2024 Project Proposals


Initiation is the most regulated step of translation and is mediated by a host of protein initiation factors. We focus on an initiation factor called eukaryotic translation initiation factor 3, or eIF3. eIF3 is the largest and most complex of the initiation factors and has recently emerged as an important player in the regulation of translation. And yet, its precise molecular roles are not well understood.

Our research is focused around three principle avenues of inquiry. First, we are leveraging next-generation sequencing technologies to explore the role that eIF3 plays in the translation of mRNA transcripts across the genome in living cells. Second, we are employing biochemical tools to interrogate the molecular workings of eIF3 and its interaction with the ribosome. Finally, because eIF3 is in fact not one protein but a larger complex of several proteins, we are designing tools to dissect the specific contribution of each of these constituent proteins to translation initiation. Students working in my lab gain experience with a variety of approaches, including molecular biology techniques, protein expression and purification, in vitro biochemical assays, next-generation sequencing approaches, and the computational analysis of large datasets.

BIOL 107 & 108 (or equivalent)
Internal Motivation
Excellent attention to detail
Willingness to try, fail, and try again

Students should directly address why they are interested in my research and how it is connected to their academic interests at Vassar and/or their plans after graduation. Students should also describe any research experience they have had, any relevant courses they have taken, as well as any obstacles that have previously prevented them from acquiring research experience.

Students should not contact me directly. I will review all applications and reach out to potential candidates.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Research in the Gall lab focuses on interactions between acoustically mediated behaviors (i.e. behaviors that require sound), auditory processing, and the environment. We have been particularly interested in how anthropogenic noise (noise caused by humans) affects the behavior and hearing of predators and prey. To fully understand these relationships, we need a nuanced picture of how the environment influences the propagation of acoustic information, as well as the spatial and temporal distributions of anthropogenic noise. Specifically, we'll be conducting a playback experiment to investigate how the calls and songs of three small birds — black-capped chickadees, tufted titmice, and white-breasted nuthatches — propagate through the environment. We’ll also be characterizing vegetation structure and noise profiles in these environments. Students working on this project will become familiar with animal behavior, bioacoustics, recording and playback equipment, as well as sound and statistical analysis software. Work will be split between field experiments and analysis in the lab. For a more complete picture of the work we do in the lab, please check out our recent publications and the Gall Lab website: https://pages.vassar.edu/sensoryecology/

Successful applicants will ideally have the following: 

  1. At least two introductory science courses (physics or computer science helpful, but not required)
  2. Willingness and ability to work outside (including the heat, hills, brambles, mosquitos, etc.)
  3. Good time management
  4. Strong organization
  5. Able to work collaboratively
  6. Interest in the project

Please take a look at our website and/or recent publications (you don't need to read them all!). Once you are familiar with our work, please send an email to me (Dr. Gall) that addresses how you meet the requirements that are listed above (1-2 paragraphs at most). Then we'll set up a time to chat about the project and what it entails.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

The gut microbiome is a complex and dynamic community of microorganisms that impacts systems throughout the human body. Gut microbes produce tryptophan metabolites that regulate inflammation, maintain the integrity of the gut lining, and are known to be important in inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. A change in the gut microbiome, termed dysbiosis, is often associated with disease. The purpose of this study is to investigate the production of, and response to, microbial tryptophan metabolites in people with myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and Long COVID. These complex post-infection chronic diseases have similar symptoms and may have similar underlying biological basis. Several studies have described dysbiosis and leaky gut in people with Long COVID and ME/CFS, suggesting possible alteration in microbial regulation of body systems. In addition, the symptoms and affected systems in Long COVID and ME/CFS are consistent with disrupted microbial regulation. We hypothesize that the microbiomes of people with Long COVID and ME/CFS produce larger amounts of regulatory metabolites, contributing to pathological inflammation and disrupted gut homeostasis. In this project, we will be using reporter cell lines, qPCR, metabolomics, and other assays to measure microbial metabolite function from stool samples from patients and controls.

Rising Sophomores: Biol 108 required. Additional lab experience beneficial. Experience or interest in data analysis is beneficial but not required. Must have, or be willing to receive, the Hepatitis B vaccine. Rising Juniors/Seniors: must be doing current research with Prof Esteban.

Rising Sophomores: Promising students will be contacted for an interview. Students may reach out to me by email as well to express interest, but is not necessary. Rising Juniors/Seniors: must be doing current research with Prof Esteban.

8-week URSI: May 28–July 19

The Pater lab is conducting research to understand the physiology of woody vines on the preserve, including two native species and two non-native species. Data collection will be done on sites throughout the preserve, including some experimental plots at the field station. Students will be sampling plant material and taking measurements of photosynthesis and water potential of plants in the field.

Students must be comfortable working outdoors. The work can be physical, including plant maintenance and transportation of equipment on the preserve. Students should have at minimum completed BIOL 107 and 108, with preference given to students who have taken courses in ecology or other plant science courses.

Students should email me to indicate their interest. Previous research experience is not necessary, I am looking for students who enjoy being outdoors and want to work as part of a team to investigate ecological issues that are happening right here on campus.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Insects are the most diverse group of animals on Earth, with over 1 million described species and an estimated total of over 20 million in total. Insects play a vital role in ecosystems, as pollinators, predators, and decomposers. They are also a major source of food for many other animals. However, insect populations are threatened in many regions, and habitat loss due to human activities is among the most prescient threats to insect biodiversity. 

Students will take part in broad studies on insect biodiversity. We will collect specimens via various trapping and netting techniques, identify specimens, and calculate species richness, evenness, and diversity across different ecosystem types. Additionally, students will learn proper preservation techniques, creating an insect collection that will be used by Vassar students in the future.

At least 2 biology courses. Ecology is not a requirement but useful.

Feel free to reach out to me via email, I'd be happy to chat, but this is not necessary. I'll be reading all resumes and transcripts regardless.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2


Electric arc-vaporization of graphite is known to produce closed shell spherical molecules called fullerenes. Vaporization of graphite rods which have hollow cores that are then packed with metal oxides can result in fullerenes with metal atoms or small clusters of metal atoms trapped inside. The goal of this work is to produce these endohedral metallo fullerenes using the Vassar arc-vapor synthesis reactor, and then do chemical reactions to functionalize their surfaces. Among the surface functionalization reactions we are considering are options that confer water solubility to the resulting compounds, thus providing a route to novel medicines.

General and Organic Chemistry courses should be completed

Interested students should contact me at chsmart@vassar.edu to arrange for a short discussion/interview.

8-week URSI: May 28–July 19

Antibiotic resistant bacterial infections pose a major threat to human health. Bacteria primarily acquire resistance genes through a process called conjugative plasmid transfer (CPT). During CPT a DNA plasmid encoding antibiotic resistance genes is transported from a donor cell to recipient. Before transfer, the conjugative plasmid is processed by an essential complex of proteins. Despite its importance, the basic molecular details of this complex remain poorly studied. We will use biochemical and biophysical techniques to characterize the conjugative proteins that form this essential processing complex. These studies help to provide further understanding of essential microbial processes at the molecular level. Students working in the lab will gain experience with gel electrophoresis, protein expression and purification, in vitro enzyme assays, and protein crystallization.

Required Course: Chem 125. 

Optional/Preferred Courses: Bio 107 (or equivalent intro bio course); Bio 272 (preferred)

In their application, students should describe briefly 1) why they are interested in this project, and 2) what unique or interesting aspect of their background/perspective they can bring to science.

Students do not need to contact me directly. After reviewing the applications, I will contact selected candidates about setting up an interview.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

This project seeks to design and synthesize a new class of catalysts based on group 13 metals in the +1 formal oxidation state. These novel compounds are predicted to have unusual electronic structures, which will enable a variety of chemical bond activations that are typically mediated by more expensive, and oftentimes toxic, transition metals. The inherent differences between main group (p-block) and transition (d-block) metals may also lead to the discovery of unknown complementary reactivity. Successful efforts will open up new fields of chemical research in catalysis using nontoxic, earth-abundant metals. Group members will be trained to handle highly reactive molecules using Schlenk techniques and a nitrogen-filled glovebox to avoid oxygen and water. Compounds synthesized in lab will be analyzed using nuclear magnetric resonance (NMR), UV-Visible, and infrared (IR) spectroscopies, as well as by X-ray diffractometry. Computational methods such as density functional theory (DFT) will also be used to help us gain a deeper understanding of the electronic structures and reactivities of these new chemical compounds.

Interested students must have completed at least one chemistry laboratory course at Vassar. It is recommended that students have also completed organic chemistry (CHEM 244/245).

Students should email me (mdrance@vassar.edu) to express their interest in summer research. We will then schedule a meeting to discuss motivation for participating in research and possible career goals. Students must meet with me before their application will be considered.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

The microtubule associated protein tau has many important cellular functions, most notably stabilizing and organizing microtubules in axons. Abnormal tau behavior is also prevalent in several neurodegenerative disorders such as Pick’s disease, frontotemporal dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, which are all characterized by abnormal aggregation of the protein into structures known as paired helical filaments (PHFs) and neurofibrillary tangles. Structurally, tau is an intrinsically disordered protein with domains that are persistently disordered even when the protein is bound to microtubules or assembled into disease-relevant aggregates. The goal of this project is to build a better understanding of the behavior of tau's disordered domains when it is bound to microtubules or when it is assembled into PHFs. This project will investigate the properties of tau when it is bound to solid supports in physiologically-relevant conformations, applying an atomic force microscopy (AFM) assay that interrogates the protein at the nanoscale. Both AFM force spectroscopy and imaging will be used in order to conduct physical-mechanical characterization of normal tau and pro-aggregant mutants, and to examine heterogeneity in assemblies of the protein. The behavior of surface-bound tau will be compared to its behavior in solution, to develop a better understanding of its varied physical behaviors.

Required courses: CHEM 125, BIOL107 or 108. An additional important related course is BIOL/CHEM 272.

Please write a short paragraph (less than 200 words) describing your academic and career interests, as well as specific interest in this project.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

2-Naphthols are important structures in a number of organic molecules, from biologically active natural products, to synthetic drug candidates, to certain types of dyes. Recently we discovered an efficient, metal-free, and environmentally benign method to synthesize 2-naphthols from 1-indanone derivatives. The method and proposed mechanism behind it has not yet been reported, and it does not require chromatographic purification until the final step, allowing for an expedient synthesis. The focus of this project is to develop the scope of the rearrangement as well as to use the products we make to synthesize analogues of known biologically active compounds.

Successful completion of CHEM244 and CHEM245 required, Advanced Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry recommended but not required. Students should exhibit adaptability and a willingness to fail, learn from the results, and try again.

Students will be contacted for interviews by Prof. Howard after all applications are reviewed.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Cyclic peptides containing 4 amino acid residues are present in a variety of natural products that are known to have extremely high activity against numerous cancer cell lines. Unfortunately, 4 amino acid residues is the perfect number to prevent head-to-hail cyclization of linear precursors; these reactions are extremely limited in their utility, wasteful, and often prone to complete failure. Therefore, CTPs are currently unable to be synthesized for biological assessment in an effective and general way. This project aims to develop an alternative method to synthesize cyclic tetrapeptides using a ring-expansion methodology as opposed to the traditional cyclization. The ring-expansion method is under development, but is expected to be more general and more effective than existing methods, thereby allowing for the production of CTP libraries for biological testing.

Successful completion of CHEM244 and CHEM245 required, Advanced Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry recommended but not required. Students should exhibit adaptability and a willingness to fail, learn from the results, and try again.

Students will be contacted for interviews by Prof. Howard after all applications are reviewed.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Cognitive Science

Americans are more divided than ever on issues like climate change, foreign policy, and education. In recent years, political rhetoric has been amplified by social media and in the public discourse, increasing the polarization that threatens our democratic institutions (Klein, 2020). Research has found that face-to-face conversations can increase empathy for opposing viewpoints and help change minds, even for topics people care deeply about (e.g., Broockman & Kalla, 2016). However, this is a slow process, and such conversations can be difficult to hold in spaces dominated by specific viewpoints that are enforced by punitive social norms. To address this problem, we aim to develop a conversational artificial intelligence (AI) agent that will enable people to converse about hot button issues in a private, safe environment. Large Language Models (LLMs) like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Google’s Bard exhibit sophisticated linguistic and reasoning skills and can be tailored for a broad range of purposes. A recent paper showed that LLMs can be used to rapidly scale up micro-targeted political ads, which are especially persuasive (Simchon, Edwards, and Lewandowsky, 2024). While there are valid concerns about the dangers posed by LLMs in the public sphere (e.g., in spreading misinformation), our goal is to explore whether their capacity for natural conversations can result in similar increases for out-group tolerance and respect for opposing viewpoints as face-to-face conversations. In this project, we will identify a social issue where citizens hold polarized views (e.g., support for public education). We will then create LLMs designed to use different strategies to converse about the issue, answer questions, and guide people through both sides of the debate. Next, we will design and run a large, pre-registered experiment online to test the efficacy of the LLMs in shifting people’s tolerance for opposing views and willingness to engage with people they disagree with. In the future, we plan to test whether this technology could be used to facilitate difficult conversations in educational settings and online, where disagreeing with majority views can be costly.

This project will involve working with large language models, experiment design, building web-based experiments, and data analysis. Background in any of these topics is useful, but not essential.

Students do not need to reach out in advance of submitting an application.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

If you looked at the data from 100 different behavioral experiments, chances are that you'd encounter about 100 different ways of recording that data. Researchers have their own preferences about file formats, naming conventions, folder organization, and documentation. This adds a lot of friction to data sharing, a core component of the open science movement. In this project, we will work on refining and implementing a data standard called Psych-DS (https://github.com/psych-DS/psych-DS) for experiments conducted with jsPsych (https://www.jspsych.org). jsPsych is a widely used platform for conducting behavioral research, and adding Psych-DS support will help advance the goal of creating a shared data standard across behavioral research. One exciting consequence of implementing a data standard is that data becomes machine readable, enabling new technologies to be built on top of the standard. Depending on the student's interests, we may explore this facet of the overall project as well.

This project will involve a combination of conceptual work related to experimental methods and programming work to implement the data standard in jsPsych. jsPsych is written in JavaScript. While previous experience with JavaScript is not required, students should be comfortable with programming in at least one language. Experience with research methods, collaborative code development (e.g., GitHub), and JavaScript are all benefits.

Students should submit an application that highlights their experiences with programming and experimental methods. For example, including a link to a previous project or a description of previous work is very helpful.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

In the summer of 2022, we built a full-scale humanoid robot (torso only) to be used in student and faculty research projects and in classroom demonstrations. The build incorporated minimal movement software and no real intelligence on board. During the summer of 2023 we began the process of building software systems that (1) do initial processing of auditory and visual information for speech and object recognition, (2) control the motors that produce body and limb movement, and (3) connect information from sensors with motor systems so that the robot can respond intelligently to what is happening around it. This is a complex systems integration problem, and only part of (1) of the build is well in hand at this moment. This coming summer will focus on integrating parts (2) and (3) into the final build.

Coursework or other experience in cognitive science (especially embodied-situated approaches) and computer science are extremely important. Prior experience with autonomous robots is a definite plus but not required.

Students should contact me directly via email to set up an appointment for an interview. It is not necessary to include information beyond the resume and transcript with the email. Expression of interest and times available for an interview are sufficient.

A large body of research and theory in cognitive science tells us that the way intelligence is embodied has a great deal to do with how that intelligence works and what it is capable of accomplishing. For the last two summers, we have been building a humanoid robot (named HARPER) for use in research projects and classroom demonstrations, and we are currently using that robot as a platform for developing a first generation of software to allow the robot to engage in intelligent action in real time. During this process, we have discovered a number of ways in which the first robot body is not nearly as functional as it could be. Last summer we began the process of prototyping alternative body components and motor systems. This coming summer we will continue the design, construction, and testing of this new HARPER 2.0. The work will focus primarily on the mechanical and electrical engineering of the body but will at times require some simple coding during performance testing.

A solid background in embodied-situated approaches to cognition is important. Mechanical skills and aptitude are highly desirable, including work with hand tools, power tools, 3D printers, and other fabrication techniques. Some understanding of coding in any language is desirable. Background or experience in electronics is a real plus as well.

Students should contact me directly via email to set up an appointment for an interview. It is not necessary to include information beyond the resume and transcript with the email. Expression of interest and times available for an interview are sufficient.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Mathematics and Statistics

During this URSI project, I will mentor participants as they learn mathematical and programming techniques for modeling natural phenomena such as disease spread, ecological systems, behavioral response, and optimal control of such systems. Split into two, this project starts with daily lessons, problem sets, and conversations where we explore potential applications and work. The second half will involve the participants coming up with their OWN project ideas and then we will spend the rest of the program seeking answers to key research questions related to the student's interest. In the past, we've modeled addiction behavior, vector-borne and water-borne diseases, and colony collapse disorder of honey bees.

The academic prerequisite is integral calculus (MATH 126/127) and a passion for solving open problems in the life sciences using computational tools. Preference may be given to those who have exposure to differential equations (MATH 228) or methods of applied math (MATH 215) but these classes are not required. In the past, mathematics, statistics, computer science, biology, and STS students have all seen success with my project.

If you're interested in this project, please email me (Subject Line "URSI Application 24") and write a bit about what interests you about this project, what skills you think will be relevant, and a little about the types of life science topics you find most interesting.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Grab the nearest cable or string (a phone charging cable is perfect), and hold one end in each hand. The cable’s shape forms a particular curve in three-dimensional space. If you move your hands, the cable’s shape can change. How should we mathematically describe all possible shapes the cable can have?

In this project, we will characterize the topological properties of free configuration spaces for flexible objects. The configuration space of a flexible object is the set of all shapes the object can assume, and the free configuration space is the subset of shapes that satisfy certain constraints. The constraints we will consider include ensuring that the flexible object does not have self-contact and that the object is stable (in terms of minimizing elastic potential energy).

We will explore two case studies. First, we will analyze the free configuration space of a concentric tube robot, which is a type of minimally invasive surgical robot. Second, we will analyze the free configuration space of an elastic surface. This analysis will utilize both analytical methods and simulations. Understanding the topological properties of these spaces (e.g., connectedness, compactness, presence of holes) is valuable when manipulating the flexible object from one shape to another.

Students participating in this project should have completed MATH 220 - Multivariable Calculus and MATH 221 - Linear Algebra. Completing MATH 228 - Ordinary Differential Equations and Applications and having previous experience with computer programming will be helpful, but are not required.

If you have any questions about this project or would like to learn more, please feel free to reach out by email and we can schedule a time to chat. If you plan to apply for this project, please let me know by email so that we can schedule a time to meet and discuss your interests, background, and more details about the project.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Physics and Astronomy

Students will assist with the analysis and study of the demographic properties of infrared spectra taken by Keck-NIRSPEC of a large (~200) sample of young stars and their planet-forming disks. Infrared spectroscopy of disks with ongoing planet formation gives us insight into the gas and chemical content of the inner regions of the disk, where we expect terrestrial planets to form. This project will focus on connecting properties of the inner disk (derived from the sample of infrared spectra) to properties of the outer disk (obtained via literature review of radio imaging of these disks). This analysis will help further astronomer's understanding of the processes of planet formation by probing this connection.

All interested students should send me an email so we can set up an appointment to discuss the project and their relevant experience.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

This project will have a student analyze simulated halos of gas surrounding galaxies of a similar mass as our Milky Way Galaxy. This halo plays a vital role in regulating the evolution of the central galaxy by facilitating various energetic inflow and outflow processes. Only recently are direct observations of these halos possible, thus much of our understanding results from modeling these environments. The model used to create this simulated data is able to capture the ever-evolving chemistry that develops within this chaotic environment. The analysis will investigate the role of magnetic fields and turbulent feedback in this gaseous halo and how they influence its properties, something that remains unknown for these masses of galaxies. The student will work on modifying current and creating new Python code to plot various properties such as the magnetic field strengths, gas motions, and its temperature. Upon completing this project, the student will become more proficient in the Python programming language, learn how to navigate command line interfaces, learn about galaxy characteristics, and how they are influenced by the physics considered in the model.

Python coding and having taken at least one ASTR course (preferably 200/300 level)

I would like to interview students (either in-person or via Zoom) to ensure they possess the skills necessary to progress on the project and talk expectations. If students are interested in this project, they may email me and I will promptly respond and set up a meeting time, answer additional questions, or anything else.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Our research group successfully developed a micro- and nano-fabrication method using electron beam lithography (EBL) last year. We achieved a resolution at the nanoscale scale across extensive areas exceeding 50 microns. My research team will expand this technique to the grayscale scenario this year. Specifically, we will create patterns with varying levels of depth. This innovative form of EBL will enable us to fabricate three-dimensional structures and improve the manipulation of light-matter interactions on the nanoscale.

Any student at Vassar would be able to work on this project. Elementary physics and calculus are preferred. Preference will be given to female students.

Please contact me by email. 10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Over the last three years, I have been interested in developing technologies to allow visually impaired people to explore the amazing nanotechnology world. In this project, we will develop different models of nanoscale technologies that have revolutionized our modern lives. We will use a set of techniques, like 3D printing and casting, for the fabrication of the models.

Any student at Vassar would be able to work on this project. ​​Please contact me by email.

Please contact me by email. 10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Students will assist with the analysis of spectral data from the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Spectra of planet-forming regions were obtained as part of the JWST Disk Infrared Spectral Chemistry Survey (JDISCS) program. Analysis is ongoing to interpret the data to detect and determine the properties of molecules and atoms in these regions, to place constraints on planet-formation models. In particular, we are interested in understanding how the chemistry of planet-forming regions may influence the properties of the final planets that form.

Students should have taken ASTR 230. ASTR 240 or ASTR 330 experience is also helpful, and students with such experience will be given priority.

All interested students should send me an email so we can set up an appointment to discuss the project and their relevant experience.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Ultrafast lasers produce pulses of light that are less than 1 picosecond (A millionth of a millionth of a second) in duration. These remarkable light sources allow for investigations of extremely short-lived phenomena in solid materials. Of particular interest to my research group are the conduction of heat and the propagation of ultrasound in novel nanostructures. We have several goals this summer. First, we have an ongoing project to study very thin semiconducting solids that can be formed thin enough to be called "2-D materials". Second, in specially designed nanostructures we can generate and detect ultrasonic vibrations that are roughly 1000 times higher frequency than traditional medical ultrasound. Techniques will include laser experiments, the growth of thin metal films, atomic force microscopy, and computational modeling of vibrational and electromagnetic waves.

Required - PHYS 114

Recommended - PHYS 200, 202/203, 210 and MATH 220, 221, 228

students do not need to contact me in order to express their interest.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

Dynamic diffraction (DOD) is a form of microscopy that allows the dynamic tracking of changing shapes in a 1D time series. DOD is capable of capturing the locomotion of a nematode while swimming freely in a 3D space, allowing the locomotion of the worm to more closely mimic natural behavior than in some other laboratory environments. More importantly, we can see markers of chaos as DOD covers dynamics on multiple length scales. This work introduces a multichannel method to measure the dynamic complexity of microscopic organisms. We show that parameters associated with chaos, such as the largest Lyapunov exponent (LLE), the mean frequency, mutual information (MI), and the embedding dimension, may be associated with various gaits. These chaotic markers may be an indication of a neuronal switch in the head oscillator governing the locomotion of the nematode.

PHYS 113/114

 I would like to meet the students before hiring them.

10-week URSI: May 28 – August 2

This will be a physics education research (PER) project with a focus on the laboratory component of an introductory physics course. I need a student to help me in developing this component. The student helper will be intricately involved in testing new approaches based on current research. They will also help me with a continuing research review of the literature regarding lab development (of which there is ample). There will be lots of testing of equipment in scenarios which according to the literature promote students' lab skills. These skills include experimental design, specific scientific skills (e.g. data analysis) that the research seems to indicate is required for the typical physics undergraduate to succeed in their career. Time will be spent on methods of assessment as well (both research of the literature and development) and we will investigate and implement new assessment tools such as the PMQ (physics measurement questionnaire). We should be able to come out of the project with 2 or 3 complete "labs" and specific plans for more.

The student would have to have done well in an introductory physics course (ideally at Vassar) and ideally be a physics major. The student should be able to quickly learn about and work with the multitude of software and hardware used in a modern physics laboratory and class. Students ideally should be interested in education and how students learn as well and have an interest in reading through journal articles.

8-week URSI: May 28–July 19