Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROPs)

You learn by doing, and Undergraduate Research Opportunities are how you do research at CMS/W as an undergrad.

MIT’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROPs) are meant to connect students with faculty research. Arranging one for yourself with CMS/W can take a couple different paths. The most common is to have a great idea, related to CMS/W research or faculty interests, and approach a faculty member directly about his or her becoming your UROP sponsor. The other is to check out the list of available UROPs proposed by faculty—think of them as job openings—and apply.

A UROP can be for pay, for credit, or as a volunteer. Whichever it is, your work and CMS/W’s obligations to you use the same standard: the research done “must be worthy of academic credit”.

UROP proposals are welcome all year long, though there are deadlines.

Current UROP Openings

Project Title: Digital Media Consumption of #FoodPorn

Project Description: Many studies within food and media studies explore the cultural or nutritional implications of food within media. However, new forms of food media (e.g. food porn, Buzzfeed s Tasty videos, Chef s Table) are rarely discussed within a critical media theory and interaction design framework. Through my research, I am looking to employ a user-centered and formalist approach to food media and technology in order to better understand the construction, diffusion, and the end user experience of food media. A UROP would be assisting with research design and execution of primary and secondary sources relating to digital media technologies and food studies. Specifically, the UROP would help to construct a historical survey of related technologies and cultural food moments to better understand the current digital food media landscape. Additionally, the UROP would help to develop methods to quantify qualitative sources. If desired, the UROP could also have the opportunity to participate in user interviews. This position is being offered for academic credit. Please send a CV and a note of interest to Vicky Zeamer as soon as possible.

Prerequisites: Prior experience with primary and secondary qualitative research (databases, citation, archives) is required. The time commitment is 6-8 hours a week and the work can mostly be completed off-campus, with weekly or biweekly (TBD) check-ins on campus. Excellent organization and documentation skills are also a must. **Preferred, but not necessary: familiarity with food studies, social network platforms, and statistical analysis.

Contact Name: Vicky Zeamer
Contact Email: vzeamer@mit.edu

What Do Past UROPs Have to Say About Their Experience with CMS/W?

Christine Yu: past UROP, major in Writing - Digital Media Studies, minor in Biology, and MIT class of 2012

Christine Yu: past UROP, major in Writing – Digital Media Studies, minor in Biology, and MIT class of 2012

My work with the Imagination, Computation, and Expression Lab on Project Mimesis and AIR (Advanced Identity Representation) enhanced my experience as an undergraduate at MIT by allowing me to work directly with graduate students in the CMS department. I had previously UROP’ed for the Biology department, and so transferring over to CMS was quite the change; I found the CMS UROP experience to be more teamwork-based. I also enjoyed the change in scenery of the labs, and it has fostered my interest in the human experience in avatar generation and gaming.I would highly recommend UROP’ing for any undergraduate in fields of interest because it helps an individual to think about post-graduate plans, and it allows them to meet the future professionals of that field. While my post-graduate plans are currently medical school-based, I’ve been asked during interviews about my experience in the ICE Lab, and it’s always very fun to be able to talk about a broad range of my interests. I feel like my experience in the ICE Lab enhances my applications because it allows me to present myself as very personable, instead of just sitting behind a lab bench pipetting all day.