2019 Research Projects

Research Projects by Subject

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.


Technology and Oral Story Collection of Indian Immigrants in the USA
Primary mentor: Dr Annapurna Pandey
Other mentors: Kati Greaney
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.
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

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

Astronomy & Astrophysics

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.
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

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

Required skills for interns prior to acceptance: Intern MUST have Microsoft EXCEL on their computer (NOT Google Sheets). Must have a mouse with their computer.
Skills intern(s) will acquire/hone: Computer programming; statistical data analysis

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

Title: Cosmological Galaxy Simulation Data Post-Processing
Primary mentor: Clayton Straw