REU Research Intern Positions Available Fall 2014 and Spring 2015

Undergraduate Research Intern positions available for the academic year on-campus (fall 2014 and spring 2015). These positions are funded under the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program from the NSF and provide an $8,000 stipend paid over the academic year. Undergraduate students from information science, computer science and engineering or who have programming skills and who are interested in participating in an interdisciplinary research team are encouraged to apply.

Research Project Description

The goal of the SoCQA research project, Social Computing for Qualitative Analysis, is to develop and test an innovative Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML) based research tool that supports a computer-human partnership for qualitative social science. The innovation of the project is the integration of human processing with computational information extraction and active learning in a tool to support a commonly applied data analysis approach in the social sciences: content analysis, the extraction of structured research data from unstructured sources. The project is funded by the NSF under the SOCS program for three years and features interdisciplinary research between the social sciences and information/computer science. The project is led by Nancy McCracken and Kevin Crowston in the School of Information Studies.

This annotation tool has been developed during the first three years of this research project. During the next year, starting Fall 2014, the system will be tested on an additional project for content analysis, and will fund two undergraduate research interns to assist with testing and development of the system.

Two Student Research Intern Positions:

Student 1: User Interface Intern

One undergraduate intern will be funded to help develop and test the user interface of the tool. This student will work a postdoctoral researcher and graduate student in user interface design and testing. The intern will
• test the user interface and help with HCI experiments for other users,
• help design changes to the user interface,
• implement the changes in a web framework in Java.

A successful applicant should have some programming skills in order to learn the web framework for implementation. The student will learn about user interface design and testing in the context of a research project.

Student 2 Data Wrangler Intern

The second student will be engaged in helping process data from a new pilot project in order to be ingested into the system. After the data is used for experiments, the student will assist in analysis of the experimental results. The student will work with a staff programmer and the tasks may include
• reformatting and cleaning data in preparation for ingesting into the system
• working with the data repository of text documents
• and formatting and analyzing experimental result data from a database.

The successful applicant should be familiar with Java or related programming language and be prepared to program in a research environment. The student will gain experience in both the data preparation and analysis parts of data science.

Expectations of students:
Each REU intern for the project will be expected to work up to15 hours per week. This will include a weekly project meeting, scheduled for the fall semester to be every Friday from 2:30 – 4pm. At this meeting, the entire research team will discuss progress, and we expect that attendance at these meetings will make a strong contribution to the research experience. We also share milestone progress reports on different aspects of the project with the entire group, and we will expect the undergraduates to contribute to that as well. The overall project supervision is provided by Dr. Nancy McCracken who will lead in setting requirements and performing evaluation. Training in the background needed to understand the research and in using the software tools of the project will be provided.

Student stipend:
Each intern will receive an $8,000 stipend to be paid in installments over the course of the academic year, where succeeding installments depend on successful performance.

Skills required:

Students should have excellent academic credentials and references for good work experience, including reliability and dedication. Some programming will be required for both interns, but particularly for the data wrangler intern.

Application Process

To apply for either of these positions, please send a cover letter describing your background and interest in one of the intern positions together with a resume’, including references and (unofficial) transcript, to Prof. Nancy McCracken, , by September 20, 2014, for starting in the fall semester. Because this is a grant-funded opportunity, the selected candidate will need to verify that he or she is a US citizen, a US national, or permanent resident.