Communication Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Geared towards students:

The Office of Undergraduate Research is an excellent resource for students who want to take an active role in their education through hands-on learning in a research environment. The OUR particularly encourages first- and second-year undergraduates to get involved in research activity for credit through UROP (the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Project) which pairs each student with a faculty researcher in a field of his or her interest.

To apply visit, or to check out a list of current research projects.

HIV Education and Prevention

  • Using meta-analysis, trying to summarize literature to make recommendations/evaluations of HIV education programs worldwide.
  • Tasks and responsibilities:
    Collect literature, learn coding procedures, and statistical analysis.

Designing the Internet: A Timeline

  • Technical design of the Internet began in the early 1960s and still continues in 2009. Along the way, the computer scientists responsible learned to social consequences of their work with legal implications, such as child abuse, theft, fraud, pornography, and even information warfare. Governmental policy-makers issued requirements for what the Internet should do -- and what its designers should try to prevent it from doing. The geographic, social, and cultural range of input into the design process expanded over time to become, ultimately, truly global in nature.
  • Tasks and responsibilities:
  • The student researcher responsible for developing this timeline will work in collaboration with the faculty member and other members of the research team. S/he will learn to use timeline software, develop an approach to including the various types of information pertinent to this project on the timeline, and write a training manual for others to use to input further data down the road. The results of this work will be seen by policy-makers as well as computer scientists, and there is the possibility that the student researcher will serve as a co-author on a scholarly publication resulting from the research.

Design of the Internet and Social Issues: A Curriculum Study

  • Design of the technologies that make up the Internet and the architecture of Internet networks themselves have enormous consequences for society. Because professional computer science associations recognize this, computer science and electrical engineering departments are required to include courses discussing the social impact of technical decision-making in order for those departments to be accredited. Those who teach these courses, however, often struggle to find appropriate materials about social issues for technically-oriented students. This curriculum study will review syllabi from such courses from universities around the country to identify (a) topics that are taught, (b) readings used, (c) objectives and skills targeted, and (d) exercises and other techniques used for grading.
  • Tasks and responsibilities:
    The student researcher involved in this curriculum study will work in collaboration with the faculty member to acquire and analyze these syllabi and to write up the concluding report. The results of this work will be presented to professional associations in computer science, electrical engineering, and Internet design and management, as well as to policy-makers. There is the possibility that the student researcher will serve as a co-author on a scholarly publication resulting from the research.

Who Designed the Internet? Contributors to the Internet Design Discourse

  • Internet design has been underway since the 1960s. It is popularly imagined that this has been a US project almost exclusively, and that only computer scientists and electrical engineers were involved in the process. Neither, however, is the case. This study will examine the public discourse through which agreement on the technical aspects of Internet design took place to identify the individuals involved, the organizations and governments which they represented, their gender, their geographic dispersion, and any other information we can find regarding just who all of these people and organizations were and are.
  • Tasks and responsibilities:
    The student who undertakes this study will work in collaboration with faculty to develop a database of information about the designers of the Internet. Additional research may be undertaken to deepen what we know about the individuals and organizations involved once the initial stages of identification and geographic mapping have been undertaken. Research results will be published in scholarly journal articles for which the students involved in the research may serve as co-authors or otherwise receive published credit. The database itself will ultimately be available to the public on the web, with full credit given to those who have helped develop it.