will assist in weekly deployment and retrieval of urchin settlement collectors and will be trained and directly responsible for gear preparation and maintenance, recording the number of urchins collected, and data management. The primary lab responsibility for interns is to improve the design of a machine-learning based program to quantify consumed algae particles in sea urchin diets. Basic knowledge of computer programming language such as Python, Java, and/or R is preferred. The SIP interns will also sample sea urchin diets in the lab using a high-resolution macro photography camera. Overall, the interns will gain skills and experience in: field research, laboratory safety and training, experimental design, and in applying novel technology to solving ecological problems. The final SIP product will hopefully culminate in a peer reviewed publication in a scientific journal.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Computer programming (preferred)
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis; field work; application of novel technologies to solving ecological problems (e.g., machine learning, particle recognition)

URL: http://www.joshuagsmith.com

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

EEB-02 Title: Heating Up the Battle of the Sexes: Temperature Effects on Reproductive Behavior
Primary mentor: Doriane Weiler
Faculty advisor: Prof. Suzanne Alonzo
Location: UCSC Coastal Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Rising global temperatures are one of many pervasive effects of anthropogenic climate change. Temperature shapes the rate of biochemical processes and has strong impacts on animal physiology and behavior. However, little research has been dedicated to understanding how chronic warming impacts reproductive behavior. This project uses western mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) as a model system to explore how temperature shapes the evolution of male-female interactions. Mosquitofish are an invasive species of freshwater fish that have been widely introduced to consume mosquito larvae. Their mating system is characterized by persistent male mating attempts – males spend 70%–90% of their time pursuing females! While this behavior benefits males by increasing their reproductive success, it can be very costly for females, which can evolve special traits to avoid males, such as greater swimming speeds. Temperature may intensify or weaken this evolutionary “battle of the sexes,” depending on how it impacts both male and female behavior. To understand how temperature impacts mosquitofish reproductive behavior, SIP interns will help analyze behavior videos of mosquitofish from populations across a broad thermal gradient. This project will take place on the UCSC Coastal Campus and will provide students with a strong background in animal behavior experimental design and analysis.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will primarily assist with: (1) analyzing behavior videos to record male and female mosquitofish behavior at different temperatures, and (2) analyzing fish photographs using ImageJ software to measure morphological traits such as body length and pigmentation. The interns may help carry out active outdoor studies on the ecosystem effects of mosquitofish behavior using experimental ponds. Additionally, interns will learn and help with fish husbandry and aquarium maintenance. Over the course of this project, the SIP interns will gain an integrative perspective on studying animal behavior and will have a genuine experience working on many aspects of behavioral research, from experimental design to data analysis. This research project is an ideal fit for interns who are interested in animal behavior, fish, aquatic science, and/or ecology.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis; field work

URL: https://doriweiler.wordpress.com/, https://alonzo.sites.ucsc.edu/

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

EEB-03 Title: Hawksbill Sea Turtle Ecology and Conservation in the Gulf of California, Mexico
Primary mentor: Luli Martinez Estevez
Faculty advisor: Prof. Don A. Croll
Location: UCSC Coastal Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Hawksbill sea turtles are critically endangered worldwide. The Eastern Pacific population, which distributes between Mexico and Ecuador, is the most threatened hawksbill population. Unlike other global hawksbill populations that tend to forage on coral reefs, Eastern Pacific hawksbill turtles use mangrove estuaries for foraging and nesting. These habitats are also crucial for small scale fisheries in the Gulf of California, Mexico. By using different methods (i.e., acoustic and satellite telemetry, cameras, and habitat transects), this research project seeks to understand which habitats hawksbills use in the Gulf of California, how they use them, and how these habitats can be protected effectively.

Tasks:
This research project will give the SIP interns the opportunity to learn about conservation science and sea turtle research. The interns’ work will be entirely computer-based so bringing a laptop is highly encouraged. The interns will work on two main aspects: (1) analyzing underwater photographs to determine the abundance of the most important food items for the species; and (2) collect information on the spatial conservation strategies that are contributing to the protection of the species. The interns will learn how to do an efficient web search and how to build/analyze a database with the information. In a broader sense, the interns will learn the basic concepts of Conservation Biology and sea turtle biology. They will also get a sense of the work behind field science.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Spanish reading proficiency
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis; efficient web search

URL: https://ccal.ucsc.edu/

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Electrical Engineering

Code Research Project Descriptions
ELE-01 Title: Electro Plasmonic Nanoelectrode: Label Free Neurophotonics for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Brain Computer Interface
Primary mentor: Ahsan Habib
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ahmet Ali Yanik
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Understanding how networks of neurons perform complex computations is one of the greatest scientific, engineering, and medical challenges of the 21st century. This goal remains inaccessible within the realm of electronics and demands fundamentally new techniques with significantly improved technical capabilities. In this research project, the mentor’s research group turns to optics since light offers unprecedented (time/wavelength division) multiplexing and information-carrying capabilities. Achieving electrophysiological recordings through optical means, on the other hand, largely depends on our ability to recruit reliable electro-optic translators converting electrophysiological signals into photons. Even after decades of research, state-of-the-art translators cannot provide the high signal-to-noise ratio requirements because of the low photon counts (e.g., voltage-sensitive dyes) or low electric-field sensitivities (e.g., plasmonic nanoantenna). The mentor’s research group recently invented a novel electro-optic mechanism for the translation of electrophysiological signals into strong optical signals with remarkably high sensitivities and signal-to-noise ratios. This novel approach presents a quantum technological leap for label-free optical imaging of electric-field dynamics with high spatiotemporal resolution and can pave the way to highly efficient brain-machine interfaces.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will work on the design of an implantable electrical field probe for the detection of neural activity. It will be necessary for the interns carry out the following tasks: (1) learning basic neuroscience; (2) learning the Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) method; and (3) developing in vivo probes using the FDTD method.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work

URL: https://www.yaniklab.science/, URL: https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/5/10/eaav9786.abstract

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

ELE-02 Title: Protection of Silver-based Astronomical Telescope Mirrors Using a Single Layer of Aluminum Oxide Formed by Various Atomic Layer Deposition – Optical and Structural Assessment
Primary mentor: Jacob Sands
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nobuhiko Kobayashi
Other mentor: Brian Giraldo
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave.
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Increasing the durability of silver-based mirrors without compromising the optical performance has been a challenge for years in the application of astronomical telescopes. While several successful implementations of silver-based mirrors exist (e.g., the Gemini telescopes), they often suffer from sacrificing the deep blue and UV portions of the spectrum. A single layer of aluminum oxide (AlOx) formed by atomic layer deposition (ALD) will be studied to assess its potential as a protection layer for the silver-based mirrors. The optical properties and structural integrity of the mirrors prepared under various ALD process conditions will be analyzed in detail.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will participate in the following activities under the supervision of a graduate student: (1) characterize optical properties and surface morphology of aluminum oxide protection layers using spectroscopic ellipsometry and various microscopes; (2) characterize optical properties and surface morphology of the Ag-based mirrors before and after high-temperature high-humidity endurance test; and (3) simulate spectral reflectivity using the transfer matrix method in conjunction with the effective medium approximation.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Some computer programming experience preferred
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

ELE-03 Title: Electrical Impedance Spectroscopy for Ultrasensitive Diagnostics on Plasmonic Nanosensors
Primary mentor: Mustafa Mutlu
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ahmet Ali Yanik
Other mentor: Ahsan Habib
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
The development of plasmonic nanosensors has introduced new ways of diagnosing diseases. For biotechnology research, it is important to study changes in electrical, chemical, and physical characteristics of the material at the nanoscale. There are numerous ways of studying characteristic shifts, one of which is electrical impedance spectroscopy. Through introducing biomarkers into the sensor surface, the mentor’s research group is aiming to discern variations of electrochemical properties by a plasmonic nanosensor. Through developing a compact, more flexible approach compared to alternatives, this research project will create a new direction for diagnostic techniques.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will help the mentor design a manifold for plasmonic nanosensor, prepare electrochemical solutions and electrodes, prepare the experimental setup, perform the experiment, and record the data. It will be also necessary for the interns to process the data when it is acquired. The interns will learn the following: (1) fundamentals of the electrochemistry; (2) preparing a biomarker solution; (3) electrode preparation for electrochemical applications; (4) modeling an electrochemical setup to make it similar to an electric circuit; (5) operating a Gamry potentiostat; (6) making graphs based on raw experimental data; and (7) processing the graphs to obtain final, high-quality experimental results.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

URL: https://www.yaniklab.science/

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Environmental Studies

Code Research Project Descriptions
ENV-01 Title: Improving Coastal Prairie Restoration for Increased Resilience to Drought
Primary mentor: Justin Luong
Faculty advisor: Prof. Michael Loik
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Ecological restoration seeks to alleviate loss of unique ecosystems through native plant reintroductions and invasive species control. However, restoration outcomes can be unpredictable and may become more so with climate change. The mentor’s research group is interested in exploring new methods to improve restoration success in coastal prairies to improve coastal ecosystem resilience to droughts. The group has planted native plant species under rain-out shelters designed to simulate a 1-in-100 year drought. The group is interested in understanding if plant traits and evolutionary relationships are predictive of plant survival and growth. The mentor’s research group is also interested in whether plant traits can explain changes in plant communities. The SIP interns will be working in a lab and will be required to complete basic lab safety training. Work will take place at the UCSC Main Campus and the Coastal Campus.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will be involved with quantifying plant traits such as specific leaf area, major vein length per unit area and leaf thickness using ImageJ software and a digital micrometer. The interns will also prepare leaf samples for carbon, nitrogen content analysis and changes in isotopic carbon analysis to determine plant water use efficiency using a leaf grinding mill. The interns will get a chance to work on basic statistical tests. Furthermore, the SIP interns will improve their ability to critically read scientific publications and present scientific research.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work

Linguistics

Code Research Project Descriptions
LIN-01

Title: Investigating Taste and Perspective in Conversation
Primary mentor: John Duff
Faculty advisor: Prof. Pranav Anand
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
What do you mean when you say a slice of pizza is “tasty,” a day at the beach was “fun,” or a poem is “beautiful”? And what does it mean when a friend disagrees with you? How do we decide who is right – or can you both be right? Words like “tasty” pose big questions about how humans understand truth and personal experience, questions that are important for researchers who study the structure of meaning in language (semantics). It turns out that with the right type of analysis, we can answer these questions! The goal of this research project will be to carefully examine transcripts and recordings of people having these kinds of arguments, and the ways they are resolved. This kind of detailed investigation will help us learn more about how humans talk about truth and opinions.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will learn how to use scientific tools to study language. Parts of this will involve reading lots of conversations and writing about them. But just because the mentor’s research group studies words doesn’t mean they don’t use numbers! The interns will also make professional recordings of speech, use scientific software to investigate those recordings, and write code to design professional graphs. Throughout the internship, the interns will also get to study language generally. The skills the interns will learn will be useful for anyone interested in linguistics, foreign languages, psychology, or computer science.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

URL: https://linguistics.ucsc.edu/about/what-is-linguistics.html

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

LIN-02

Title: Negative Shifting in Mainland Scandinavian Languages
Primary mentor: Myke Brinkerhoff
Faculty advisor: Prof. Ivy Sichel
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
In many of the languages spoken around the world, words are only allowed to appear in a specific fixed order. However, languages spoken in mainland Scandinavian are a well-known exception to this constraint on word order, with pronouns being allowed to shift to a position outside of the verb phrase. In addition to pronouns shifting, negative indefinites (e.g., ‘nobody’ or ‘nothing’) are also allowed to shift to positions quite similar to the one that pronouns occupy when shifted. This research project is interested in asking why negative indefinites would behave like pronouns and do they genuinely behave the same as personal pronouns. These questions will be answered by collecting data using computer code specifically written to search through a database of Swedish speeches for instances of these negative indefinites.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will learn how to apply the scientific method to language. This means that interns will learn how to think critically, how to formulate hypotheses, and how to test those hypotheses about some aspect of language. The interns will learn how to minimize potential confounds during data collection, while also learning how to write computer code to collect that data. If there is enough time, the SIP interns will also learn how to analyze audio recordings using computer software for prosodic evidence of the phenomena under investigation. The interns will also be asked to read and discuss relevant research articles to prepare them to think critically about the data.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; linguistic analysis; data analysisLab work

URL: https://linguistics.ucsc.edu/about/what-is-linguistics.html

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology

Code Research Project Descriptions
MCD-01 Title: The Developing Brain: How do Neural Stem Cells Generate the Incredibly Diverse Cell Types Needed for Building a Working Brain?
Primary mentor: Jeremiah Tsyporin
Faculty advisor: Prof. Bin Chen
Other mentor: Xiaoyi Guo
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
The cerebral cortex underlies our highest cognitive abilities such as consciousness and perception. Neural stem cells are responsible for generating diverse cell types at precise times throughout development of the brain. The mentor’s group seeks to understand how neural stem cells regulate the generation of distinct neural and glial subtypes, and how those cells properly migrate to, and integrate in, their final destinations. Understanding these processes will shed light on mechanisms of neurological diseases such as ALS, Schizophrenia, and Autism; these diseases have been linked to errors in these processes during development. The mentor’s lab, the Chen lab, uses the mouse as a model organism to study the brain. There are many readily available genetic tools scientists have designed in the mouse to manipulate gene expression, and the mentor’s group employs various genetic knock out and knock in models to do this. Basic in-person and online lab safety trainings will need to be completed before the SIP interns can begin doing lab work.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will obtain a basic understanding of developmental biology, and how questions regarding development can be answered with available techniques in molecular biology. The interns will examine and analyze data, and perform experiments related to the mentor’s thesis work. Specifically, the SIP interns will take part in the following: (1) dissecting brains from mice; (2) sectioning and staining brains; (3) basic fluorescence microscopy and assistance with confocal microscopy; (4) data analysis: counting cells from obtained images, carefully examining brains and cellular morphology and gene expression to determine what changes are present in the wild-type versus the mutant brains; (5) taking care of mice colonies: this includes collecting tissue samples which will be used to look at the DNA of mice to determine the presence or absence of genes of interest; (6) reading primary papers from the field, and participating in related discussions at weekly lab meetings; and (7) understanding the logic behind the experiments being performed, and interpreting results from those experiments.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

URL: https://mcd.ucsc.edu/faculty/chen.html

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

MCD-02 Title: Lineage Progression of Neural Stem Cells
Primary mentor: Xiaoyi Liang
Faculty advisor: Prof. Bin Chen
Other mentor: Zhaoxu Chen
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Cortical neural stem cells in the developing mouse brain can differentiate into different types of cells sequentially. They generate cortical neurons first and then oligodendrocytes and astrocytes. The mentor’s research focuses on the lineage switch of cortical neural stem cells from generating neurons to glial cells. The mentor and SIP interns will use different transgenic mice to perform the experiment. Different lineage tracing methods will be used to mark the neural stem cells and study how different genes are involved in cell differentiation.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will learn how to do DNA extraction from the mouse tail and how to set up polymerase chain reactions (PCRs). The interns will learn how to load the gel and how to interpret PCR results. The interns will also learn how to perform immunofluorescent staining and analyze the results. The mentor will assign a small project for the interns and the interns will be expected to finish all the required experiments and finish a poster by the end of the summer program.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

MCD-03 Title: An RNA Processing Protein as a Novel Regulator of Immune Response
Primary mentor: Mays Mohammed Salih
Faculty advisor: Prof. Susan Carpenter
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
The innate immune response is the first line of defense against pathogens. The proper activation of this response is essential for resolving infections; however, uncontrolled activation could be deleterious and lead to a host of autoimmune diseases. The mentor’s lab is studying how an RNA processing protein, hnRNP-A2/B1, regulates the innate immune response in mice and humans. The mentor’s research project entails deleting this protein from macrophages (immune cells) in mice, assessing protein production levels to estimate deleting efficiency, and assessing the change in immune response using different benchtop techniques.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will learn to conduct molecular biology techniques, such as, running polymerase chain reactions (PCRs) for the purpose of determining mice genotypes. The interns will also get trained on bone marrow derived macrophages extraction where they will extract cells from the bone marrow and differentiate them into macrophages (cells of the innate immune system) to conduct experiments. These cells will be used to assess inflammatory gene expression levels in cells where hnRNP-A2/B1 is silenced using quantitative PCRs (qPCRs).

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

URL: https://mcd.ucsc.edu/faculty/carpenter.html

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

MCD-04 Title: From Neuronal Circuits to Animal Behavior: How Does the Brain Perceive the World and Instruct Behavior?
Primary mentor: Yufei Si
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Feldheim
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
“If the human brain were so simple that we could understand it, we would be so simple that we couldn’t.” Yet, neuroscientists are making significant progress in understanding the brain and benefiting human society, from different aspects. One of the focuses of the mentor’s research group is to understand how the brain processes visual and auditory information, how the information of different modalities are integrated, and how the brain instructs behavior accordingly. Studying these processes will help us understand the mechanisms underlying neurological diseases such as autism and schizophrenia. The SIP interns will learn about the basics of the visual/auditory system, get involved in mouse behavioral experiments, and learn about data analysis if interested. Basic in-person and online lab safety training will need to be completed before the SIP interns can begin doing lab work.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will obtain a basic understanding of the sensory systems, and how questions regarding neuronal circuitries and functions can be addressed with available techniques. The interns will have the opportunity to help design and carry out mouse behavioral experiments and analyze data. Specifically, the SIP interns will take part in the following: (1) reading primary papers from the field, and participating in lab meetings; (2) understanding the logic behind the experiments being designed and performed; (3) experiencing the process of experiment design and actual performance of a set of behavior assays, and getting some hands-on experience working with mice; (4) analyzing acquired data with basic statistics and available computational tools.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

URL: https://feldheimlab.mcdb.ucsc.edu/index.html

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

MCD-05 Title: Meiotic and Mitotic Chromosome Segregation
Primary mentor: Anna Russo
Faculty advisor: Prof. Needhi Bhalla
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
How do cells ensure that they have the correct number of chromosomes after every cell division? Mistakes in cell division during meiosis or mitosis can lead to cells inheriting an incorrect number of chromosomes, which can result in infertility, miscarriages, genetic disorders, and cancer. The mentor’s lab is interested in understanding how chromosome segregation during meiosis and mitosis occurs so that these errors in segregation are prevented. The lab use a combination of genetics, microscopy, and biochemistry to better understand these two processes using the nematode Caenorhanditis elegans (C. elegans) as a model organism.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will gain a basic understanding of molecular and cellular biology. Potential experiments will include: (1) sing CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing to create florescent proteins or mutations of interest; (2) setting up genetic crosses and using Polymerase Chain reaction (PCR)/gel electrophoresis to genotype worms; and (3) performing either live microscopy to film cells undergoing mitosis or immunofluorescence to visualize meiotic chromosomes. The interns will also learn how to analyze and interpret their data, perform statistical analysis to assess significance, and plan and document experiments. The interns will also be highly encouraged to attend and participate in lab meetings, journal clubs, and learn how to read primary literature from the field.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis

URL: https://www.bhallalab.com

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

Ocean Sciences

Code Research Project Descriptions
OCS-01 Title: Relationship of North Pacific Marine Heat-Waves to Climate Extremes in North America
Primary mentor: Dr. Aikaterini Giamalaki
Faculty advisor: Prof. Claudie Beaulieu
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Climate change has already had noticeable impacts on our environment. Effects that have been previously predicted, such as extreme heat waves and droughts, are now occurring. Understanding extreme temperature events in the ocean as well as on land has been a major scientific concern. Extremely increased land temperatures have been reported in the last decade over North America. At the same time, the most extreme sea surface temperatures have also been documented in the North Pacific and the California Current. For example, 2016 has been the hottest reported year in North America, closely following the 2013–2015 extended marine heat-wave in the Northeast Pacific, named as ‘the Blob’. Nevertheless, little is known about the relationship between those marine and land heat-waves. The mentor’s research group focuses on quantifying these extreme events and further exploring the dynamical relationships between them. The group uses statistical and dynamical techniques applied on observations and modeled output in order to answer questions regarding the time and space that marine and land extreme events occur, and the physical mechanisms that may explain the development of such events.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will: (1) understand the basics of climate dynamics and the physical relationship between specific oceanic and atmospheric parameters through a literature review of the topic and discussions with the mentors; (2) learn basic programming using Python and/or R; (3) collect and process the publicly available observational datasets and/or model output such as sea surface temperature, land air temperature, sea level pressure, and wind; and (4) apply statistical methods/extremal networks in order to describe possible physical relationships.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

Physics

Code Research Project Descriptions
PHY-01 Title: Fabrication of Graphene-Encapsulated CrCl3
Primary mentor: Belinda Zhen
Faculty advisor: Prof. Aiming Yan
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave.
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
As the field of 2D nanotechnology rapidly expands, it is important to characterize a variety of different types of 2D materials. One of the most thoroughly studied 2D materials is graphene, a single atomic layer of carbon. Different combinations and manipulations of various 2D materials often involving graphene have given rise to novel and unexpected physical phenomena, such as relatively high-temperature superconductivity in twisted sheets of bilayer graphene. This research project focuses on 2D magnets, which is a new class of 2D materials that has only just begun to be explored. The characterization of 2D magnets is important for their integration into 2D nanodevices. Specifically, the air-sensitive 2D magnet chromium chloride (CrCl3) will be studied using the transmission electron microscope (TEM). Since CrCl3 is air-sensitive, in order to study it using a TEM, which is too large to reasonably fit inside a glovebox, it must be shielded from the outside environment via encapsulation using a robust material like graphene. The tailoring and refinement of this encapsulation process will be the focus of this research project.

Tasks:
The main goal of this research project is to create pristine graphene-encapsulated CrCl3 samples using a 2D sample-preparation method called the “PET pick-up method.” The SIP interns will be expected to: (1) cut and clean silicon dioxide (SiO2)-coated silicon chips; (2) cleave 2D materials including graphene and CrCl3; (3) work inside a glovebox; (4) perform atomic force microscopy (AFM) on cleaved materials on silicon chips; (5) cut and pre-flatten PET; (6) use pre-flattened PET to pick up graphene and chromium chloride flakes using a transfer stage inside the glovebox; and (7) transfer samples onto TEM grids and/or protochips.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

URL: https://ayanlab.sites.ucsc.edu/

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

PHY-02 Title: Fabrication of Two-Dimensional Electronic Devices
Primary mentor: Ryan Tumbleson
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jairo Velasco, Jr.
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave.
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Researchers are hitting a fundamental limit for how small and powerful electronics can be with our current technology. In this research project, the mentor and SIP interns will create and explore some of the smallest electronic devices in existence and study the exotic behavior of these devices that result from quantum mechanical phenomena. By stacking multiple layers of two-dimensional materials (thickness of one to a few atoms) on top of each other, the group will engineer devices that have novel properties that they can exploit and potentially implement in future nanotechnology.

Tasks:
The primary objective of this research project will be to create two-dimensional devices. This will be a lot of hands-on work where the mentor and SIP interns cut chips, pre-process them, pick up the two-dimensional materials using scotch tape (yes, just regular scotch tape!), stack them on top of each other, post-process them, and then characterize them. The interns will gain experience working in cleanroom, using a glovebox, and using an optical microscope. Depending on how quickly the interns become proficient at making devices, there may be a chance for them to use an atomic force microscope where they can visually see what is going on at the atomic scale.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

URL: http://jvjlab.sites.ucsc.edu/

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

PHY-03 Title: Dielectric Response in Multiferroics and Novel Dielectrics
Primary mentor: Maverick McLanahan
Faculty advisor: Prof. Arthur P. Ramirez
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave.
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Dielectric materials are electrical insulators that polarize in the presence of an electric field. These materials are essential in energy storage applications and for improving semiconductor devices. This project will investigate the dielectric responses and electrical conduction mechanisms in multiferroics (materials with both electric and magnetic order) and novel dielectrics (e.g., titanates which may exhibit large dielectric constants). Multiferroics may display strong magnetoelectric coupling such that applied magnetic fields could be used to alter their dielectric properties, and materials with large dielectric constants will increase energy storage capabilities. Finding materials that possess either of these properties may ultimately result in potential candidates for future device applications.

Tasks:
This research project will consist of lab-work, software-hardware integration, and experimental data analysis. SIP interns will learn how to prepare crystal samples for dielectric measurements in cryostats – i.e., crystal orientation, cutting/polishing, and metal deposition. Measurements will be performed as a function of AC voltage source frequency and applied magnetic field, from room to liquid helium temperatures (300 K to 4 K). The interns will integrate data collecting software with cryostat hardware to run experimental trials. The experimental data will then be modeled to dielectric relaxation models to characterize the samples.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

URL: https://aprlab.sites.ucsc.edu/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

PHY-04 Title: Synthesis and Characterization of a New Two-Dimensional Material Heterostructure/Composite via Chemical Vapor Deposition Method
Primary mentor: Ashlyn Molyneaux
Faculty advisor: Prof. Aiming Yan
Location: 2300 Delaware Ave.
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Two-dimensional materials like graphene, boron nitride, and transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) have been of growing interest recently due to their novel chemical and physical properties. The materials are classified as 2D because they have a thickness of only one or a few atoms. There are many potential and promising applications of these materials in next generation flexible electronics. In order for these applications to be feasible, controllable and scalable syntheses of these materials are necessary. Atomically thin molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is the TMD of interest for this research project. Under close mentoring and supervision, the SIP interns will learn the chemical vapor deposit growth method for controllable synthesis of this material and together the mentor and interns will work to further develop this method. The interns will then learn to use techniques such as optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy to further understand and characterize this material.

Tasks:
First, the SIP interns will learn the growth method and become familiar with the facility. Then, the interns will learn characterization techniques like optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy, and Raman spectroscopy. From weeks 4-7, the interns will use the CVD growth method to grow MoS2 and tweak growth parameters to get the best yield of the material. Each intern will learn each task well enough to perform it independently.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work

URL: https://sites.google.com/a/ucsc.edu/2300-delaware/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

PHY-05 Title: Assembly, Testing, and Calibration: Terrestrial High-Energy Observations of Radiation (THOR) Field Instruments
Primary mentor: Jeffrey Chaffin
Faculty advisor: Prof. David Smith
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
In 1994, a NASA spacecraft, the Compton Gamma-Ray Observatory, observed several very bright and very fast bursts of gamma radiation originating in Earth’s atmosphere. It has been found that these intense bursts of radiation are associated with lightning strikes and that the large electric fields generated in thunderclouds and at the tips of lightning leaders can act like natural particle accelerators several kilometers in length. These electric fields are capable of accelerating the free electrons in our atmosphere to relativistic speeds, and the subsequent collisions of these highly energetic particles with atmospheric nuclei results in the emission of gamma radiation. While this radiation takes several forms, the most dramatic and important are terrestrial gamma-ray flashes (TGFs). TGFs are bursts of gamma radiation (and byproducts such as neutrons and positrons) associated with a small percentage of lightning flashes and lasting less than a millisecond. During that brief time, TGFs are about as luminous in gamma-rays as the entirety of Earth’s atmosphere (which glows in gamma radiation from interactions of cosmic rays in air). This is incredibly bright and occurs just a few kilometers above us! In the part of a thundercloud where TGFs are generated, they might produce a radiation dose of up to 1 sievert, sufficient to produce immediate radiation sickness and a high risk of later cancers in humans. The mentor’s research group specializes in ground and in-situ (balloon and airplane) observations of TGF events, and they are currently in the process of designing a suite of new ground based detectors, the Terrestrial High-Energy Observations of Radiation (THOR) instruments, to improve their observations of TGF events in low altitude storm systems. This research incorporates particle physics, lightning physics, and general atmospheric science with a heavy emphasis on instrumentation development and field deployments.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will work in the SCIPP (Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics) lab and be given the job (under the mentor’s supervision) of assembling, testing and calibrating the six new THOR instruments. For interns interested in particle physics instrumentation and electronics, this will be an excellent opportunity to learn the theory and operation of particle detection methods, signal processing electronics, and to start acquiring the laboratory skills needed to work in an experimental particle physics lab. Note: This is a hands-on instrumentation project with limited data analysis and coding responsibilities. On a daily basis, the SIP interns can expect to do the following: (1) work with lab equipment such as oscilloscopes, pulse generators, and digital voltage meters; (2) maintain a detailed laboratory notebook; (3) hands-on work assembling instruments into custom RF (radio frequency) shielded boxes; (4) electronics soldering; (5) work with laboratory radiation sources; (6) work with Linux computer systems including terminal commands and software installation; (7) small data analysis projects involving coding in Python; and (8) participate in research group meetings.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON OFF ON

Psychology

Code Research Project Descriptions
PSY-01

Title: World of Robots: Child-Robot Interactions
Primary mentor: Elizabeth Goldman
Faculty advisor: Prof. Su-hua Wang
Other mentor: Sam Basch
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Robots are becoming a major part of our society. This research project aims to investigate how young children interact with robots. This is an important topic because many robots are being designed and marketed towards children. However, we do not understand how these robots impact children and their development. In this research project, children will watch a robot perform different behaviors, and SIP Interns on the project will then observe the children’s reactions and take detailed notes. After the robot exhibits these different behaviors, children will be given an opporutinity to apprach the robot. Finally, children will watch the robot attempt to complete a task and will then be given the opportunity to help the robot finish the task. This research project has already been designed. This summer, the mentor’s research team will work together to collect as much data as possible. The SIP interns and the mentor’s research group will then work together to code and analyze the data they have collected. This research project could impact how robot designers create and build robots for young children.

Tasks:
This research project is for SIP Interns who are interested in learning about robots and who would like to work with children and families. No previous experience working with children is needed, as SIP Interns will be taught how to work with children. The Interns will get experinece speaking to families and explaining the study and consent forms to the family. The SIP interns will also learn valuable skills such as: naturalistic observation, taking detailed notes, eye tracking (tracking the eye movements of young children), and data analysis. The SIP Interns will help set up the study, run the study, enter data, and analyze the data that have been.will be collected. The interns will also be trained in how to use and program the robot; this involves some simple Python coding. Previous experience with coding is not necessary. In terms of data analysis, this research project will involve coding child behaviors and reactions. It will also involve coding those behaviors we have observed. The SIP Interns will be trained in coding and observation while working in the research lab. The interns will see the research process from start to finish and will gain valuable experience of working in a psychology research lab.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

URL: /https://elizabethgoldman.weebly.com

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

PSY-02 Title: Reciprocity in Conversation
Primary mentor: Andrew Guydish
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jean E. Fox Tree
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Do people work together to create reciprocal balances across conversations? The SIP mentor is interested in conversational dynamics and how people carry and maintain conversations. In particular, the mentor is interested in conversational balance between participants throughout the course of the conversation, and how these balances influence how individuals communicate with one another.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will work on numerous aspects of development regarding psychological experiments. The interns will work with the mentor in the development of experiments examining areas of interest pertaining to cognitive psychology (e.g., discussing experimental design, conducting literature reviews on related concepts), work with real data (e.g., transcribing videos, examining transcripts), as well as running participants in psychological experiments under supervision. Through this process, the SIP interns will gain experience in the following: writing APA style annotated bibliographies; processes associated with experimental development; running human participants; analyzing real data in IBM’s SPSS; and development and use of Python algorithms for data parsing and analysis.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

URL: https://guydish.sites.ucsc.edu, https://foxtree.sites.ucsc.edu

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON OFF ON ON ON ON REM ON

PSY-03 Title: Mind-Controlled Illusory Apparent Motion
Primary mentor: Allison Allen
Faculty advisor: Prof. Nicolas Davidenko
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Why do we experience illusions? For psychologists, studying illusions helps to reveal some of the properties and quirks of perception. One such illusion is Illusory Apparent Motion (IAM) where ambiguous apparent motion is elicited by randomly refreshing pixel textures. Previous research using other apparent motion illusions has found that motion ambiguity can be controlled mentally (for example, one can mentally will ambiguous motion to appear in a clockwise, as opposed to a counterclockwise, direction). The mentor’s line of research explores how IAM is similarly susceptible to mental control in different contexts, and the group is running and designing experiments to measure this in the lab.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will have the opportunity to learn about a variety of illusions and what each illusion reveals about the nature of the human sensory system. This will be done by reading scientific articles each week and discussing them with the mentor. The interns will also gain hands on experience running participants (supervised) in a laboratory experiment and will learn how to program and analyze data using Matlab.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

URL: https://davidenko.sites.ucsc.edu/

PSY-04 Title: How Do Media Romanticize Problematic and Potentially Abusive Relationship Behaviors?
Primary mentor: Sona Kaur
Faculty advisor: Prof. Eileen Zurbriggen
Other mentors: Isabel Delano, Xena Refaie
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
The media plays an important role in socializing viewers about gender roles and romantic relationships. However, many messages about these topics are problematic in nature. For instance, abusive relationship behaviors (e.g., extreme jealousy, stalking, toxic masculinity) may be depicted as romantic and desirable in a relationship. This may influence how viewers perceive themselves, their partners, and their overall relationships. This research project will examine how such behaviors are portrayed in various media forms (e.g., song lyrics, romantic comedies), as well as what contextual factors (e.g., gender of person engaging in problematic behavior) play a role in whether these behaviors become romanticized.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will learn to critically read research articles and write literature reviews on the topic of romanticized abuse. The interns will assist the mentor in developing research questions and hypotheses, as well as assist in identifying problematic relationship behaviors that are commonly depicted in the media and in real life relationships. Using this background knowledge, the interns will help create a coding manual covering the various ways abuse is romanticized. The SIP interns will prepare and deliver a presentation at the SIP conference at the end of the program.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

PSY-05 Title: Exploring Everyday Helping
Primary mentor: Margie Martinez
Faculty advisor: Prof. Audun Dahl
Other mentor: Charles Baxley
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
How do we come to help others? The mentor’s research group examines moral reasoning in relation to one’s actions in everyday contexts. The group is particularly interested in how parent-child interactions influence the development of helping behavior and how this may vary across different cultural backgrounds. This research project will examine how the daily routines of families impact judgments, reasoning, and decisions about helping behaviors. By examining the everyday experiences with helping, the interns and mentor can gain a better understanding of how children and adults come to the moral decision of who and when to help.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will be involved in most or all aspects of this research project. The interns may help design research studies, collect data (for instance, through interviews), analyze video recordings or interview transcripts, and/or discuss research articles. The interns may work with data from past or current projects exploring how children and young adults think about helping. The research group will discuss literature relevant to the project and moral development. This research project will provide an opportunity for interns to learn about and contribute to all stages of psychological research.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Lab work; statistical data analysis; field work

URL: https://esil.ucsc.edu/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: REM ON ON ON ON REM ON ON

PSY-06 Title: Children’s Learning Through Collaboration
Primary mentor: Samantha Basch
Faculty advisor: Prof. Su-hua Wang
Other mentor: Elizabeth Goldman
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
The mentor’s research focuses on how toddlers and preschoolers learn through collaboration. This summer, the mentor’s research team will study parent-child collaboration during play. The team will study both natural play and structured play, with a special focus on parental question-asking. The hope is the results will shed light on how culture and context shape parent-child collaboration and learning.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will get experience with the full range of activities that occur in a developmental psychology lab, including scheduling, explaining informed consent, and running experiments. The interns will also learn how to collect and analyze observational data. These are important skills for any psychologist. Finally, the interns will have the chance to work with other members of the Infant and Child Development Lab on ongoing projects.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis; field work

URL: https://suhua.sites.ucsc.edu/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON REM ON ON ON ON ON

PSY-07 Title: Exploring How Moral Reasoning Develops Over the Lifespan
Primary mentor: Charles Baxley
Faculty advisor: Prof. Audun Dahl
Other mentor: Margie Martinez
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Children, adolescents, and adults reason and make judgments about what is right and wrong. The mentor’s laboratory investigates how individuals at different ages reason and judge about moral issues, and how their judgments relate to their actions. The mentor’s research group studies how children and adults behave in different situations and interview them about their thoughts and feelings. For instance, why do young children think it is good to help others and bad to harm others? Why do students sometimes decide to cheat in school, even though they think it is generally wrong to do so? The overall goal of the mentor’s research is to understand how people make judgments and decisions surrounding right and wrong, and how one can help people make better decisions.

Tasks:
The SIP interns may help develop a new research project, as well as work on existing research projects. As part of this process, the interns will learn to develop theory by diving into the moral development literature and may also help develop interview protocol and materials. To gain experience with data analysis, the SIP interns will work with data from past projects that have explored topics such as academic misconduct. There will be weekly team meetings where the research group will discuss past literature related to the project and overarching theory. This research project provides an excellent opportunity for the SIP interns to learn about all stages of psychological research, from discussing scientific articles to reporting results.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis

URL: https://esil.ucsc.edu/

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

PSY-08 Title: Human and Artificial Agent Communication
Primary mentor: Elise Duffau
Faculty advisor: Prof. Jean E. Fox Tree
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
As technology advances, artificial agents, such as Alexa and Siri, are becoming more and more integrated into our lives. The mentor is interested in expanding on how we communicate with artificial agents. More specifically, the mentor is interested in understanding the different ways in which we communicate with artificial agents, and how we can manipulate artificial agents’ communication styles to adapt to more casual interactions.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will gain experience in the various aspects of psychological experiments. The interns will work with the mentor in learning how to conduct research in cognitive psychology related to the area of interest. This will include engaging in experimental design, conducting literature reviews, working with data, and running participants in a psychological study with supervision. The SIP interns will gain experience in writing APA style annotated bibliographies, how to design an experiment, running human participants, and analyzing data in SPSS, R, and Python.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; lab work; statistical data analysis

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON OFF ON ON ON

PSY-09 Title: Gender, Orientation, and Identity in Online Roommates Ads
Primary mentor: Daniel Copulsky
Faculty advisor: Prof. Phillip Hammack
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 3

Project description:
Many college students and working adults find roommates online, with ads posted to sites like Craigslist, Facebook, and Reddit. Along with details about pricing and amenities, many ads mention personal info and values. Posters often hope to match with roommates based on identities like gender, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or dietary restrictions. This research will look at how individuals describe both their own identities and their preferences for potential roommate identities.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will: (1) read and discuss scholarly articles related to identity, gender and sexuality, bias and discrimination, and housing selection; (2) gather data from roommate ads posted to sites like Craigslist, Facebook, and Reddit; (3) read roommate ads, code identity references, and look for emerging themes; (4) analyze these codes to look for trends, including regional differences in ads; and (5) collaborate on ideas for a possible future experimental study looking at how individuals respond to identity preferences stated in housing ads.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis; qualitative data analysis

URL: https://psychology.ucsc.edu/about/people/grad-directory.php?uid=dcopulsk

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON

PSY-10 Title: Exploring the Boundaries of Human Memory
Primary mentor: Mercedes Oliva
Faculty advisor: Prof. Benjamin Storm
Location: UCSC Main Campus
Number of interns: 2

Project description:
Memory serves a purpose in most aspects of our lives. That is the approach that the mentor’s research group takes, allowing a broad range of research questions. Specifically this summer, however, the SIP mentor and interns will be working on (at least) three projects, two of which consider the boundaries of retrieval-induced forgetting and retrieval-induced facilitation (specifically, feedback and expertise), and the third considers the various ways in which memory processes may function differently in ADHD populations. Depending on whether it will be possible to work with participants in-person, the mentor and interns may also return to a research project the considers the relationship between creativity, task switching ability, and memory.

Tasks:
The SIP interns will develop their critical reading skills, something that will serve them well in future academic endeavors. The interns will learn about all stages of a research project, from design and construction of study materials, to data collection, to data entry and management and basic statistical analyses. Depending on whether it is possible to run participants in-person, the SIP interns may have the opportunity to be introduced to various neuropsychological assessments with hands-on data collection.

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: None
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Statistical data analysis; study design

URL: https://people.ucsc.edu/~bcstorm/research.html

Special age requirement: Interns must be 16 years old by June 22, 2020.

This research project will allow for remote participation by interns.

Program Week Number: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Mentor’s availability: ON ON ON ON ON ON ON ON