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Spotlight on Thesis

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Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014
Senior Thesis Title Video Still

The senior thesis is a defining moment in the lives of many Princeton seniors. In this video, Valerie Smith, Dean of the College from 2011-2015,  talks about the importance of independent work and graduating seniors reflect on their thesis journeys.

Posted: Monday, April 14, 2014
Photo of Maura O' Brien

A video documenting Maura O'Brien's senior thesis in art and archeology follows her as she works with wood and paint.

Posted: Monday, June 22, 2015
Eamon Foley '15.

From studying the culture of war to creating a theater piece featuring aerial choreography, Eamon Foley's senior year at Princeton allowed him to experiment with and execute many of the ideas that had interested him for years. For his theater thesis, Foley blended his academic studies with his professional experience as a performer to create an original theater-dance piece titled "Hero."

Posted: Friday, May 20, 2016
Tracy K. Smith and Alec Lowman '16. Image courtesy of the Offices of Annual Giving and Development Communications.

The senior thesis is helping Alec Lowman ’16 find a sense of himself in the world as an artist, says Professor Tracy K. Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and director of the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Program in Creative Writing—and it inspires her.

Posted: Monday, July 2, 2018

At a Sunday afternoon performance of “Trailing Rhiannon” this spring, Emma Watkins of the Class of 2018 sat atop the balcony of the Wallace Theater, anxiously watching the performance.

Stories - Class of 2019

Princeton Research Day Explores the Research Process Across Disciplines
Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2019

 

Say the word “research,” and the first images that come to mind might be a test tube, a microchip, or a laser and safety goggles.

But at the fourth annual Princeton Research Day, the sciences and engineering will share center stage with research on topics such as 17th-century Italian keyboard music, reflections on the musical “Legally Blonde” and a supernova illustrated by dance.

Princeton Research Day starts at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 9, in the Frist Campus Center. The event is free and open to the public.

“Princeton Research Day embraces the liberal arts philosophy of the University by bringing together ideas from different fields,” said Karla Ewalt, associate dean for research. “Creativity and inspiration develop when we move beyond our own perspective to see things through a new lens.”

There will be 10 arts presentations, the most thus far at Princeton Research Day, that will illustrate how the arts intersect with research. “By featuring the arts this year, we want to expand the view of research to explicitly include all types of creative and intellectual endeavors that help us appreciate humanity and understand our world,” said Ewalt.

The day will include more than 200 students and early-career researchers presenting from the natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, arts and humanities. Some participants will give 10-minute talks with a digital presentation or performance. Others will give a 90-second pitch, and many will present posters or exhibits, which will be on display on the main floor of Frist.

Click here to read more.

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Friday, October 4, 2019

Here is the Center for Career Development's weekly compilation of research positions, as advertised through Handshake. Click here for additional Career Development tools/resources. Feel free to contact the Center for Career Development if you have any questions regarding the opportunities listed below or contact the Office of Undergraduate Research if you have other questions about doing research.

 

RESEARCH POSITIONS:

Research Assistant – Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Apply by 10/14/19. Investigate the role of the MYCN oncogene in regulating inflammatory signaling and the immune response in the childhood cancer neuroblastoma using cell and molecular biology techniques including cell culture, qPCR, western blotting, and gene modification using CRISPR, among others.

 

Full-time Research Assistant – Booth School of Business – University of Chicago

Apply by 10/29/19. Princeton Professor Owen Zidar and U. Chicago Professor Eric Zwick seek 2 highly skilled and motivated individuals to work as full-time RAs for a period of two years, entailing close collaboration on new and ongoing empirical projects in applied microeconomics and public policy.

Rachel Jackson ’11 Works to Tackle Labor Abuses
Posted: Wednesday, October 9, 2019
Courtesy Rachel Jackson '11

Earlier this year, a new nonprofit dedicated to eradicating human and environmental abuses in company supply chains succeeded where investigative journalists have often failed.

Transparentem forced a number of major Western brands, including Target, Nike, and Fruit of the Loom, to act on fresh evidence of labor abuses in their Malaysian apparel factories.

The nonprofit did so by taking an effective new tack. Transparentem asked the companies privately first about what it had uncovered, instead of rushing to shame them in the press, The Guardian noted in June. The result was companies committing to real change at the factories, rather than quickly severing ties with them.

One of the people helping pioneer this strategy at Transparentem is the nonprofit’s operations chief Rachel Jackson ’11. And it was at Princeton that Jackson, an Amherst, Mass., native, first became interested in finding more effective ways to bring about change.

 

Click here to read more.

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2019
NCRC

The Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association (HCURA) invites undergraduate students at Princeton University to attend the National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC) held at Harvard University on January 24-26, 2020. 

NCRC is a large-scale, multidisciplinary forum held annually at Harvard University, where the most accomplished undergraduate students from across the United States and internationally convene each year to share their research in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences.  The core vision behind this conference is to provide student researchers with the opportunity to hear from the world’s leading authorities in academia, policy, and industry, as well as to foster important exchanges and dialogue between students. Last year, after being selected through a competitive application process, over 200 participants from nearly 75 universities across America and abroad attended this conference. NCRC hopes to expand the perspective of undergraduate researchers through offering exposure to diverse fields and to facilitate the discourse on collaboration, leadership, and social impact in research that will be invaluable in future pursuits. 

In the last five years, NCRC has been honored to host speakers including Marcia K. McNutt (President of the National Academy of Sciences and former Editor-in-Chief of Science), Jeffrey D. Sachs (American economist and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia), Harold Varmus (former director of NIH and Nobel Prize Laureate), Gina McCarthy (former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency), Stephen Wolfram (founder and CEO of Wolfram Research), Vivek Murthy (Former Surgeon General) as well as many other notable individuals in academia, policy, and industry. NCRC anticipates expanding its reach to even greater heights for our upcoming 2020 conference.

Apply now!! The application deadline for general applications is December 1st, 2019 (11:59PM EST). 

For the application and further information click here:  http://ncrc.hcura.org/.  

 

A delicate balance: Student films examine needs of humans and wildlife in Kenya
Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2019
Video still by Nicolas Chae, Ingrid Koester, Maende J, and Lauren Olson

Students in the Global Seminar “Documentary Filmmaking in Kenya: Visual Storytelling on Wildlife and Wildlands Conservation” made five short films as part of the summer course based at the Mpala Research Centre. In the summer of 2019, a group of Princeton undergraduates embarked on a six-week Global Seminar in central Kenya, studying ecology and conservation as well as filmmaking fundamentals with Princeton faculty and other renowned instructors.

In teams, the students — many with no previous film experience — produced their documentaries while working in the field alongside faculty, Mpala scientists and researchers, and local residents. Each team included a Kenyan undergraduate, giving students from both countries the chance to work with and learn from collaborators from another culture.

View the student films in this YouTube Playlist or Vimeo Showcase.

Click here to read more.

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Monday, October 21, 2019
Photo from QSURE web page

Here is the Center for Career Development's weekly compilation of research events, opportunities, and positions, as advertised through Handshake. Click here for additional Career Development tools/resources. Feel free to contact the Center for Career Development if you have any questions regarding the opportunities listed below or contact the Office of Undergraduate Research if you have other questions about doing research.

 

UPCOMING EVENTS 

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Mechanical, Aeronautical, and Nuclear Engineering Webinar

Event Date: 10/23/19, 9am-10:30am. Faculty and graduate students will provide an overview of their PhD programs and discuss their research and life as graduate students at RPI. Learn about the application process – and have your application fee waived for attending the webinar!

 

U.S. Department of Energy | Office of Science Virtual Career Fair

Event Date 10/24/19, 12pm-3pm. Chat with recruiters, scientists, and researchers; Explore information about each lab/facility; Learn more about the Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internships (SULI) program at several participating Department of Energy labs/facilities.

 

INDUSTRY OPPORTUNITIES 

Data Engineer/Collateral Analyst – Bayview Asset Management

Joining the research team which develops and implements statistical models for the valuation of mortgage assets. This role will be to develop, maintain, and enhance the various databases used within the Research group, and to also make the monthly data loading processes more efficient.

 

Associate Electrical Engineer – Northrop Grumman

Defense Electronic Business Unit. Work in Sensors and Algorithms & RF Technology: Research, develop, design, and test electrical components, equipment, systems, and networks; Design facilities, components, products, and systems for commercial, industrial, and domestic purposes.

 

R&D Internship – Solenis

Leading global producer of specialty chemicals for water intensive industries. Intern will be given 1 or more industrial research projects supported by a Senior Investigator w/goal to meet project objectives, prepare a summary report and seminar within 10-12 weeks of an internship.

 

RESEARCH POSITIONS  

Quantitative Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (QSURE) Program - Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Shared by a current student! 10-week summer program designed for exceptional undergrads w/an aptitude in quant sciences and an interest in cancer and population health. Individual research program w/exposure to methods in biostatistics, epidemiology and health outcomes research.

 

NOAA Student Scholarship Applications Open!
Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019
Hollings Scholar Ahmed Abdelqader presents his research at the 2017 American Meteorological Society meeting. (Credit: Jing He)

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is pleased to announce the availability of scholarships for undergraduate students majoring in disciplines related to oceanic and atmospheric science, research, or technology, and supportive of the purposes of NOAA’s programs and mission. Over 100 students are selected each year for participation in the Ernest F. Hollings and Educational Partnership Program (EPP) scholarship programs. These scholarships include support for two years of undergraduate study and summer internship opportunities at NOAA facilities across the country.  

For information on program benefits and how to apply, visit our web sites:

· Educational Partnership Program Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/eppscholarship

o   Application Deadline:  January 31, 2020

· Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship: www.noaa.gov/hollings

o   Application Deadline:  January 31, 2020 

Eligibility Requirements:

· US Citizen 

· 3.0 GPA (Hollings) or 3.2 GPA (EPP)

· Full-time second year student at an accredited four-year undergraduate program or third year student at a five-year undergraduate program; community college or transfer students must provide proof of application to a four-year institution when applying for the scholarship and submit proof of acceptance prior to starting the program

· Majoring in NOAA mission disciplines, including but not limited to: atmospheric science, biology, cartography, chemistry, computer science, education, engineering, environmental science, geodesy, geography, marine science, mathematics, meteorology, oceanography, physical science, photogrammetry, physics, etc.

· Enrolled at a Minority Serving Institution (EPP Scholarship only)

For further information, contact the Office of Education Scholarship Programs at: StudentScholarshipPrograms@noaa.gov or (301) 628-2913

Undergrad Opportunity in Bioethics Research
Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2019

The Mayo Clinic Biomedical Ethics Research Program is seeking undergraduate trainees to participate in the 2020 Summer Undergraduate Program in Ethics Research (SUPER).

For information regarding the application requirements, see this document: PDF iconSUPER 2020.pdf 

Typically, a large interest is in students who come from premed, prelaw or philosophy backgrounds, but students from all disciplines are welcome to apply. 

If you have any questions, contact Jessica R. Hirsch, D. Bioethics, MA, CIP, Education Coordinator and Instructor of Biomedical Ethics, College of Medicine and Science:

Phone: 507-538-4023
Fax: 507-538-0850
E-mail: hirsch.jessica@mayo.edu

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Thursday, November 7, 2019
PSIP

Here is the Center for Career Development's weekly compilation of research events, opportunities, and positions, as advertised through Handshake. Click here for additional Career Development tools/resources. Feel free to contact the Center for Career Development if you have any questions regarding the opportunities listed below or contact the Office of Undergraduate Research if you have other questions about doing research.

 

INDUSTRY OPPORTUNITIES 

Princeton Startup Immersion Program (PSIP) 

Intern w/a startup company this summer in NYC, Shanghai or Tel Aviv! Open to  undergrads and grad students – Software Engineering, Product Development, Marketing, Design, Writing & Editing, Strategy & Operations, Electrical Engineering, UX Intern, Marketplace Expansion, R&D, Account Management, Business Development, Social Media/Community Growth, Content Developer, AI Engineer, Presales Engineer, Investment Intern, Business Operations, Blockchain Core Development, Technology Evangelist, Computer Vision AI Researcher, and MORE! Applications open November 4 – December 1.

Research Associate – PharmaCadence Analytical Services

Participate in analytical development activities in pharma and life sciences using state of the art mass spectrometry technology. In this exciting role, apply your enthusiasm and technical skills as a member of a small startup in the Philadelphia region. 

 

 

RESEARCH POSITIONS 

Pathways to Computing Internship Program 

10-week summer program at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Work on research projects in computer science, computational science, and math in diverse domains including computer science, health data science, and climate science.

Yale Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Developmental Psychopathology and Social Neuroscience

2-year training program involving clinical research experience. Daily activities relate to behavioral, psychophysiological, eye-tracking and neuroimaging studies of toddlers and children with and without autism. With research mentorship, selected applicants will be expected to guide a pre-determined project of research from the point of data collection through analysis and publication of results.

Yale Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in Development of Neuroscience in Autism

2-year training program in data science, cutting-edge computational technologies in a clinically based developmental disabilities research lab. Role involves rapid prototyping and robust development of translational technologies, which may include eye-tracking technologies, image processing, physiological sensing technologies, machine learning projects and experimental paradigms. With research mentorship, selected applicants will be expected to guide a pre-determined project of research from the point of data collection through analysis and publication of results.

FDA Data Science and Visual Analytics Fellowship

Under the guidance of a mentor, potential training projects include contributing to the development of visual analytical dashboards in Python, Qlik Sense, or Tableau; and data analysis of complex, large relational datasets in Python or other analytical tools.

Postgraduate Research in Molecular Biology Laboratory Techniques

Research opp w/USDA, Milwaukee, WI. Learn real-world lab techniques involving MolBio, microbiology and cell-culture, understanding of how stress, nutrition, and other factors, affect the innate immune response in rainbow trout cell-lines and rainbow trout.

Stories - Class of 2018

Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Princeton senior Ugonna Nwabueze, a first-generation Nigerian American, grew up in Brooklyn, New York, but the stories her father told her about being a child soldier in the Nigerian civil war, which began in 1967, haunted her.

Posted: Thursday, May 3, 2018

Taylor Griffith wanted her senior thesis to focus on strong black female leads on television shows, so she began her investigation the way most students do, by checking the available literature. But when the Princeton student made her first trip to B Floor at Firestone Library, she came up short.

Posted: Monday, May 7, 2018

When the Khan family left Pakistan with their three young children, they never imagined that their then-3-year-old daughter would return as a student at Princeton University, let alone that she would be tackling a problem that has frustrated global health researchers.

Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2018

Before engineers can build a reactor to produce electricity from fusion, they have to make the reactor’s walls able to withstand the heat and energetic particles from the reactions. It is a hellish environment and requires a very special material.

Posted: Thursday, May 31, 2018

When Princeton University senior Alana Reynolds arrived in Mozambique last June to conduct fieldwork for her thesis, she realized that she had to see elephants differently if she wanted to help protect them.

Stories - Class of 2017

Posted: Thursday, April 27, 2017
Shaikh's photo

Nabil Shaikh's senior thesis took him more than 8,000 miles from Princeton to Hyderabad, India, where he interviewed terminally ill cancer patients about their experience with end-of-life care. 

Posted: Monday, May 8, 2017
Rosales Photo

To meet the requirements of his major in English and certificates in creative writing, theater and Latino studies, Princeton senior Edwin Rosales had to write not one but two senior theses. The first in his family to go to college, he drew on his own experience of emigrating to the U.S. from Guatemala as a child and extensive research to write a collection of short stories and a play. Rosales said the arts at Princeton empowered him and built his confidence as a writer.

Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Isabella Douglas

Builder José Mosquera’s masterwork languishes in a wooded area outside Havana, Cuba, going slowly to ruin and being colonized by trees and vines. But when Princeton University senior Isabella Douglas and a team of students met him on the grounds of Cuba’s National School of Ballet last November, Mosquera gave them a rare gift.

Posted: Monday, July 3, 2017

When Arthur Edward Imperatore III showed up at his adviser’s office to discuss the first draft of his senior thesis, he was anxious. He knew that the classics department encouraged, alongside traditional studies of ancient texts in their original languages and contexts, creative interpretations of the works that could cast light on their enduring relevance to the present. In this vein Arthur had been inspired by Xenophon’s “Anabasis,” a first-person memoir written by a Greek gentleman-soldier who signed on as a mercenary for the young, charismatic and ambitious Persian prince Cyrus. In Arthur’s eyes, this old warhorse of the intermediate Greek curriculum still had a little life in him, in fact its dramatic story made it a perfect subject for a television mini-series of the sort that draw millions of viewers to cable channels.

Stories - Class of 2016

Posted: Thursday, May 12, 2016
A small shop in Havana. Photo by Dennisse Calle.

Dennisse Calle found the topic for her senior thesis along a Havana street, in the back of a stall that sells pirated movies and music.

Posted: Thursday, May 26, 2016
Connor Stonesifer in Panama. Photo courtesy of Connor Stonesifer.

When Connor Stonesifer ’16 first arrived in Panama in the summer of 2015, his Spanish consisted of saying “I want” and having to point at things. When he asked the woman who ran the hostel where he was staying to turn up the air conditioning, he received a cup of pudding instead.

Stories - Class of 2015

Posted: Monday, May 11, 2015
Denisa Buzatu

Princeton student Denisa Buzatu's vision for an environmentally sustainable building is a sort of shape-shifting origami façade. For her senior thesis, Buzatu, a civil engineering major, is designing and prototyping a structure that shades the façade of a building by folding and adapting its shape in response to sunlight. "It's like electrical origami," said Buzatu. While the overall shape of the structure is immensely flexible, the individual surfaces are rigid and can be composed of any material, such as acrylic or solar panels. 

Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Rebecca Basaldua

Princeton student Rebecca Basaldua's senior thesis relies on academic knowledge, research skill and a generous helping of tenacity. The politics major's thesis focuses on rape kits, which contain physical evidence collected from sexual assault victims and can play an important role in identifying and convicting rapists. Sometimes, though, victims go through the invasive, hours-long procedure for the evidence to be collected only to see the kits remain untested for years. Basaldua, who is from Edinburg, Texas, wanted to understand how often — and why — that happens.

Posted: Monday, April 27, 2015
Dayton Martindale

Dayton Martindale, a senior who receives his bachelor's degree in astrophysical sciences this year, doesn't want to be a scientist. He wants to be the person scientists need to help bring their research before the public. Martindale wants to help the average person understand the importance and influence of the work that occurs in the laboratories they'll never see, and that comes out of the fields they'll never study. He wants to be a science writer. "I realized that if presenting science to the public is what I'm more excited about, why not do that?"

Martindale will begin the master's program in science and environmental journalism at the University of California-Berkeley in the fall.

Posted: Monday, April 20, 2015
Hanna Kim

Natural catastrophes such as China’s magnitude -7.9 earthquake in 2008 and Japan’s magnitude -9.0 earthquake and subsequent tsunami in 2011, motivated Princeton student Hanna Kim's senior thesis, "When Disaster Strikes: A Comparative Study of Civil Society Response to Earthquakes in China and Japan." These events led her to travel to East Asia over winter break of 2014 to conduct field research. A major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Kim also is pursuing certificates in East Asian studies and translation and intercultural communication.

Posted: Thursday, April 9, 2015
Abidjan Walker

Senior Abidjan Walker pursued extensive international experience as an undergraduate. A comparative literature major from Hanover, New Hampshire, Walker has studied in China, Morocco, Switzerland and France. Building her linguistic and cultural toolkit sparked her senior thesis, which focuses on the language of instruction in educational systems in these countries. The advice she gives fellow Princeton students wondering about studying abroad, "I say, 'Go, just go.'"

Stories - Class of 2014

Posted: Monday, May 12, 2014
Princeton University senior Taylor Francis discussing work with a faculty member

Princeton University senior Taylor Francis, a Menlo Park, California, native, grew up surrounded by technology and the startup world in Silicon Valley. For his senior thesis, Francis, a major in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, is applying his interests in the tech world to examining two forms of alternative educational credentials: massive open online courses and intensive occupational "bootcamps" for software engineers.  Read the full story here.

Posted: Thursday, May 1, 2014
Saitta uses a saw to cut away three, 2 centimeter samples that will be transferred to microsope slides. (Photo courtesy of the Judith River Dinosaur Institute)

For his senior thesis, Evan Saitta, an ecology and evolutionary biology major at Princeton, has painstakingly analyzed 150 million-year-old fossils to determine whether a single anatomical difference found in a species of Stegosaurus indicates if male and female individuals were physically distinct. The work could provide a new understanding of the physiology and lifestyle of Stegosaurus. Read the full story here.

Posted: Thursday, April 24, 2014
McKenna became interested in coral during the summer of 2012 while working as an education intern at BIOS. Above, she prepares slides to present to a group of teenagers at Waterstart, the marine science camp at BIOS. (Photo courtesy of Elizabeth McKenna)

Elizabeth McKenna's senior thesis examines the delicate environmental balance of coral reefs. The Princeton ecology and evolutionary major conducted fieldwork in Bermuda last summer, where she investigated the ideal conditions for coral growth. Princeton has a research partnership with the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS) in St. George's. McKenna's research was funded by an award given annually by the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology to support field projects critical to the senior thesis. Read the full story here.

Posted: Friday, April 18, 2014
Obioha, a psychology major who is pursuing a neuroscience certificate, gathered data for her thesis using a computer-based study known as an implicit association test that utilized a series of photos and the names of jobs to test participants' implicit associations.

Obianuju "Juju" Obioha's senior thesis explores perceptions of status and race and the relationship between explicit and implicit beliefs. She found evidence that white people have a more difficult time associating black people with high-status jobs than they do associating white people with the same jobs.

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2014
Kalvaria (right) credits her close working relationship with her adviser Mirjam Künkler (left), an assistant professor of Near Eastern studies, for helping to build her confidence to "do justice" to the emotional topic of her thesis. "She's so reassuring," Kalvaria said. "I don't think any Princeton student has written about this topic, so I think she's as excited about it as I am."

Princeton senior Miranda Kalvaria, who is concentrating in Near Eastern studies, is focusing her senior thesis on the impact of legalized sex reassignment surgery and assisted reproductive technologies on various social groups in Iran. Her research spans a variety of source materials and includes several interviews with LGBT activists living in exile in Turkey and Canada.

Stack of senior theses

“The Thesis: Quintessentially Princeton” features the thesis-writing experiences of Princeton students and their advisers. From research conducted around the world to discoveries made in the library or the lab, students share their joy in doing original, independent work, while relaying some of their mistakes and tips for the next generation of Princetonians. The advisers then explain their side of the thesis journey—from the steps for writing a successful thesis to the close relationships that develop between students and faculty members in a way that is “quintessentially Princeton".

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