Are you a Lawrence student interested in doing an independent study, directed study, or tutorial? Or maybe you want to get some undergraduate research experience with one of your professors?
First of all, that is awesome! Huge props for simply taking the initiative to learn beyond your typical course enrollment. If I have the time, that alone makes me very excited to work with you.
Note that “if”. I would love to take on every student who is interested in outside study. However, my time, like yours, is finite–some terms I have space to take on additional projects with students, and other terms I may be stretched thin as it is.
Therefore, if you are interested in engaging in outside study with me, please read the information below and then fill out the appropriate interest form. You are more than welcome to email me or stop by my office before or after filling out the form for any additional questions!
If you are interested in an independent study, directed study, or tutorial, please read below and then fill out this form. I will respond to you within 24-48 hours.
You Need to Know…
To request an IS/DS/Tutorial, you will need to know the answer to the following questions:
- What is the topic/project you are interested in?
- Why are you interested in studying this topic/project with me?
- How many units are you interested in taking this course for?
- How many actual hours do you want to meet with me, per week?
- How many actual hours do you want to work on this topic, with or without me, per week?
Which One Do I Want?
Description: Directed study follows a syllabus set by the instructor and may be used to deliver content from an existing course (whether because there are too few students enrolled or because the course is not currently being offered), to develop a possible new course offering, or to direct a student in a defined course of study. The main goal is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work. Students may meet frequently with the instructor or work more independently, completing assignments according to a schedule agreed upon in advance.
You want a Directed Study if… there is a standard course at Lawerence or another university that you need to take, but it is not offered regularly or has not been offered in recent years.
The primary goal is… supplementing your standard education.
Description: A tutorial is a primarily student-driven course of study undertaken by an individual student or small group of students in collaboration with one or more faculty members. The primary goal of a tutorial is expansion, refinement, and synthesis of knowledge and abilities through in-depth exploration of a specific topic.
You want a Tutorial if… you are interested in learning about a particular topic or set of topics that may be too niche, too specific, or even too broad for a typical Lawrence course; something that doesn’t quite fit with the rest of your curriculum but which you would like significant guidance and regular meeting and input with a faculty member.
The primary goal is… learning a new topic.
Description: Independent study carries the student beyond the established curriculum into largely student-directed work that in most disciplines is expected to result in the generation of new scholarship or the creation of a new work or performance. Scholarship may take the form of generating new information through research or a new conceptual formulation based on existing knowledge. Creative activity may result in a new composition or other work of art, or a new performance of an existing work.
You want an Independent Study if… you are interested in working primarily on your own self-designed project that has some sort of ending goal, and you would like a faculty member to supervise you or provide some guidance.
The primary goal is… completing a project.
If you are interested in undergraduate research, please read below and then fill out this form. I will respond to you within 24-48 hours.
You Need to Know….
To request to do undergraduate research, you should have an answer to the following questions:
- Why are you interested in doing undergraduate research?
- Why are you interested in doing undergraduate research with me?
- What is your background level of knowledge in this research area?
- Is there a specific topic or project you are interested in?
- How much time/energy/capacity do you have to dedicate to research?
I typically have space/funding for two undergraduate students to work with me during the summer. You will spend 10 weeks on a project with me in some area of computer science, data science, and/or computational biology. The exact nature of your project will depend on your interests and background.
I’m happy to take on students of any major, but CMSC majors will generally take priority.
I typically do not have the availability to take on new research students during the school term, but am possibly open to continuing work with summer students into the academic year. However, you should be aware that I cannot pay students for research during the academic year; you would instead receive credit for an independent study.
Current Research Topics
Here is a list of current topics you might work on with me. If you have research interests outside these topics, I am open to discussion on them!
- Developing new models and representations of genomes in computational settings
- Data visualization and data interaction with Virtual Reality software & hardware
- Simulations of evolutionary phenomena using computational tools
- Ethical and pedagogical frameworks for thinking about mathematical modeling
Rate of Pay
Lawrence’s current rate of pay for summer students is $11.00/hr up to 40 hours per week, plus free on-campus housing. This works out to roughly $750 every other week after taxes. If financial concerns are a barrier to you doing summer research, please let me know.
Why do Undergraduate Research?
Undergraduate research is a great way to find out if you enjoy a topic – or if you don’t enjoy it. My undergraduate research helped me find out I did not like biology benchwork, but that I loved working with and manipulating data computationally. I would not have found out either of these things in a classroom setting, but they have now shaped my entire career after college.
Undergraduate research also allows you to think more deeply about a topic, instead of broadly. Lawrence does a wonderful job of preparing you to synthesize and think across multiple fields of study, but engaging in research allows you to really dig in to learning about an area on a high level.
What Makes a Good Undergraduate Research Assistant?
The ideal scientist at any level, in my mind, is someone who:
- Contributes to a welcoming, thoughtful, and engaging lab environment, and
- Communicates their own questions, confusions, needs, and excitement, and
- Listens and responds to others’ questions, confusions, needs, and excitement, and
- Is willing to be wrong more often than they are right
The ideal undergraduate researcher is someone who is open to learning how to engage in all of these skills in an academic setting.
Am I Smart Enough for Undergraduate Research?