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

Term: IAP/Spring

MIT Faculty Supervisor Name: Eric Klopfer

Project Title: Mobile Educational games

Project Description:  Interested in games?  Want to work in web and app development? Apply to work on Participatory Simulations in STEP/TEA as a UROP!

Over many years and many iterations of technologies (from Palm Pilots to iPhones) we (Scheller Teacher Education Program and The Education Arcade) have been working on whole class systems-based mobile simulation games. Imagine a classroom game in which you must interact with others but avoid getting contaminated with a virus being passed around.  OR trying to maintain the balance in a classroom digital ecosystem while keeping yourself alive. These are just some of the scenarios we’ve developed over the years with a lot of success.

The latest iterations of these games are being designed for mobile devices including smartphones and tablets using portable technologies (React).  We are looking for UROPs to help design new iterations of these games and implement them using scalable web technologies.

The system is currently using React (js) and Firebase.  This IAP we plan to add a React Native client and, design and implement at least one new game.

Prerequisites: Requirements: We are looking for students with a strong programming background.  Experience with JavaScript/HTML/CSS, React/Redux/React Native and NoSQL databases is helpful.  Interests/expertise in front end design and game design are also big strengths. Availability to work during IAP for at least part-time at the STEP/TEA Lab is required.

If you are interested in this position, please send an email to tea-jobs@mit.edu and include:

  • An overview of your programming experience (specific references to relevant courses and other development and programming projects would be very helpful) including any pertinent URLs
  • A summary of any previous UROP and work experience (attach a resume if you have one)
  • A short description of why you are interested in working on this project
  • Please put “PSims” in the subject line

Contact: Eric Klopfer (tea-jobs@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.