I2S Available Internships

Only students who meet the following criteria are eligible to apply for an I2S internship:

  • Enrolled full-time and in good academic standing at the Flagstaff Mountain campus at the time of application and at the commencement of an internship
  • Admitted as a degree-seeking student pursuing a first bachelor's degree
  • Successfully completed at least 15 semester hours at NAU
  • Completed less than 75 semester hours (including transfer credits) when the internship begins.
  • Possess a US Social Security number

Applications were accepted beginning January 3, 2014, for Spring 2014 I2S opportunities. Application deadline was January 27, 2014. 

 

Online application form You should receive a confirmation webpage and a return email with your application materials.

NOTE: The online form did not function properly between 1/3/14 and 1/10/14 (12:35pm).   If you applied during that time period using the online form, your application was not received.

 

More information about the program can be found on the I2S Student Information and Student FAQ pages. 

All communications or questions regarding these I2S internships, including the responsibilities, requirements, timeline, applications, and selection processes, should be directed to the Undergraduate Research Coordinator.

Spring 2014 Internships

Spring 14.001: Sinks and Retardation of Lithium Tracer in Wetland Sediments - Postponed

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support:  This research is concerned with the loss of a tracer material as it is transported through a wetland ecosystem; specifically the sediment. Tracer materials are commonly used to evaluate the hydrodynamics of a flow-through system. Tracers that either photodegrade or are lost as a result of interactions occurring within the system are less useful in their application to these types of studies. Lithium chloride is being considered as a tracer for use in a future tracer study in a wetland, however the potential for loss to occur within a highly organic- type wetland sediment is unknown. This research supports a future investigation of the mechanisms influencing the fate and transport of contaminants through a wetland’s complex ecosystem.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student will conduct literature research, participate in wetland sediment sampling, participate in the experimental design of laboratory tests, setup laboratory-scale flow-through sediment columns, conduct tracer washout tests and collect samples from the columns for analysis, and assist in analyzing data.

Specific benefits to the student: The student will develop a sense of confidence and independence in working within the context of the scientific process, as well an increased capacity for critical thought.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Physically in good condition due to the field work component; have completed chemistry through organic chemistry. 

Additional comments: Prior knowledge/experience with wetlands is desirable.

Faculty mentor: Terry E. Baxter, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Spring 14.002: Use of Mosses in Ecological Restoration

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: Our lab is focusing on best practices for recovery of soil health and hydrological function to restore diverse habitats of the intermountain west. We are particularly interested in soil stabilizing techniques to prevent dust storms in drylands, and recover forest ecosystems after stand-destroying fire. Mosses are a key component of recovery in both cases, because they stabilize the soil surface against erosion, promote water retention, promote soil fertility and allow for the establishment on additional biota such as grasses, shrubs, and trees. Currently we are conducting experiments in the greenhouse investigating the best methods for growing important desert moss species (Syntrichia spp.), while concurrently determining the species adaptability to changing environmental conditions. In these experiments we have developed a novel moss cultivation system, an important first step to scaling up to landscape level restoration. We plan in the next year to expand our work to different species of mosses (Ceratodon purpureus, also known as “fire moss”), which colonize the soil after fire, and to employ what we have learned in our small-scale experiments to scale up production of moss cultivation for field applications.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The intern will learn basic and cutting edge techniques in restoration ecology by maintaining, monitoring and interpreting results from existing experiments and helping to implement new projects. Specifically, he or she will learn moss identification, irrigation system maintenance, development of restoration materials, experimental design, ecology sampling techniques, microscopy and photo-monitoring and image analysis. There is also an opportunity to learn DNA extraction, amplification and identification methods.

Specific benefits to the student: These diverse experiences will be an outstanding resume builder. Our intern will be integrated into an active and collegial research laboratory, with undergraduate and graduate researchers and a post-doctoral scholar. The intern will have the opportunity to be involved in all stages of research, from development of hypotheses, to experimental implementation, data collection, analysis and interpretation. This is also a unique opportunity because our work serves the needs of land management agencies, giving the student access to diverse perspectives, an understanding of local and regional management issues, and potentially, additional internship opportunities.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Candidates should have a GPA of 3.0 or greater, ideally with some background in biology, forestry, and/or environmental sciences. We prefer candidates with a specific interest in ecology and restoration. 

Faculty mentor: Matthew Bowker, School of Forestry

Intern: Jeff Wright

Spring 14.003: Long-term Fire History in the Southwest

Short description of your specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: The size of wildfires has increased dramatically in the southwest in the last 20-30 years. I want to publish a paper showing the change in fire history in the Southwestern US over the past 100 years. I want to relate factors such as climate in those years, severity of fires, costs, or other variables such as wildlife impacts (for example, the number of Mexican spotted owls affected by having their protected activity centers burned). These are feasible analyses to do quickly and it would be a useful paper for the region, likely to be widely cited.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The intern would learn how to conduct a literature review on a topic timely and important to many natural resource disciplines in the Southwest. Specifically, the student would locate and assess literature related to fire history, help collect data from resource managers (for example, finding out number of spotted owls affected), create an annotated bibliography, generate graphs or tables, and assist in writing as able.

Specific benefits to the student: The student will be involved in a topic timely to the southwest, will increase skills in accessing and assessing literature appropriate to the subject, meet and work with resource professionals. I would expect the student to be involved with a group of co-authors for the paper to be generated by this research. Hopefully the student will contribute significantly and be a co-author on the paper. If interested, the student could continue work in fire and wildlife during summer by working with my Masters student on her research project.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Must love the library, searching for literature, good 'people' skills. Background in natural resources helpful (although might not be necessary if a quick learner).

Faculty mentor: Carol Chambers, School of Forestry

Intern: Shawnee Smith

Spring 14.004: Implementing and Evaluating Internal Sources of Data Related to Professional Education Programs - CANCELLED

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: The student intern will support the implementation and data analysis of several internal instruments related to the scholarship of teaching and candidate performance in professional education programs. These instruments related to candidate performance will focus primarily on student teaching candidate work sample, evaluation, and exit survey. The other related research projects include supporting program faculty in studying the validity of faculty developed performance assessments.

What the intern will DO and LEARN: The student intern will (1) receive hands on experience related survey construction, implementation of online surveys, strategies for improving response rates; (2) experience with sorting, analyzing and presenting data and findings; (3) use spreadsheet software; (4) gain experience with collaborative tools such as Google Docs/Drive in a professional setting; and (5) gain knowledge of assessment methods and accreditation in a higher education setting.

Specific benefits for the student: The student intern will gain practical experience in survey research, qualitative methodologies, data analysis, and presentation. The intern will gain experience in writing for a variety of audiences including the public, accreditation organization, and research and practice periodicals.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Familiarity with computer applications, in particular Excel or other spreadsheet software and familiarity with calculating and presenting descriptive statistics, would be useful. Completion of the FERPA Training and adherence to the FERPA guidelines will be a requirement if selected for the internship.

Additional comments: The student intern will be supporting research and data analysis efforts critical to national re-accreditation of NAU’s professional education programs.

Faculty mentor: Cynthia Conn, Acting Assistant Vice-Provost, Professional Education Programs

Spring 14.005: Volunteer Bias in Friendship Research Self-selection in Volunteer Convenience Samples: Implications for Friendship Research among Emerging Adults - POSTPONED

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: A growing body of research has begun to empirically document the potential pitfalls of utilizing research volunteers. This work indicates that perhaps it isn’t merely a matter of whether our convenience samples and those we wish to generalize to vary in terms of their demographic information (i.e., age group, level of education) but perhaps the fact that they are a sample of individuals who volunteered for a study is indicative of some underlying factor that further sets them apart from the population they are intended to represent. Volunteer bias has been documented in various research literatures including medical and sexual. Yet, it is not clear if such a bias is also present in friendship research and presents a challenge to the generalizability of the findings. Thus, the aim of this research is to investigate whether friendship experiences and the relationship of friendship with happiness are different among college students who were interested in volunteering for a study on same-sex friendship experiences relative to those who were not. Five studies will seek to address these questions within the context of friendship quality and its ties to well being, two important constructs within developmental psychology. The data for this project (n = 5884) were gathered in the past two years..

What the student will DO and LEARN: (1) Conduct a thorough literature review of the topic (volunteer bias in general, gender differences, documented volunteer bias in medical and sexuality research, and in research on friendship, if any). (2) Review the samples and limitations sections of empirical articles on friendship published in the last decade (cited at least 50 times in the literature) to learn about the how generalizability issues are addressed and whether potential volunteer bias is accepted. (3) Develop hypotheses in light of the literature. (4) Download the data sets (gathered online in the past two years), transfer them to statistical software, perform basic data cleaning. (5) Conduct the analyses under my supervision and test the hypotheses and write up the results. (6) Write up sections of the introduction, method section and results section. (7) Contribute to the writing of the discussion section. (8) Submit this work as a talk to undergraduate student competition at a regional conference (Southwestern Psychological Association). (9) Work on the final aspects of the manuscript that will be submitted for publication (1st choice: Journal of Social and Personal Relationships; 2nd choice: Personality and Individual Differences; 3rd Choice: Journal of Psychology). (10) Contribute to the "letter to the editor."

Specific benefits to the student: The intern will learn the basics of how to conduct research. Although the intern will not gather data, the intern will learn the value of archival data. The intern will also learn basic and advanced skills necessary to conduct analyses and write a paper for publication. The intern will also present this work at a conference and submit this for publication, two activities that would add to the intern’s CV. Collectively, these activities will help establish skills necessary for a future scholar. The intern will also learn about volunteer bias, an issue that challenges the generalizability of psychological studies conducted with convenience samples.

Time commitment: 4-6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Interest in friendship research and data analyses; also, interest in disseminating this work in different forms.

Faculty mentor: Meliksah Demir, Psychology

Spring 14.006: Taking the Pulse of the Profession from the Perspective of Our Largest Employers

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: The profession of Athletic Training underwent substantial educational reform between 2004 and 2008. The adjustments to the education routes to become certified as an Athletic Trainer were adjusted to improve competence and patient care. At that time, the entry-level degree remained at a bachelor’s level. The profession is again split between leaving the entry-level certification as a bachelor’s degree or transitioning it to a master’s degree. This study will conduct 20-30 structured qualitative interviews at a regional meeting (seven states). The questions will be developed from previous studies conducted prior to the last reform and more recent studies assessing the quality of graduates abilities and professional qualities. Participants will be employers at rehab clinics, college athletics, or high school athletics. These are the three major employers of recent graduates. Sample questions might be, “please describe recent graduates, their employability, what you look for when hiring, what might be said during an interview that would prevent you from hiring, etc.” The audio-recorded interviews will be transcribed and thematically coded. Audio-recording and transcription review will take place, a member check of transcribed data will take place, and a second member check will review developed themes. Themes will be compared to the current goals and standards detailed by the 2004-2008 education reform to see if we are meeting our goals. Adjectives from the emerged themes will later be quantitatively assessed across a large sample of Athletic Trainers using a Likert scale to determine agreement with the themes and descriptors of recent graduates. This will be an important part of the discussion toward moving entry level certification routes to a master’s level.

List any existing funding sources for your project and the number of undergraduate student What the student will DO and LEARN:  (1) Participate in structured question development, learning the importance of keeping a qualitative lens clear. (2) If student is available to attend the regional meeting, s/he will be encouraged to attend during the interviews but this is not required. (3) Maintain and organize data collection forms and audio recordings. Work with the faculty member to transcribe the interviews (by either hand or using PC software). (4) Become familiar with the process of thematic coding and be involved with pulling adjectives from the transcriptions and letting natural themes occur. (5) As time permits in the semester and if the student shows an aptitude, s/he can assist with member checks, the early phase of writing a manuscript, and development of quantitative questions using a Likert scale.

Specific benefits to the student:  Aside from the previous items listed that the student will learn, participation in research provides students the opportunity to developed ownership in the project and their learning. This further enhances their desires to continue their education and hopefully fosters future creative ideas.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Positive attitudes toward constructive feedback, strong written and oral communication skills, and the ability to work independently are encouraged.

Faculty mentor: Glenn Edgerton,Physical Therapy and Athletic Training

Intern: Caroline Herrera

Spring 14.007: Applets for Calculus

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: Calculus is a quintessential example of human achievement. However, for many students calculus is a complex collection of abstract formulas and algorithms to memorize. Too often students lack the intuitive understanding of what is really going on in calculus. Many calculus textbooks include static graphics whose aim is to illustrate a particular concept. These visualizations are extremely useful, yet we can "bring the pictures to life" by incorporating them into interactive and dynamic computer applets---also called interactive simulations. In this context, an applet is an often web-based application that responds to input from the user. As the user modifies the input, perhaps by dragging a slider, the applet provides near instantaneous feedback about the impact of the change. The power of visualizations in learning is well-documented and the use of applets in mathematics and science education dates back to the mid-1990s.  There are a few drawbacks to the current state of affairs of applets in mathematics education. First, there are a hundreds of applets---of varying quality---scattered across the Internet. Second, most of the existing applets are not accompanied by instructions or guided exercises that help the user unlock its full potential. In most circumstances, a standalone applet will not be sufficient for a student to gain the desired illumination of the concept. It's like a picture without a caption, but possibly worse. Third, many applets work on some operating systems and/or in some browsers while not others. The ubiquitous use of laptops, tablets, and smartphones make it an opportune time to develop a centralized library of inquiry-based interactive simulations that work across multiple platforms. The goal of the proposed project is for a student to aid in the construction of applets for exploring key concepts in calculus. The applets will include guided exercises aimed at encouraging the user to explore and make conjectures. Eventually the applets and accompanying inquiry-based materials will be made freely available online.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The first phase of the proposed project will consist of the student surveying existing applets and assessing their overall quality. In the next phase, I will teach the student how to construct applets using a variety of tools, including GeoGebra, Sage, Desmos, and Mathematica. Once the student has developed some utility with the various tools, we will begin constructing applets aimed at illuminating key concepts in calculus. In addition, we will author inquiry-based exercises to accompany the applets. As a result of the internship, the student will (1) learn how to construct interactive simulations, (2) develop an understanding of the appropriate pedagogical use of these applets, and (3) gain experience in the creation and use of inquiry-based course materials.

Specific benefits to the student: This project will be of tremendous benefit to any student that is planning on teaching mathematics or science. Many high school teachers have the desire to incorporate interactive simulations in their teaching, but many lack the knowledge of where to find existing applets, how to effectively use the applets they do find, and certainly how to build their own applets. Unfortunately, these are not skills we typically teach future teachers. The student chosen for this internship will get hands-on training in constructing applets from scratch using a variety of tools. The student will gain expertise in the creation and use of computer-based pedagogical tools from an inquiry-based perspective. Moreover, the student will be able to share their expertise with their future teaching colleagues.

Time commitments: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: The ideal intern would be a mathematics or science education major whose career goal is to be a teacher. A mathematics or computer science major would also be suitable.

Faculty mentor: Dana Ernst, Mathematics and Statistics

Intern: Hanna Prawzinsky

Spring 14.008: Student Dispositions toward Youngspeak in Study Abroad

Short description of your specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support:  While studying abroad students can and often get better at using informal language (Dewaele & Regan, 2001). However, they often lack the ability to use it in sociopragmatically appropriate ways and/or they avoid variants perceived as non-standard or colloquial (Dewaele, 2004, 2008). This research study examines student dispositions toward a specific group of lexical features in Spanish L2 that are characteristic of the informal spoken discourse of undergraduate speakers (such as discourse markers, e.g., tipo “like”, here referred to as "youngspeak"). Specifically, it investigates (1) American undergraduate student exposure to youngspeak lexical features in Spanish L2, (2) their attested use of these features in interactions with Spanish native speakers, and (3) why and how they use or avoid using them. The participants are 12 English L1 undergraduate students at different Spanish L2 proficiencies. The data comprises (1) a database of weekly student-native speaker interactions; (2) language awareness measures that assess understanding of the social meaning of the focal lexical features; (3) three semi-structured interviews with the researcher, together with participant observations in academic and non-academic settings.

What the student will DO and LEARN: This student will transcribe English spoken data under my direct supervision. The data comprises study abroad undergraduate student interviews with me about multiple topics (revolving around participants' study abroad experience in Argentina and their attitudes towards the use of informal features both in English and Spanish). I will provide training on how to transcribe and code spoken data, help with the transcription and coding, and double-check for accuracy. More importantly, the student will also be involved and gain experience in data analysis -- more specifically the student will learn how to identify recurrent themes (using a recursive process) in the interviews.

List the specific benefits to the student:  Data transcription and thematic analysis are two practices integral to the field of Linguistics (as well as qualitative analysis in other social sciences), making this a great opportunity for the undergraduate student intern to gain experience under the direct supervision of a faculty member with expertise in this area.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications:  It would be extremely helpful if the intern could speak some Spanish (intermediate proficiency or higher). The American undergraduate participants were studying Spanish in Argentina. As a result, they used some Spanish here and there during the interviews.

Faculty mentor: Julieta Fernandez, English

Intern: Emily Fowler

Spring 14.009: What Do Changes in Vegetation with Land Use Change Mean for Changes in Beneficial Fungi?

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: The project involves working with me and my former graduate student, Randy Swaty, now a fire ecologist with the Nature Conservancy, on a project investigating the impact of land use change on plant associated fungi. The Nature Conservancy has created a computer modeling system called Landfire used to describe how land use changes have affected vegetation across the United States. However, we don't know how these changes might affect the beneficial fungi critical to ecosystem function. With student help we can combine Landfire data with data on the types of fungi associated with predominant vegetation available from the literature and create a map of beneficial fungi like that established for plants. We have already compiled the necessary spreadsheets and website data bases and only need an interested student to help.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student will start by filling in data on the Landfire vegetation spreadsheet about the type of beneficial fungal association found on the dominant plants of different regions of the United States. These associations are usually specific to plant families and the data are available from a small set of papers from the primary literature. The student will then work with Randy Swaty and me to create a fungal distribution map that can be overlain on the vegetation and land use history maps that already exist in the Landfire data base. This map will be the first of its kind and important for long term management. The beneficial fungi are critical to plant regeneration, yet we know little about their likely fate in response to land use change.

Specific benefits to the student: The student will learn how to utilize the primary scientific literature to create a database. S/he will learn how to manipulate the data base to create a distribution map of fungal associations for the US. The intern will also be able to work with an important conservation agency in the US.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Computer skills and an interest in learning how to create large scale predictive maps.

Faculty mentor: Catherine Gehring, Biological Sciences

Intern: Michael Haley

Spring 14.010: Quantification of Plant Secondary Compounds in Monkeyflower

Short description of your specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: Quantification of secondary compounds in monkeyflower. I have samples from a number of monkeyflower (Mimulus) species. I am quantifying the secondary compounds in each sample to use as preliminary data for a National Science Foundation grant proposal. The larger project will examine the relationship between chemical similarity and plant relatedness/phylogeny.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student will go through the entire process of compound quantification. This involves grinding leaf samples, weighing portions of each leaf sample out for compound extraction, compound extraction, quantification on an HPLC, and use of software to interpret HPLC results.

Specific benefits to the student: The student will receive one-on-one mentoring from me on the entire process of sample chemical analysis. I will provide the student with background information to understand what s/he is doing in the context of the larger project. S/he will learn what hands-on science in a laboratory setting entails.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Faculty mentor: Liza Holeski, Biological Sciences

Intern: Julia Thompson

Spring 14.011: Modern and Ancient Diet Using Stable Isotope Analysis

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: The relationship between diet, social inequality, and gender roles is a complex one. The student intern will choose to do research on understanding this relationship in an ancient or modern context. The student intern will do hands-on lab research within a stable isotope lab. The intern will be able to gain experience in stable isotope analysis with ancient human remains (bone, teeth) or help in a modern study of human hair analyzing modern diet and stress levels among college students. (The latter study is currently in the IRB approval process).

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student intern will clean and prepare ancient teeth and bone or modern hair for stable isotope analysis, which includes labwork in a chemical wet lab, help in gathering modern hair samples. The student intern will learn to prepare and analyze research samples that detail diet in ancient or modern people and will gain job-worthy skills in preparing samples (for a biotech or a medical lab)

Specific benefits to the student: Knowledge of stable isotope preparation on various materials, analysis of results using the anthropological perspective, preparation for presenting research for the NAU Undergraduate Symposium, gaining job-worthy skills for employment in a biological lab.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Anthropology or Chemistry or Biology major or minor preferred but not required.

Faculty mentor: Corina M. Kellner, Anthropology

Intern: Rachel Middleton

Spring 14.012: STAR School Educators Development

Provide a short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: Can teacher candidates attending the College of Education team with teachers from STAR school to improve its current school rating of "D" to an "A" or "B"?

What the intern will DO and LEARN: An intern would (1) learn how formative and summative assessment data define individualized student instruction; (2) help the mentor define pre-assessments that NAU teacher candidates would implement; (3) maintain/share individualized student data to professors teaching science, social studies, and math methods classes to the traditional and cohort program of studies in the College of Education whose teacher candidates team with STAR school teachers to implement specific lessons; and (4) compare and contrast pre and post data to determine individual student and group progress with conclusions that will be shared with the STAR teachers, professors at the College of Education, and NAU teacher candidates.

List the specific benefits for the student: The intern would be prepared for the “common core” future for teachers of tomorrow and be ready for the new educational world of using assessment data to inform individualized instruction.

Additional qualifications: The intern would need to be admitted to the professional program in the College of Education, have good communication skills, is organized, and capable of maintaining accurate pre and post data.

Time commitment: 5 hours/week for 10 weeks

Faculty mentor: James Manley, Educational Leadership

Intern: Anaheed Hill

Spring 14.013: Evaluating the Impact of Wasted Energy

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: While some energy uses provide tangible uses (gasoline is used for the transportation of people and goods), other uses of energy provide no tangible benefit (e.g., illuminating empty rooms, heating empty spaces, “charging” unplugged electronics, and transporting compostable waste). The goal of this project is to identify areas where energy is wasted, quantify the amount of energy wasted, and identify methods of intervention to alter the patterns of waste.

What the intern will DO and LEARN: The student will (1) select one specific manner of wasting energy; (2) perform a literature review of previous research on this topic; (3) investigate the behavior patterns that lead to the wasting of energy; (4) use those behavioral patterns to estimate the amount of energy wasted on individual, regional, national, and global levels, where appropriate; (5) identify key methods of intervention (either technological or educational) to reduce the energy waste; and (6) have the option of further pursuing the method of intervention or self-identifying a new area of wasted energy.

List the specific benefits for the student: The student will be trained in quantitative analysis, critical reasoning, and technical communication. The student will learn to think independently, direct his/her own research questions, make quantitative estimates of energy usage, make appropriate assumptions to extrapolate results to larger populations, make technical presentations, write technical reports, and contribute to academic research.  Additionally, the student will be a member of a research group and will experience how to work with colleagues to answer technical questions.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Must be capable of using MS Excel, Word, and Powerpoint; proficient in quantitative analysis; have a basic knowledge of physics; experience with thermodynamics is a strong plus.

Faculty mentor: Brent Nelson, Mechanical Engineering

Intern: Michael O'Reilly

Spring 14.014: Assessing the Efficacy of Various Types of Sport Tape to Enhance Balance and Minimize Injury

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: The current accepted practice in athletic training to prevent ankle injuries is basic strapping (applying alternate strips of tape to a joint to prevent undesired movements) with 1.5 inch adhesive porous tape comprised of cotton fibers. This continues in the absence of sound research evidence supporting that tape significantly prevents unwanted joint movements after a 10 minute period. The one reported issue with the cotton based tapes is that they stretch by 6% after application resulting in the loss of stability desired. New tapes made of synthetic fibers stretch by less than 1% and are reporting improved ability to protect ankles during athletic events. The project the student will support aims to compare a non-taped condition, a traditional cotton taped condition, and two new types of tape on immediate post-tape application measures and 30 minute post-activity measures. The 30 minute activities will simulate an athletic practice. Ankle joint motion measures will include pressure plate changes of foot contact, navicular drop, talocrural joint inversion and eversion, as well as a computerized balance assessment. These measures will inform us if the tapes retain their intended function and if they improve balance (proprioception).

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student will (1) participate in recruiting healthy college age students with no prior ankle injury; (2) assist in coordinating times that participants and researchers can meet to collect data; (3) maintain and organize data collection forms as well as transfer data from the pressure plate and computerized balance assessment to an Excel spreadsheet (using numerous frequency and data checks); (4) become familiar with the process of blinding subjects to their experimental condition (effect of exercise on non-taped ankle or the changes tape makes but not knowing what tape the participant is in); (5) learn the various protocols and methods to assess ankle movements, pressure, and balance while working with Athletic Trainers and Physical Therapists; (6) as time permits and if the student shows an aptitude, s/he can assist with literature reviews, the early phase of writing a manuscript, analysis of data, and if available at the time the results might be accepted for presentation, s/he would be invited to attend and participate if feasible.

Specific benefits to the student: Aside from the previous items listed above, participation in research provides students the opportunity to develop ownership in the project and their learning. This further enhances their desires to continue their education and hopefully fosters future creative ideas.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Positive attitudes toward constructive feedback, strong communication skills, and the ability to work independently and as part of a research team are encouraged.

Faculty mentor: Scot Raab, Physical Therapy and Athletic Training

Intern: Elizabeth Stapleton

Spring 14.015: How the Asiatic Clam is Affecting the Montezuma Well Aquatic Ecosystem

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support:  The Asiatic clam (Corbicula fluminea) is an invasive mollusk, native to southern and Eastern Asia, that was introduced to the United States as a source of food in the early half of the 20th century. They can be found across the United States, and like the zebra mussels, they cause economic and ecological damage by clogging up irrigation canals and pipes and outcompete native molluscs for resources (USGS 2001). They are found in Arizona aquatic habitats including Montezuma Well which is part of the National Park system. Montezuma Well is an isolated collapsed travertine well that is spring fed and empties into Wet Beaver Creek. Montezuma Well contains the most endemic species found in one place in the Southwest. There are over 23 plant and animal species that reside in and around Montezuma Well. It is a fragile ecosystem and has been invaded by these Asiatic clams. It is unknown how they were introduced to Montezuma Well or how they will affect this unique ecosystem. We propose a pilot project to survey the extent of the Asiatic clam invasion, find out how they were introduced, and how they are interacting with the resident endemic species.

What the student will DO and LEARN:  The intern will conduct monthly sampling surveys at Montezuma Well using a 1m3 quadrat, counting all the clams found in the sampling areas. S/he will also note any interactions with the endemic species and collect a subset of approximately 25 clams to bring back to the laboratory where the student will anesthetize in 10% ethanol and dissect at least 10 individuals, then maintain the remaining individuals in tanks to record the demography, reproductive condition and life history of these clams. The student will also survey and collect clams from Wet Beaver Creek and the ancient canal system that runs through the park to note densities and life histories of the clams in these different aquatic environments. As time permits, the student will conduct ecological co-occurrence experiments (replicated microcosms of Montezuma Well in the lab) wherein clams are maintained at different densities with endemic species from the well, including leeches and giant water beetles, to determine the nature, frequency, and outcome of interspecific interactions.

Specific benefits to the student:  While working on this project the student will learn how to maintain laboratory animals, document mollusc life history traits, and test simple hypotheses using goodness of fit tests to determine if the numbers of individuals maintained in experimental tanks changes with density and species number. The student will learn field and laboratory techniques and how to gather and analyze data using appropriate statistics. The student will become part of the Shuster Laboratory and will participate in weekly meetings in which students with range of backgrounds and experience present and discuss their research. The intern will also write up the research results in poster format to present at NAU’s Undergraduate Symposium and to the National Park Service.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Faculty mentor: Stephen Shuster, Biological Sciences

Intern: Theresa Rizza

Spring 14.016: Effects of Climate Change on Western Spruce Budworm in New Mexico

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: Western spruce budworm is the most destructive defoliator of trees in the western United States. Northern New Mexico has experienced elevated levels of western spruce budworm for the past two decades. In 2012, United States Forest Health Protection recorded 476,160 acres of defoliation in northern New Mexico. Although population dynamics of western spruce budworm are not fully understood, the outbreaks in northern New Mexico may be outside the historic range of variability and have led to extensive tree dieback and mortality. This research will focus on the relationships between tree physiology and the western spruce budworm lifecycle to better understand the drivers of the northern New Mexico outbreak. Specifically, our goals are to compare insect and tree phenology and to use temperature and remotely sensed data to predict insect phenology in the face of climate change.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The intern will learn how to estimate tree and insect phenology by acquiring and analyzing climate models. The intern will also learn how to acquire, process, and analyze remotely sensed data. Finally, the intern will learn how to find and summarize relevant peer-reviewed literature.

Specific benefits to the student: (1) Exposure to popular techniques in the fields of climate change and remote sensing. (2) Learn skills to acquire climate and remote sensing data and analyze data using software packages such as ArcGIS and ENVI. This experience will provide the student with the tools to continue a career in research while also making him/her more competitive in the job market. (3) Broad understanding of the interactions between climate, insects and forests. (4) Interaction with graduate students and faculty in the Silviculture and Applied Forest Health lab and exposure to multiple research projects.

Time commitment: 6 hours per week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Basic Microsoft Excel experience; interest in quantitative modeling and forests.

Additional comments: This project is likely to lead directly to a publication. The graduate student does not have time to pursue both this and his primary thesis questions related to field-collected data. The intern would be mentored by both the graduate student and me.

Faculty mentor: Kristen Waring, School of Forestry

Intern: Connor Meehan

Spring 14.017: Self-Identity, Stress, and Coping in First Year College Students

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: My research examines the types of stressors first year college students face and the methods they use to cope with those stressors. My theoretical perspective focuses on how self-identity processes influences coping strategies. I have a large data set collected in Fall 2013 (N = 550) that a student could help analyze and write up for publication.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student would learn how to conceptualize a psychological hypothesis grounded in theory and test that hypothesis. To do that, the student would learn how to conduct a literature review on the question, how to organize data in SPSS (e.g., assemble scales, check reliability), analyze data in SPSS (tests, correlations, chi-square), make APA formatted charts, create and present a poster at the NAU Undergraduate Symposium, and if data publishable, co-author a publication for Psi Chi Journal (student would be first author).

Specific benefits to the student: All of the skills listed above would greatly advantage a student seeking to go on to graduate school in Psychology. In addition, student would make significant progress on the following specific aspects of our learning goals for the Psychology Major: Goal One: Knowledge Base in Psychology. Student will demonstrate fundamental knowledge and comprehension of the major concepts, theoretical perspectives, historical trends, and empirical findings on the areas of self-identity, stress, and coping. Goal Two: Scientific Inquiry and Critical Thinking. Student will develop scientific reasoning and problem-solving skills, including effective research methods (e.g., research question, data analysis, and interpretation) and understand their fundamental importance in psychology. Goal Three: Ethical and Social Responsibility in a Diverse World. Student will develop ethically and socially responsible behavior for professional and personal settings. Students will recognize, understand and respect the complexity of psychosocial and cultural diversity. Goal Four: Communication. Student will be able to demonstrate competence in writing and in oral and interpersonal communication skills. Students will demonstrate information competence and the ability to use computers and other technology for data analysis and data representation. Goal Five: Professional Development. Students will emerge from the major with abilities that sharpen their readiness for post-baccalaureate employment, graduate school, or professional school.

Time commitment: 4-6 hours per week for 12 weeks.

Additional qualifications: Interest in stress and coping processes; strong math and writing skills; other evidence of achievement and dedication also preferred.

Faculty mentor: Heidi Wayment, Psychology

Intern: Katherine Zhang

Spring 14.018: The Tale the River Told: The Murder of Chloe Gordon (book manuscript development)

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support:The Tale the River Told examines the deeply disturbing murder of Chloe Gordon, a recently separated single mother of four facing hard times and complex choices in the small town of Knife Edge. After a night out with her new lover, Chloe disappeared. A conservationist found her corpse a month or so later, floating face down in the Capulet River. The autopsy revealed someone strangled her to death. Set amidst a small, seemingly pastoral community, the unpicking of the mystery plumbs the depths of human malevolence while exploring the paradoxes of small town social life. Selectively drawing upon the vast research and policy literature on violence against women the book combines academic rigor and more popular storytelling. The Tale the River Told therefore seeks to tell the story of violence against women within the context and meaning of real lives.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student will learn to and conduct research on a plethora of archival materials from the Chloe Gordon case. This will include a content and thematic analysis of various documents such as trial transcripts, police files, and interview data. As such it will entail reviews of literatures, data coding and retrieval, and working in a heuristic learning environment. The intern will learn an enormous amount about interpersonal violence through the lens of a real case and from the perspective of those involved in reviewing cases with a view to developing preventive interventions. This is boots-on-the-ground engagement in research. It is simultaneously stimulating and emotionally challenging. It is not for the faint-hearted student. However, it is for the undergraduate student with passion and a deep sense of curiosity. The student will work with our Family Violence Institute (FVI) team and me personally. The doing and the learning will go hand in hand. It is a fascinating opportunity for a committed and competent student.

Specific benefits to the student: The student will acquire considerable content specific knowledge, learn to conduct research, and come to appreciate complex epistemological issues that involve critically exploring how we know what we think we know.

Time commitment: 6 hours/week for 12 weeks

Additional qualifications: Good analytical skills, work discipline and an interest in the social sciences. Previous social scientific knowledge is preferred but not essential since much learning will occur in the workplace.

Additional comments: This is exciting work. I have placed a number of our interns in jobs over the years. As we expand at the FVI we always consider our interns as possible future employees.

Faculty mentor: Neil Websdale, Family Violence Institute

Intern: Richmond Barkemeyer

Spring 14.019: Electroencephalographic Measures of Empathy and Free Will

Short description of the specific research, scholarly, or creative project that the student intern will support: I run the NAU Social and Cognitive EEG Lab. We collect electrical brain data from the surface of the scalp in order to determine how the brain enables us to have empathy and compassion for others. The lab publishes the research in neuroscience journals and presents research at international neuroscience and psychology conferences.

What the student will DO and LEARN: The student will learn fundamentals about social cognitive neuroscience research, theoretical issues and how to design experiments to test theories. S/he would read some of the most critical literature in the field, help in constructing experiments, help in collecting and analyze data, and have the opportunity to present at conferences and even perhaps publish in a journal, though that would require participating in the lab beyond the one-semester internship period. More generally, the student would learn about the scientific method, the human mind/brain, and interpersonal and professional skills.

Specific benefits to the student: One challenge to social cognitive neuroscience research is the length of time it takes to carry an individual experiment from conception to completion. Between weeks or months spent putting stimulus sets together, to months collecting, processing and analyzing data, to writing a manuscript for publication often takes two years. Given that this internship is designed to get students engaged early in their undergraduate careers, the program is ideal for my lab as it gives students the chance to start on research earlier than is typical (junior year in the psychology department). A student with the kind of jump-start on his/her research career that would come from this internship would give him/her a distinct advantage when applying to top-notch, competitive graduate school, due to the depth in which s/he would learn the tools of neuroscience research.

Time commitment: 5 – 6 hours/ week for 12 weeks

Additional comments: I am looking for bright, motivated students who have an unquenchable thirst for understanding the world around them.

Faculty mentor: C. Chad Woodruff, Psychology

Intern: Victoria Lopez