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 Openings

“Documenting Humanities Research Through Narrative Video”

Comparative Media Studies/Writing is investigating methods for the presentation of humanities research through narrative video. The UROP will become part of a year-long project to account for and test approaches that higher education has taken — or can take — to communicating the work of humanities scholars in a medium thus far largely dominated by the sciences and fine arts.

In the first semester, the UROP will 1) examine the production process and visual rhetoric of existing narrative videos produced by schools, non-profits, and foundations focused on the humanities, including interviews with a sample of those videos’ creators, and 2) begin pre-production on several videos combining best practices that emerge from this initial research.

In the second semester, the UROP will assist in the end-to-end production of those videos and early tracking of their viewership, with a final research product being a jointly authored piece, appropriate for an audience such as administrators of the National Communications Association, describing the state of narrative video for the humanities and recommendations for humanities programs around best practices, capacity-building, and necessary resources.

This for-credit UROP for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 will require approximately 6 hours per week. The student should have experience with digital video equipment, lighting, audio, and Final Cut Pro. Past coursework in media studies is preferred but not required.

Faculty Supervisor: Prof. Edward Schiappa
Contact: Andrew Whitacre, awhit@mit.edu

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

IMG 0340 150x150 Undergraduate Research Opportunities (UROPs)

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.