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Spotlight on Thesis


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 2020

Johns Hopkins Macksey Symposium
Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Students! Apply for Johns Hopkins University’s first annual Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium. This will be a new annual two-day event at the main campus in Baltimore, Maryland and it will offer students across the country the chance to disseminate their humanities research on a national scale. The event will be this spring, April 3rd and 4th, 2020 and the application portal is now open


This symposium is open to undergraduate students from any two-year or four-year college or university who would like to present their original scholarship in the humanities. JHU will also be offering a select number of travel grants to help students afford participation. In addition to the multiple panels of student papers and presentations (including original creative works), there will also be a wonderful keynote delivered by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr and multiple professional development panels featuring graduate students and faculty in JHU's humanities departments and centers. Students studying all areas of the humanities are welcome to attend.


You can learn more at the conference site:

The 12th annual International Eye Photo Contest is now open!
Posted: Monday, January 13, 2020

Calling all world travelers! You are invited to enter the 12th annual International Eye Photo ContestThe deadline for submission is February 7, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Who is eligible?

All Princeton undergraduates who have studied, worked, volunteered or conducted research abroad in the past year are eligible and may submit a total of four (4) photos. 

Photo Categories

  • Abstraction 
  • Architecture/Cityscape
  • Landscape/Nature 
  • People 

Special Categories

  • A Window on Eurasia 
  • Every Picture Tells a Story (New for 2020!)
  • PIIRS Global Seminar
  • Tigers Abroad


  • Best in Show ($100)
  • Best in Category ($50)
  • Honorable Mention(s)

The International Eye Photo Contest is sponsored by the Office of International Programs in collaboration with the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies. A reception will be held in mid-March to celebrate the winners.

Learn more about the International Eye Photo Contest and enter here!


Amgen Scholars Program at UCLA
Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Amgen Scholars Program at UCLA

June 21 – August 28, 2020



The Amgen Scholars Program provides summer research experiences at 13 institutions across the country for students interested in pursuing Ph.D.’s and, eventually, a career in science. Students interested in summer research in any area of biomedical science, chemistry, bioengineering or chemical engineering are encouraged to apply.


During the summer of 2020, UCLA will host 16 Amgen Scholars: 3 undergraduates from UCLA and 13 from other U.S. colleges and universities.  Amgen Scholars will participate in research projects, attend scientific seminars, and work under some of the nation’s top academic scientists.  The Amgen Scholars Program at UCLA also includes a $4000 stipend, housing and some meals provided, a three-day Biotechnology Conference in Los Angeles, GRE preparation course, luncheons with faculty, workshops, scientific writing instruction, seminars, and poster presentations.



Amgen Scholars U.S. Program applicants must be:

  • U.S. citizens or U.S. permanent residents (international students are ineligible, but are welcome to consider the Asia Program)
  • Undergraduates enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in the U.S., Puerto Rico and other U.S. Territories.
  • Sophomores (with 4 quarters or 3 semesters of college experience), juniors and non-graduating seniors (who are returning in the fall to continue their undergraduate experience).
  • Cumulative G.P.A. of 3.2 or above.
  • Interested in pursuing a Ph.D. or joint M.D./Ph.D.


Application Deadline for Amgen Scholars Program at UCLA: Monday, February 3, 2020.



U.S. Amgen Scholars Program

To learn more about all thirteen U.S. Amgen Scholars Program host institutions and the Japan Program visit:


Program e-Flyer: U.S. Program flyer


STEM Leads: Careers/Research/Internships
Posted: Thursday, January 16, 2020

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.



Research Assistant, Wainger Lab, Massachusetts General Hospital

Alumnus Brian Wainger’s vibrant group applies biological, physiological and computational tools to understand and identify new treatments for motor and sensory neuron diseases. Lab seeks motivated and enthusiastic research assistant with experience in molecular biology (esp. stem cell bio) to support preclinical studies related to Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and pain.


Early Career Research Experience in Arctic Advanced Manufacturing Innovator Program

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), this is a unique opportunity to advance your early stage concept to a potentially commercialize-able opportunity with support from mentors at the UAF and at a participating DOE National Laboratory. Apply by January 27, 2020.


Research Assistant I, Brigham and Women’s Hospital – Brookline, MA

Lab conducts clinical and translational research on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC). Work with investigators to coordinate subject recruitment, clinical data and sample collection, study related communications, and IRB submissions. 


Marshall University Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS)

9-week summer program includes formal research training as well as workshops, seminars, mentoring and professional networking. Open to students who identify within an underrepresented ethnic minority group in the biomedical sciences. Apply by February 7, 2020.


Harvard Business School Summer Program for Research in Markets & Organizations (PRIMO)

10-week summer program for undergrads inspired by and committed to excellence in management and business research. Includes housing, partial board plan, modest research support, and coverage of summer savings obligations for fin’l aid recipients. Due 12pm 2/11.


Georgetown University School of Medicine Summer Research (for current sophomores and juniors)

Join a cohort of fellows for the 2020 Dean for Medical Education's Academy for Research, Clinical, and Health Equity Scholarship (ARCHES) program. Includes stipend and housing, and possible travel assistance. Deadline to apply is February 26, 2020.


Summer Research at Stanford University’s Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine (SCGPM)

Contribute to cutting-edge projects in one of these research areas: Pervasive Computing in Healthcare, Large-scale Multi-omics Apps., Security & Privacy, Data Management, AI/ML in Biology and Healthcare, Performance Engineering. Apply by 12pm PST March 1, 2020.

Summer Research Program at Harvard Business School
Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020

Harvard Business School's The Program for Research in Markets and Organizations (PRIMO) is a highly selective 10-week summer residential community of undergraduates participating in research affiliated with HBS faculty. The Program seeks to create a diverse group of Fellows including but not limited to women and underrepresented minorities who are inspired by and are committed to pursuing excellence in business research. 


The program is open to students from any American undergraduate institution who may be considering doctoral studies. Summer 2020 will be the tenth year for this research experience program, which has been designed to stimulate community and creativity among a small group of motivated undergraduates. PRIMO will run from June 8 - August 15, 2020, and offers fellows Harvard campus housing, a partial board plan, modest research support, and coverage of summer savings obligations for financial aid recipients.

The deadline to submit applications is Tuesday, February 11th at 12:00 pm EST.


STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2020

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.


NEW! Computation and Neuroscience Research Assistant Opportunity at Yale University

Seeking recent grad who wishes to spend at least 1 year doing full time research before pursuing a career or graduate studies in computation and neuroscience related fields (Computer Science, Bioengineering, Neurobiology, MD/PhD, etc.). Click for details.


Harvard Business School Summer Program for Research in Markets & Organizations (PRIMO)

10-week summer program for undergrads inspired by and committed to excellence in management and business research. Includes housing, partial board plan, modest research support, and coverage of summer savings obligations for fin’l aid recipients. Due 12pm 2/11.


Georgetown University School of Medicine Summer Research (for current sophomores and juniors)

Join a cohort of fellows for the 2020 Dean for Medical Education's Academy for Research, Clinical, and Health Equity Scholarship (ARCHES) program. Includes stipend and housing, and possible travel assistance. Deadline to apply is February 26, 2020.


Summer Research at Stanford University’s Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine (SCGPM)

Contribute to cutting-edge projects in one of these research areas: Pervasive Computing in Healthcare, Large-scale Multi-omics Apps., Security & Privacy, Data Management, AI/ML in Biology and Healthcare, Performance Engineering. Apply by 12pm PST March 1, 2020.

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2020
Photo by Ma. Florevel Fusin-Wischusen,  Princeton Institute for Computational Science & Engineering.

"If it's related to doing research on a computer, you can come to a help session to ask your question," says David Luet, senior software and programming analyst, who coordinates the sessions. "Even if we don't know the answer, we'll try to direct you to someone on-campus who will be able to help you."

The number of people attending the sessions grows every year, but they’re still "an underutilized resource," says Halverson. "You just show up and people will go to work for you. Once you get going, it's one-on-one, you get the person's undivided attention."

"The help sessions," says Kalhor, "were probably the best thing that happened for our research."


Read more on Research Computing Help Sessions at Princeton here:

Apply for PRD!
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020

The application deadline for Princeton Research Day is Monday, Feb. 17!


Posters • Talks • Performances • Art Exhibitions • Digital Presentations

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Frist Campus Center



Questions? Contact


Princeton Research Day 2020 is an exciting opportunity for students and other researchers to showcase their work for a broad audience. The event includes the full breadth of work being done by undergraduates, graduate students and other non-faculty researchers, artists and performers in every corner of Princeton University.


Princeton Research Day will be held all day long on Thursday, May 7, at Frist Campus Center. The free, public program features talks, posters, video presentations, musical and theater performances, and art exhibitions. Cash prizes will be awarded.

See more here:

•                    Princeton Research Day Website

•                    PRD20 Facebook Event

•                    Promotional Video

•                    Media Kit (includes posters and logos)

•                    A Useful Link for Prospective Presenters


Princeton senior Hirschfield wins Gates Cambridge Scholarship to study philosophy
Posted: Friday, February 14, 2020

Princeton University senior Sarah Hirschfield has been awarded a Gates Cambridge Scholarship. The awards give outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom the opportunity to pursue postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge. The program was established in 2000 by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Cambridge to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

Hirschfield’s research will focus on the philosophy of law, ethics and feminist philosophy. Specifically, she plans to expand on her independent work at Princeton focused on negligent wrongdoing in rape cases; authority and pornography; questions of criminal intent, or mens rea; and law and punishment.

Read more here;

Posted: Monday, February 17, 2020

Reporting on high school football was among the last things my classmates and I had anticipated when we enrolled in an audio-journalism course last fall. But in October, during Princeton’s fall break, the 10 of us sat huddled on the cold metal bleachers of John F. Kennedy High School in Mound Bayou, Miss., waiting for the evening’s game to kick off.

We had expected the class to focus on the civil rights era. We quickly discovered that Mound Bayou was full of stories that stretched far beyond its history.

Posted: Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The great fossil collection in Guyot was all but forgotten until Andrew Xu ’22 found out about the collection while preparing for a high school Science Olympiad fossils competition. Xu now maintains the collection with the help of the Geosciences department.

“The specimens were uncataloged, misplaced, or unidentified. I asked if I could curate them and preserve them for however long they are useful,” said Xu on the subject of maintenance. “My current project is to catalog this information and digitize it for future research,” he said.

Xu spent his summer before sophomore year working to catalog the collection. Initially, the collection had a master catalog, which has since been lost. Thus, many objects remain unclassified, and of limited scientific value.

Xu has worked to remake old labels and re-catalog some items, as well as organize them into more useful categories.

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Thursday, February 20, 2020

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.



Emissions Chemistry Scientist – Southwest Research Institute

Join our Powertrain Engineering Division to serve as team’s main professional resource on gaseous FTIR instruments. Team of technicians are responsible for hands-on operation and maintenance of instruments, and you will serve as the primary scientific contact on the technology. 



Georgetown University School of Medicine Summer Research (for current sophomores and juniors)

Join a cohort of fellows for the 2020 Dean for Medical Education's Academy for Research, Clinical, and Health Equity Scholarship (ARCHES) program. Includes stipend and housing, and possible travel assistance. Deadline to apply is February 26, 2020.


Summer Research at Stanford University’s Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine (SCGPM)

Contribute to cutting-edge projects in one of these research areas: Pervasive Computing in Healthcare, Large-scale Multi-omics Apps., Security & Privacy, Data Management, AI/ML in Biology and Healthcare, Performance Engineering. Apply by 12pm PST March 1, 2020.

Senior Traudt awarded Keasbey Scholarship for study in Britain
Posted: Friday, February 28, 2020

Congratulations to Princeton Senior Kirsten Traudt, who has been awarded the Keasbey Scholarship, which provides the opportunity to study at selected British universities.

Since 1953, selected colleges and universities on the East Coast have been invited, on a rotating basis, to nominate graduating seniors for the Keasbey Scholarship. The four British institutions that reserve places for Keasbey Scholars are: the University of Oxford, the University of CambridgeThe University of Edinburgh and the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Read more here: Senior Kirsten Traudt has been awarded the Keasbey Scholarship, which provides the opportunity to study at selected British universities.

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Thursday, April 2, 2020

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.



Software Developer – Sunrise Futures

Sunrise Futures has built a perfect combination of an algorithmic trading engine, a scientific research laboratory, and a technology venture. We harness this combined power to produce algorithmic trading strategies in markets all around the globe.




NASA Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) Bucket Drum Design Challenge

NASA engineers are looking for a design that can successfully capture more than 50% of regolith (lunar soil). Contest (with prize money!) hosted by GrabCAD, the largest online community of professional designers, engineers, manufacturers, and students. Entries due Apr. 20.


Venezuela Malaria Research Assistant – Online 

Work with Princeton professors Derek Willis (WWS PhD 2010) and Leopoldo Villegas, developing a set of presentations for communicating the results of investment case analyses to several international development and global health organizations.


FDA Student Research Opportunity in Regenerative Medicine

A research opportunity is currently available with the Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies (OTAT), at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in Silver Spring, Maryland.


Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020

Unsure about your summer plans? You’re not alone. 

The situation around COVID-19 (coronavirus) has brought on widespread uncertainty for students, including their summer and career plans. 

If your summer plans are disrupted or unclear for any reason, this information will help you to explore possible alternatives beyond traditional internships or study abroad programs and create your own summer experiences. 

Read more here:

Over 5 million books from PUL's print collection now available online!
Posted: Monday, April 6, 2020

Exciting news!

Over five million books from Princeton University Library’s print collection are now available to all Princeton students, faculty and staff online through the HathiTrust Digital Library’s new program, ETAS (Emergency Temporary Access Service). The ETAS includes in-copyright material.

The new service aims to aid HathiTrust’s U.S.-based member libraries that have suffered an unexpected or involuntary disruption to normal operations as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Learn more at or please contact us.

Virtual Demonstration by Library Staff
Posted: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

You may not be able to browse PUL's stacks right now, but that doesn't mean you can't access what's on the shelves. In response to COVID-19, HathiTrust has made over 5 million books from PUL's print collection available online for all Princeton students, faculty, and staff.

On Wednesday, Apr. 8 at 1 pm, library staff will provide a demonstration of search strategies and discussion of techniques to conduct research online. Register here:

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2020

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.



Health Economics and Outcomes Research - Alkemi

Work with an industry leader supporting pharmaceutical clients on strategy and research consulting projects. Support and execute tasks including: literature analysis, template development, interviews, study design, instrument selection, trial data review and report writing.



Chemical Engineering Intern National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL)

Engage in projects regarding novel processes for conversion of coal to energy and useful chemicals. Conduct analysis of energy and material balances to obtain the optimum process and laboratory scale experiments to obtain parameters necessary for the optimization process.


Psych/Neuro Summer Research Internship - Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development

Support efforts to assess the most relevant research in the field surrounding all aspects of digital media and child development and contribute to various research-related projects,  among other tasks. Remote work. Stipend upon completion.

Posted: Friday, April 24, 2020

Congratulations to Jessica Lambert and Claire Wayner, sophomores in PEI’s Certificate Program in Environmental Studies, who were named 2020 Udall Undergraduate Scholars by the Udall Foundation! A citizen of the Choctaw Nation, Lambert is an anthropology major and co-president of Natives at Princeton who wants to ultimately help establish tribal laws and agencies that protect and clean up contaminated Native American land. Wayner, a civil and environmental engineering major and president of the Princeton Student Climate Initiative, is driven by the climate crisis to work in or with the federal government to develop and implement policies that decarbonize the global energy supply.


The Udall Foundation is an independent federal agency founded in honor of U.S. Rep. Morris Udall and U.S. Rep. and Secretary of the Interior Stewart Udall, whose careers had a significant impact on Native American self-governance, health care and stewardship of public lands and natural resources. Udall Scholars receive up to $7,000 and are selected based on their leadership, public service, academic excellence, and commitment to issues related to Native American nations or to the environment.

Posted: Monday, May 4, 2020

Research is an intense activity that can be challenging to describe. Connecting with others on what a researcher does and why it is important is a goal of Princeton researchers — undergraduates, graduate students and postdocs — as they present their work to the public at the fifth annual Princeton Research Day.

This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton Research Day will be held as a series of three early evening webinars May 5-7 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. (Eastern). The presentations will showcase the diversity of research projects under the themes of “Reinterpretation,” “Environment” and “Wellbeing.”

Five research projects will be presented in each of the webinars. Each presentation includes a video. While more videos from researchers were submitted than could be shown during the evening webinars, all videos will be published later this month and promoted online.

Topics to be presented include:

• Power of the River: Introducing the Global Dam Tracker

• Trauma Exposure and Mental Health Outcomes among Central American and Mexican Children Held in Immigration Detention at the U.S.-Mexico Border

• Developing Models for Predictive Analytics in Track and Field  

• Soft Eversion Robots in Application of Minimally Invasive Subsurface Drip Irrigation

Register to Attend:

Reinterpretation: Tuesday, May 5, 2020 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. This theme is a reinvestigation or a new way of looking at a traditionally held belief or finding a new way of interpreting information. Hosted by Christine Murphy, assistant dean for academic affairs in the Graduate School, with welcome by Sarah-Jane Leslie, dean of the Graduate School.

Environment: Wednesday, May 6, 2020 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Hosted by Pascale Poussart, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research, with welcome by Jill Dolan, Dean of the College.

Wellbeing: Thursday, May 7, 2020 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Hosted by Karla Ewalt, associate dean for research, with welcome by Pablo Debenedetti, dean for research. 

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Wednesday, May 6, 2020

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.


Propulsion Research Engineer – Innovative Scientific Solutions

Firm specializes in combustion research for the USAF Research Laboratory at Wright Patterson AFB. Hiring for the Disruptive Propulsion Group focused on fast-paced projects as well as fundamental research on piston, gas turbine, and detonation engines.


Digital Marketing Internship – MassGen Hospital

Help prospective patients find the services they need by updating, optimizing, and writing webpages. Research how people use the web to learn about health topics and how health info is presented on the web. Interview doctors and admins and draft articles.



Summer Research Opportunity - FDA

Office of Tissues and Advanced Therapies at the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research ensures the safety, purity, potency, and effectiveness of biological products including vaccines, blood and blood products, and cells, tissues, and gene therapies for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human diseases, conditions, or injury. 


Undergraduate Research (remote) – Penn State University

Seeking students interested in helping to analyze measurements of greenhouse gas fluxes associated with energy

production, transportation and ecosystems, and how these fluxes have been changing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.


Chemical and Environmental Engineer – U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Appointment w/ the Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water in the Water Security Division in Washington, DC. Objective of this project is to advance the nation's analytical ability to response to drinking water and waste water contamination incidents.  


Research Assistant (Health Science Specialist) - Center for Healthcare Organization and Implementation Research

Full-time Research Assistant needed in the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration. Seeking a motivated individual to work as part of a dynamic, multi-disciplinary research team conducting work evaluating patient-centered care. 

Posted: Friday, May 8, 2020

Having come to Princeton with a focus on pre-medicine, Morokhovich turned toward ecology and evolutionary biology after a PEI summer internship with professor Mary Caswell Stoddard studying the effects of climate change on the behavior of broad-tailed hummingbirds in the Rocky Mountains.

He’s found that broad-tailed hummingbirds provide an unexpected avenue to informing people about the imminent consequences of climate change.

“It’s been a great way to talk about climate change because people who may not have cared about it are interested when I mention my research,” Morokhovich said.

“Almost everyone I’ve talked to about birds has a hummingbird story and they want to hear about my work with them,” he said. “It’s interesting to me that these fascinating little birds are allowing me to talk to people about climate change.

“And maybe that makes those people a little more aware,” he said, “a bit more likely to do their part to help save the planet and these birds.”

Posted: Friday, May 8, 2020

The Council is now accepting applications for the Pope Prize. The Gregory T. Pope '80 Prize for Science Writing was established by the class of 1980 in remembrance of their classmate Gregory Pope, who was a science writer and editor. The award is granted to a senior who has shown a keen interest in science and demonstrated an outstanding ability to communicate that enthusiasm to a wide audience through journalism. All seniors are welcome to apply by sending 1-3 submissions via the online form. Applicants may submit original work in any format, but each submission may not exceed 3,000 words. Faculty are welcome to nominate students by sending an email to Joe Capizzi. A committee consisting of Council members and science writers select the winning essay. Deadline for the application is Friday, May 15, 2020.


SINSI Open House May 19
Posted: Saturday, May 9, 2020

Come to the SINSI virtual Open House Tuesday, May 19 at 4:00 PM to learn more about the fully funded and supported SINSI programs.

Please RSVP HERE :


Students from all departments are welcome to apply: 

Summer internships with the U.S. government for sophomores and juniors – Due by October 2, 2020 

Graduate fellowships with the U.S. government and two-year MPA program for seniors and first-year MPAs – Due by October 30, 2020 


Email for further details

Q&A with Grace Sommers, Class of 2020 salutatorian
Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020

Grace Sommers ’20 was recently named the Latin salutatorian of the University’s Class of 2020. A resident of Bridgewater, N.J., Grace is concentrating in physics with certificates in applications of computing, applied and computational mathematics, and Ancient Roman language and culture. After graduation, Grace will return to the University to pursue a Ph.D. in physics.

In an interview with The Daily Princetonian, Sommers shared her reflections on her time at the University, her advice to current and incoming students, and her hopes for the future.

Read about Sommers' experiences with undergraduate research at Princeton here:

Posted: Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The spring course “Amazonia, The Last Frontier: History, Culture, and Power” transitioned to remote instruction after spring break due to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier in the term, students had visited the Princeton University Library’s Special Collections to see several rare and unique items on the Amazon, and then, from off-site, they were able to access the materials digitally.

“Princeton has an incredible collection of rare books, maps and photographs on the Amazon, from colonial times to more recent American enterprises in the region,” said Miqueias Mugge, an associate research scholar and lecturer at the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies (PIIRS). “Our online transition went smoothly as the Library expeditiously made all the materials available in digital format,” Mugge said.

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Friday, May 15, 2020

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.


Early Career Scientists and Engineers, Computational Biochemistry – D. E. Shaw

Extraordinarily gifted early career scientists and engineers are sought to join a New York–based interdisciplinary research group pursuing an ambitious, long-term project aimed in part at fundamentally transforming the process of drug discovery. 

Research Analyst in CGO - Preqin

Leading provider of data, insights and solutions for alternative assets market seeks candidate with interest in finance to cover North Amer. alternative assets e.g., Private Equity, Venture Capital, Real Estate, Infrastructure, Private Debt, Natural Resources, Hedge Funds.



Operations Summer Intern – AbbVie (Puerto Rico)

AbbVie is a global, research-driven biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world's most complex and critical conditions. 8-week at-work developmental experience to help you succeed in your biotech career.

Smart Gigabit Communities Project Intern – US Ignite

Exciting, innovative research project with a team spurring innovation in technology and building things better and faster to benefit our communities. Help shape the future of the Internet and the way Americans will experience their work and day-to-day lives.



Associate Scientist, Protein Biochemistry – Aro Biotherapeutics

We focus on developing novel Centyrin targeted medicines for serious human diseases and are looking to build our team of scientists.  In this role, contribute extensively with hands-on protein expression, purification and characterization to support drug discovery. 

Computational Research Projects Mentor  (remote) – Hunter College High School

HCHS has a robust science research program and many students’ lab research plans fell through because of COVID-19. These students seek mentors to help them learn to code and to develop science projects involving publicly accessible data.

Research Assistant, Digital Mental Health – Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Our goal is to understand how digital signals generated by everyday use of smartphones may be associated with symptomatology and to improve the quality and accessibility of treatment for mental illness through education, research, and innovation in digital psychiatry.

Research Technologist Bioanalytical – Lovelace Biomedical Research Institute

Support bioanalytical method development, validation and application of bioanalytical assays within the Scientific Core Laboratories to develop/characterize formulations and develop/validate/apply analytical chemistry methods for sample analysis.

Summer Research - Princeton Environmental Institute

PEI has two open summer positions, one with Princeton Fusion Systems (plasma research) and another with the Lewis and Nordenson Groups (urban systems/sustainability). Click the link above for descriptions of each opportunity. Applications are due May 22.


Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

As a researcher, Stahl stood out for her determination to spend hours in the field designing and fine-tuning experiments she came up with herself, Pringle said. “Especially for our students who might be oriented toward a career in science, you want to let them build their own idea and implement it,” Pringle said. “That is such an essence of science and it’s not something that comes naturally — it’s a skill that’s acquired.

“When I’m thinking about the value of a Princeton senior thesis, it’s partly about the final product but mostly about the learning process,” he continued. “Maria produced a beautiful piece of work and it reflects the learning process of a young scientist.”

For Stahl, one of the most valuable outcomes of her research was the opportunity to work in a wild habitat independently pursuing her own research. After graduation, Stahl will work at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory with ecology and evolutionary biology graduate student Ian Miller on his study — funded by a PEI Walbridge Fund Graduate Award — on the effect of climate change on the spread of plant pathogens.

2020 Summer Student Employment Resource
Posted: Monday, May 25, 2020

Students! You can search for summer job opportunities available through the 2020 Summer Student Employment Resource Page.  Several of these open positions are research-oriented and offer the opportunity to work remotely with Princeton faculty and staff over the summer.

When you log-in to browse open positions, you can restrict your query to summer job postings by specifying “When? - Summer” in the search options.


Have a great summer!

A new approach to combating antibiotic resistance
Posted: Tuesday, May 19, 2020

In this research video, Mike Wan, a graduate student studying chemical and biological engineering, presents on how an entirely different anti-bacterial approach may provide the solution to antibiotic resistance.


The emergence of pathogens for which all current treatments are ineffective has placed the antibiotic resistance crisis front and center for many communities. To address the trend of ever-increasing incidences of antibiotic resistance, anti-virulence strategies have been proposed as a promising solution. We aim to explore inhibition of bacterial nitric oxide (NO) defenses as a broad spectrum anti-virulence strategy, due to the importance of NO to innate immunity. To identify druggable genetic mediators of NO defense in bacteria, I used transposon insertion sequencing (Tn-seq) to screen Escherichia coli genome. Previously, it was found that low-NO-tolerance mutant (Δhmp) would cheat to obtain better fitness during NO treatment. While the extracellular NO donor fails to distinguish NO tolerance based on strain growth, we found that an intracellular NO donor generates a 5-fold difference in growth between wildtype and Δhmp during the assay. Using the intracellular NO donor in Tn-seq, we discovered several genes in branch-chain amino acid synthesis and Entner-Doudoroff shunt, are important for NO detoxification and recovery of Escherichia coli.


Xuanqing (Mike) Wan is advised by Mark Brynildsen, associate professor of chemical and biological engineering.



A machine-learning approach to speed the delivery of internet content
Posted: Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Watch the video that Audrey Cheng, undergraduate student, operations research and financial engineering, presented on Unifying Caching Objectives with Learning Relaxed Belady.


Caching is crucial to the end-to-end performance of distributed systems. By storing content that is commonly requested so that it can be served faster, this technique can improve request latency and reduce load on backend servers. There are three objectives in caching: object miss ratio (OMR), byte miss ratio (BMR), and miss ratio (MR) for unit-sized object caching. Different objectives are typically important to different systems. Learning Relaxed Belady (LRB) is an existing machine learning (ML) caching algorithm that achieves substantially better byte miss ratios than existing state-of-the-art approaches. In this project, we adapt LRB for the two other objectives: object miss ratio and caching for unit-sized objects. OMR is a metric that is crucial to a wide range of caches, including CDN in-memory caches and key-value caches for large storage systems.


Decreasing OMR translates directly into improved application performance. We apply a novel sampling technique, byte sampling, to LRB that allows it outperform other state-of-the-art caching methods for OMR. LRB also performs better than other policies for unit-sized traces, demonstrating the broad applicability of this algorithm. We evaluate LRB on five production traces and demonstrate its robustness in performance on varying workloads. LRB, enhanced with byte sampling, is the only algorithm we know of that can consistently outperform other state-of-the-art policies for all three caching objectives. We unify these objectives with LRB and simplify the method through which further advancements can be made.


Audrey Chang is advised by Wyatt Lloyd, assistant professor of computer science.


Factors driving immigration from Italy to Albania
Posted: Thursday, May 21, 2020

Watch the video Angela De Santis '23 presented on The Role of ICT Diffusion in Reverse Immigration from Italy to Albania!


The purpose of this research project is to measure the degree to which the current trend of reverse immigration of Italians to Albania is attributable to Albania’s superior information and communication technologies (ICT) diffusion.


Italians are leaving their homeland, ranked as the eighth richest country in the world, and settling in Albania, a country ranked 120th which was besieged by a dictator for 41 years until 1985. Anecdotal evidence suggests that entrepreneurs number highly among the estimated 22,000 Italians who have immigrated to Albania, a ferry ride across the Adriatic. While articles in academic journals analyzing the historic immigration of Albanians to Italy are numerous, the reverse trend has been overlooked by scholars.


The 2019 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report indicates that Albania surpassed Italy in the categories of meritocracy and incentivization. In the NBER paper “Diagnosing the Italian Disease,” Zingales and Pellegrino argue that Italy missed the IT revolution due to a lack of meritocracy. The Albanian-American Development Foundation has engaged me to ascertain the correlation between ICT diffusion in Albania and the reverse immigration of Italian entrepreneurs there.


I have created a survey to be conducted online. Under the mentorship of Professors Alan Blinder and Bruno Pellegrino, I will use STATA statistical software for data manipulation, visualisation, statistics and automated reporting.The potential impact of this research will be to incentivize the Italian government to improve ICT diffusion, and to provide to the Albanian government empirical evidence of the success of its outreach program to attract foreign investment through ICT optimization.


Angela De Santis is advised by Alan Blinder, Gordon S. Rentschler Memorial Professor of Economics and Public Affairs, and Bruno Pellegrino, Ph.D. Candidate, Global Economics and Management at University of California Los Angeles.

Sleep Deprivation at Princeton
Posted: Friday, May 22, 2020

Watch the video that Matthew Marquardt '21 presented on sleep deprivation at Princeton.


Princeton University students are known as some of the brightest and hardest working students in the country. They fill their schedules down to the minute and manage to fit in more activities than one would think is possible. At a certain point, something must give and sleep is often the first thing to be sacrificed. This leads to a perpetually sleep deprived community. It is no secret that Princeton students don’t get enough sleep. In 2018, students self-reported to only get an average of 6.8 hours per night.


However, the question is why we don’t get enough sleep. Is it really that we are too busy to sleep? Or is there something else going on? In order to answer this question, I conducted quantitative and qualitative research to help determine what factors lead to this culture of sleep deprivation with the goal of identifying barriers to getting higher quality and quantity sleep.


Matthew Marquardt is advised by Sheila Pontis, Entrepreneurship Program Specialist, Computer Science and the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education, Lecturer in Computer Science and the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education.

A new quantum spin liquid candidate for storage applications
Posted: Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Watch the video that Loi T. Nguyen, a graduate student studying Chemistry, presented on a new quantum spin liquid candidate for storage applications.


At very low temperatures near absolute zero electrons become highly ordered. A quantum spin liquid is a novel phenomenon in which the electrons are entangled, but they remain fluctuating down to 0 degrees Kelvin.

A few quantum spin liquid materials have been reported and they have potential applications in data storage and memory. In this talk, I will present a new material, barium niobium iridium oxide, or Ba4NbIr3O12, which can host a quantum spin liquid state, probed by magnetic susceptibility and heat capacity measurements. A comparison will be made to other related materials in the family.

Loi T. Nguyen is advised by Robert Cava, Russell Wellman Moore Professor of Chemistry.

Science meets multimedia art
Posted: Wednesday, May 27, 2020


Watch the video that Janie Kim '21 presented on connecting people and the microscopic with doodles.


Intricate stories line the quiet spaces in and around living cells. Capturing these microscopic stories and communicating them to people in creative, accessible ways grows ever more important. As a recent Environmental Microbiology editorial urged, efforts to increase “microbiology literacy” — understanding of the incredibly profound and positive impact of microbes on humans and the planet — are critical for fields spanning healthcare to sustainability to policymaking. Towards this aim, I present an eclectic collection of science artwork ranging from pencil illustrations of subcellular structures to miniature sculptures of our microscopic microbial residents, from graphical abstracts for publications to paintings made from living bacteria itself. My multimedia art aims to portray both science and the process and people behind it in an approachable way, and to forge both scientist-and-scientist and scientist-and-public connections.


Distilling complex microscopic stories into art can bring together creativity, personal touches, and humor in a way that is more difficult to do with scientific research. I believe that the intersection between science and multimedia art offers an exciting way of reaching people from all age groups and backgrounds. Multimedia art has great potential for generating appreciation, understanding, and wonder for the microscopic.


Janie Kim is advised by Mohamed S. Abou Donia, Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology


An experimental movie about a Brooklyn immigrant
Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020

Watch the video that Darja Filippova, a graduate student studying comparative literature, presented on Natasha, Prospect Lefferts: An experimental movie about a Brooklyn immigrant.


Darja Filippova (graduate student in the Department of Comparative Literature) and Natalie Romero Marx (Montclair University faculty, filmmaker and artist) present an 8-min fragment from their experimental film Natasha, Prospect Lefferts. The film follows Natasha (24, Aquarius, Ukraine, non-smoker), a pregnant Eastern European woman living in Prospect Lefferts, a low-income largely immigrant community in the heart of Brooklyn.


Embodying a male “client” gaze, the camera discovers Natasha among the mannequins in a local shop and follows her on a journey through Prospect Lefferts and into her bathtub. A peculiar object of desire, the “ready to burst” Natasha, in blazer and sexy underwear, engages the camera with a serpentine monologue on love, financial proclivity and her dreams, a monologue that is intercepted with interviews on the topic of dreams and love with members of the Prospect Lefferts community.


Through the use of jump-cuts and blur-effect, the film plays with affect and representation, being simultaneously open to condemnation, objectification and empathy. As the film ends, with Natasha sending a love letter in a plastic bottle into the recycling station, the directors attempt to shed light on the perverse juxtaposition of the American dream with the material reality of immigrant life in America.


Darja Filippova (Estonia) and Natalie Romero Marx (Colombia), both immigrants and first generation university students, met in a Pocha Nostra workshop in New Mexico in 2017. Pocha Nostra, the influential performance group, explores and parodies ethnic and gender stereotypes. This is their first collaborative project.

Reducing T-cell receptor expression
Posted: Monday, June 1, 2020

Watch the video where Alexander Zhu '21 presents his research on reducing T-cell receptor expression in T cells using RNAi and CRISPR-dCas9.


Adaptive immunity enables the human body to generate an immune response to specific pathogens. An important step in this process involves the scanning of the surfaces of antigen-presenting cells (APCs) by T cells. Such interactions are mediated by T-cell receptors (TCRs), which recognize and bind antigens presented on APCs. Various mechanisms have been proposed for how TCR binding leads to T-cell activation.


Understanding the mechanism requires TCR recruitment and triggering to be characterized at the level of individual proteins. In order for individual molecules to be visualized using TIRF microscopy, TCR expression must be reduced. RNA-mediated interference (RNAi) has been used to “knock down” TCR levels, but the effects of CRISPR-dCas9 on TCRs have never been studied before. The purpose of this study was to determine whether RNAi and CRISPR-dCas9, alone and in combination, could be used to reduce TCR expression. Oligonucleotides were generated and inserted into the pHR-sin-U6 plasmid. This plasmid was introduced into Jurkat T-cells using lentivirus transduction, and the TCR expression of 30,000 cells was measured using flow cytometry. We found that targeting the CD3ε chain through RNAi and CRISPR-dCas9 reduced TCR expression by 81.3% and 84.9% respectively. Combining these methods did not reduce TCR levels further, however.


These results suggest that RNAi and CRISPR-dCas9 can both effectively lower TCR expression, but these strategies do not act synergistically or additively when used together. Future studies should investigate the mechanism by which RNAi and CRISPR-dCas9 fail to act in conjunction and probe their effects on other CD3 chains.


Alexander Zhu is mentored by Dr Simon Davis, Weatherhall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford.

Optimizing irrigation under multiple objectives
Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Watch the video that Zhengyue Anna Dong '20 presented on modelling weather-based irrigation under stochastic rainfall variability.


In many regions of the world, irrigation is vital to food security and agricultural productivity. Prudent management of irrigation systems and water use becomes paramount under a probable scenario of rising climatic variability and population growth where increased irrigation is necessitated. Irrigation system managers are faced with the competing objectives such as water use minimization and crop yield maximization in selecting an irrigation strategy.


Of interest is Vico and Porporato’s work which defines three key factors in selecting an optimal irrigation strategy, namely sustainability, profitability and crop yield, and demonstrates that each factor comes at a cost to the others.

Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020

The Program in American Studies has honored Princeton seniors Vayne Ong with the Princeton Prize in Race Relations Senior Thesis Prize, Tabitha Belshee with the Willard Thorp Thesis Prize, Grace Koh with the Asher Hinds Prize, Allegra E. Martschenko with the Grace May Tilton Prize in Fine Arts, and Tessa Albertson with the David F. Bowers Prize.

In 2020, in lieu of a Class Day gathering, and to celebrate and honor the entire cohort of American, Asian American, and Latino studies certificate students, the Program in American Studies invited seniors to meet for a Zoom photo, and contribute to a video shared with graduating seniors and their families.

“Congratulations to the winners of these prestigious awards, and we celebrate their excellent work,” said Anne Cheng, professor of English and American studies, and director of the Program in American Studies. “And we are proud of all of our students and honor their achievements and perseverance.”

A public version of the video will be available on the program website soon after the originally scheduled June 1 Class Day.


Posted: Friday, May 29, 2020

While the method may have been different, the celebration was the same as the Princeton Athletics community gathered on May 28 for a virtual Gary Walters ’67 Princeton Varsity Club Awards Banquet. As part of the ceremony, major athletic awards were presented to students in the Class of 2020.

Co-hosted by Princeton seniors Chris Davis and Katie Reilly alongside Ford Family Director of Athletics Mollie Marcoux Samaan, the awards banquet was an opportunity for the Tigers to rally together and commemorate the championships, successes, relationships and memories that will live on as the Class of 2020’s legacy.

Congratulations to:

Bella Alarie

The Otto von Kienbusch Award is awarded annually to a Princeton senior woman of high scholastic rank who has demonstrated general proficiency in athletics and the qualities of a true sportswoman. The award is presented in memory of C. Otto v. Kienbusch ’06, friend and benefactor of women’s athletics at Princeton.

Matthew Kolodzik and Michael Sowers

The William Winston Roper Trophy is awarded annually to a Princeton senior man of high scholastic rank and outstanding qualities of sportsmanship and general proficiency in athletics. It was established by Mrs. William W. Roper and the Class of 1902.

Grace Baylis and Chris Davis

The Art Lane ’34 Award is awarded to an undergraduate athlete in recognition of his or her selfless contribution to sport and society. The award is given in memory of Art Lane ’34 by friends and family.

Hadley Wilhoite

The Class of 1916 Cup is awarded each year to the Princeton varsity letter winner who continuing in competition in his or her senior year achieved at graduation the highest academic standing. The award was established by the Class of 1916 on the occasion of its 50th reunion.

Posted: Tuesday, June 2, 2020

At a historic virtual ceremony on Monday afternoon, June 1, the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University celebrated 76 graduates of the Class of 2020 who earned 84 certificates and four degrees through the Programs in Creative Writing, Dance, Theater, Music Theater, and Visual Arts. The ceremony, attended by more than 200 guests, was held via Zoom Webinar in response to restrictions on public gatherings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This meeting format has become all too familiar to the graduates who spent the final six weeks of their time at Princeton in online classes.

The event also awarded prizes to the top seniors and included a special live address to the graduates by Thelma Golden, Director and Chief Curator of The Studio Museum in Harlem.

“Today’s Class Day ceremony is a celebration of your commitment, throughout your time at Princeton, to asking the big questions in creative and arresting ways,” said Lewis Center Chair Tracy K. Smith in addressing the graduates. “If ever the world has needed bright, young, creative people helping us to look at the world and ourselves with more courage and compassion, it is now.” She added, “Artists are no strangers to change, challenge and upheaval. We dive into uncertainty with the desire to make headway, to find new kinds of sense, to startle ourselves out of anxiety and into new and sometimes unsettling forms of clarity. Each of you has risen to that occasion time and again during your time at Princeton. And this spring, in a time of global uncertainty, glaring injustice and grave loss, your commitment to paying attention, staying present, and being honest and vulnerable has helped to keep our community intact. Witnessing you bring your independent work to fruition in one of the strangest semesters in living memory has been a source of hope and continuity for more people than you may realize.”


Watch the recap video of the year here:

Early-life autism spectrum disorder diagnosis
Posted: Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Watch the video where Fleming Peck '20 presents on early-life autism spectrum disorder diagnosis with nonlinear EEG analysis using machine learning methods.


With the increased prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) comes the challenge of identifying children at risk for ASD as early in life as possible so that they can benefit from early intervention. Currently, diagnosis is determined by measuring behaviors that often do not emerge until toddler or preschool age, but emerging research using neuroimaging suggests that brain changes occur much earlier.


My senior thesis is focused on using high-density, task-related electroencephalography (EEG) data collected from 12-month-old infants to detect future ASD using neural activity instead of behavioral symptoms with the hope that earlier identification will lead to more effective treatment. Electrical activity recorded from the brain has complex dynamic properties that traditional linear analyses are not able to quantify. Therefore, this study uses nonlinear measures, including entropy and fractal dimension, computed from preprocessed EEG signal as features in a machine learning algorithm aimed to differentiate ASD from non-ASD outcomes.


Previously, Bosl and colleagues (2018) had success using this method to classify ASD outcomes with baseline, non-task-related EEG data. However, a language task may be more sensitive to outcome prediction accuracy than baseline EEG because language is a domain frequently affected in ASD. A cross-validated support vector machine predicted ASD diagnosis of high-risk infants (those with an older sibling with ASD) with 95.5% accuracy. Sensitivity, specificity, PPV, and NPV rates were all over 92%. These results suggest that early brain function may be indicative of later ASD diagnosis, demonstrating potential for early risk assessment before observable behaviors of ASD emerge.

Farmers and the food System
Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2020

Watch the video where Larkin Ison III '22, Simone Downs '20, Luke Aschenbrand '22, and Hannah Baynesan '22 present TigerChallenge: Farmers and the food System.


Food and agriculture is one of New Jersey's largest industries, yet local producers have difficulty selling their goods directly to consumers. Our initiative curates local farmers' produce into an ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service to link consumers directly to convenient sources of fresh, local food.


Meal kits are tailored to both the seasonal availability of produce and to the dietary needs of its consumers, assembled in reusable containers that can be picked up from local gyms and other partner facilities. Our mission is to increase the proportion of local farm food consumed in Mercer County.


Decoding brain signals into speech
Posted: Friday, June 5, 2020


Watch the video where Theodor Marcu '20 presents on decoding brain signals into speech: Steps towards universal brain-machine interfaces.


Brain-computer interfaces are one of humanity's most ambitious goals. This technology promises to augment our cognitive and physical abilities by allowing us to control devices and communicate with others more easily. Companies like Elon Musk's Neuralink and Facebook's Ctrl-Mind are already working on technology that could be transformed into products we use day-to-day.


However, the prospect of connecting your iPhone to your stream of thoughts is still far away. In the meantime, there is one area of research that shows a lot of promise and could soon help people suffering from motor speech disorders or neurodegenerative illnesses. Using state-of-the-art deep learning techniques we are able to decode brain signals into speech in real-time. These improvements promise to help patients by bringing their rate of speech transmission closer to that of natural speech (150 words per minute), compared to 10 words per minute for the current generation of assistive technologies.


Our research is a big step towards creating the first devices that can be used with real patients. This is because we rely on data from 45 patients who were monitored and recorded for an entire week, which is more than any previous work done in this area. In the context of universal brain-computer interfaces, we hope that the results from our work will provide an important step towards not only better assistive technologies, but also more research in the field.


Theodor Marcu is advised by Brian Kernighan, Professor of Computer Science; Uri Hasson, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience; Karthik Narasimhan, Assistant Professor of Computer Science.


Posted: Friday, June 5, 2020

The Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University announces more than $105,000 in awards to support the summer projects and research of 49 Princeton undergraduates, chosen from 90 applicants. Although all first, second, and third-year student-artists are eligible to apply, for many of the award recipients, the funding provides vital resources to conduct research, undertake training, and pursue other opportunities critical to achieving their senior thesis project goals in the arts.  The grants range from $300 to $7,500.

Students were applying for summer funding in March when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. Many proposals include traveling domestically or internationally and in-person learning with professional artists and through intensive group workshops. Students had to revise their proposals in response to restrictions imposed by the pandemic. In addition, grantees are being given an extended period to complete their funded work through the fall semester and during Wintersession in January.


In addition to funding, the Lewis Center has also established paid internships and research assistant positions for Princeton students for this summer to assist faculty and guest artists with a number of projects and initiatives.

To learn more about the Lewis Center for the Arts, the funding available to Princeton students, and the more than 100 other performances, exhibitions, readings, screenings, concerts, and lectures presented by the Lewis Center, most of them free, visit

The internment of Boer prisoners-of-war in Ceylon
Posted: Monday, June 8, 2020

Watch the video

At home in a foreign land:

The internment of Boer prisoners-of-war

in Ceylon 1900-1902

Bhadrajee Hewage, Class of 2020


This project explores the reasoning behind Britain’s decision to intern over 2000 captured Boer (Afrikaner) combatants on the island of Ceylon from 1900-1902 during the South African War. Current literature regarding the South African War covers the origins of the war and its influence on the British imperial system, the harsh realities of life in South African concentration camps, and the memories of Boer prisoners-of-war within South Asia.


However, several unanswered questions remain surrounding the experience of Afrikaner internees in Ceylon itself and whether the Boer detainees lived up to Britain’s expectations in sending them to the island. Given the sheer number of Afrikaners within British detention facilities in South Africa who refused to accept British sovereignty, Britain initially resolved to send these non-compliant detainees far away from ongoing hostilities to prevent the possibility of captives rejoining the Boer struggle. With the prisoners originally sent abroad for detention, Britain would later move from simply imprisoning the combatants in Ceylon to formally rehabilitating and reeducating them in order to win them over to the imperial project.


The project argues that while internment in Ceylon did pacify the Afrikaners, Britain nonetheless failed to quench Boer nationalism and to win over the prisoners to the glory of the British imperial venture.

Posted: Monday, June 8, 2020

Audrey Shih entered Princeton with aspirations of using science to protect vulnerable people from allergens. “I have a severe peanut allergy, and I thought I might help come up with a method to detect allergens in food,” said Shih.

After declaring her concentration in chemical and biological engineering (CBE) and beginning her coursework in the department, “my interest shifted more toward materials science and the more physical than biological side of CBE,” she said.

An email to Sujit Datta, an assistant professor in the department, launched Shih on a two-year-long research project to help thwart a different type of chemical threat: pollutants like crude oil and mercury that can linger in groundwater even after major cleanup efforts. In Datta’s lab, she investigated how specialized materials act to remove recalcitrant pollutants.

Shih, a member of the Class of 2020, finished writing her senior thesis on the topic from her family’s home in Columbus, Ohio, after the University halted on-campus instruction and research activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In recognition of her thesis work, Shih was one of two graduating seniors presented with the engineering school’s Lore von Jaskowsky Memorial Prize for Contributions to Research during Class Day celebrations on June 1. Shih, who completed a certificate in materials science and engineering in addition to her CBE concentration, also received an outstanding senior thesis award from the Princeton Institute for the Science and Technology of Materials.

Posted: Thursday, June 4, 2020

As the pandemic shut down theaters across the country, it also created a significant challenge at Princeton’s Lewis Center for the Arts: Many senior thesis projects include a live performance of an original work.

One of many senior projects affected  was “BLOOM: The Musical,” Rosie Arbittier’s thesis work to complete a certificate in the Program in Music Theater. Arbittier developed the musical in partnership with Best Buddies, an international organization dedicated to ending the social, physical and economic isolation of the 200 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

At Princeton, she became involved with the Best Buddies Princeton chapter and in spring 2019 proposed as her thesis to produce a musical that involved a cast of young people with and without IDD. When she did not find an existing musical that met the goals she hoped to accomplish, she began working on devising a new work. In October she held a daylong workshop of theater games, activities and auditions for members of the local community with IDD and, joined by a group of Princeton students, assembled the cast and production team for the project. In November the group began creating the new musical and rehearsing weekly on Sundays for seven months. Early in the process, Arbittier heard the song “Bloom,” composed by her friend Lily Webb; that song became the springboard for the new musical and the title song.

Jane Cox, senior lecturer in theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts and director of the Program in Theater, was Arbittier’s faculty adviser and the Program in Theater engaged theater director and activist David Bradley to serve as an additional adviser and resource to Arbittier.

Just a few weeks before opening night, the University moved to remote classes and canceled all events and activities for the rest of the semester. While this meant the production as envisioned by Arbittier and the team would not happen, they embraced the spirit of “the show must go on.” Arbittier organized the cast of performers with and without IDD in a virtual presentation of the musical’s title song, “Bloom” in stay-at-home circumstances, with orchestration by Vince Di Mura, musical director of the Lewis Center. View the video.

Tiger Challenge: Special education resources
Posted: Friday, June 12, 2020

Watch the video

Eric GuerciKyle Barnes, Class of 2021

The current special education landscape engenders distrust. We designed a website connecting parents of children with special education needs to high-quality resources, advocates, and organisations that focus on special education. In addition to a heatmap that identifies access to resources by geography, our platform allows users to contribute reviews of special education services, creating a live site for resources and support groups.

Artificially intelligent research assistance
Posted: Saturday, June 13, 2020

Watch the video

John Willett and Gabe Stengel, Class of 2020

Conventional statistical programming languages (R, Stata, Julia, etc.) have long been popular tools in empirical economics research, but they are limited in two dimensions. First, querying a dataset in a language like Stata is time-consuming and error-prone—especially for users without a solid grounding in computer science. Second, the queries themselves must be rigid call-and-return statements: when a user asks Stata to give her the results of a regression of “x” on “y,” she needed to already know the relationship she wanted to examine and the best manner of analysis (here, linear regression).


To address these limitations, my partner and I are building a new computer tool—a graphical user interface application named, at least at the moment, “Athena.” On the front end, it uses machine learning to process natural language queries: there is no “syntax” involved in coding with Athena. On the back end, Athena permits more flexible, open-ended querying than any other language we know of.


An example to illustrate: you are looking to regress “x” on “y” using an instrument. If you use Stata you must choose an instrument, Google the right syntax (find it here:, and then write a perfect line of code. If you use Athena you can simply ask Athena—in normal English—to open up your dataset and find the ten strongest instruments to use in a regression of “x” on “y.” At that point you can put you economic “detective hat” on to determine which instruments are worth looking into.

Posted: Friday, June 12, 2020

Naomi Cohen-Shields of Princeton’s Class of 2020 analyzed the effectiveness of China’s efforts to reduce air pollution for her senior thesis research. She also investigated how air pollution differs across China’s provinces based on regional affluence — and if poor populations face more exposure. Cohen-Shields graduated June 2 with a bachelor’s degree in civil and environmental engineering and certificates in environmental studies and values and public life.

For her thesis, Cohen-Shields analyzed the effectiveness of China’s efforts since 2013 to reduce air pollution and the massive toll it takes on public health and the economy. She also wanted to get behind the national data to investigate how air pollution differs across China’s 22 provinces based on regional affluence — and if its poor and rural populations bear a larger share of the burden. She found that while China’s efforts to clean its air have made dramatic progress, the largest improvements have occurred in its wealthier northern regions where air pollution has historically been highest.

“The air quality is still generally poor across China, but it has improved markedly,” Cohen-Shields said. “We’ve seen a lot of success across the board, but there’s been more success in reducing pollution in major metropolises known for having high levels of pollution and obviously are also areas of concentrated wealth.”


STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

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.




Digital Signal Processing Associate – Applied Research Laboratories

Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Math, Physics or equivalent. Demonstrated ability in implementing DSP algorithms in analysis software or in hardware (FPGA and/or GPU platforms) to perform digital receiver processing for RF signal applications.


Environmental Scientist – Northeast Army Healthcare Recruiting

Supervise the scientific research for environmental health and industrial hygiene. As an officer on the U.S. Army health care team, their knowledge helps prevent illness and injury for military personnel.


Environmental Scientist 1 – Minnesota Pollution Control Agency

Evaluate the compliance status of assigned facilities with their solid waste negotiate settlements as part of a team, investigating and follow-up on solid waste complaints, acting as a case manager for assigned enforcement cases and reviewing permits for enforceable conditions.  


Full-time Associate – Magellan Research Group

Magellan Research Group is a fast-growing, information services start-up, connecting SMEs s with key decision-makers at top hedge funds and private equity groups. As an Associate, you will digest incoming requests from our clients and will use your tenacity and creativity to source the best experts in the industry.


Product Manager, Diagnostics and Research – GenScript USA

World leader in the biotechnology reagent service industry, as well as an open platform for pre-clinical drugs discovery and pharmaceutical development, driven by innovative technologies. New product development and commercialization of diagnostics and research products such as antibodies, proteins, peptides and kits. 




Summer 2021 Analyst Internships – Morgan Stanley

Apply by July 27 for: Firm Strategy, Global Capital Markets, Investment Banking/Management, Public Finance, Research, Sales & Trading, Wealth Mgmt.

Apply by Sep 6 for: Compliance, Corporate Services/Treasury, Finance, Operations, Risk Management, and Diversity Sophomores Summer Programs




Contact Tracer Training – State of New Jersey

Contact tracing is a full time commitment given the training requirement and access to various necessary systems. In order to work effectively, we will be scheduling people 7 days a week between 8am-8pm, but not to exceed 35 hours per week. 


Food Chemistry Fellowship – U.S. Food & Drug Administration

Five research opps available. The project will involve the development of methods for the quantitative determination of chemical constituents, contaminants and adulterants in foods and dietary supplements using chromatography and mass spectrometry (MS)-based techniques (i.e. LC-UV, LC-MS, GC-FID, GC-MS). 


Microbiologist – Kansas Department of Health & Environment

Seeking a Laboratory Scientist in Health Chemistry to analyze Newborn Screening specimens. The Scientist will perform analysis, review data and report complex biochemical and immunological screening analyses to detect infants at risk for genetic disorders.


Radioisotope Production Post-Bachelor’s Research Associate – Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Purist is a start-up company and part of the DOE-sponsored Innovation Crossroads Program. , is focused on developing a technology that can be implemented in small-scale, underutilized research nuclear reactors for on-demand production of high-purity medical radioisotopes.


Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020

Now, von Berg — who received her bachelor’s degree in computer science June 2 — is the first author of a paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that examines the role of Antarctic sea ice in regulating phytoplankton growth. Phytoplankton form the base of the ocean’s food chain and absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

Von Berg and the mostly Scripps-based team found that the retreat of sea ice can significantly influence phytoplankton growth and activity, and, thus, the amount of carbon dioxide the organisms can remove from the atmosphere. Study data was collected and made available by the PEI-administered Southern Ocean Carbon and Climate Observations Modeling project (SOCCOM) based at Princeton, which is funded by the National Science Foundation and involves researchers from multiple institutions including Scripps.

Co-authors on the paper included Sarah Gille, professor of climate, atmospheric science and physical oceanography; associate researcher Matthew Mazloff; and Lynne Talley, Distinguished Professor of Oceanography, all from Scripps, as well as Ethan Campbell from Princeton’s Class of 2016, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Washington and a past PEI intern.

“I was excited about this project because the actual work was largely centered around coding, but I would also get to learn about and participate in another field that I’m interested in, oceanography,” von Berg said.

“Working at Scripps was an amazing experience. All of the people I interacted with had so much passion for their work and were willing to give great advice for my own project,” she said. “My mentors especially were always there to help guide my research. It was very exciting to see my work result in a peer-reviewed paper.”

The paper, “Weddell Sea Phytoplankton Blooms Modulated by Sea Ice Variability and Polynya Formation,” was published May 24 in Geophysical Research Letters. This work was supported by the Princeton Environmental Institute Internship program, the National Science Foundation (NSF) (grant no. PLR-1425989), a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (grant no. DGE-1650112. ECC), and the U.S. Department of Defense National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship Program.

Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020

This summer, a jaw-dropping 3,000 undergraduates from dozens of countries have registered for “Physics of Life,” a biophysics summer school offered by the joint Princeton–City University of New York Center for the Physics of Biological Function (CPBF).

With the summer school, the CPBF faculty are hoping to help students bridge the traditional gulf between physics and biology. The summer school program is targeted to physics majors with an interest in biology, but enrollment is open to any undergraduate.

“We want to show you how elements of what living systems do connect to things you’ve learned in physics classes,” said Joshua Shaevitz, a professor of physics and the Lewis–Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics (LSI), as he addressed students in the first online session, which focused on motion and pattern formation in bacteria.

“Our goals are as much inspirational and aspirational as they are educational. We want you to learn something, but we also want you to get excited about new things.”

This is the third summer for the Physics of Life summer school, and the enrollment has jumped a bit from the 24 students who attended the in-person two-week intensive program in previous years. So far, more than 3,000 students registered, more than 1,000 attended the first live events online, and more than 850 have watched the first lecture on the CPBF YouTube Channel.

“I had underestimated how popular this would be,” Shaevitz admitted with a laugh.

“One of the things that we’ve enjoyed about doing this in person [in past years] was really getting to know students from a wide range of backgrounds; that’s obviously going to be much more difficult here,” said William Bialek, the John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics and the LSI who co-directs the CPBF with Shaevitz.

“On the other hand, there are already 25 times as many of you as we can accommodate when we bring all of you to one place,” Bialek told the students participating in the live broadcast on June 15. “We’re hoping that the spirit of being able to have a dialogue with people from around the world will outweigh the cost of not being able to do it in person.”

Posted: Monday, June 29, 2020

In February 2020, the Program in Theater presented the first full English-language production of Sister Mok-rahn, an acclaimed, contemporary play from Korea that explores borders, separation, and a sense of home.  Sister Mok-rahn follows the ordeals and relationships of Jo Mok-rahn, an accomplished North Korean accordion player who defects to South Korea only to discover she wants to return home. Desires and ideologies clash as Mok-rahn tries to navigate her way through South Korean culture and capitalism.

Princeton seniors Jenny Kim ’20, Carol Lee ’20, and Hannah Semmelhack ’20 proposed the production as their senior thesis in the Program in Theater and in collaboration with East West Theater. The seniors’ journey was fueled by their shared desire to bring different perspectives to the theater, and ultimately they achieved a deep sense of power and joy in representing previously unheard voices onstage.

Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2020

In August 2019, Princeton ROTC student MIDN 1/C Kara Dowling visited the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) to conduct research with members of the university’s Operations Research (OR) department for her senior year capstone project. The midshipman then returned on May 11th – via teleconference – to brief NPS faculty on her findings.

Dowling’s thesis, entitled “Offensive as Defensive in Naval Warfare,” explored a question posed by OPNAV N96 (Surface Warfare Command) that deals with using offensive missile capabilities in a defensive manner. Under the guidance of NPS faculty, she had crafted an analytic product of direct relevance to the warfighting capabilities of the Navy.

“The cooperative research advisement between Dowling’s Princeton’s faculty and NPS faculty enabled her to address a real-world warfighting issue in her senior operations research capstone project,” noted retired Navy Capt. Jeff Kline, a Professor of Practice in the OR department who worked with Dowling as her thesis advisor. “This initiative demonstrates NPS’ commitment to furthering the fleet’s analytical and technical warfighting skills regardless of rank.”

According to U.S. Navy Capt. Brian Morgan, program officer for NPS’ OR curriculum, Kline’s experience as a former Navy captain in the Surface Warfare community made him the perfect match to help advise and mentor Dowling through the research process. Following graduation, Dowling herself will report to USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19), homeported in Yokosuka, Japan, as a Surface Warfare Officer.

Morgan, who championed the concept of helping undergraduate Midshipmen conduct their research at NPS, was initially contacted by the executive officer of NROTC Unit Rutgers-Princeton, Cmdr. Haden Patrick, about a possible thesis topic for Dowling. According to Patrick, NROTC was only recently established in 2014, and at present time there are not a lot of understanding of Navy interests in their academic departments.

“A lot of topics were discussed during our initial tele-conference with Dowling,” Morgan said, “NPS-proposed thesis topics and analytic techniques, other potential thesis topics, the university’s research interests and the level of support by NPS faculty.”

Bowling’s thesis topic was formally approved in January 2019, and in August of that year journeyed to Monterey to meet up with NPS’ OR faculty for a weeklong deep dive into the methodology and research to support her work. As her studies at Princeton neared an end this May, Bowling presented her findings – and recommendations – to NPS faculty via tele-conference.

“Bowling’s presentation was important because it helped provide two things,” he said. “First, it is important to communicate insights and recommendations of the research to the stakeholder community. Secondly, skills such as presenting analysis are very important to learn, because even the best insights will be not make a difference if poorly communicated.

“This gave Dowling the opportunity to not only do that, but refine important professional skills such as public speaking that every officer should master,” he added.

In a subsequent brief to fellow NPS faculty to further the practice of providing research assistance to talented Midshipmen in their undergraduate studies, Morgan noted that providing operationally relevant topics and research assistance provides great value to the warfighting community by further aligning students with Education for Seapower strategic initiatives.

Additionally, supporting Midshipmen helps build enduring student networks and promotes further academic exchanges between NPS and the student’s university.

“We hope to find additional research opportunities to engage with Midshipmen at the Academy and NROTC units, and we hope to see Kara Dowling at NPS for her master’s degree in four years,” Kline further remarked.

Along with her presentation to NPS, Dowling will also present her thesis to the Military Operations Research Society as part of several working groups. Bowling’s presentations will also be utilized by her NROTC commanding officer as part of a brief to continue the initiative as part of the “All NROTC Unit CO’s Meeting” in December.

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2020

As rain darkened the red earth atop Bolivia’s largest silver mine, Peter Schmidt watched children only a few years younger than him emerge from the honeycomb of hand-excavated tunnels to dump minecarts of ore before hurrying back inside the mountain’s labyrinth of compact tunnels.

Schmidt — a high school graduate from St. Louis studying in Bolivia through Princeton’s Novogratz Bridge Year Program — was struck by watching members his own generation  mine the Cerro Rico, or “rich mountain,” in much the same way as when the Spanish first penetrated the Andean mountain in the 16th century.

“This place had a very strong and strange effect on me and I knew I wanted to write a book about it someday,” Schmidt said. Four years later, he has written a novel as his Princeton senior thesis that provides the mountain that spoke to him that day with its own voice, one that pleads for justice after nearly 500 years of being stripped, exploited and hollowed out.

His novel, “A Mountain There,” uses the violent history of the Cerro Rico to examine increasing efforts worldwide to grant natural features such as rivers, lakes and forests — and in some cases nature itself — the rights and protections of legal personhood. Schmidt documents a fictional push to achieve personhood for the Cerro Rico through court filings, news articles and correspondences that he created based on his research at Princeton, as well as on fieldwork in Bolivia supported by senior thesis funding from the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI).

“With our litany of environmental disasters, and climate change, the idea of treating environmental features as legal persons is becoming more and more urgent,” said Schmidt, who graduated from Princeton on June 2 with a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and Portuguese and a certificate in environmental studies. He received the Environmental Studies Book Prize in Environmental Humanities for his thesis during the Program in Environmental Studies Class Day ceremony May 29.

“This book asks how the world would look if a mountain could speak and if a mountain could be granted the opportunity to testify in open court,” Schmidt said. “Fiction creates a space where you can ask those kinds of questions and treat them seriously.”

“Peter’s thesis shines for both its deep intellectual engagement and scholarly rigor, its confidence to ask questions that may not have answers, and, of course, its creative ambition,” said Nicole Legnani, assistant professor of Spanish and Portuguese and Schmidt’s senior thesis co-adviser. “If we consider that Peter’s first encounter with Bolivia was due to his bridge year in Bolivia, his thesis is thoroughly ‘Princetonian’ even as it is deeply committed to communities and experiences far beyond campus.”

After Princeton, Schmidt will work with two Brazil-based advocacy groups. He’ll help the nonprofit research institute Imazon (Amazon Institute of People and Environment) — which is dedicated to preventing deforestation in the Amazon — use storytelling and science communications to influence policymakers. Schmidt also will conduct research related to climate change and global security policy for Instituto Igarapé, which uses research, technology and policy to solve social issues related to security, justice and development. Stateside, Schmidt will also work full-time at the New York City-based immigration law firm Sethi and Mazaheri and its related nonprofit group, the Artistic Freedom Initiative, where he will help artists seeking asylum.

“One thing I learned is that the trajectory of a research project and the trajectory of a novel rarely converge,” Schmidt said. “With a novel, there’s a lot of thinking up front, but you have to go pretty immediately to an empty page and start putting things out and seeing how they fit together.

“I would get to a point in the creative aspect and realize I needed to do a lot of research in order to proceed,” Schmidt said. “The academic questions were guided by the story, and the story was guided by the academic questions.”

Posted: Friday, July 31, 2020

Why do people buy lottery tickets?

Florence Wang ’21 set out to answer this seemingly simple question in her independent project for the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning’s (CSML) certificate program. Looking at this question deeply, she arrived at some intriguing results that could be used to formulate socioeconomic policies on lotteries, which is seen by some critics as a regressive tax on the poor. Her project garnered the poster award at CSML’s annual poster session, along with the project of John Olaf Hallman ’20.

“I first became interested in this topic because I noticed I would disproportionately see people from lower economic backgrounds, such as blue-collar and immigrant workers, buying lottery tickets,” said Wang, a Princeton School of Public and International Affairs student. “This was true both in Hong Kong - where I am from - as well as in the US. For example, I’d often see immigrant workers lining up to buy lottery tickets at the kiosk on Nassau Street, but I never saw anyone else buying them. I wanted to understand why.”

Wang said she enjoyed conducting her research project and attending her CSML classes. She became interested in pursuing the CSML certificate after taking a class on quantitative social science for her major.

“It’s important to combine quantitative and qualitative analyses to understand social issues more deeply.” she said. “I was initially a little intimidated in pursuing this certificate because I don’t have much of a quantitative background. But there are so many options in the department that you can create a path catered to your skills and interests. In our increasingly data-driven world, it’s important to have a good grasp of numbers and not shy away from data, and taking CSML courses has really helped me with my confidence in that regard.”

After graduation, Wang said she is interested in going to law school or delving into the start-up world. Wang has worked as a summer intern at Sequoia Capital Chinaa venture capital firm. She is currently an intern at BCG Digital Ventures, a corporate investment and incubation firm focused on start-ups.

But first, she must complete her upcoming senior year. Wang, who is also pursuing a certificate in East Asian studies, is interested in studying Chinese politics and civil society for her senior thesis. Like her CSML independent project, she wants to add a data science approach to her research. 

John Hallman: machine learning and control theory
Posted: Wednesday, July 29, 2020

As the name suggests, automatic control concerns the control of dynamic continuously operating systems such as the cruise control on a vehicle, auto pilots on aircraft, industrial process control (paper, steel, chemicals), and building heating. John Hallman ’20 was intrigued by the concept of ``learning’’ how to control such processes and made it a focus of his senior year research.

In his independent project for the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning’s (CSML) certificate program, Hallman, a math major, noticed that many studies in the theory of control dealt with the setting full-information when various parameters and variables of the controlled system are assumed to be known. He decided to look at control in a different way by studying it in the context of bandit feedback, a situtation when many of the variables that drive a system are unknown.

Hallman developed a machine learning algorithm that deals with control in bandit feedback settings. The algorithm figures out the unknown variables in these systems. His project, Non-Stochastic Control with Bandit Feedback, shared the best poster award at this year’s CSML poster session along with the project of Florence Wang ’21.

During his time at Princeton, Hallman was a summer research intern for Professor Elad Hazan at the computer science department. As an intern, he performed research on optimization and research learning. He was also a student research at the Google AI Lab at Princeton, where he delved into machine learning research and helped build out the machine learning infrastructure. He also won a student computer science teaching award.

As for future plans, he may get his doctoral degree but he wants to get some industrial experience first, Hallman said.

“I’ve been interested in the theoretical development of algorithms and their practical applications,” he said. “There is an enormous step between machine learning research and making these tools suffciently robust and simple that people can pick up the tools and use them.”

Posted: Thursday, August 20, 2020

In a typical summer, thousands of Princeton students are scattered across the country and around the globe for internships that enrich their academic focus, provide valuable work experience, jumpstart their professional network and expand their worldview.

The pandemic changed all that, taking in-person internships off the table.

Enter the virtual internship. This summer, the University — including academic departments and programs, the Pace Center, Career Services, alumni and others — helped students pivot from their original plans to a wide variety of internships that are 100% digital. 

In this story, six undergraduates reflect on their remote summer internship experiences:

Victoria Agwam '23

Concentration: Economics


Noelia Carbajal '22

Concentration: Classics; pursuing certificates in art and archaeology, and medieval studies 


Gabriel Duguay '22

Concentration: Independent concentration in Indigenous studies; pursuing certificates in humanistic studies, environmental studies and the history of practice of diplomacy


Tejas Gupta '24

Concentration: Undeclared


Jimin Kang '21

Concentration: Spanish and Portuguese; pursuing certificates in journalism, Latin American studies, environmental studies and creative writing


Margaret Lynch, Class of 2021

Concentration: Geosciences

Posted: Monday, August 24, 2020

Now on the Library homepage are Fall 2020 Resources pages for undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty members, listing all of the library resources and services available to you this fall. Whether you are on or off campus this semester, we are ready to help you with your research, teaching, and learning!

Posted: Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Princeton’s Center for Health and Wellbeing (CHW) sponsors a robust Internships in Global Health program, encouraging students to probe a myriad of health topics affecting the developed and developing world, from pediatric obesity to special pathogens. Last fall, the CHW team looked forward to expanding this initiative with more compelling, hands-on opportunities than ever before. Dozens of Princeton students were selected for fully funded summer internships, some with longstanding partners and others with brand new affiliates in the United States and overseas.

The onset of Covid-19, and its impact on health and safety, changed everything.

Border closures, rising infection rates, and other effects of the emerging pandemic prompted Princeton to impose travel restrictions and other measures to protect students and the campus community. Accordingly, as the university transitioned to distance learning, CHW worked with its partners to reimagine its 2020 internship program. Many internships were successfully modified to virtual formats, while faculty members stepped in to create additional health-focused opportunities. In total, CHW funded nearly 30 remote global health internships along with 20 remote senior thesis research projects.

Thanks to the collaborative fortitude and flexibility of students, staff, and faculty, CHW’s Internships in Global Health program continues to thrive. Participants have engaged in meaningful work at the forefront of public health practice and policy. A few of these unique experiences are highlighted in this article:

Posted: Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Princeton University will have a major leadership role in one of the five new multi-institution centers for the advancement of quantum science research announced by the U.S. Department of Energy.

The Co-Design Center for Quantum Advantage (C2QA), headquartered at Brookhaven National Laboratory, will develop quantum technologies to serve as the platform for the computing innovations of the future, promising benefits for national security, pharmaceutical development, optimization of resources, and more.

The announcement was made Aug. 26 by the Trump administration.

“This is a monumental opportunity for Princeton to contribute to the fast-evolving technological future of quantum computing,” said Princeton University Provost Deborah Prentice. “Our deep strengths in fundamental research make Princeton well-positioned to contribute to this endeavor, which is central to the advancement of computing technology in the 21st century.”

“Princeton is excited to contribute to the leadership and scientific activity of this tremendous team of universities, a national laboratory and industry that will work together to advance the field of quantum computing,” said Princeton Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti. “We look forward to the many contributions in the science and engineering of quantum technologies that will emerge from this collaborative effort.”

The center will receive up to $115 million over five years to develop materials, devices, software and applications that will serve as a platform for the next generation of quantum computing capabilities. The goal is to overcome the limitations of today’s early stage quantum computers and propel the field forward to unlock new capabilities to tackle real-world challenges.

Posted: Saturday, September 5, 2020

President Christopher L. Eisgruber has written a letter to the University community to outline the next steps the University administration will take to address systemic racism at Princeton and beyond.


“Princeton contributes to the world through teaching and research of unsurpassed quality, and we must continue to find ways to bring that mission to bear against racism, and against all of the discrimination that damages the lives of people of color.” — President Eisgruber


In his update, President Eisgruber also noted the University’s effort to address systemic racism began with changes and initiatives that were announced in June. These included:

  • An initial series of new funding initiatives — the first, immediate steps in an ongoing effort to bring to bear the research, teaching and service-focused mission of the University on the critical issues of racial injustice.
  • A new grant program (“Princeton RISE”) that provides immediate resources for undergraduate and graduate students who want to engage in work over the summer to address racial inequalities and injustices. The University has put out a call for faculty-led projects to engage undergraduate students in research or scholarly work that addresses racism, including systemic racism and racial injustice. We have identified funding to support faculty members who want to create or expand course offerings related to systemic racism, racial injustice, anti-racism, and the history of civil rights or anti‑racist movements.
  • The changes to the names of what are now the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs and First College.
Posted: Tuesday, September 15, 2020
Allison Yang ’23 studied how brains sync up during communication as part of her research internship, funded by the Office of Undergraduate Research’s Student Initiated Internships (OURSIP).  Video by Allison Yang

When the pandemic shut down almost all on-campus research, students who had arranged in-person summer research internships needed to pivot quickly.

In a typical year, the Office of the Dean of the College (ODOC) sponsors summer research opportunities for undergraduate students both on- and off-campus, complete with weekly workshops, lectures and community-building activities. But this year, as the students and mentors re-imagined their research plans to become projects that could be accomplished from home, two ODOC programs — the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) and the Program in Community-Engaged Scholarship (ProCES) — also re-invented their support structures, creating online check-ins and workshops to replace group lunches, digital bonding activities in place of in-person game nights, and stress management workshops for students juggling an unprecedented combination of challenges.

Many students found that their planned internships couldn’t make the pivot to remote work, so Trisha Thorme, the ProCES director, created a new pathway where students who had lost their summer opportunities could propose new research-based nonprofit internships. Prior to that, Thorme had planned to oversee six local Derian ProCES interns. (In past years, she’s had as many as 12.) So many students took advantage of the new pathway that Thorme had an unprecedented 25 remote Derian interns this summer.

In past years, the students wrapped up their summers by preparing and presenting research talks and posters. In 2020, OUR students created intern profiles and research videos to be shared with incoming Princeton students in the Freshman Scholars Institute and other members of the Princeton community, while the ProCES interns prepared reports and presentations for their host organizations and developed 90-second pitches that describe their summer work and its impact.

“Overall, what I’m most impressed by is just the level of creativity and resilience that student researchers have shown, to adapt to the situation,” said Pascale Poussart, the OUR director, who oversees ReMatch+OURSIP and the Summer Research Colloquium (SRC), a weekly community-building program for OUR research interns and mentors.


ReMatch, part of a collaboration between ODOC and the Graduate School, is a year-long program that builds mentoring relationships between undergraduates and graduate students or postdoctoral researchers — three groups that didn’t often interact, historically. In the fall, ReMatch first-years and sophomores meet with ReMatch graduate mentors to find their “match”, and in the spring, the mentor-mentee pairs can apply for ReMatch+, a paid summer research internship. Of the 10 ReMatch+ projects funded this year, one focused on closing the sex gap in neuroscience research, while others investigated genes associated with breast cancer and breastfeeding and studied how rats make decisions.

“While this year looked very different from past summers, it was great to see how the ReMatch+ graduate and undergraduate participants built strong research relationships, despite having shifted to a virtual environment,” said Christine Fecenko Murphy, the assistant dean for academic affairs in the Graduate School, who co-directs the ReMatch Program. 

Jessica Brice of the Class of 2022 was matched with Lauren Feldman, a fifth-year graduate student who works in the lab of Joel Cooper, a professor of psychology. Brice’s original research went in a new direction after the death of George Floyd on May 25. She ran a linguistic analysis of the statements provided by 179 university leaders — presidents, provosts and chancellors of 112 predominantly white institutions and 67 historically Black colleges and universities — looking for hundreds of phrases about indirect bias and structural inequality.

Her preliminary results suggest that this summer, colleges and universities were more willing to publicly recognize and explicitly describe racist behavior than they had been in the past. She also identified some trends in language use. For example, she found that statements from predominantly white institutions were somewhat more likely to use more social unity words like “solidarity,” “community” and “together” than HBCUs, while HBCU statements were many times more likely to use words like “defund,” “restructure” and “abolish.”

“This experience has not only given me some exciting ideas for my junior paper but strengthened my interest in pursuing a career in research psychology,” Brice said.

Office of Undergraduate Research - Student Initiated Internships (OURSIP)    

Every year, OURSIP provides grants to Princeton first-years and sophomores (and occasionally juniors) who have independently created or secured an unpaid faculty-mentored research internship over the summer.

This summer, OURSIP supported 30 projects, which ranged from a study of cholesterol at the molecular level to designing a cheating-proof sports tournament, studying little-known proteins that are key to photosynthesis, and investigating magic-angle graphene.

Allison Yang of the Class of 2023 was both an OURSIP intern and the SRC program assistant, with responsibility for organizing and running weekly social events online to build community between the geographically scattered interns. “She developed a truly fun and creative line-up of events so students could connect with each other informally,” said Poussart.

Yang’s OURSIP project used fMRI brain scans to look for neural synchrony — brains syncing up together — during communication. She tracked brain activity simultaneously in pairs of volunteers, as one student gave another instructions on simple tasks, like how to find Waldo in a picture or how to design an avatar. Her goal was to better understand how neural activity corresponds to effective communication.

“I’d definitely recommend participating in OURSIP, even if you don’t plan on a research-related career,” Yang said. “The experience of research truly benefits your problem-solving and analytical skills, and the process of discovery is so exciting!”

Posted: Wednesday, September 9, 2020
Princeton senior Ben Alessio had planned to spend his summer internship with the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI) in the laboratory of Professor Howard Stone conducting experiments related to diffusiophoresis, an important process by which particles are transported through water. But when COVID-19 led to the suspension of campus operations, Alessio and Stone —Princeton’s Donald R. Dixon ’69 and Elizabeth W. Dixon Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and PEI associated faculty— designed a virtual internship that contributed to an important advance in the Stone Lab’s work. Alessio, a physics major, worked from home integrating physical effects into a code that solves the system of partial differential equations that describe diffusiophoresis under various conditions. One physical effect — having many ions in the solute — had never been implemented before. “The theory behind this was published last year by a researcher in the group, but nobody had done a numerical investigation of the equations. When we saw results that matched the experiments, I was thrilled,” said Alessio, who previously held a PEI internship with the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory in 2019. “Working remotely changed the course of my internship,” he said. “I’m not sure I would have accomplished the same thing with the computer modeling if I were on campus. I would say it was a fortunate result of having to go to computer work.” Alessio was one of more than 100 Princeton undergraduate students enrolled in PEI’s summer internship program this year who — despite transitioning to virtual internships due to the coronavirus — worked closely with noted faculty and other experts on research related to critical environmental topics. PEI supported 123 students from across the University in positions with Princeton faculty, researchers from other scientific enterprises, government agencies, and not-for-profit organizations and community groups. Their projects focused on global environmental challenges in the areas of policy and resilience, biodiversity and conservation, alternative energy, climate change, water, and human health. PEI interns for the summer of 2020 will present their research Sept. 18 during the annual Summer of Learning Symposium. Applications for the 2021 summer internships open Nov. 23.
Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Access to reliable power is a critical concern for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, from those living in remote communities without public utilities to entire regions susceptible to severe weather and natural disasters.

Since his graduation in 2016, Princeton alumnus Angelo Campus has worked to ensure anyone needing quick and dependable access to a power source can find it in a simple configuration: a shipping container equipped with solar panels, a battery for energy storage and a backup generator.

His company, BoxPower, builds and distributes these units — what are known as containerized microgrids — and has deployed them in places like Puerto Rico, which lost electrical infrastructure in 2017 due to Hurricane Maria, and the Alaskan backcountry, where Alaska Natives live far removed from electrical power sources.

BoxPower even filled a critical need in Campus’ home state of California in 2019, when wildfires caused public utilities to shut down electrical grids for days.

“When we started this company, we didn’t know that Hurricane Maria was going to happen, we didn’t know that the California wildfires were going to happen,” said Campus, whose company is based in his hometown of Nevada City, California.

He also couldn’t foresee that a game-changing technological development was on the horizon: that Tesla would revolutionize the battery and energy storage market — a key component of solar energy systems — popularizing the idea of microgrids.

What Campus did know early on was that he had a passion for renewable energy, engineering and product design, and a strong desire to promote social and environmental good.

He learned about containerized microgrids in 2011 as a senior in high school, when he visited Princeton for a campus tour. The visit strongly influenced his decision to attend the University and to learn more about the technology involved.

As a first-year student, he joined Princeton’s Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program, which was developing a sustainable alternative to diesel generators in the wake of the 2010 earthquakes in Haiti and their devastating aftermath.

To focus his academics on his goals, Campus switched out of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to create an independent concentration called “Technological Development” that allowed him to fully realize the practical applications of containerized microgrids. He took on advisers from engineering, architecture and anthropology to help him more closely examine the technical, human and social aspects of energy systems.

During his senior year, Campus entered business competitions and began the process of commercializing a rapidly deployable, containerized microgrid. He named his new company BoxPower.

“It’s become very important to me to try to extend that opportunity and share my story with other rising Princeton students that with a Princeton degree, you can do anything,” he said. “You can start your own company, you can create your own career and create your own lifestyle into whatever vision you want for yourself and the world.”

“As Princeton alumni, we are among some of the most privileged people in the world,” he added. “It is our responsibility, our duty, to use that privilege to make the world a better place.”

Campus eventually plans to take BoxPower global. He is seeking to partner with traditional power providers that want to expand into renewable energy. He’s also hoping to work with international relief groups including the United Nations, the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

“In so many ways we’re just getting started,” Campus said. “We’re in our early teenage years where we’re learning how to drive. We’re figuring out all the places we can and want to go, and it’s a really exciting time to be doing that.”

Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Congratulations to the seven Princeton undergraduate students awarded for their academic achievement!

Princeton University celebrated the academic accomplishments of its students with the awarding of four undergraduate prizes to seven students. While the annual prizes are typically awarded at Opening Exercises, there was no ceremony this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are especially proud of this year’s prize winners, given the disruption caused by COVID-19,” said Dean of the College Jill Dolan. “Despite the challenges we faced last spring, these students continued to achieve at a very high level, across a wide range of subjects. They are students with broad interests, abounding curiosity, and keen intellects. I so regret that the pandemic prevents us from celebrating their accomplishments in person this year, but they and we should be very proud of the quality of their work.”

Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020

Rice is hosting the Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium (GCURS) for the 12th year in a row and would like to invite interested students to apply at This year, the symposium will be on Saturday, Oct. 31 and will be held entirely virtually! A sharable flyer with more details, including sections that are participating can be viewed here.

GCURS is not your usual poster session. In fact, no posters are allowed at GCURS! GCURS provides undergraduate researchers the opportunity to present original research discoveries to scholars from around the world. Participants give 10-to-15-minute individual presentations which include a question-and-answer period. Following the presentations, faculty mentors provide feedback to each student. Past participants have shared that GCURS helps to foster interdisciplinary, intercollegiate fellowship. A video showcasing the symposium can be viewed here and below - this event is high-energy, exciting and students get a lot of value out of it.

The application is now open and the deadline is Oct. 16. Apply now to share your research and learn from mentors!

Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

For undergraduates in the engineering school, summer often means a chance to apply their learning in new ways, whether conducting field research, working in industry or volunteering abroad. Last summer, with the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting many of these plans, some students’ research projects took them in unexpected directions.

In response to increased need, the School of Engineering and Applied Science and several of the school’s departments boosted their support for faculty-advised summer research projects. Students explored topics including strategies for making public spaces safer, unequal impacts of air quality changes, and the biomechanics of disease in the brain.

Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Students! Submit a research paper for publication in this journal for undergraduate students: the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal (CUSJ). CUSJ is a highly selective peer-reviewed publication that aims to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to publish scholarly research papers.


This is a great opportunity to share the research work you have accomplished with a wider audience. The submission deadline for the 2020-2021 journal is January 22, 2021.


More information about the journal and submission guidelines can be found on this website:

Posted: Thursday, October 15, 2020

When Danielle Ivory ’05 and her fellow seventh graders were given the assignment of dressing up as historical figures, she chose Nellie Bly, the pioneering 19th-century investigative journalist. “I was sandwiched between Harry Truman and Marilyn Monroe, and everyone was asking, ‘Who are you?’” she recalls. Today, Ivory is an award-winning investigative reporter for The New York Times who specializes in data-driven research. She currently is leading a Times project that tracks coronavirus clusters at collegesnursing homes, and some other hot spots.

Ivory landed her first job in journalism thanks to research for her senior thesis on journalists who helped set up the Peace Corps. She reached out to Bill Moyers, who agreed to speak with her and then hired her as a researcher for his TV series Bill Moyers Journal after she completed a master’s degree at Oxford. Her first big scoop — for the Huffington Post Investigative Fund — revealed that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had failed to inform the public about pesticides in the drinking water in four states. She uncovered the story after filing requests for documents from the federal government under the Freedom of Information Act and receiving a trove of revealing data. 

After three years at Bloomberg, where she probed the intersections between business and government, Ivory was hired as a reporter on the business desk of the Times at the age of 30. She spent a year and a half delving into obscure federal databases to gather information as part of a Times team that exposed widespread inattention to safety defects by automakers, suppliers, and regulators and contributed to the recall of 60 million vehicles, the largest in American history. That reporting earned her the 2014 Scripps Howard award for public service reporting and the 2015 Deadline Club award.

Ivory started tracking coronavirus cases for the Times in March, after the newspaper created a database project with the goal of recording every case. “We went county by county. Everything was collected manually, either online or by phone,” she says. Later, the team began tracking cases at nursing homes, and Ivory often turned to an old-fashioned reporting tool — the phone — to collect the data or confirm information from state governments. She recalls “heartbreaking conversations” with staff members at nursing homes and families who were coping with the disease. 

Over the summer, the project also began tracking cases at colleges and universities, which must be collected manually. Ivory leads a team of more than 20 journalists — most hired for this project — to gather the data. (Nursing home data is now assembled with the help of computer programs.) “More colleges are giving us the information after a lot of public pressure to put it out,” she says. The team also has filed public-records requests to get data from state universities.

The project, like much of Ivory’s work, allows her to use her skills with data to address some of the most pressing issues in the nation. “I love to dig really deeply into what I’m covering and piece together a mystery,” Ivory says. “We’re always trying to shed light on problems for the public and hold the powerful accountable.”

Posted: Sunday, November 22, 2020

Princeton University senior Sophie Li has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford.

The prestigious fellowship funds one to three years of graduate study at Oxford. She will begin her studies at Oxford in September 2021. This is the first year Rhodes Scholars were elected entirely virtually, with all candidates and selectors participating safely, independently and digitally. Li will join an international group of more than 100 Rhodes Scholars chosen from more than 60 countries, and she is among several winners who have attended American colleges and universities.

The first Rhodes Scholar for Hong Kong entered Oxford in 1986. Rhodes Scholars for Hong Kong have pursued a variety of careers in fields including public service, academia, business, law and medicine. 

Li, of Hong Kong, is concentrating in politics and is also pursuing a certificate in journalism. At Oxford, Li will pursue an M.Sc. in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies.

She has engaged with forced migration issues through a range of different perspectives at Princeton, both in and outside the classroom. Her courses have focused on migration journalism, human rights, comparative constitutional law, causes of war, politics of development and applied social statistics. She is a member of Forbes College.

Her interest in migration was first sparked in the summer following her first year at Princeton, when she interned at Resolve, a nonprofit organization in Hong Kong. In summer 2019 she was an Asia Program intern at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. Last summer, through the Office of Religious Life’s Faith-Based Internship program, she was a policy intern at the U.S.C.C.B. Office of Migration and Refugee Services in Washington, DC., where she honed her research and data analysis skills, while further immersing herself in the world of policy and government lobbying.

As part of the Religion and Forced Migration Initiative, she has served as a researcher supporting asylum applications with the Princeton Asylum Project, and has combined her passion for law, policy and storytelling with the Oral History Project on Religion and Resettlement. As an oral historian and student journalist, Li has amplified refugees’ stories in their own words.

Posted: Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (MU JCESOM) Graduate Program is offering the Summer Research Internship for Minority Students (SRIMS) for its 12th year!

The SRIMS program includes nine weeks of graduate-level research in the field of biomedical sciences. Participants receive formal research training while expanding their learning experience through workshops, seminars on current topics, mentoring and professional networking.

The program begins on June 1, 2021. Applications are due February 12, 2021!

Applications will be evaluated based upon the following criteria:

  • Identification within an underrepresented ethnic minority group in the biomedical sciences (e.g., Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander.)
  • US Citizenship or Permanent Residency (valid green card) required due to funding sources. International students are not eligible for this program.
  • Career goals and stated interest in research, including why you would like to participate in the program--move
  • Academic record, particularly in science–related courses
  • Laboratory experience
  • Preference is given to those with an interest in attending Marshall University for their graduate education.
Posted: Monday, December 7, 2020

Princeton seniors Ilene E, Arjun Sai Krishnan, Austin Mejia and Karthik Ramesh have been named Schwarzman Scholars. The Schwarzman Scholarship covers the cost of graduate study and living toward a one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

For its sixth class, 154 scholars were selected from around the world from more than 3,600 applicants. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, candidates from more than 60 countries interviewed before panels of CEOs, government officials, university presidents, journalists, and non-profit executives, among others. This year’s process marked the first time that a class of Schwarzman Scholars was selected entirely virtually.

The scholars will study economics and business, international studies, and public policy. Courses will be taught in English by professors from Tsinghua, as well as visiting scholars, beginning in August. The program was founded by Blackstone investment firm co-founder Stephen Schwarzman.

Posted: Thursday, December 10, 2020

Princeton senior Kiara “KiKi” Gilbert has been named a 2021 Marshall Scholar. The Marshall Scholarship seeks to promote strong relations between the United Kingdom and the United States by offering intellectually distinguished young Americans the opportunity to develop their abilities as future leaders. The scholarship covers the cost of two years of graduate study in the UK at a university of the recipient’s choice.

Gilbert, a resident of Charlotte, North Carolina, is one of 46 awardees for 2021. An African American studies concentrator who is completing a certificate in humanistic studies, Gilbert will pursue an MPhil in criticism and culture at the University of Cambridge and an MPhil in political thought and intellectual theory at SOAS University of London.

She plans to use her degrees to follow her deep passion to make both canonical and non-traditional philosophies accessible to marginalized communities. 

“I was immensely grateful and more than a little overwhelmed upon receiving confirmation of the Marshall Scholarship,” Gilbert said. “Being first-generation, low-income and a proud student activist, I know that this award comes in the midst of much hardship. I can only hope to use the Marshall and its available resources to further my commitment to justice and equity within disenfranchised communities.”

As a Marshall Scholar, Gilbert said she is excited to directly engage with the legacies of Black British theorists, academics and activists.

“I hope to grow as a race theorist and philosopher, and to further entrench myself within political philosophy,” she said. “I’m also excited to engage in British movements for racial justice and prison abolition, as I know these are conversations unfolding globally.”

Gilbert’s academic study, research and leadership already have drawn her meaningfully into practical and philosophical questions about racial, social and economic justice.

Earlier this year, she served as a research associate for the Archival Justice for the Enslaved project, researching, recategorizing and relabeling mishandled archival material dealing with Black-American, British and Afro-Caribbean enslaved populations.

In 2019, she received a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award and used the opportunity to teach a combination of canonical philosophy and educational accessibility courses between several homeless shelters in her hometown of Charlotte. She was selected to present her project, titled “Unearthing Socrates: Engaging with Philosophies of Homeless Populations,” at the 2020 Harvard Engaged Scholarship and Social Justice Undergraduate Research Conference.

A Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Gilbert previously presented research titled “Your Struggles are My Struggles: Epistemic Co-optation in the Discourse of Victimhood,” at a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Regional Conference.

“Kiara is a brilliant undergraduate student who exhibits a remarkable combination of intelligence and public concern,” said Eddie Glaude Jr., the James S. McDonnell Distinguished University Professor, professor of African American studies and chair of the Department of African American Studies. “Her interest in philosophy draws on her personal experiences and intense desire to transform what she rightly sees as an unjust society. The result is this fascinating combination of a quest for philosophical rigor with questions that often animate fields like African American studies. I have been impressed with her since the very first day we met. She stands among the very brightest students I have ever taught.”

Gilbert’s commitment to the betterment of marginalized communities is exemplified by her pursuits on and off Princeton’s campus. She was a two-year trustee board member of America’s Promise Alliance, the largest cross-sector non-profit in the country, advocating on behalf of low-income and housing insecure students. She is also an active student leader at Princeton, serving as a member of the University’s Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Climate, Culture and Conduct, as well as a member of the Public Safety Community Advisory Committee. Over the years, she has been involved with numerous student movements ranging from “Ban the Box” to protests over the “Double Sights” marker.

Gilbert is a past co-president of Students for Prison Education, Abolition and Reform and a two-time co-chair of the group’s annual conference. She served as co-president of Princeton’s First-Generation Low Income Council and co-chaired the 2019 1vyG Conference, which gathered hundreds of first-generation, low-income students from across the country at Princeton.

As co-director of the Prison Electives Project, Gilbert taught political and ethical philosophy to incarcerated persons. As a first-year student, she organized a Breakout Princeton trip to Trenton, New Jersey, through the John Pace Jr. ’39 Center for Civic Engagement, exploring the city’s gentrification with community partners.

A resident of Mathey College, Gilbert is a member of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows.

She has been named a KPMG Scholar, National Horatio Alger Scholar, Ron Brown Scholar and a Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America (LEDA) Scholar.

Gilbert is also a recipient of the Adler Undergraduate Prize in Book Collecting and Future Global Leaders Fellowship.

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2020

 The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is seeking enthusiastic undergraduate students to apply to the agency’s premier Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The SURF Program will be administered virtually with program dates of May 24, 2021 to August 6, 2021. Note: Participants will not travel to the NIST laboratories to conduct research in the 2021 SURF Program. Therefore, the fellowship does not include support for travel or lodging.


Since 1993, SURF students from across the country have had the opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience, working with cutting edge technology in one of the world's leading research organizations and home to three Nobel Prize winners. The mission of the SURF Program is to inspire undergraduate students to pursue careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) through a unique research experience that supports the NIST mission.


As SURF participant, you can expect to train under the mentorship of international known NIST scientists and engineers, acquire lifelong leadership and analytical skills, build professional networks, and learn about a career in public service.  Additionally, you will also gain insight on how NIST improves our quality of life through the advancement of measurement science, standards, and technology. During the 11-week appointment, you will receive a stipend and numerous professional skillsets.


We hope you consider applying to the 2021 Virtual SURF Program. Prospective applicants must apply for acceptance into the SURF Program on USAJobs.Gov (Search SURF Boulder or SURF Gaithersburg). The announcement will close on February 14, 2021 at 11:59 PM (Eastern time) or when we have received the application limit which may be sooner than the closing date. Thus, applicants are strongly encouraged to submit the on-line application and supporting documents ahead of the announcement closing date. 


To learn more about the program, visit If there are questions, please e-mail Dr. Brandi Toliver at  

Posted: Friday, December 18, 2020

Students! Check out these internship and research opportunities from the Council on Undergraduate Research, with the deadlines listed by each program and links to more information. 

Posted: Monday, December 21, 2020
Ruha Benjamin, professor of African American studies, created the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab to explore how data are misinterpreted or intentionally twisted through stories and narratives. Photo by Cyndi Shattuck

When Ruha Benjamin was 14, she moved from South Carolina to the South Pacific with her parents, educators tasked with curriculum development and teacher training in Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. To keep the family entertained, her father brought boxes of VHS tapes filled with “Star Trek” episodes.

“It was my only entertainment for nine months,” Benjamin said. “I became a real Trekkie.”

Later as a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, Benjamin realized that many of the scientists and engineers she met shared her love of science fiction. Shows like “Star Trek” weren’t just fiction — they were inspirations that led to real innovations and discoveries.

She also noticed that only a small sliver of humanity had the resources and power to translate sci-fi visions into reality — to boldly go where no one has gone before. The rest of the world is forced to “live inside someone else’s imagination,” Benjamin said.

“What motivates me is to radically expand that imagination,” she said.

As the novel coronavirus infiltrates communities of color, and protests erupt over the nation’s long history of police violence against Black Americans, people are increasingly aware that institutions have long failed people of color. Benjamin, professor of African American studies, envisions a path to structural changes and a more equitable future by recognizing the failures of the past. Those failures, she believes, are written in data.

Evidence of prejudice and racial inequality are baked into the numbers coming from institutions such as banks, hospitals, schools and prisons. But data can be misinterpreted or intentionally twisted through stories and narratives. In this era of misinformation, if data are to be used for justice, Benjamin argues, the data alone are not enough. Researchers need to be “as rigorous about the stories as they are the statistics,” she said.

In 2018, when Benjamin created the Ida B. Wells JUST Data Lab, her goal was to shrink the space between data and interpretation by providing context, limiting the ability for stories and narratives to deflect the truth.

“The concept of JUST Data is to highlight that no data are actually objective,” said Cierra Robson, Class of 2019 and a mentee of Benjamin’s. “Instead we need to find ways to make it just — as in justice. We need to identify ways to use data for the social good.”

The disproportionate number of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 among people of color, for example, should ideally lead to a greater allocation of resources in those communities to help curb the disparity.

Instead, at a press conference in early April, a government official called for people of color to “step up” and avoid tobacco, alcohol and drugs — placing the blame not on systemic failures, but on the very people who are suffering.

“People likely see those numbers and think, ‘What are those people doing to get infected at such a high rate?’” Benjamin said. “It becomes even greater fuel for pathologizing and blaming people who are most affected.”

Benjamin’s efforts are not the first attempts to use data to upend racial injustice. The lab’s namesake is Ida B. Wells, the civil rights leader, suffragette and investigative journalist. In 1895, in the midst of intense racial violence targeting African Americans in the post-Reconstruction era, Wells published the Red Record, a historic effort to quantify lynchings in the United States after slavery.

“This was an early example of using data for anti-racist ends,” Robson said. “It is the tradition from which we come and an exemplar of the work we do.”

Robson is the associate director of the JUST Data Lab’s new Pandemic Portal, which collects, examines and distributes data on the impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. The team formed the portal in response to what Benjamin calls the converging crises of SARS-CoV-2 and police brutality.

“Forty-million-plus people have lost their jobs, but the top millionaires have made money this year,” Benjamin said. “And we’ve deputized police to manage that powder keg of inequality.”

Powered by undergraduates
In summer 2020, about 40 undergraduates worked on the Pandemic Portal with Benjamin, whose goal is to mentor 100 students every year. The students partnered with community organizations working to address racial inequality in the context of the pandemic. They gathered data on the racial dimensions of the pandemic across 10 domains: arts, mutual aid, mental health, testing and treatments, education, prisons, policing, work, housing and health care. The resulting data-based tools and resources are available on the Pandemic Portal website.

“One of the beautiful things about the Pandemic Portal has been realizing that each of these categories, which seemed very separate — police violence and prisons on one hand, and education, hospitals and health care on the other — are actually deeply connected,” Robson said.

Masha Miura, Class of 2021, investigated policing for the Pandemic Portal. Her group worked with Stop LAPD Spying, a coalition of community members in Los Angeles, to investigate how government efforts to track COVID-19 cases could feed harmful forms of surveillance, like predictive policing, or lead to deportations of undocumented people.

This practice can erode trust in medical providers, leading people to avoid seeking care. The researchers created data visualizations that showed how some government contractors had misused data in the past, and provided resources to inform the community about how to protect themselves.

“Ruha has given me a lot of hope for what it means to be a student activist,” Miura said, “and shows how research at Princeton can actually give back to these communities.”


Posted: Monday, December 21, 2020

Applications for Stanford Research Conference (SRC) 2021 are open HERE.

SRC is Stanford Undergraduate Research Association (SURA)’s annual research conference that serves as a forum for undergraduates from all over the country to present their work, connect with other researchers, and hear from distinguished leaders in the research community. The eighth annual SRC will be held April 10 to 11, 2021 in a virtual conference format.

Applications for our conference are due January 31, 2021. You can find the application HERE.


Learn more about SURA and SRC at and reach out to with any questions. 

Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2020

Are you involved in research and looking for an opportunity to showcase your skills? Do you want to learn more from professionals in your discipline? Would you like the opportunity to meet students from across the United States in varying STEM fields? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should apply to the 2021 Virtual Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference (MAURC) at Virginia Tech. This conference is a unique opportunity for undergraduates to come together with professionals from varying scientific fields and share their passion for research. Our team created this conference because we believe in encouraging the collaboration of knowledge in order to facilitate advancement within areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.  We recognize that given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the undergraduate research community hasn’t gotten many opportunities to share their work at research conferences. Recognizing this, we want to offer a virtual platform where students like you can present your research while also hearing from amazing speakers in different STEM fields.


MAURC is scheduled for March 25-27, 2021, which will offer undergraduate researchers the opportunity to participate in virtual poster presentations, career and professional developmental panels, and networking events with various companies and industry leaders. You can look forward to hearing from our phenomenal keynote speaker, Dr. Mark Gerstein, Professor of Biomedical Informatics at Yale School of Medicine. Additional Speakers featured at our panels and networking events will include Dr. Monica Arienzo (Desert Research Institute), Dr. Raffaele Ferrari (MIT), Dr. Jordan Ellenberg (UW-Madison). We look forward to hearing about your research at 2021 MAURC!


Applications Deadline: extended to a “rolling” basis, the last day applications will be accepted: January 29, 2021 

Join our listserv for more conference information and updates!

For more information, please visit our website ( that will be fully live soon or email us at

Posted: Thursday, December 24, 2020

Students, Postdocs, & Fellows:  Interested in building your resume in clinical and translational sciences? The NJ ACTS Workforce Development Core is hosting paid part-time internships this Spring. We strongly encourage applicants from Rutgers University, Princeton University, and NJIT (NJ ACTS Community) to apply by January 4th, 2021


NJ ACTS flyer

For more information, contact Yasheca Ebanks, NJ ACTS Project Manager at


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 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

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:  


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.



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.



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.



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:

o   Application Deadline:  January 31, 2020

· Ernest F. Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship:

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: 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

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

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.



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. 




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.

Geyman’s published senior thesis research offers new thoughts on how carbonates record global carbon cycle
Posted: Friday, November 8, 2019

“You can learn a lot from carbonates,” said Emily Geyman, a 2019 Princeton graduate in geosciences and the lead author of a paper published Nov. 8 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The paper was the result of Geyman’s senior thesis research in which she investigated the chemical composition of carbonates and how these carbonates record the carbon cycle.

Geyman’s research was predominantly funded by the PEI Environmental Scholars Program, which was established with a gift from Elizabeth A. Smith and Ray E. Newton III ’86. She initially received the 2017 award, and had an extension in 2018.

Geyman currently is pursuing a master’s with a focus on glaciology at the University of Tromsø in Arctic Norway as part of a Sachs Global Fellowship from Princeton.

She conducted her Bahamas work as part of her junior and senior independent work at Princeton. An accomplished young scientist, she has already been the recipient of numerous awards and accolades. She received the Peter W. Stroh ’51 Environmental Senior Thesis Prize, the Calvin Dodd MacCracken Award from Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science and the Edward Sampson 1914 Award for distinguished work in environmental geoscience.


Read more on Geyman's research here.

Technical University of Munich Practical Research Experience Program
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

In the framework of the Practical Research Experience Program (TUM PREP), Technical University of Munich (TUM)  invites each summer excellent students from select North American universities to spend an at least 10-week long research stay at TUM. Participating students gain valuable insights into the research work at Germany’s top-ranked technical university and enhance their technical and methodological qualifications. Together with TUM scientists, TUM PREP students work in small research teams at different TUM chairs on a previously defined research project. Through individual support, buddies and a variety of TUM PREP events, the participants will be well integrated at TUM as well as in Munich and surroundings in a short time. The language of the TUM PREP program is English, and German language skills are not required for the participation.

The deadline to apply for TUM PREP 2020 projects is Friday, November 29, 2019 (3 pm CET).

The link to the online application form, the list of offered research projects and further information can be found on the TUM PREP Website.

Students should complete their online application and also make sure that their recommendation letters will be sent to by this deadline.


2020 Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference at Virginia Tech
Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Are you involved in research and looking for an opportunity to showcase your skills? 

Do you want to learn more from professionals in your discipline? 

Would you like the opportunity to meet students from across the United States in varying STEM fields? 


If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you should apply to the 2020 Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference at Virginia Tech. This conference is a unique opportunity for undergraduates to come together with professionals from varying scientific fields and share their passion for research. Our team created this conference because we believe in encouraging the collaboration of knowledge in order to facilitate advancement within areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. 

The Mid-Atlantic Undergraduate Research Conference is a two day event, March 28-29th, which will include panel sessions, student oral and poster presentations, and catered meals. You can also look forward to hearing from three phenomenal keynote speakers. Dr. Anthony Leggett is a physics professor at the University of Illinois, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2003. Dr. Arnold Caplan is director of the Skeletal Research Center at Case Western Reserve University and is known as a pioneer in mesenchymal stem cell research. Dr. Laura Nicklason is the founder of Humacyte, a globally known biotechnology company making incredible strides in regenerative medicine. She also serves as a Professor of Anesthesia and Biomedical Engineering at Yale University.

The application to participate in the conference is due on December 31st and can be found through this link. For more information, please visit our facebook page “STEM Research Conference Commission” or email us at

Princeton seniors Alagappan and Malhotra win Rhodes Scholarships
Posted: Monday, November 25, 2019
Alagappan and Malhotra

Princeton University seniors Serena Alagappan and Ananya Agustin Malhotra are among 32 American recipients of Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Oxford.

Alagappan, of New York City, is concentrating in comparative literature and is also pursuing certificates in European cultural studies and creative writing. At Oxford, Alagappan will pursue an M.Sc. in social anthropology and an M.St. in World Literatures in English.

Malhotra, of Atlanta, is a concentrator in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and also is pursuing  a certificate in European cultural studies. At Oxford, she will pursue the two-year M.Phil. in international relations.  




STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019
career development

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.



Georgetown University School of Medicine Summer Research (for current sophomores and juniors)

Join a cohort of fellows for the 2020 Dean for Medical Education's Academy for Research, Clinical, and Health Equity Scholarship (ARCHES) program. Includes stipend and housing, and possible travel assistance. Deadline to apply is February 24, 2020.


Biochemical Markers Summer Fellowship – Centers for Disease Control

Lab improves detection, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of environmental, tobacco-related, nutritional, newborn, selected chronic and selected infectious diseases. The appointment is full-time at CDC (Chamblee Campus) in the Atlanta, Georgia, area. 


Early Career Research Experience in Arctic Advanced Manufacturing Innovator Program

With support from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office (AMO) and in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), you will have a unique opportunity to advance your early stage concept to a potentially commercialize-able opportunity with support from mentors at the UAF and at a participating DOE National Laboratory.


Research Assistant – Rockefeller University

We are currently hiring graduating seniors for 1-2 year biomedical research assistant positions to work closely with senior scientists and participate in challenging, complex, and dynamic research projects. A smart first step before grad school

Princeton alumni Berlin, Tenkiang named Mitchell Scholars
Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019
Berlin and Tenkiang

Princeton’s 2018 valedictorian Kyle Berlin and University Trustee Achille Tenkiang have been named George J. Mitchell Scholars. They are among 12 students who were selected for the annual award, named in honor of former U.S. Senator George Mitchell’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process.


Berlin will study culture and colonialism at National University of Ireland, Galway. Tenkiang will study race, migration and decolonial studies at University College Dublin.


No stone unturned: Undergraduates experience archaeology in the field
Posted: Monday, December 2, 2019

In “Archaeology in the Field,” undergraduate students are introduced to archaeology through an immersive six-week course that exposes them to every aspect of an excavation. Students complete rotations in three groups, focusing on excavating, conducting lab work at a museum and surface surveying. Through these activities, they learn how archaeologists approach sites, formulate questions and gather evidence to answer them. The rotations also help students learn about preservation, which, according to Arrington, are just as important to archaeologists as the actual digging process.

Arrington has high hopes for what his students will take away from their experience in the field: “I hope that it changes their relationship to time and place, so that they always feel the past lurking beneath their feet wherever they are, and constantly think about how history has shaped who we are today.”


Read more here:

Princeton seniors Levit, Visser awarded Schwarzman Scholarships for study in Beijing
Posted: Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Princeton seniors Nathan Levit and Caleb Visser have been named Schwarzman Scholars. The Schwarzman Scholarship covers the cost of graduate study and living toward a one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing.

For its fifth class, 145 scholars were selected from around the world from more than 4,700 applicants. The scholars will study economics and business, international studies, and public policy. Courses will be taught in English by professors from Tsinghua, as well as visiting scholars, beginning in August.

Research is a central focus of both students' undergraduate careers. While completing his studies at Princeton, Levit has conducted policy research at the local, state, national and international levels, working on site and remotely with Jed Herrmann, vice president for state and federal policy implementation at Results for America; U.S. Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma; and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado. He also worked as a research assistant for New York Times reporters Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Visser has interned for U.S. Africa Command. He was a research assistant at the Global Research Institute of the College of William and Mary, and also served as a legislative research intern for Veterans Campaign during the 2018 congressional midterm elections through Princeton Internships in Civic Service. He currently is a research fellow for the Wilson School’s Innovations for Successful Societies program.

Read more here:

CUSJ 2020 Call for Submissions!
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2019

The editorial board of the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal invites Princeton students to submit a research paper for publication in their journal for undergraduate students: the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal (CUSJ). CUSJ is a highly selective peer-reviewed publication that aims to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to publish scholarly research papers.

This is a great opportunity for students to share the research work they have accomplished with a wider audience. The submission deadline for the 2019-2020 journal is February 2, 2020.

More information about the journal and submission guidelines can be found on this website:


Seniors Brown, Fried awarded Marshall Scholarship for graduate study in the UK
Posted: Monday, December 9, 2019

Two Princeton seniors have been awarded Marshall Scholarships. Andrew Brown, a concentrator in physics, and Avital Fried, a concentrator in philosophy, will spend two years pursuing graduate study in the United Kingdom as part of the Marshall Scholar program, which offers intellectually distinguished young Americans the opportunity to develop their abilities as future leaders.

Brown and Fried are among 46 awardees for 2020. The Marshall Scholarship seeks to promote strong relations between the United Kingdom and the United States by offering intellectually distinguished young Americans the opportunity to develop their abilities as future leaders. The scholarship covers the cost of two years of graduate study in the UK at a university of the recipient’s choice.

Princeton University Library launches fund to help underwrite Princeton researchers' fees to publish in open access publications
Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

In an effort to further support open access to scholarship and research, Princeton University Library (PUL) has launched the Princeton Open Access Publication Fund, which will help underwrite fees for Princeton students, faculty, and staff to publish in Open Access (OA) publications.

Open access refers to the practice of making information, scholarship, and research freely available online, a movement in which PUL has been a leader, according to Scholarly Communications Librarian Yuan Li who leads the initiative for the fund and other open access resources at Princeton.

“PUL supports open access in a number of ways. It supports at the end point: We buy subscriptions, we buy journals, and we buy books. We provide access to the users. . . The Library will now provide support to the author [as well]. We are of the position that we provide as much help and support as we can to give access to the information, no matter if it’s from the user's end or from the production point. It’s all about access to the information and information sharing,” she said. 

The Princeton Open Access Publication Fund aims to break down a financial barrier in place for Princeton authors, particularly those from underrepresented groups such as graduate students, junior faculty, and researchers in the humanities and social sciences. In traditional publishing, payment happens at the end point; subscribers pay to access content. This created a financial barrier for readers. OA publications recently flipped the model and instead require authors to pay in order to publish. It similarly creates a financial barrier for authors. 

2020 MPL Summer Internship Program
Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Call for Summer Interns
Are you considering applying to grad school and interested in oceanography as a career path?  Contemplating a career in scientific research and development?

The Marine Physical Laboratory, at UC San Diego’s world renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is currently seeking inquisitive, motivated undergraduate students with exceptional aptitude for quantitative science to apply for the 2020 MPL Summer Internship Program.
Undergraduate college students majoring in oceanography, applied mathematics, engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, geology and related majors are encouraged to apply. This ten-week internship will offer qualified students the opportunity to work with some of the most notable scientists in the world and learn about marine science and technology while earning a modest salary.

UCSD is an equal opportunity employer, with a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity.


* Currently enrolled as 1st, 2nd or 3rd year undergraduate — and not in your senior year — at a college or university with a major applicable to research done at MPL

* A U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident 

* Considering a career in scientific research
* Available to start at MPL in La Jolla, California, in June 2020

* Available to work the duration of the internship, ten consecutive weeks from the start date, for 40 hours per week at a salary of $14/hr

* Not a former MPL summer intern

* OK with working a short distance from some of Southern California's best beaches and surf



* Visit to complete the application online.
* Applications will be accepted online through 4 p.m. Pacific time on January 17, 2020.

* Applications are not reviewed until after the application due date.

* Applicants may be notified by email as early as February 2020.  

* All applicants will have been notified by email by the end of April. 

MPL Summer Internship Program:

Marine Physical Laboratory:
Scripps Institution of Oceanography:

University of California, San Diego:


Real-life examples bring new energy to core thermodynamics course
Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019

Traditionally, engineering students have learned about the thermodynamics of gas turbines by studying diagrams and solving equations, but this year they also donned hard hats, safety glasses and ear plugs to tour a plant that produces electricity for half a million homes.


Long seen as a rite of passage for sophomores majoring in mechanical and aerospace engineering, the thermodynamics course is known for its rigor. Making its content feel relevant for students can be a challenge. This year, the class became a Campus as Lab course, featuring field trips, guest lectures and lessons that enhanced students’ learning with examples of energy technology and policy from the University campus and surroundings.


In addition to visiting the Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) generating station in Sewaren, New Jersey, about 30 miles from Princeton, students joined professional engineers to assess the energy efficiency of the Pink House, home to a community of undergraduates focused on sustainable living. Guest lecturers included an engineer who helps design gas turbines for extreme conditions and a contributor to the town of Princeton’s Climate Action Plan to reduce carbon emissions.

#TellUsTigers: Priya Vulchi ’22
Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019

After Eric Garner’s murder in 2014, Priya Vulchi ’22 and her classmate Winona Guo, then sophomores at Princeton High School, were enraged. They decided to fight for required racial literacy curricula in all K-12 schools in the United States. They cold-emailed Eddie Glaude Jr. and Ruha Benjamin in Princeton’s Department of African American studies, who became their mentors. With two books under her belt, a Ted Talk (with more than 1.3 million views) and a gap year spent interviewing 500 people in all 50 states — Vulchi is continuing her work with Choose, the nonprofit she and Guo founded, as she focuses her academic work at Princeton as a major in African American studies.

Read more at:

Columbia Business School Summer Research Internship Program
Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Summer Research Internship Program

Columbia Business School seeks applicants for the 2020 Summer Research Internship Program. This highly selective program provides interns an opportunity to work with Columbia Business School's faculty on a research project in finance, economics, marketing, management, decision sciences, operations, accounting, or data analytics. 


Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, most interns generally work on one research project. The work may include literature reviews, data collection and cleaning, web scraping, statistical analysis, and in some cases, contribution to a final publication. Behavioral interns may be staffed on multiple projects: conducting literature reviews, coding data, performing statistical analyses, and running experiments with the Behavioral Research lab. All interns will present their final results to faculty at the end of the project.


The program will run from June 1, 2020 through August 1, 2020 (final dates TBD). On-campus housing and a stipend will be provided.

Summer-Intern Placement

After graduating from their undergraduate or master’s programs, our summer interns have leveraged their experience at CBS to gain admission to some of the most prestigious PhD programs in Economics, Finance, Marketing, Management, Operations, and Data Science. Since 2012, 43 out of 125 interns have enrolled in PhD programs at schools like MIT (6), Harvard (6), Stanford (5), Columbia (4), Wharton (4), and the University of Chicago (2).


Some interns decide not to pursue their doctorate or defer doing so until after they have worked in industry for a few years. The summer internship experience provides training in analytical and quantitative skills that many employers find valuable. Our summer interns have accepted jobs from prestigious firms in management consulting (McKinsey, BCG, Deloitte) and economic consulting (Cornerstone Research, Analysis Group), financial firms and hedge funds (Goldman Sachs, Capital One, JP Morgan Chase, Blackrock, Blackstone, Bridgewater, AQR Capital Management), and at technology companies such as Facebook, Nielsen, and eBay.  A select number of summer interns return to CBS for our prestigious Predoctoral Fellows Program (PDF).


Successful Applicants

This is a multi-disciplinary program and candidates from all backgrounds, including business, statistics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, the physical sciences, and the social and behavioral sciences, are encouraged to apply. We are especially interested in applicants who are underrepresented minorities.


Prospective interns should demonstrate an enthusiasm for research and intellectual curiosity. They are expected to have excellent communication skills, basic knowledge of statistics and/or econometrics, and familiarity with statistical and computational software packages (e.g., Matlab, R, STATA, SPSS) and scripting languages such as Python or R. Candidates interested in working with behavioral researchers should have experience conducting experiments and coding data.

For more information about the Summer Internship Program and to apply, please fill out the application form at the following website:

The Application Deadline is 11:59pm EST on March 1, 2020.  We encourage you to apply early as applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  The application process is highly competitive, only qualified candidates will be contacted for an interview.  For further information or questions, please email

Apply for Stanford Research Conference 2020
Posted: Tuesday, December 31, 2019

We are excited to announce that applications for Stanford Research Conference (SRC) 2020 are open HERE.


SRC is Stanford Undergraduate Research Association’s annual research conference that serves as a forum for undergraduates from all over the country to present their work, connect with other researchers, and hear from distinguished leaders in the research community. The seventh annual SRC will be held April 10 to 12, 2020 at Stanford University.


Applications for our conference are due January 31, 2020. You can find the application HERE.


Learn more about SURA and SRC at and reach out to with any questions. We look forward to receiving your application!

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".

Diversity in Arts Leadership Internship Program
Posted: Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Diversity in Arts Leadership Internship Program

Applications are now open for both interested students and host organizations.

The New Jersey State Council on the Arts has once again partnered with Americans for the Arts on the Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL) Internship program.


In the Council's inaugural year as an AFTA partner, interns were paired with organizations in central and northern New Jersey. This year's cohort will be paired with South Jersey organizations for fully virtual opportunities.


DIAL matches undergraduate students from backgrounds traditionally untapped for arts leadership with dynamic communities, energetic host arts organizations, and mentors, to guide students' personal and professional growth throughout the summer. In 2021, the nationwide, competitive selection process will grant five paid, ten-week-long virtual internships with South Jersey arts organizations.


The DIAL: New Jersey 2021 experience will offer an intern a full range of opportunities for learning about various creative communities while ensuring a close-knit support system for professional growth in the field of arts administration. This internship is perfect for the versatile and curious intern who will appreciate a birds-eye-view of state level policy and region-specific arts and culture. 


Undergraduate students are invited to apply as a 2021 Intern.

Interested undergraduate students should complete the online application by Friday, January 8, 2021.


South Jersey arts organizations are invited to apply as a 2021 Host Site.

Interested organizations should complete the online application by Friday, January 22, 2021.


Questions? Contact Stephanie Nerbak, Council Program Associate:

609-292-4474 or via email at

Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Rutgers Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy announces the 2021 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program. The program is intended for highly motivated undergraduates interested in a research career in the pharmaceutical and environmental sciences. Students are provided with an opportunity to conduct full-time research in areas related to Pharmacology and Toxicology, Environmental Health Sciences, Pharmaceutics, Medicinal Chemistry, Chemical Biology, and Clinical Pharmacy. The SURF program is open to undergraduate students currently enrolled at a university in the United States. Previous experience performing independent laboratory or clinical research is not required.

The 10-week program will run May 24 – Jul 30, 2021 and provides a competitive stipend of $3000. Students must be available for the entire 10-week period. Training includes hands-on research conducted in the laboratories or clinical practices of faculty members, round table discussions of research progress, and seminars on research careers and activities of the faculty.  At the end of the fellowship, each student will provide a brief oral presentation on his or her summer research project.  

We are planning for in-person SURF but await final word from the university about summer programming. 

Apply Here:


Applications are due Feb 1st

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Thursday, January 21, 2021

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.


Summer 2021 Software Engineering Internship - IBM Research

  • Current focus areas include building toolkits for AI lifecycle management including data quality analysis, time series modeling, and fusing together and learning from multiple modalities of information. 
  • Candidates should have good knowledge in Python (other languages like Javascript, C/C++ are a plus), usage of machine learning environments (e.g., scikit-learn, tensor flow etc.), software engineering practices, system building/debugging/testing skills.   


High Performance Computing for Manufacturing Internship Program - U.S. Department of Energy

  • Program is a public-private sector partnership to facilitate the use of advanced computational techniques to reduce national energy consumption. 
  • Intern projects typically involve performing advanced simulation and modeling in materials, computational fluid dynamics, combustion, machine learning and more.
  • Applications due: Feb. 1, 2021


Robotics Internship Program - U.S. Department of Energy

  • Project assignments will involve technologies used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions automatically. 
  • Internship hosted at a DOE national laboratory. Interns will be assigned to research projects and/or other technical activities under the guidance of a mentor.
  • Applications due: Feb. 8, 2021

The positions listed above are just a small sample of the many opportunities available. You can find additional postings in HandshakeCareerShift and other sites. If you have questions or concerns regarding any posting, please contact the Center for Career Development.

Posted: Monday, January 25, 2021

First-year and sophomore students! The department of Economics is co-sponsoring this event to encourage African American women in Economics. Eligible students who attend can be reimbursed for registration by Economics by contacting Christina Lipsky (


2021 Sadie T.M. Alexander Conference for Economics & Related Fields

Date: February 19, 2021-February 20, 2021

ItineraryView Here

How to RegisterSign Up Here. You will receive the conference link once you register.


About the conference: Named to honor the legacy of Dr. Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, the first African-American to earn a doctoral degree in economics, the Sadie T.M. Alexander Conference for Economics and Related Fields (SACE) seeks to inspire more Black women to enter the discipline and improve economics and related fields by building the pipeline and pathway for Black women’s careers in economics through carefully curated programming. In the 100th year since Dr. Sadie T.M. Alexander’s historic accomplishment, SACE commemorates her memory through our theme: An Ode to a Legacy. Unless invited, non-Black women who are interested in attending the 2020 annual conference will be placed on a waitlist. Conference organizers will be refunding any purchases made by individuals outside of the intended demographic at this time

Posted: Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Twelve Princeton students have been selected to join the Scholars in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI), which funds graduate fellowships and undergraduate internships within the U.S. federal government. The 2021 SINSI cohorts are announced as the initiative marks its 15th year at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

The four young men and eight women hail from 10 states and represent seven academic areas of study at Princeton. They join a community that has grown to nearly 100 current SINSI students and alumni working and studying across the U.S. and around the world.

Established in 2006, SINSI encourages, supports, and prepares high-achieving students to pursue careers in both internationally and domestically focused federal agencies. The initiative aims to provide students with the professional skills needed to succeed in the public policy arena.

Four students were selected for the SINSI graduate program, which comprises a two-year Master in Public Affairs with a full scholarship for tuition and living expenses at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, and two-year paid fellowship rotations with executive branch departments or agencies. Eight students were selected for the SINSI internship program, which awards fully funded, 8- to 10-week summer internships.

“We continue to be impressed by the extraordinary field of candidates who are eager to pursue service in the federal government,” said SINSI Co-Directors Rick Barton and Kit Lunney. “This year, we had candidates from a range of concentrations who expressed an interest in every part of the executive branch. We are delighted to see this enthusiasm as the SINSI program enters its 15th year.”

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Singh Center for Nanotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania seeks undergraduate applicants for its Research for Undergraduate Experience (REU) Program for summer 2021.

This 10-week program is designed to give undergraduate students the opportunity to work with scientists on the cutting-edge of nanoscale research. The Singh Center is centered around four major research facilities, all featuring state-of-the-art equipment for nanoscale characterization, measurement, and fabrication: the Quattrone Nanofabrication Facility, the Nanoscale Characterization Facility, the Scanning and Local Probe Facility, and the Material Property Measurement Facility.... [The deadline is Feb. 17, 2021; More details and the application link are here.]

Posted: Thursday, January 28, 2021

Virtual Event: GPU Hackathon at Princeton
Wednesday, June 2, 2021 (Prep day)
Tuesday, June 8 - Thursday, June 10, 2021 (Main event)

Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) offer high performance and massive parallelization, but learning how to program GPUs for scientific applications can be daunting. To help reduce the barrier to entry, Princeton will host its 3rd annual GPU hackathon, organized and sponsored by NVIDIAOak Ridge Leadership Computing Facility (OLCF), and Princeton Institute for Computational Science & Engineering (PICSciE)and OIT Research Computing.

Interested research groups should apply to send a small team of 3-6 developers who will be paired with experienced GPU mentors from industry and various national laboratories in order to help migrate their code to GPUs and/or optimize codes already running on GPUs, all during a "prep day" of code profiling and preliminaries followed by an intensive 3-day scrum. Prior experience with programming GPUs is not required, but participants will be encouraged to get an overview of different GPU programming paradigms prior to the hackathon via training materials that will be provided in advance.

A guide for what to expect as an attendee can be found here. The 2019 and 2020 GPU Hackathons at Princeton followed this format (in-person in 2019, virtual in 2020), both with great success. All participating teams achieved a code speedup of at least a factor of 5x, with some teams gaining the equivalent of several hundred-x speedup for their codes.

All fields are welcome, from astrophysics to machine learning to genomics. Although Princeton and Princeton-area teams will be given priority, a Princeton affiliation is not required, so please forward this announcement to interested colleagues from neighboring institutions (partner GPU hackathons hosted in other parts of the US and the world are listed at Prior hackathon participants are also welcome to apply -- repeat customers are in fact encouraged! -- but such teams should explicitly address in their applications the additional value they hope to gain from attending the hackathon again.

Please note that acceptance at this event is *not* automatic.  Space is limited, and applications will be reviewed for goodness of fit with the goals and resources of the hackathon (including the availability of appropriate mentors for a given team). The (brief) application can be found at the main GPU Hackathons application website.


Access to computing resources will be provided for the duration of the hackathon, and there will be a virtual social event on one of the hackathon days.  Once final teams are selected (by late April), the hackathon landing page will be filled in with information on these details as well as information on additional pre-event logistics.

Finally, if you already have some GPU programming experience but do not plan to submit an application, and if you would like the opportunity to spend a week working with and learning from a bevy of GPU experts, we will be looking for a handful of "junior mentors" from the Princeton area to pair up with teams at the hackathon. If you are interested in being a junior mentor, or if you have any other questions, please contact Gabe Perez-Giz directly.

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2021

Princeton University senior Mary DeVellis and Class of 2018 graduate Myesha Jemison have been awarded Gates Cambridge Scholarships. The awards give outstanding students from outside the United Kingdom the opportunity to pursue postgraduate study at the University of Cambridge. The program was established in 2000 by a donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to Cambridge to build a global network of future leaders committed to improving the lives of others.

The Princeton recipients are among 24 U.S. winners of the scholarship. Around 80 scholarships are typically awarded each year, with international winners selected in the spring.

Jemison is from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and Atlanta, Georgia. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in education at Cambridge, investigating bias in educational technology applications by working with out-of-school youth to design interventions to combat educational inequality. She recently earned a master’s degree in computing in education from Columbia University.

“As a Gates Cambridge scholar, I want my impact in education access to continue from an applied research lens,” Jemison wrote in her scholarship application. “I aim to combine my education equity experience with structured research to understand how mobile devices impact education access, and to ultimately support youth education and empowerment through research, policy and technology.”

Jemison graduated from Princeton in 2018 with a degree in Spanish and Portuguese and certificates in African studies, African American studies, environmental studies and Latin American studies. She currently serves as a young alumni trustee on Princeton’s Board of Trustees.

“Ms. Jemison is an indefatigable defender of what is just and right as well as someone with innovative ideas about how to solve some of the globe’s most challenging problems,” said Wendy Belcher, professor of comparative literature and African American studies.

Jemison said she will draw on her own experience to address issues of educational inequality while studying at Cambridge. 

“My degrees weren’t the first to teach me that inequity in education opportunities and outcomes is widespread, yet poorly addressed,” Jemison said. “Writing my college and scholarship essays on my smartphone and having my mother bus me to the best free advanced academic programs available outside my neighborhood taught me that.”

She added: “At Cambridge, I will use mixed methods research to unfold stories about education biases and inaccessibility in Rwanda, Mozambique and Ghana. I aim to understand how out-of-school youth are using mobile devices to supplement their education, with the ultimate goal of producing research that informs policy around educational equity.”

At Princeton, Jemison participated in a range of leadership and service activities, many that focused on the experiences of first-generation and low-income college students.

“In high school, I remember carrying a binder of scholarship applications around to complete on the bus, between classes, and at any moment I could, in hopes of making my parents’ dreams of a college education for me a reality,” she wrote. “Now I give back to reduce the financial barriers and lack of mentorship students like myself encounter.”

She founded the Jemison Scholarship Fund, raising funds for high school students from Virginia Beach and the Hampton Roads area to attend select colleges. She is co-director of strategic initiatives for EdMobilizer and the 1vyG student conferences, which aim to create pathways to broaden college access and success for undocumented, first-generation and/or low-income college students. She also co-piloted the “No Apologies” Initiative to eliminate application fees for first-generation and low-income college applicants. 

Jemison was president of the Undergraduate Student Government, the first Black woman at the University to have that role. She also was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and a fellow of the Princeton Scholars Institute Fellowship Program (SIFP). She received Princeton’s Class of 1901 Medal, which recognizes the senior who, in the judgment of the student’s classmates, has done the most for Princeton.

In addition, Jemison was a Forbes College residential adviser, community engagement co-chair for the Black Student Union, senior member of the Black Leadership Coalition, co-chair and volunteer at Community House, president of Princeton Caribbean Connection, member of the Princeton Hidden Minority Council, diversity fellow with the Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding, and served on the Council of the Princeton University Community Committee on Naming.

She also has studied internationally in Cuba, Brazil, and Mozambique as a Mellon Mays undergraduate researcher, as well as in Tanzania through the Princeton in Dar Es Salaam summer program. Through the International Internship Program, Jemison was a research intern at the University of Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Unit in South Africa, where she worked on Harvard University’s Health and Aging in Africa study.

She currently works as a product development manager and operations leader in the supply-chain and logistics industry while building “Scholourship,” an ecosystem for Black and Indigenous scholars.


DeVellis, of Boston, is concentrating in anthropology and earning certificates in African studies, gender and sexuality studies, and global health and health policy.

She will use the Gates Cambridge Scholarship to pursue a master’s degree in health, medicine and society in order to understand the social factors of health and wellbeing in different cultural contexts. Her research will focus on access to sexual health education for people with disabilities, both in the Cambridge community and internationally.

“My experiences studying medical anthropology, global health, African studies and gender studies at Princeton expanded my understanding of social inequality and its impact on sexual health around the world,” DeVellis wrote in her scholarship application.

DeVellis hopes to become a women’s health specialist and plans to attend medical school after earning a master’s at Cambridge.

“Doctors must practice empathy, humility, cultural competency and collaboration to better serve their patients, no matter their life experiences,” she wrote. “Through my studies at Cambridge and research on disparities in sexual health resources, I hope to develop the skills to be an effective advocate and physician.”

Elizabeth Armstrong, associate professor of sociology and public affairs, called DeVellis a “brilliant young woman whose prodigious intellect is well-matched by her capacious heart and her determined spirit.” 

“She brings joy and fosters community wherever she goes,” Armstrong continued. “Mary is bright in every sense of that word. She is smart, she is enthusiastic, she is radiant, she is luminous.”

At Princeton, she was co-president of Princeton Students for Reproductive Justice, an intern for the Women*s Center, and a member and former treasurer of Princeton Students for Gender Equality. She also worked at Planned Parenthood in Trenton, New Jersey.

DeVellis also has held internships at Ibis Reproductive Health in Johannesburg, South Africa, and at Oxford University Clinical Research Unit in Hanoi, Vietnam, where she worked on projects related to antimicrobial resistance, community health interventions, and the nexus of quantitative and qualitative research methods as a way to solve problems in public health.

“I am dedicated to improving the climate for sexual health. My proudest accomplishments are initiatives that bolster awareness and access to sexual health resources on campus,” she wrote, noting her work leading projects that provide free menstrual products and convenient emergency contraception on campus. “The damaging conception of sexual health as shameful motivates me to create a more compassionate world. The narrative around sexual health must change.”

DeVellis has been involved in several organizations on campus. She served as an Outdoor Action leader and leader trainer, a member of the Best Buddies Club, and a member and former events chair for the College Democrats. She is a member of Butler College and a recipient of the George B. Wood Legacy Sophomore Prize, one of the highest academic honors.

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2021

Princeton University seniors Paige Allen, Amy Jeon and James Packman have been named co-winners of the 2021 Moses Taylor Pyne Honor Prize, the highest general distinction conferred on an undergraduate. The University is looking into ways to celebrate the honorees as a community later in the semester.

The Pyne Honor Prize, established in 1921, is awarded to the senior who has most clearly manifested excellent scholarship, strength of character and effective leadership. Previous recipients include U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, former U.S. Sen. Paul Sarbanes and the late Princeton President Emeritus Robert F. Goheen. 

Paige Allen

Allen, from Mountain Top, Pennsylvania, is an English concentrator who is also pursuing certificates in creative writinghumanistic studiesmusic theater and theater. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa; a two-time recipient of the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2018 and 2019; and a recipient of the Outstanding Work Award from the Programs in Theater and Music Theater in 2018, 2019 and 2020.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Pyne Prize alongside two brilliant peers,” Allen said. “I am filled with gratitude for the mentors who fostered my academic, artistic and personal growth; the friends who supported me with laughter and care through challenges big and small; and the family who believed in me long before I walked through FitzRandolph Gate. For me, the Pyne Prize acknowledges how blessed I am to have such a web of support driving my varied passions and aspirations.”

During her time at Princeton, she has immersed herself in the humanities, theater and literature.

“When I arrived on campus as a first-year student, juniors and seniors in the humanities and performing arts became my mentors,” Allen said. “They helped me feel included and welcomed at Princeton, showing me how they embraced — and often made their own — opportunities to pursue their passions. I’ve striven to instill that empowering energy in my individual interactions and the communities I shape.”

She continued: “By studying and telling stories in numerous forms, I have gained a better understanding of the power of narrative, the responsibility of storytellers and the practice of empathy.”

Allen is a member of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, a group of juniors and seniors who are committed to the study of humanistic inquiry who meet formally once a month to discuss and debate matters of common interest in the company of a few members of the faculty and distinguished guests. She is also member of the Edwards Collective, a residential community of students within Mathey College who are interested in the arts and humanities. She has been extensively involved in the performing arts as an actor, director, stage manager and dramaturg, including serving as a former president of Princeton University Players, Princeton’s only entirely student-run musical theater group. As a Lewis Center for the Arts peer arts adviser, she serves as mentor and resource for students navigating the arts at Princeton with the aim of fostering a more accessible and inclusive environment.

Allen is exploring a wide range of storytelling in her senior independent work.

For her thesis to meet the requirements for English, creative writing and humanistic studies, Allen is writing “thematically linked short stories that examine the notion of the ‘monstrous’ — what society views as the ‘other,’ whether that be, for instance, sexual deviance, medical illness or witchcraft,” said her adviser Daphne Kalotay, lecturer in creative writing and the Lewis Center for the Arts. “To me, Paige’s ability to write characters who have been ‘otherized’ reveals her own depth of character: her empathy and emotional insight.”

Kalotay continued: “Her stories find their inspiration both in her study of Gothic literature and in historical research, and she has been thinking deeply about the implications of some of the more shocking information she has found. I’ve also been greatly impressed to see her willingness to go back to the drawing board in order to write at times complete overhauls or significant revisions of stories, rather than simple edits.”

Her theater and music theater thesis projects illuminate the challenges of performance-based work during the pandemic.

For her theater thesis, she served as dramaturg for and acted in “Unbecoming,” by Emma Watkins, a 2018 alumna. Originally proposed as a live production, the project had to be rethought with the suspension of gatherings in theaters. Allen and director Eliana Cohen-Orth, also a senior, introduced the play to the four other Princeton students with whom they were sharing a house off-campus during the fall semester. As a quarantine pod, the team rehearsed and filmed the play in the house’s backyard; it aired in January. Equipment, costumes and props were shipped or delivered via contactless drop-off outside the house by the Lewis Center’s production staff.

For her thesis in music theater, she will perform the title role in “Lizzie,” a four-woman rock musical about Lizzie Borden. “While we are unsure exactly what the final form of the performance will be, given COVID-19 restrictions, I’m excited for the musical’s challenges as a singer and actor,” she said.

In summer 2019, Allen stage managed Princeton Summer Theater’s production of “Topdog/Underdog” and received funding from the Lewis Center’s Sam Hutton Fund for the Arts to learn about theatrical criticism and review performances in New York City, self-publishing those reviews to her blog, The College Critic. In summer 2020, she was an intern for the Shakespeare and Company Project, a digital humanities initiative at Princeton that stems from the Sylvia Beach papers.

Her first year at Princeton, Allen took the yearlong Humanities Sequence. As an alumna of that course, she was able to participate in a fall break trip to Greece in her sophomore year. In summer 2018, she participated in the Princeton-in-Aix-en-Provence immersive language study program. She was awarded the 2020 Princeton Bread Loaf fellowship at Oxford University, which was cancelled due to the pandemic; she was then awarded a 2020 fellowship for summer thesis research with Princeton’s English department.

In addition, Allen is a head Writing Center fellow, a member of the Undergraduate Advisory Council for the English department, a mentor for the Humanities Sequence, a former editor of Tortoise: A Journal of Writing Pedagogy, an Orange Key Tour Guide, a leader in The Wesley Foundation with the United Methodist Campus Ministry-Chaplaincy and a former head editor of The Prospect section of The Daily Princetonian.

After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in gender and sexuality studies in the U.K. and continue engaging in critical and creative methods of storytelling and knowledge sharing.

Amy Jeon

Jeon, from San Diego, California, is a Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA) concentrator who is also pursuing a certificate in statistics and machine learning. She is a recipient of a 2019 Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, as well as SPIA’s R.W. van de Velde Award for outstanding junior independent work.

“I feel deeply honored and blessed to receive this prize, which I credit not to myself alone but to the many professors, administrators and preceptors who encouraged and mentored me over the years,” Jeon said. “To me, Princeton represents the people who have enriched my life and studies, from the friends who laughed and worked alongside me to the campus communities that welcomed me. Most of all, I give thanks to my family, who guided and supported me every step of the way.”

She said that an opportunity at Princeton that greatly impacted her was interning at the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service advocacy office in Washington, DC, through the Office of Religious Life’s Religion and Resettlement Project in summer 2019.

“[It] was a richly meaningful and rewarding experience. I spent my weekends interviewing refugees and asylees to document their oft-overlooked roles in America’s development,” Jeon said. In a news story on the University homepage, she recounted one interview with a Cambodian man who resettled in Tennessee in the 1960s and faced discrimination when restaurants and gas stations refused to provide him service.

“United States history is not just black and white,” she said. “Many different minorities and people of color settle and participate in this history. I think that being able to meet with someone, even a stranger, and listen actively and graciously to their story is an important skill. It is a great privilege to have someone entrust me with their story, and the process has provided so many moments of heartfelt connection and newfound learning.”

Motivated by a deeper awareness of refugees’ personal stories and experiences, she spent weekdays during her internship advocating on Capitol Hill. “In meetings with government officials, I underscored the power of communities from diverse origins as well as the economic and political benefits of welcoming refugees,” she said. “For me, these living histories also illustrated America’s continued struggle with discrimination and anti-immigration sentiment, which inspired my junior research paper and now my senior thesis.”

Her senior thesis empirically measures nationalist attitudes and support for immigration.

“I conducted surveys in the U.S. and Spain to investigate how varying levels of patriotism align with different attitudes toward immigrants,” Jeon said. “Building upon my findings in these two countries, I hope to one day develop a global survey to assess these different dimensions of nationalism.”

“Amy is a deep and independent thinker,” said her adviser John Londregan, professor of politics and international affairs. “Her senior thesis challenges the standard view of nationalism as a monolithic entity. Instead, she posits that there are multiple types of nationalism, some tied to economic interest, some to out-group hatred and others having to do with pride in one’s traditions.”

He said her research process is all the more impressive, considering the challenges students face in the pandemic. “She quickly took [her] insight beyond the speculative stage, designing and implementing an opinion poll to investigate nationalism in the US and Spain. She is now distilling the results. One is accustomed to seeing this level of insight coming from the best of one’s academic colleagues on the faculty; it is nothing short of astonishing to encounter it in a senior juggling the logistics of COVID-19, graduate school applications and the vagaries of an uncertain future.  This sort of statement usually ends with a statement that one expects to see great things out of the person in question. In this case it’s not a question of anticipation, it’s something I’ve already seen.”

Outside the classroom, she has engaged in several service initiatives. During her four years at Princeton, she has been a volunteer tutor-mentor and project leader for Community House — working with low-income middle school students in the Princeton area, and recruiting and coordinating Princeton student volunteers — and led outreach efforts with Manna Christian Fellowship on campus. In summer 2018, through Princeton Internships in Civic Service, Jeon managed operations for over 100 elementary school students in a national summer literacy program at a charter school in Red Hook, Brooklyn, organizing logistics and materials, and communicating with families.

In summer 2020, she worked virtually as an intern for the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center in Washington, DC, researching fiscal policy and creating data visualizations. She has continued her research with the Atlantic Council throughout her senior year. 

Jeon is a member of Butler College, where she is a peer academic adviser. In addition, she is former director of program and Whig Party chair of the American Whig-Cliosophic Society; a member of the Princeton Debate Panel; and the recipient of the 2020 MacLean Orator Prize, awarded by the Woodrow Wilson Honorary Debate Panel to the best speaker in the junior class. She is also a mentor with Princeton Women in Economics and Policy; a violinist in the Princeton University Sinfonia Orchestra; a Last Lectures organizer on the 2021 Commencement Committee; and an Orange Key tour guide and guide selection officer.

After graduation, Jeon plans to attend law school and ultimately pursue a career in nonprofit advocacy and policy work.

James Packman

James Packman, from Atlanta, Georgia, is a psychology concentrator who is also pursuing a certificate in East Asian studies. He is a 2019 recipient of the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence and the Howard Crosby Warren Junior Prize in Psychology.

Packman is a graduate of Princeton-in-Beijing’s intensive fifth-year language program and has achieved near-fluency in Mandarin Chinese. He formerly served as Princeton University China Coalition’s assistant director of alumni outreach. In summer 2019, he was named the Scholar in the Nation’s Service Initiative (SINSI)’s Frank C. Carlucci ’52 Scholar and spent his internship in the Office of East Asian Affairs in the U.S. Agency for International Development. The goal of SINSI is to set outstanding individuals on the path toward public service careers in the U.S. government, focusing on both domestic policy and international affairs, through academic training that is integrated with work experience in federal agencies.

Packman said he had many people to thank for his being awarded the Pyne Prize.

“I am honored and humbled by this award. I am honored because the Pyne Prize recognizes all the support that my mentors, advisors, professors, friends and family provided to me. They believe not only in me, but also in the work I aspire to accomplish. I am humbled because I know that the privilege I enjoy contributed to the circumstances that enabled me to receive this award. Receiving the Pyne Prize reminds me that with great privilege comes great responsibility to give back to one’s community and to serve humanity,” he said.

The primary goal of his senior thesis is to create a scale to assess anti-Semitic stereotypes, said Packman, who is conducting his research in the lab of Susan Fiske, the Eugene Higgins Professor of Psychology, and professor of psychology and public affairs.

“We’re interested in testing the theory (called the ‘Stereotype Content Model’) that stereotypes focus on the warmth (i.e., good/bad intentions) and competence (i.e., ability to act on those intentions) of different groups. The theory predicts that the content of anti-Semitic stereotypes classifies Jewish people as low in warmth but high in competence (e.g., the anti-Semitic trope of Jewish people as evil schemers),” Packman said. “Our goal is to develop a scale to examine to what extent anti-Semitic stereotypes involve this content. Also, time permitting, we would like to investigate the interaction between anti-Semitic stereotype content and emotions like envy.”

Fiske said his thesis work is all the more impressive, considering he joined her lab in the fall of his senior year, six months behind because he changed topics over the summer.

“He came from behind, thoroughly reviewing the psychology of anti-Semitism, as well as designing, running and analyzing two studies,” Fiske said, “Most seniors are lucky if they can finish one study with a full sample. He will have run three rigorous, publishable studies on a topic that fascinates him but lacks research. He’s validating a prejudice scale that can track prejudice over time, correlating with hate crimes at the zip-code level.”

She continued: “Plus, he’s a team player, appreciated by everyone in the lab, modest and respectful. He has such an abundance of talent that we’ve discussed having him complete a year as lab manager doing further research before graduate school. He exemplifies the best we offer.”

To mark the occasion of Packman’s early induction into Phi Beta Kappa in fall 2020, Fiske wrote a haiku:


No games, James, scholar
In service to humankind,
Prized son of Princeton.

In fall 2020, with Johannes Haushofer, a visiting research scholar in psychology, Packman co-authored a chapter on socioeconomic causes and consequences of mental illness for “African Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry and Mental Health.” In recommending Packman for the Pyne Prize, Haushofer, who also taught him in class and advised his two junior papers, wrote: “James Packman is the most impressive undergraduate I have ever encountered at Princeton, Harvard and MIT, and I recommend him to you in the highest terms.”

A member of First College, Packman volunteered during his first year at Princeton for CONTACT, a suicide prevention and emotional support hotline, for which he also mentored new volunteers. In summer 2020, he was an intern with AYANA Therapy, a telemental-health startup dedicated to increasing access to psychotherapy for marginalized and intersectional communities. This academic year, he is serving as a mentor for Jewish first-year students during the COVID-19 pandemic at Princeton’s Center for Jewish Life (CJL)’s First Friends Program. He is also a student member of and consultant to CJL’s board of directors and was an inaugural member of its Jewish Leaders Advisory Board.

Packman plans to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist.

“I want to conduct research with the goal of making psychotherapeutic treatments more culturally accessible — and thus effective — for clients of marginalized backgrounds,” he said. “I plan to use this research to improve my own clinical practice and to help psychotherapists — the majority of whom are white — to become more culturally competent, flexible and effective in treating clients of diverse and intersectional identities.”

From 2018-20, Packman was president of and foil fencer with the Princeton Fencing Club and coordinated remote practices during the pandemic. He is also a standup comic. But he said one of the most impactful experiences he has had at Princeton is as president and one of the drummers for the Princeton University Rock Ensemble (PURE).

“As a student, I found my first family on campus in PURE. As a drummer, I found an incredible creative outlet in PURE, too. And as president, I was able to maintain and grow an organization that provided my band-family a place to hone their musical talents and create art in which they could take pride,” he said.

In addition to attending Princeton-in-Beijing during summer 2018, Packman’s international experience includes a Birthright trip to Israel, led by the CJL, in December 2019, and study abroad in spring 2020 at the University of Manchester, in the United Kingdom. While that program was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he returned to the US and continued his course of study in psychology remotely.

Posted: Monday, February 15, 2021

Apply for Johns Hopkins University’s second annual Richard Macksey National Undergraduate Humanities Research Symposium! The symposium was designed to offer students across the country the chance to gather together and disseminate their humanities research on a national scale. COVID forced the symposium to adapt to a virtual event, but that in turn was a great success, with 359 participants and more than 10,000 visits to the conference site to date. This year’s event will be virtual as well, held live on April 24th and 25th, 2021, and the application portal is now open. The deadline for abstract submissions is April 1st.


This symposium is open to undergraduate students from any two-year or four-year college or university who would like to present their original scholarship in the humanities. We hope to have 400 participants this year. In addition to the multiple panels of student papers and presentations (including original creative works), we will also have a wonderful keynote delivered by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anthony Doerr and multiple professional development panels featuring Johns Hopkins graduate students and faculty and editors from Johns Hopkins University Press. Students studying all areas of the humanities are welcome to attend. Attendees will also have the opportunity to work with our student editors to revise their presentation into a journal-length presentation for our journal of proceedings, the Macksey Journal.


You can learn more at the conference site: receive updates on the symposium, the mailing list is available at this link.

Posted: Thursday, February 11, 2021

Interested in expanding your knowledge in clinical and translational science?


Come join us for a four-part training series geared to the advancement of clinical and translational research within a diverse workforce.



STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Wednesday, February 17, 2021

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.



Summer 2021 Software Engineering Internship - IBM Research

  • Current focus areas include building toolkits for AI lifecycle management including data quality analysis, time series modeling, and fusing together and learning from multiple modalities of information. 
  • Candidates should have good knowledge in Python (other languages like Javascript, C/C++ are a plus), usage of machine learning environments (e.g., scikit-learn, tensor flow etc.), software engineering practices, system building/debugging/testing skills.   

Robotics Internship Program - U.S. Department of Energy

  • Project assignments will involve technologies used to develop machines that can substitute for humans and replicate human actions automatically. 
  • Internship hosted at a DOE national laboratory. Interns will be assigned to research projects and/or other technical activities under the guidance of a mentor.
  • Applications due: Feb. 8, 2021
Posted: Friday, February 19, 2021

Do you like research? Are you interested in increasing equity and diversity in research? Do you want to be on the founding board of an intercollegiate organization? 



APPLY HERE by February 21st!!!



The Pre-College Research Institute (PCRi) is a national Harvard-based nonprofit and has faculty support and student collaborations with Yale, Stanford, Brown, Princeton, Columbia, the University of Georgia, the University of Florida and more!!!


Use this link to learn more and apply to be part of PCRi’s founding team! This organization will be the first student-run initiative to match traditionally underrepresented high school students with research institutes, primary investigators, and other research opportunities across the country. We have begun acquiring university and faculty support and are excited to grow our team. Applications are due February 21, 2021. Please reach out to with any questions or concerns!

Posted: Monday, February 22, 2021

Ancient serrated coins, reverse immigration, quantum spin liquids and Winston Churchill’s WWII speeches: These are some of the diverse topics that Princeton’s students and early career researchers bring to life at Princeton Research Day, the University’s celebration of research, scholarship and creative work, to be held May 6.

The annual event, which this year will be entirely virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic, is an opportunity for undergraduates, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and other early career presenters to share research across disciplinary lines using everyday language with appeal to broad audiences.

“The research we produce on our campus is world-changing; Princeton Research Day offers us the chance to circulate it, to interrogate it, and to celebrate it with a broad and engaged audience,” said Dean of the College Jill Dolan, the Annan Professor in English and professor of theater in the Lewis Center for the Arts. “I’m delighted that we can come together this year virtually to stage Princeton Research Day. Each year, I so appreciate that we can all take a moment to focus on and to celebrate the research that happens in our labs and studios and other workspaces all over campus.”

Throughout the next few months, Princeton researchers will hone their presentation skills to create 3-minute videos about their research, scholarship or creative works. 

The popular event features presentations in the arts and humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and engineering.

“The pandemic has brought into focus, with unprecedented sharpness and clarity, the importance of communicating to broad audiences about complex topics,” said Dean for Research Pablo Debenedetti, Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science and professor of chemical and biological engineering. “Princeton Research Day offers the opportunity for our early career researchers and students to describe their research and creative works, which are often quite specialized, in ways that resonate broadly with people from a range of backgrounds.”

The window to submit videos opens March 31, and videos will be posted online starting April 30 for viewing by all and judging by a select panel. 

The season culminates in an online exposition on May 6 with presentation of the top videos and the awarding of prizes. During the program, the broader Princeton community — as well as viewers worldwide — can ask questions and engage with the presenters in a live, online format.

Participants can work on their presentations and receive feedback during a series of workshops offered in March and April.

“It is one of the really unique opportunities on an international scale that advanced undergrads have to express their research,” said Ilia Curto Pelle, who participated last year as a sophomore with a presentation on serrated coins produced during the Seleucid Dynasty, roughly 150 years B.C. “The effort to prepare and to distill my thoughts into a presentation actually helped me engage more fully with my work.”

Alice Tianbo Zhang, who last year was a postdoctoral researcher in Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, presented on the “Power of the River: Introducing the Global Dam Tracker.”

“Princeton Research Day was one of the highlights of my postdoctoral research appointment,” said Zhang, who is now an assistant professor of economics at Washington and Lee University. “Even though the sessions happened remotely due to COVID, with recorded talks, the day brought a sense of community and a shared sense of purpose. It was amazing to see the breadth and depth of research being carried out across campus by people with such a diverse set of interests, backgrounds and expertise.”

Chemistry graduate student Loi Nguyen, whose entry was on quantum spin liquids, said, “After I presented my research at Princeton Research Day 2020, some people reached out to me and asked more about my work. The experience helped me feel more confident in presentation and communication. I would recommend that other science researchers participate, because effective communication is key to success in research.”

Princeton Research Day highlights student and early career work from across all disciplines, including the natural sciences, social sciences, engineering, the arts and humanities.

Princeton Research Day is championed by Princeton leadership, especially in light of the challenges and limitations engendered over the past year by COVID-19.

Princeton Research Day is sponsored by the offices of the Dean of the College, the Dean of the Faculty, the Dean of the Graduate School, the Dean for Research, and the Provost.

The timeline for 2021 Princeton Research Day is as follows:

Video submission portal open: March 31 through April 28

All videos posted online: April 30

Deadline for judges: May 4

#PRD21 Mainstage presentation and awards: May 6

More information is available at the 2021 Princeton Research Day website, which will be updated throughout the spring.

Posted: Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Office of the Dean for Research offers a summer internship in science writing and communication. The deadline is March 1, and this is an online internship with opportunities for long-form features and news.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Princeton University Office of the Dean for Research intern is responsible for writing about Princeton University research for a non-technical audience. The intern writes news articles, feature articles, web content and other items in the style used by major newspapers and magazines. Responsibilities include reading scientific papers, interviewing faculty members, writing, rewriting, compiling information for reports, and acquiring illustrations.

Professional Development Opportunities

The intern develops science writing skills that are applicable toward working in science journalism and research communications. The articles produced by the intern typically appear in the print and online versions of Princeton's annual research publication (, on the Office of the Dean for Research website (, and in other publications and types of media (audio, video, social) as appropriate.


The intern must have excellent writing skills and possess the ability to write about science for the non-specialist. The intern's educational background should include previous training or current enrollment in science journalism or writing classes at the undergraduate or graduate level. Applicants do not have to be Princeton University students. The successful candidate must be capable of working in a fast-paced environment, meeting regular deadlines and handling multiple projects simultaneously. Skills in podcasting, video production and social media are also valuable.

Opportunity Details

Dates: Eight weeks (approximately early-June to early-August; exact dates are flexible)
Time: Full-time (40 hour/week)
Location: Intern will work remotely 
Compensation: $18/hour
Deadline: March 1, 2021

Submit the application (preferably as a single PDF) to Catherine Zandonella at Include:

  • resume
  • cover letter
  • three science-related writing samples in the style of news articles, feature articles, blog postings or other pieces written for a non-specialist audience.


Catherine Zandonella, Communications Manager, Office of the Dean for Research, Princeton University:

Posted: Saturday, March 6, 2021

Ten million Americans have osteoporosis. One in two women over 50 will suffer a major fracture because of it. Yet for all its prevalence, this symptom-less “silent disease” often goes undiagnosed until too late.

“You typically don’t know that you have osteoporosis until you break a bone,” says Yasmeen Almog ’17, a data scientist at the biotechnology company Amgen. For the elderly, among whom osteoporosis is most common, bad fractures often prove devastating or even fatal.

In the fall of 2018, as a new hire at Amgen, Almog began building a machine-learning tool to identify the disease before it reached the breaking point. Two years later, the product in development — called Crystal Bone — is a novel application of artificial intelligence that could prevent tens of thousands of fractures every year.

“Yasmeen challenged us to literally think outside the black box,” says Amgen’s medical lead for bone health, Dr. Mary Oates, alluding to the [so-called] ‘black box’ of machine-learning systems. “It has opened up opportunities for us all to think about the future of data science and health care.” 

Unlike the several other machine-learning tools used to predict osteoporosis, most of which are trained to scan X-ray or MRI images for signs of fracture or weakness, Crystal Bone borrows tools from natural language processing, the application of artificial intelligence to processing and analyzing human language. After being fed reams of text, algorithms learn to recognize syntactic patterns and predict the most likely next word in a sentence. This is, in broad terms, how autocomplete and Google Search work.

“We’ve taken this exact same approach, except instead of looking at actual English text, we’re looking at sequences of diseases or diagnosis codes,” explains Almog. “We use that story to predict the likelihood that you’re going to have a bone fracture.”

Read about more Tigers of the Week

Because Crystal Bone reads preexisting diagnosis codes and does not require the manual input of patient information, it can be integrated directly with electronic health record systems to generate predictions automatically. And because the algorithm surveys each patient’s entire medical history, it takes into account a broad range of potential risk factors and the ways those factors change over time.

Another feature that sets Crystal Bone apart: It predicts short-term risk. Whereas other AI tools anticipate fractures that may be 10 years away, Almog trained her algorithm to predict fractures just one or two years away to convey a sense of urgency about the disease, which is treatable.

“Ten years from now might not feel actionable,” says Almog. “Two years feels a lot more imminent.”

Almog’s fascination with machine learning began in her senior year at Princeton, when she tackled a problem that had dogged her time on the women’s diving team: due to a shortage of diving experts qualified to serve as judges, coaches were often called upon to score their own athletes.

“We would go compete at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton competition, and the three judges at the meet would be the Harvard coach, the Yale coach, and the Princeton coach,” says Almog. “That obviously presents opportunity for bias.”

For her senior thesis, Almog tried to build an algorithm that could replace human judges. “Through that whole experience, I just got really into data science,” she says.

Crystal Bone is just the beginning of what data science can bring to medicine, Almog says. “The potential use cases are pretty limitless.”

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Center for Career Development

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.


Research & Fellowship Positions

Policy Fellow - College Board, Washington, DC (Remote)

  • This position is open to a recent grad, and is for summer 2021 to collaborate with national experts in education policy to develop research and advocacy ideas and/or policy recommendations.
  • Conduct literature reviews and policy scans on issues related to K-12 education, college readiness, access, and success.


Computer Engineering Summer Research Internship - Food & Drug Administration - Jefferson, AR

  • Project involves the evaluation of multi-dimensional chromatography mass spectrometry data to identify unknown, co-occurring compounds from FDA historical data. 
  • Participant will become familiar with FDA and regulatory processes, understanding of the analytical process of multi-dimensional chromatography mass spectrometry and coding of these analytical results using MatLab, Python, R or other commonly used language.
  • Seeking undergrads studying communications and graphics design, computer and data sciences, engineering, mathematics, or physical sciences.


Undergraduate Virtual Summer Research - Lindquist Dept of Nuclear Engineering - Penn State 

  • The Westinghouse Fellows Program is a 10-week, paid summer program in which students will work closely with a faculty mentor on a state-of-the-art nuclear research project.
  • The remote program runs May 31-Aug. 6, and Fellows will receive a $6,000 stipend.
  • Open to rising juniors with a minimum 3.0 GPA. Preferred disciplines include engineering, computer science, physics or chemistry with an interest in the nuclear field.
Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Following a nationwide call last summer for social equity and anti-racism, Princeton undergraduates returned to their classes in fall ready to transform their computer science skills into a force for social good.

Learning to design intuitive software or analyze a complex dataset are the bread and butter of any computer scientist. These skills can be used to build intelligent machines or predict financial patterns, but in two computer science courses this fall semester, students learned how these same skills can be used to promote social equity in their local communities. 

In fall courses led by computer science professors Barbara Engelhardt and Bob Dondero, students explored unequal treatment of Black Americans hidden within datasets and used software to improve crucial work and housing systems in the Princeton area.

“Right now, so many people fail to understand how generalizable the racism that Black Americans experience is,” says Engelhardt. “They hear a few stories and assume that not all Black Americans are stopped by police and that the person telling the story had a bad experience with a bad apple cop. The data show that these experiences are ubiquitous… [and] tell the story of racism by design.” 

For Wendy Ho '21, a computer science major who took Professor Engelhardt’s independent work seminar “Machine Learning for Social Justice: Data Analysis to Study the Black Lives Matter Movement,” the power of data analysis lies in its ability to tell a “clearer picture” of inequality that might otherwise be ignored.

For her project, Ho analyzed 30 years of complaints issued against the New York Police department and converted it into a network graph that made it easier to see trends of misconduct between police officers and Black Americans. 

“Historically, the data on citizen complaints of the police has been hidden from view of the public, making it hard to find trends and identify police that have multiple misconduct complaints,” explains Ho. “By looking at this dataset and by demanding that more data like this be public and transparent, we can understand how policing could better serve the public.”

But not all data, or datasets, are created equal. Omissions or misrepresented data can introduce harmful bias into already unequal systems. Some facial recognition systems, for example, have been shown to be less accurate in identifying non-white faces, resulting in Black individuals being misidentified and accused of crimes they did not commit.

“Data can be used to do harm when we forget that data only tells a partial picture,” says Ho. “The dataset itself matters as much as what the data might tell.”

For example, if a machine learning algorithm were only ever trained on pictures of dogs, it would have trouble recognizing a cat. But instead of this proving that cats don’t exist, it simply highlights a dangerous bias in the dataset itself. The same can be said for datasets that misrepresent Black, indigenous, and other people of color. 

With this delicate balance in mind, Ho believes that data analysis has the biggest potential for good when used to analyze under-represented areas, such as using a predictive algorithm to study the police instead of citizens.

“Data can be used for good when we take care to increase transparency and trust in our institutions,” says Ho.

In Professor Dondero’s “Advanced Programming Techniques” course, two groups of students spent their semester exploring how software design can be used to make nonprofits’ websites easier to use.

An important objective for the course, says Professor Dondero, is for “students to learn about software engineering in a rich context that they find rewarding.”

In particular, the two student groups focused on designing software for two local nonprofit groups: NJ Fairshare Housing Center and Trenton Area Soup Kitchen (TASK). 

In both cases, the student programmers started their projects by working with the newly formed Princeton group, Technology for a Just Society (JuST), which focuses on providing an inclusive tech culture and forging connections between young Princeton technologists and nonprofits. 

“JuST offers a community where students can explore how technology can deepen social inequity, as well as how it can be leveraged to advance social justice and address other major societal challenges,” says Amina Elgamal '22, a co-founder of JuST and computer science major.

Veronica Abebe '22, a computer science major who worked on the NJ Fairshare Housing Center software, says that she and her group were immediately drawn to the nonprofit's mission of “end[ing] discriminatory or exclusionary housing patterns” and wanted to explore how their classroom coding skills could be used to further the cause.

The main problem at hand, explains another member of the group, Julia Ruskin '22, was that the nonprofit had no centralized system to display all their available units and no standard system for categorizing data such as addresses. 


“We aimed to solve this problem by creating a website that displays all of their available listings on a map and lets users search for housing based on their specific preferences,” explains Ruskin. “Our site also allows the Fair Share Housing Center to add new units as they’re developed, ensuring that low-income communities across New Jersey are able to access the latest information about affordable housing opportunities.”

While there are a few things the team would have done differently in hindsight, such as optimizing their website design for mobile as well as desktop browsing, the group says that ultimately they were “really excited” by how well their design was received. 

“We all believe as a team that this project has inspired us to use our classroom tools and techniques to help people and communities around us,” says group member Khandaker Momataz '22, speaking for the team. “Many times, we find ourselves very much so focused on the here and now in regards to college like our homework assignments, exams, and social activities. Nevertheless, we’ve all become inspired, in large part because of this project, to work on projects for others without external motivation.”

These are feelings that Sonia Gu '22 and Anika Duffus '22, an electrical and computer engineering and computer science major respectively, echoed in their experience designing software for TASK

The idea that their project would have a real impact on TASK and its clients was daunting at first, Gu says, but she was “excited at the prospect of working on a project that could reach so many people, especially those outside of the Princeton bubble.”

The main goal for this project was to design a website with two interfaces -- one for employers to post jobs and one for TASK clients to sign up for them. This functionality is similar to TASK’s in-person hiring drives. Additional functionality was also added, such as scheduling events, to make the software a more multi-purpose task scheduler.


Despite a total 15-hour time difference between Gu, Duffus, and their teammates, they were able to deliver a scheduling software that focused on providing easily accessible notifications to clients to improve appointment attendance. 

Duffus says the project provided a source of fulfillment she never expected to have when finishing a programming project.

“I had great satisfaction fixing and improving code for hours, and it was amazing seeing how TASK appreciated our progress,” says Duffus. “I have always wanted to give back to my community using programming. However, being bogged down with school I never follow through because I think I need to do something big. I learnt that [giving back] can be something small and it can be actually fun.”

This taste for the true social benefits of coding and data analysis is something that Princeton’s Computer Science department chair, Jennifer Rexford, hopes to continue to instill through the department as well.

"As computer scientists, we recognize a responsibility to ensure that the technology we create is worthy of the trust society increasingly places in it,” says Rexford. “We can go beyond a “do no harm” view of ethical technology to a place where technology is a lever for righting wrongs and making the world a better place. These course projects, independent-work projects, and the JuST student group are all examples of the change we want to see in the world, and how we want our students to see themselves as the possible agents of that change."

Posted: Thursday, April 8, 2021

Isabella Khan, John McEnany and Natalia Dmitrievna Orlovsky have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships, an annual award for outstanding undergraduates interested in careers in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering. 

One- and two-year Goldwater Scholarships cover tuition, fees, room and board up to a maximum of $7,500 per year. Khan and McEnany were two of the 396 winners for 2020, selected from a field of 1,343 nominees. Orlovsky is one of 410 scholarship winners for 2021, selected from a field of 1,256 students nationwide who were nominated by their colleges or universities. 

The scholarship program honoring Sen. Barry Goldwater was created as part of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation, a federally endowed agency instituted by an act of Congress in 1986.

Isabella Khan

“It is a tremendous honor to have been awarded the Goldwater scholarship last year, and I am thrilled to have been able to join such a prestigious community of young scholars,” said Khan, a math major from Chicago. “This award has supported my senior thesis research in knot theory and low-dimensional topology, and I am very excited to be able to continue, and further expand upon, this line of study in graduate school and after.”

Khan highlighted the roles of two mentors: Peter Ozsváth, a professor of mathematics, and Ian Zemke, an assistant professor of mathematics.

She is the recipient of a 2018-19 Shapiro Prize and an NSF graduate research fellowship, which will fund her graduate studies in mathematics at Princeton University.

Khan also plays violin with the Princeton University Orchestra, works as both a Writing Center fellow and an undergraduate course assistant in the math department, and is the editor-in-chief of “Tortoise: A Journal of Writing Pedagogy,” an online journal of student writing.

In her application, she wrote: “The culture of mathematics is predominantly male: women make up less than 15% of tenured faculty in mathematics at major research institutions. ... I want to show more young women the intrinsic beauty of mathematics and see them ultimately succeed in the discipline.”

John McEnany

“This award supports my research in theoretical biophysics, applying the tools of physics to wide-ranging biological topics such as self-organization and target recognition,” said McEnany, a physics major from New York City. “I’m excited to continue pursuing these topics in graduate school!”

For several years, he has conducted biophysics research in the lab of Ned Wingreen, Princeton’s Howard A. Prior Professor in the Life Sciences, and a professor of molecular biology and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. 

“I aim to develop theoretical tools that can be applied to a wide range of problems, rather than focusing narrowly on a single system,” McEnany wrote in his application. “Ideally, I would be doing theoretical research (informed by experimental results) with the potential for practical applications in fields such as medicine.”

He was awarded the Shapiro Prize in 2017-18 and 2018-19. He was president of the Princeton Triangle Club last year, and he has served as a tutor for the Integrated Science Curriculum, a peer academic adviser and an undergraduate course assistant in the math department.

Natalia Dmitrievna Orlovsky

“I’m delighted about this award because I hope to pursue a career in biological research,” said Orlovsky, a molecular biology major from Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. “It’s really exciting to be recognized for something I care so deeply about.”

She added: “I’ve been very lucky to find several wonderful mentors in the Princeton research community, and I’m immensely grateful to them for their support and guidance!” 

Orlovsky identified four mentors: Clifford Brangwynne, Princeton’s June K. Wu ’92 Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering, who is also the adviser for her junior paper; Amy Strom, a postdoctoral research fellow in Brangwynne’s lab; Shawn Davidson, an associate research scholar in the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics; and Steve Buratowski, a 1984 Princeton alumnus who is now a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Orlovsky, a junior, is currently studying the contributions of chromatin stiffness to nuclear mechanics. Her prior work in the Brangwynne lab explored liquid-liquid phase separation dynamics in the context of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease). She plans to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular biology with the hope of becoming a research professor.

Her interests extend beyond the lab to history, theater and writing — several of her poems and short stories have appeared in literary journals. The self-described “everything nerd” also won Princeton’s Shapiro Prize in the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years; has served on the boards of Theatre Intime, a student theater organization, and the Princeton Pride Alliance; and reviews research articles for the Princeton Undergraduate Research Journal. As a high school senior, she won $175,000 in the Regeneron Science Talent Search for her investigations into how vaping (smoking e-cigarettes) stresses lung cells.

Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Applications for The HistoryMakers 2021-2022 Student Brand Ambassador Program are now being accepted.


To become one of our student brand ambassadors, interested students must attend one of our subscribing institutions (see for a complete list of subscribing institutions). If selected, students will begin in summer (June) 2021 and will work in virtual sessions with other student brand ambassadors to develop individual projects and themes for The HistoryMakers weekly newsletters and social media campaigns. Students will also develop a marketing plan to promote the use of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive at their school during the 2021-2022 academic year.


Applicants must be a current sophomore, junior, senior, or graduate student and able to commit to working from summer (June) 2021 through the full academic year (May 2022). Student brand ambassadors will be expected to submit weekly progress reports and participate in weekly conference calls. Those accepted will be paid $15/hour and be expected to work 10 hours per week


The deadline to apply is May 7, 2021.


For more information and to apply, please click here:

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Tuesday, April 20, 2021

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.


Sustainability Intern - UCB, Atlanta, GA

  • Global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, investing more than 20% of revenue in cutting-edge scientific research to meet unmet patient needs. 
  • Our Summer Internship Program is a paid full-time learning experience where you will engage in important projects within the sustainability scope, interact with senior leaders in conversational settings, and network with employees across our global offices.

Research and Fellowship Positions

Form Finding Lab (Strategies for Urban Farming) - High Meadows Environmental Institute (Remote)

  • Support Neighborhood Growers, an organization developing a business and financing plan to establish a commercial hydroponic greenhouse operation in Baltimore.
  • Role will include crafting a literature review, building a model, performing calculations, learning about urban farming, and presenting your findings to stakeholders.
  • Applications due April 20.

Research Associate - Inscripta, Boulder, CO

  • Developing the world's first scalable platform for benchtop Digital Genome Engineering.
  • Seeking a diverse candidate to work in a collaborative group to apply principles of forward engineering and genome discovery across a variety of microbial strains. 
  • B.S./B.A. or M.S. in genetics, microbiology, molecular biology or related field is required. 

Post-baccalaureate Clinical Fellow CRC - McLean Hospital, Belmont, MA

  • Since 1811, McLean Hospital has been a world leader in the treatment of mental illness and chemical dependency, research into the cause of mental illness and the training of generations of mental health care providers.
  • Program is a two-year, full-time paid position as a community residence counselor. 
  • Accepted fellows attend one week of paid orientation with topics covering the different levels of care in a mental health environment, understanding how to work with a multidisciplinary team, essentials of group therapy, crisis management, professional boundaries and ethics. They will then participate in monthly seminars covering a variety of topics.

Post-baccalaureate Researcher - Salve Regina University, Newport, RI

  • The Biology and Biomedical Sciences Department seeks a post-baccalaureate researcher to work in the laboratory of Dr. Anne Reid studying the role of flagellin methylation on Salmonella enterica-plant and host interactions. 
  • Position is full-time for 3 months, with possibility of renewal for an additional 12 months.
Posted: Monday, May 10, 2021

Gabbie Acot started off on a pre-med track at Princeton before broadening her studies to include structural engineering and then neuroscience. Her senior thesis project brought together all of these interests, combining video analysis, neuroimaging and numerical modeling to perform a forensic reconstruction of college football head impacts.

Acot’s adviser called her project “very Princetonian” because of its mix of engineering and the natural sciences. “I always consider Princeton as almost a neo-Renaissance place where you have scholars who are both engineers and artists in a sense, and I think her work is fitting this very well,” said Branko Glišić, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering.

Acot’s research scientifically reconstructed head impacts to explore the mechanics of football concussions as a pathway to understanding, identifying and preventing the injuries.

Acot analyzed case studies of two Princeton University football players. She studied videos to reconstruct the mechanics of head impact events and calculated biomechanical metrics using a numerical engineering technique called the finite element method.

Comparing the biomechanical data with data and calculations from neuroimaging, Acot found that they correlated well and suggested areas of improvement within the accident reconstruction and finite element simulation processes. She believes that researchers can improve the processes by which head impact accidents are simulated to eventually use this tool for diagnostic and prevention purposes, even on football field sidelines.

What stands out about Acot’s project is the originality of the application, said Glišić. He noted Acot combined analysis of the velocity of the hits from game videos with finite element modeling to understand the mechanical stress and deformation the impacts deliver to the brain. She then reviewed diffusion tensor images (DTI), derived from an advanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique to assess whether there is a relationship between these high stress and strain zones and the structural differences in the deep white matter of the brain previously identified in the DTI images.

“I find it quite advanced,” said Glišić, who also credited Acot for analyzing concussions from multiple, smaller hits, which are harder to diagnose. “This is an area in concussion research that is, as of now, not fully understood.”

Acot’s idea for her thesis took shape while studying at University College Dublin during her junior year. She worked with Michael Gilchrist, a professor of mechanical engineering, who was researching rugby player and equestrian rider head impacts using finite element modeling, and became one of Acot’s advisers. “All throughout Princeton, I never really knew how to combine my interest in civil engineering and medicine,” said Acot. “This was the first time that I saw an intersection of both.”

When she returned to Princeton, Acot discussed her thesis idea with Glišić. Then she did a Google search for “Princeton concussion” and found articles by Annegret Dettwiler-Danspeckgruber, principal investigator at the Neuroscience of Traumatic Brain Injury Research Laboratory at Princeton Neuroscience Institute. Acot sent her an email, seeking advice. “She ended up being my adviser,” said Acot. “I wasn’t even expecting an answer because I was just a random senior emailing her.”

Acot said one of her biggest challenges was coordinating three advisers from different disciplines in different countries. “The way we came together was kind of magic,” said Acot.

Noting it is rare for an undergraduate to have three advisers, Glišić praised the multidisciplinary approach of Acot’s thesis, comparing it to what the National Science Foundation calls convergence research.

Gilchrist, a third adviser, agreed. “This project would have been challenging for even a good Ph.D. student, but Gabbie relished the challenge of learning and mastering these advanced topics,” said Gilchrist, adding Acot’s project has laid the groundwork for future collaboration among the three advisers.

Another challenge was obtaining Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval for the project so Acot could access video footage from Princeton football games. The IRB, which oversees research involving human subjects, granted approval in November 2020. To find football players for her project, Acot received support from Dettwiler-Danspeckgruber, who has conducted research involving Princeton’s football team.

Dettwiler-Danspeckgruber said Acot’s thesis is a promising approach to increase understanding of how the brain is injured during a concussive hit, and could eventually serve as a diagnostic tool.

“Gabbie is a unique and admirable individual, and I have been very impressed by her perseverance to gain access to the necessary data allowing her to carry out the accident reconstruction and, in addition, to assimilate the basic knowledge of how to view DTI images, a skill that was novel for her,” said Dettwiler-Danspeckgruber, who was also the second reader of the thesis. “Gabbie’s thesis required her to expand her primary field of study in engineering to the one of neuroscience, more specifically neuroimaging, and she handled this aspect of her thesis with serious scientific purpose and great ease.”

The three advisers hope to shape Acot’s research into a journal article, according to Glišić.

Acot, of Maywood, New Jersey, wants to be a pediatrician. After graduating from Princeton, she will work as a research assistant at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Research Center in Houston in the lab of David J. Tweardy, Class of 1974, head of the internal medicine division at MD Anderson, to gain research experience before applying to medical school.

Reflecting on the job she found in Tweardy’s lab and the assistance she received from advisers on two continents, Acot said her thesis project taught her people are willing to help. “It says a lot about collaboration over multiple barriers, such as time zones and countries and institutions. I’ll always remember that,” she said. “I can ask for help and create something even greater than I could have accomplished on my own.”

Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2021

The Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment has awarded 20 undergraduates research funds to support research on energy- and environment-related projects.

The research is supported by the Peter B. Lewis Fund for Student Innovation in Energy and the Environment, the Dede T. Bartlett P03 Fund for Student Research in Energy and the Environment, and the Sustainability Fund. 

The students’ projects, which are conducted remotely this year, are described below:

Internships with Princeton faculty

Farah Azmi (CBE ’24)
Advised by Michele Sarazen
Combined Plasma and Thermal Catalytic Conversion of Natural Gas to Liquids

This project investigates an alternative approach to traditional large-scale chemical plants and refineries that rely heavily on high-temperature catalysis: plasma catalysis, which can be powered by renewable electricity and engineered to enable distributed production of chemicals and fuels, while lowering CO2 emissions and increasing energy efficiency compared to conventional thermal catalysis. Specifically, the overarching project goal is to convert methane (from stranded or flared natural gas) to higher-order liquid hydrocarbons and oxygenated fuels and chemicals with a combined plasma-assisted and thermal catalysis approach using bifunctional zeolite/metal catalysts.

Danice Ball (CEE ’22)
Advised by Elke Weber
Deep and Rapid Decarbonization of the Energy Systems of the United States, India, and areas of Europe

The research will focus on one of several projects that examine the deep and rapid decarbonization of the energy systems of the United States, India, and areas of Europe. Topic areas include willingness to adopt and install energy structures (e.g. smart grids and electricity transmission lines), mechanisms for corporate climate action, climate adaptation and mitigation behaviors. The projects will focus both on understanding existing social norms and perceptions of these environmental areas and the institutions, agents, and other forces that impact them.

Riti Bhandarkar (CEE ’23)
Advised by Eric Larson, Chris Greig, and Jesse Jenkins
Impact on Power System Planning of Electrification of Transportation and Building Energy Use

Dramatically increased electrification, especially electric vehicles and heat pumps for space conditioning in homes and businesses will play a significant role in net-zero transitions. This project focuses on understanding how electrification will impact the design and operation of the future grid in the course of the transition. The analysis will employ GenX (a Julia-based electricity capacity expansion modeling tool) to simulate and gain insight into different electrification scenarios.

Evan Dogariu (COS ’24)
Advised by Minjie Chen
Machine Learning based Magnetic Core Loss Modeling Platform

This project will develop a machine-learning-based magnetic core-loss modeling platform to accelerate the design process of power electronics. The intern will focus on the development of software tools and experimental setups to measure the magnetic core loss, process the data, and generate SPICE netlist for magnetic-in-circuit simulations.

Joshua Drossman (ORF ’22)
Advised by Eric Larson, Chris Greig, and Jesse Jenkins
Optimization of CO2 Transport and Storage Infrastructure Development

This project aims to develop cost-optimized spatial and temporal sequences of CO2 transport infrastructure and geologic storage asset development under different net-zero transition scenarios. This effort would recognize (a) a risk-managed development sequence; (b) deep uncertainties around CO2 storage (injection rate) capacity, unit costs, public acceptance, and regulations for different storage locations; and (c) deep uncertainty around the temporal and spatial role, scale, timing and type of CCS deployment in net-zero pathways.

Cady Feng (ELE ’24)
Advised by Eric Larson, Chris Greig, and Jesse Jenkins
Multi-objective Optimization of Electricity Infrastructure Energy Siting

This project will build on land-use suitability screening to identify areas for potential wind and solar siting and thermal power plant siting across the continental United States for the Net-Zero America project. The work will identify other attributes of land areas that are relevant to siting decisions (transmission spur line distance and cost, visual impacts for populations, land cover/use, population density, land value, distance to existing roads, contiguous parcels, etc.) to refine criteria for evaluating candidate project areas. These attributes will be used to perform a multi-attribute optimization or multi-attribute tradeoff analysis to identify a range of siting options that might minimize opposition or maximize other priorities, e.g., distribution of employment.

Yuno Iwasaki (PHY ’23)
Advised by Egemen Kolemen
Machine Learning Models for Plasma Control in Fusion Reactors

The research aims to improve predictive and interpretive models of plasma properties in fusion reactors using machine learning. The primary goal in current fusion research is to develop reactors that are able to maintain high-density, high-temperature plasmas for significant periods of time. To achieve this, it is necessary to develop real-time systems that enable continuous optimization of plasma parameters. Existing models for plasma evolution are typically slow and computationally costly. Data-driven plasma profile prediction models using neural networks are a promising approach for quickly predicting plasma behavior and have been developed and tested on current fusion devices. However, these models rely on accurate information on the current and past state of the plasma, which is often limited due to available diagnostics, noise, and lack of complete physical models for interpreting the data. The project will investigate ML models that can efficiently interpret plasma states in a Bayesian framework with previous and current sensor data as input, with the goal of obtaining the most accurate inference of the internal state of the plasma from minimal sensor data.

Kenalpha Kipyegon (MAE ’22)
Advised by Michael Mueller
Offshore Wind Turbines

The incoming wind profile can substantially affect the output and wake of wind turbines, which can influence the output and wake of downstream wind turbines. In this project, the sensitivity of offshore wind turbine wake development to incoming offshore wind profile scenarios will be assessed using computational fluid dynamics simulations. This knowledge will be used to develop strategies for the placement of downstream wind turbines within an offshore wind turbine farm.

Ethan Reese (ORF ’23)
Advised by Ronnie Sircar
Stochastic Models, Indices & Optimization Algorithms for Pricing and Hedging Reliability Risks in Modern Power Grids

The research will adapt the science of risk measures to quantify the reliability in power production by individual electricity producers, from natural gas units to wind farms, and their aggregate impact on the stability of electricity grid operations.

Waree Sethapun (PHY ’24)
Advised by Forrest Meggers
Campus Geothermal System Evaluation

Princeton is currently installing over 700 ground heat exchangers on the east side of campus for the geothermal heating and cooling system as part of the campus, and another 500 or so are planned for the new lake campus. The research will model the heating and cooling demand and explore how the performance of the geothermal systems can be optimized both for efficiency (2nd law of thermodynamics) and also for managing variable renewable electricity on the grid.

Louis Viglietta (CBE ’24)
Advised by José Avalos
Computational Design of Microbial Metabolism to Improve Biofuel Production 

This project involves using microbial genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) to optimize advanced biofuel production and growth under one-carbon substrates. By having an in silico prediction of microbial metabolic performance, the researchers are able to implement the best forecasted genetic modifications in laboratory settings, saving time and expenses normally incurred when these iteration cycles are performed experimentally. During the project, the intern will learn and use the Constraint-Based Reconstruction and Analysis (COBRA) software suite and previously published GEMs for the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae to model its metabolism under both aerobic and anaerobic growth conditions. The results from this project will inform future experimental efforts to build microbial cell factories for improved biofuel production.  

Emily Wu (CEE ’24)
Advised by Claire White
The Materials Science of Sustainable Cements and Materials for CO2 Capture

Concrete, the second most-used substance on earth after water, is responsible for 5-8% of all human-made CO2 emissions. The research is focused on developing new sustainable concrete by understanding and optimizing the sub-micron processes (i.e., reactions) occurring in conventional and alternative cements. Moreover, the ability to capture CO2 using novel materials is a key research area being explored by the group. The project will complement one of the group’s ongoing projects, and will include working in a wet lab with graduate students to synthesize materials together. The intern will learn to use various experimental characterization equipment, such as X-ray diffraction and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

Callie Zheng (CBE ’24)
Advised by Sujit Datta
Using Polymers to Clean up Contaminated Groundwater Sources

Polymer additives hold promise in groundwater remediation to produce unstable flow fluctuations, which are believed to aid the mobilization of trapped non-aqueous contaminants. Simple models fail to predict recovery outcomes, in part because it is unclear how pore-scale fluctuations redistribute the flow and hence alter local mobilization conditions. This project will develop dynamic network simulations to link pore-scale conditions to aquifer-scale mobilization outcomes.

Internships with governmental agencies and non-profit organizations

Jane Castleman (CEE ’24)
Climate Central
Net-Zero America Communications

A major Princeton University research effort, Net-Zero America (NZA), is developing alternative energy/industrial technology pathways for the U.S. economy to reach net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050. The analysis is highly granular, geographically and temporally, and is thus likely to be of interest to Climate Central audiences across the U.S. Princeton researchers released detailed NZA results in December 2020, and this internship will involve working with a larger Climate Central team to review NZA results and to synthesize and translate technical information for non-expert audiences. This will include conceiving and preparing communications materials, e.g., state fact sheets on the implications and impacts of net-zero transitions, targeted for Climate Central partners around the U.S.

Annabelle Duval (’23  AB-undecided)
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
EDF – Climate Corps

EDF Climate Corps is a network of over 2,300 professionals united to advance climate solutions. Climate Corps seeks to accelerate the transition to a low-carbon energy system by inspiring and empowering leaders. The ability to tell the exciting stories that emerge through the fellowship program, both through visuals and the written word, is incredibly important for communicating the program’s impact on people and the planet. This intern will play a central role in advancing the communications of the Climate Corps program by executing key communications tasks and assignments related to digital assets.

Marie Li (ORF ’23)
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)
FERC Energy Industry Analyst Intern

The Office of Energy Market Regulation (OEMR) at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), regulates wholesale electricity and natural gas markets, as well as the interstate transmission of electricity and interstate transportation of oil and natural gas. In OEMR’s market power analysis, FERC requires “Simultaneous Import Limit” studies to determine the import capability of generation capacity physically located outside the relevant destination market. Applying FERC precedent and market theory, in conjunction with transmission and market transaction data, the intern will create a tool to measure the predictive value of Simultaneous Import Limit studies in forecasting imports and setting the market size under different circumstances. The intern will use R, Python, or other relevant software to analyze power flows in wholesale electricity markets and to develop the new tool. In addition, the internship will provide opportunities to gain exposure to other emerging and challenging issues related to the transition of the nation’s energy supply.

Nadia Ralston (CEE ’22)
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
EDF – Electric Truck and Bus Intern

With electric vehicles, a zero-emission future that benefits the environment, people and economy is possible. Through collaboration with manufacturers, fleet owners, investors and policymakers, EDF is working to make sure all new trucks and buses sold are zero-emissions by 2040. The Electric Truck and Bus intern will support a cross-programmatic team composed of EDF+Business and Energy Program staff by performing research to identify effective, efficient and equitable opportunities across the U.S. where innovative public incentive programs will have greatest impact to speed the transition to zero-emission trucks and buses. The output of this research will directly inform EDF’s various team leads advancing zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles in regions across the United States.

Arielle Rivera (ELE ’23)
Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)
EDF – Puerto Rico Energy Intern

As part of an ambitious energy transition agenda, EDF aims to redefine energy access in Puerto Rico. By identifying possible effective policies and partnering with motivated communities, local groups and impact-focused investors, EDF will support the deployment of innovative, economically sustainable energy projects that can deliver clean, affordable and reliable electricity to low-income communities across the island. As a member of the Puerto Rico team, composed of EDF+Business, Energy, and Political Affairs staff, the intern will conduct a technical, economic and environmental assessment of Virtual Power Plant (VPP) feasibility on various scales throughout Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. The output of this research will assist the Puerto Rico team in determining in which regions VPPs will yield maximum economic and environmental benefit. In addition, these conclusions may inform the future direction of the Puerto Rico Energy program as a whole and its potential Caribbean-wide expansion.

Elizabeth Tong (CEE ’23)
American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
Valuing Energy Use in Rental Listings

Would the presence of energy efficiency information in rental listings affect renters’ decision making? How much would renters value energy efficiency relative to other attributes? Could this value change based on how the data is presented? The ACEEE Behavior and Human Dimensions Program conducts research on energy efficiency from a behavioral perspective and examines these questions through a combination of research and experimentation. The intern will conduct background literature reviews and preliminary studies in order to inform the design and implementation of a discrete choice experiment, and will assist with other projects conducted in the program.

Edward Zhang (CEE ’24)
Moonshot Missions
Water Access

The research will focus on how to address the challenges that utilities face managing wastewater and drinking water, particularly in economically-distressed communities. Moonshot Missions is currently working on topics related to environmental equity, such as improving utility operations and associated financial burdens, providing access to clean water in U.S. Tribal communities, and leveling the playing field in the water sector so every American has access to clean drinking water and local waterways.

Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2021

The two years Princeton senior Joe Kawalec spent studying the natural camouflage of the ubiquitous downy woodpecker oddly enough began and ended the same way — tracing the outlines of birds.

In between, he observed patterns in tree bark through the ultraviolet perspective of a bird, dove into the dynamics of animal coloration, and conducted field experiments with replica downy woodpeckers to determine how the birds’ speckled plumage hides it from predators while potentially signaling to other birds.

Abundant in North America, downy woodpeckers live in forests increasingly being lost to human activity. Understanding how they have adapted to survive in their ecosystem could help predict how they will respond to deforestation.

These various elements culminate in the evolutionary story of a small bird with an outsized importance on its habitat, said Kawalec, who graduated from Princeton in May with a degree in ecology and evolutionary biology and a certificate in environmental studies from Princeton’s High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI).

“There’s so much diversity in coloration in nature. Each of these patterns and colors have a story behind them,” said Kawalec, whose thesis research was supported by a Becky Colvin Memorial Award from HMEI and the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

“Coloration isn’t just important from an aesthetic perspective, but also from an ecological perspective,” he said. “It’s important to understand how these patterns and colors ensure that species can survive and reproduce. If we change the environment beyond what an organism has adapted to, we can end up altering species’ relationships with their ecosystems and possibly their existence.”

Animal coloration runs a gamut of functionality, from how a cheetah’s spots break up the outline of its body as it stalks prey, to how the flash of a white-tailed deer’s hindmost appendage tells predators that it won’t be easy to catch. Found throughout North America, downy woodpeckers have a white back and underbelly with black to brownish-black white-speckled wings (males also have a red patch on the back of their head).

Kawalec wanted to know if and how these plumage patterns help the small bird stay safe in its forest habitat — which may help keep the forest itself alive. “Woodpeckers are especially important as ecosystem engineers. They excavate cavities that are essential habitats for species such as owls and other birds,” he said.

“Knowing how healthy the woodpecker population in an area is provides an indication of how healthy the ecosystem is,” Kawalec said. “By understanding woodpecker coloration, we can better know how they navigate their environment, how they adapted to it, and if they are adapting to changes driven by human activity.”

The path to Kawalec’s senior thesis research began in summer 2019 during an HMEI Environmental Internship in the research group of his adviser, Mary Caswell Stoddard, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology who focuses her research on avian coloration, ecology, behavior and evolution.

“Joe was already a talented birder with a deep appreciation for natural history, but through the internship — and his thesis work — he developed a keen sense of the scientific process,” Stoddard said. 

Kawalec — who co-founded the Princeton Birding Society — grew up birdwatching with his mother and reached out to Stoddard during his sophomore year to ask about research opportunities.

“I was generally interested in birds, and how dynamic coloration arose in each species and what its function and purpose could be,” said Kawalec, who received the T.A. Barron Environmental Leadership Prize from HMEI at the Environmental Studies Class Day event May 24 for his engagement in campus environmental activities and deep interest in local ecosystems and avian biodiversity.

His internship developed from his work with Ph.D. candidate Monica Carlson on one of her projects studying woodpecker behavior in relation to camouflage. Early each morning, he and Carlson would walk the Institute Woods near Princeton’s campus on the lookout for woodpeckers, observing and videoing the birds as they foraged and gauging their level of alertness.

Kawalec would then take close-up photographs of the bark of the trees in which he’d spotted a woodpecker, including with an ultraviolet filter to mimic how birds would see the bark. His objective was to determine if the birds were more at ease on certain trees and if the bark patterns of those trees overlapped with the birds’ coloration in both the visible and ultraviolet spectra.

Downy woodpeckers are important ecosystem engineers that excavate cavities for owls and other birds. The strength of their population could be an indicator of local ecosystem health.

“Joe always asked questions to make sure he understood the scientific purpose of what we were doing. On a number of occasions, Joe contributed important observations and insights that led to improvements in data collection and analysis,” Carlson said.

“He also thought deeply about how the research we were doing was related to biodiversity and conservation issues,” she continued. “We often found ourselves talking about the relationship between woodpecker foraging, ash tree decline in New Jersey, and the invasive emerald ash borer. He demonstrates a flexibility, creativity and a desire to learn and grow that I believe will make him a fantastic scientist.”

Building on his internship, Kawalec began to wonder how woodpeckers’ coloring acted as camouflage in their habitat, Stoddard said.

“Joe developed a fascinating thesis project to test the hypothesis that woodpecker plumage has a dual function: Woodpeckers might be conspicuous when viewed up close to warn off potential predators, but camouflaged at a distance to avoid being detected in the first place,” she said.

“Distance-dependent defensive coloration in animals is a pretty new idea, and very little work on it has been done in birds, so Joe’s work could fill an important gap in the literature,” Stoddard said.

For his thesis research on the “cryptic advantage” downy woodpeckers derive from their plumage, Kawalec designed an experiment using fabricated models of female downy woodpeckers. All the models were the same overall color of the real birds (including on the ultraviolet spectrum), but one type had the white stippling on the wings while the other variant did not.

Because campus was closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic this past winter, Kawalec designed his own experiments at home. He used a random-number generator to position his model birds on trees throughout a park in his hometown of East Brunswick, New Jersey. He then had family members look for the woodpecker models and use a range finder to determine their distance from the model when they spotted it.

Kawalec later compared the distances at which his volunteers discovered the speckled and non-speckled models. While there wasn’t a significant difference, his data trended toward the patterned model being more elusive, he said.

Kawalec also photographed the models on the trees to examine how they blended into the tree bark and the “dynamic illumination,” or the patterns that light creates as it shines through the tree canopy. He analyzed his photographs looking for one of two camouflage metrics. The first, disruptive coloration, is when markings such as a cheetah’s spots make an animal harder to detect by hiding its outline. The other, background matching, is when an animal blends into their surroundings, the classic example being chameleons.

For his senior thesis research, Kawalec attached model downy woodpeckers — both with and without white dorsal patterns — to trees in a local park, then had volunteers find them and record their distance from the models when they did. Models with dorsal speckles were harder to spot from a distance. Kawalec also photographed the models on trees to analyze how the actual birds’ plumage pattern may act as camouflage. He found that the pattern on downy woodpeckers most likely serves to hide their outline, similar to a cheetah’s spots.

By tracing and studying the outlines of his model birds, Kawalec determined that downy woodpeckers likely benefit from disruptive coloration, their contrasting white spots and dark plumage breaking up their outlines amid the tree-bark patterns and dappled sunlight of the forest.

“The first thing I did with Monica was tracing bird cutouts of woodpeckers she could use in another study,” said Kawalec, who is going on to pursue a Ph.D. in environmental science with a focus on host-parasite dynamics and climate change at the University of Toronto under Péter Molnár, an assistant professor of biological sciences and past postdoctoral researcher at Princeton.

“The last analysis I did of my photos, I was tracing the outlines of the birds to look for disruptive coloration,” he said. “It’s cool how it all came full-circle.”

Each year, the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) supports senior thesis research by students from departments across the University. This story is part of a series exploring the disciplinary variety of HMEI-funded undergraduate research carried out by members of the Class of 2021. Additional stories can be found on the HMEI website.

Posted: Thursday, June 3, 2021

As COVID-19 stalked the streets of New York City last year and racked up increasing mortality rates, there were many anecdotal stories in the news media of people abandoning the city. But was it true throughout the Big Apple and what did real estate sales data actually show?

Hunter Sporn ’21, an economics major at Princeton University, decided to use machine learning tools to look at patterns in housing market data from public and private sources in order to answer these questions.

“COVID transformed the world in so many different ways. I wanted to explore how it impacted an asset class, real estate, which really touches everybody,” said Sporn.

Sporn looked at housing data from the city and private sources such as Zillow, the real estate website. Before coming to his results, Sporn said he had to do some data cleaning since the numbers he collected were raw and disorganized. After performing data analysis, he showed that “the economic burden of rising (COVID) case counts, with respect to housing, is born unevenly across areas of the city.”

He saw that higher COVID case counts do indeed lead to lower housing prices but that population density had little impact on home values – the opposite of what he expected.

Sporn presented his project at the annual undergraduate poster session held by the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning (CSML) in May. One hundred students participated in the event, representing a wide range of departments and programs, from operations research and financial engineering to sociology. This is an increase from last year’s total of 72, also held virtually due to the pandemic, reflecting the increasing interest in data science as a discipline on campus.

The students' projects are an important component of CSML's Undergraduate Certificate Program in Statistics and Machine Learning. A final requirement of the program is an independent project that incorporates data science in a significant way and participation at the poster session. 

“We’ve had a year of remote learning and virtual events. Despite disrupted interactions and the easy exchange of ideas, our students have risen to the challenge and presented a variety of projects that tackled big questions and used data science in interesting and innovative ways,” said Peter J. Ramadge, the CSML director. “We are proud of them.”

Three students received special recognition this year for their research projects: 

Kavya Chaturvedi ’21, Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

“Can Words Speak Louder Than Actions? A Text Analysis Based Evaluation of the UK Modern Slavery Act”

Byron Chin ’21, Department of Mathematics

“Optimal Reconstruction of Block Models” 

Alexandria Skarzynski ’21, Department of Sociology

“Investigating Matching Patterns and Status Exchange in U.S. Citizen and Non-U.S. Citizen Intermarriages Using the Exchange Index”

An article profiling all three winners and their projects is forthcoming.

The wide diversity of student projects is a reflection of the increasingly broader interest in both theoretical developments in modern statistics and machine learning, such as the project above by Chin, and the application of these tools in a range of applications, such as the projects by Chaturvedi and Skarzynski.

For her project, Margaret Baughman ’21, School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), looked closely at the Chinese government’s influence operations on Western social media. She hit upon a unique way to analyze what is generally an opaque process: collecting Chinese government public procurement documents with outside firms that are contractually obligated to provide services.

Baughman used a variety of methods in her project including linear regressions and textual analysis, but she said her biggest contribution in this study was coming up with a novel data set based on the public procurement documents. Her project has subsequently garnered interest from outside campus such as federal institutions and other researchers.

David Lipman ’22, computer science, focused on computationally detecting melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, but can be treated and cured if found early.

Deep learning techniques have been used as a detection method for this type of skin cancer, but Lipman decided to take a computer vision approach that analyzes different features of melanoma. Focusing on features allows for further insight into this type of cancer.

For his project, Lipman incorporated the ABCD rule of skin cancer, which states that skin lesions that are A: asymmetric in terms of shape or texture, B: have irregular or poorly defined borders, C: many colors or color variations from one area to another, and D: diameters of 6mm or larger are more likely to be melanoma.

Lipman developed a generalizable model to detect melanoma based on these ABCD features. The model resulted in an average validation accuracy of 81.9% on a dataset of 10,180 dermoscopic images. Also, his analysis unearthed a few important takeaways on melanoma features.

“The most influential features in classifying a lesion's diagnosis were determined to be the number of unique colors appearing within a lesion, the intersection between 3D histograms of colors within and outside of each lesion, and the irregularity of a lesion’s border. In addition, the ‘C’ features overall have the most predictive power in classifying a lesion,” he said.

Tyler Skow ’21, computer science, used data science to analyze QAnon, considered to be the most influential conspiracy theory in the modern era.

“I felt QAnon is worth researching because of its addictive nature and its ability to drive thousands of people into violence,” said Skow. “By studying the nature of these conspiracy theories, we stand a much better chance of stopping its spread.”

Twitter has been a conduit for QAnon disinformation and provides a rich trove of data on this problem. Skow took Twitter data and applied network analysis, topic modeling and classification techniques to get a clearer picture of QAnon adherents and their behavior.

He first put together a data set of 1 million QAnon tweets and made it public for future research. After applying machine learning and other data science techniques on this data set, he came to a few interesting conclusions.

“We find that the vast majority of users engrossed by QAnon are highly polarized and isolated from other users,” he said.

He also found that a core group of QAnon accounts were responsible for the bulk of information being disseminated in the community. Skow also trained logistic regression, naïve bayes and support vector machine classifiers on a QAnon user’s historical tweets. From this process, he was able to accurately classify Twitter accounts most at risk of fixation with the conspiracy.

Diana Dayoub ‘21, SPIA, decided to look into government corruption in India, specifically the issue of electing criminally accused members to the legislature and their impact on economic outcomes.

“For a couple of decades now, criminals have been winning elections in increasing numbers in India,” said Dayoub, explaining her interest. “It just shocked me that these people were going from jail to parliament.”

Dayoub took census data on population, economics, socio-economic caste, in addition to data on politician affidavits and even night light captured by satellites and which is now used by researchers as a gauge for economic activity. After performing data analysis such as logit fixed effects model and regression discontinuity design, Dayoub found that electing a criminally accused politician led to decreases in employment and in school counts.

Alyssa Humeston ’22, sociology, did her research on the criminal immigrant stereotype, specifically on the Latino population in America.

“I was looking at how the presence of Latinos in a state could affect stereotypes against them,” said Humeston, who found that as Latino population increased, white respondents were more likely to believe that immigrants increased crime compared to a decrease in that perception among Black respondents.

Humeston said she enjoyed doing the project because it combined quantitative and qualitative analysis and that it gave her a deeper understanding of the issue because these modes of analyses complemented each other.

Nabhonil Kar ’21, operations research and financial engineering major, focused his research on looking at financial data, specifically stock data. Estimating stock prices and volatility are essential tasks for many financial professionals, but noise in data and faulty assumptions can lead to inaccurate results.

“Machine learning techniques, on the other hand, have found great success in finding structure in noisy and data-intensive environments with relatively few model assumptions,” said Kar, who used Gaussian process regression in his project to study how noise in data would impact the price parameters of a stock.

After completing his project and the CSML certificate program, Kar said he’s coming away with valuable lessons from the experience that will help him in his next step after graduation: a data scientist position at a trading firm in Chicago.

“I learned a lot completing the certificate,” said Kar. “The classes and projects I undertook will no doubt come in handy in an applied setting. The CSML certificate gives you impactful tools to see the world in a different way and answer some interesting questions. Taking the CSML certificate was a no brainer.”


Posted: Monday, June 7, 2021
Maddie Pendolino '21

Maddie Pendolino decided during her sophomore year at Princeton that she wanted to focus her senior thesis research on the 2020 U.S. presidential election. An avid follower of politics who volunteered for the re-election campaign of Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), she knew that with President Donald Trump as the incumbent, the contest would be dramatic, unconventional and — for a politics major — fascinating.

“The opportunity to be a senior during a presidential election was something I didn’t want to pass up,” said Pendolino, who graduated from Princeton in May. “I originally wanted to focus on swing states in some way.”

But 2020 would turn out to be more turbulent than she or anyone expected: The global COVID-19 pandemic that has killed nearly 600,000 Americans, put millions out of work and disrupted daily life at a nearly unimaginable scale. The mass protests for racial justice following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Deadly and destructive wildfires across the American West. The death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the showdown over the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett.

As the news cycle seemingly turned out one bombshell story after another without relent, Pendolino found herself asking how the events of 2020 would influence the people’s vote for president.

For her senior thesis, Pendolino used the polling skills she learned during a 2019 internship with Change Research — a Bay Area-based polling firm — to conduct an online poll of 2,500 voters across the country. She asked about the events of 2020 and the long-term policy issues that most influenced people’s vote for president, from Trump’s handling of the pandemic and party allegiance, to their top policy priorities, such as climate change, foreign trade and racial equity.

Infographic by Mae-Yung Tang, High Meadows Environmental Institute

“All these things happening very close to the election just made my survey more interesting,” said Pendolino, whose work was supported by senior thesis funding from the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI).

“When 2020 started to unfold, it changed the whole tide of how things would turn out,” she said. “Being able to hear from people soon after the election on how the turbulent events we all followed in the news and that impacted our lives actually played out in the voting booth was, from an academic point of view, really exciting.”

The coronavirus pandemic was the most decisive factor in how someone voted, Pendolino said. She found that a person who thought that Trump mishandled the coronavirus pandemic was 27% more likely to vote for President Joe Biden.

“For me, the most significant finding was the extent to which voters really punished Trump for his handling of the pandemic,” Pendolino said. “My analysis specifically focused on the performance of the incumbent rather than just COVID as an issue. I wanted to get much more detailed responses instead of asking roundabout questions.”

Pendolino said she was surprised by the extent to which climate change and climate policy topped other policy issues in influencing how people voted. Forty-four percent of respondents reported climate change as a top-five priority and 9% said it was their main priority.

“Climate change was a lot more indicative of vote choice than racial equity or health care,” Pendolino said. “The prominence of climate change suggests that it is coming to the forefront of politics and American elections. As climate change becomes more apparent, I hope it’ll be easier for voters to process how big of an issue it is — but I’m afraid by that time it might be too little, too late.”

Climate change was that uncommon policy issue that crossed party lines, Pendolino found. Yes, climate change and racial equity were the most important issues for Democrats, while Republicans tended to put more priority on foreign policy and trade.

But climate change was a top issue for 82% of respondents who voted for Biden versus 64% of Democrats. Among the 188 people who previously voted Republican but voted for Biden in 2020, 10% said climate change policy was the main reason.

“Being in support of climate change took away some of the potency for being a Democrat, meaning you weren’t just voting for Biden because you were a Democrat, but also because you supported climate change policy.”

Climate change is becoming more of a priority as younger people reach voting age and Pendolino’s survey results likely captured some of that dynamic, said her thesis adviser Brandice Canes-Wrone, the Donald E. Stokes Professor in Public and International Affairs and professor of politics.

“In the past four years, there have been major efforts to bring individuals to the polls who have not voted before, and that includes young voters who tend to be more concerned with the planet,” Canes-Wrone said. “There also has been much more of a focus on the environment in the media.”

The major issues affecting the outcome of the 2020 election were abundantly clear by the summer, which is actually relatively early, Canes-Wrone said. The 2020 election was less susceptible to the “sleeper” issues and “October surprises” that have hung over previous elections, she said.

What makes Pendolino’s work notable is the breadth of issues she included in her survey, Canes-Wrone said. “Maddie provided a very comprehensive look at a wide range of factors that the academic literature says should affect voting, instead of just one,” she said. “Her ability to move quickly and think about the types of policy issues — such as climate change — she wanted her survey to focus on was really impressive.”

Pendolino found that her respondents’ decisions were not simply driven by raw partisanship, but also by the policy issues included in her survey, Canes-Wrone said.

“Partisanship definitely mattered, but these other factors mattered, too. It fits with the view that presidents are held responsible for peace and prosperity, more so than any other elected office,” she said.

“You can think of Trump’s handling of the COVID crisis more broadly as a judgement on his competence in handling crises in general, a consideration that might transcend the 2020 election to affect future elections, even if 2024 is not about COVID,” Canes-Wrone said. “A different crisis could strike Biden.”

For Pendolino, her survey results were encouraging in the suggestion that our politics may not be as wholly tribal as it often seems — or as we’re often told, she said.

“It shows that despite what we hear from politicians and pundits, voters do have independent thought and will vote for issues that are important to them, rather than voting for their party because it’s their party,” Pendolino said.

“The issues won’t be more important than party for the majority of the electorate, but they have the potential to overcome party for certain voters,” she said. “And you only need 10% of the electorate to swing an election.”

Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2021
Tiger Challenge cohort 11

After an initial overview of the philosophy and history behind human-centered design, eighteen Tiger Challenge students in four teams were tasked with a design challenge of a “Playground for College Students Post-Covid”.

In a short (time is relative in the design thinking world) two-hour sprint, students experienced first-hand the three phases of design thinking as defined by the Tiger Challenge: Contextualization (empathize, synthesize), Conceptualization (ideation, prototyping), Implementation (pitching). 

In the Contextualization phase, the students shared with each other their experiences as college students engaging in “play” and “joy”, and their pain points of having been through more than a year of Covid isolation and limited in-person interactions. After synthesizing the insights, the teams were able to come up with opportunities for design in the form of “How Might We” questions, which they took into the Conceptualization phase for some individual and group brainstorming sessions. 

“Fascinated with how society can help itself and how our team can facilitate that in a productive, design-thinking oriented way, " said cohort member Nadya Fishchenko '23.

The four teams then shared their design solutions with the rest of the cohort. These solutions were by no means the most innovative and creative ideas at this point, but for many students in the program, it was the first hands-on experience with the different stages along the process of human-centered design.

Courtney Tseng '21, program associate, remarked "On a screen displaying current Tiger Challenge members from all over the world, I could feel the excitement and determination to jumpstart the design-thinking process and innovation needed for Tiger Challenge. Even though the design sprint was new for most members, they did not hesitate to buy into design-thinking and challenged the current norms of society." 

The teams came up with a “lifestyle-reflector” a free indoor and outdoor space that evokes nostalgia and mental relaxation, a playground that creates connectivity through competitive and inclusive activities. Just imagine what these students might come up with given more time - perhaps ten weeks?

“We’re only three days in, but I’m already seeing a strong bias toward action in this cohort. I can tell that another summer on Zoom will have nothing against these students. I am looking forward to asking a lot of questions with these students, getting to the core of these important societal issues, and building towards truly impactful solutions.” - Jessica Leung, Design Program Manager and Lecturer

While getting the first taste of human-centered design, the students have also had their initial meetings with community partners and faculty advisors to involve the stakeholders in the process as soon as possible.

“I'm excited to continue exploring design thinking, especially as we build up to the interviews, to really start talking to the individuals themselves and exploring not only how they perceive themselves, but how they perceive others to perceive them,” said cohort member Kevin Bruce '22.

Check back for updates on how these team progress through their ten week Tiger Challenge experience.

Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021
Ed Zschau '61 lead a cohort of graduate and undergraduate students on a three-day, remote entrepreneurial boot camp as part of the Keller Center eLab summer accelerator program.

Our 2021 eLab Summer Accelerator Program kicked off with a three-day entrepreneurial boot camp.  Seven hand-picked teams of graduate and undergraduate students received customized critical analysis and foundational skill-building lessons from serial entrepreneur and dedicated educator Ed Zschau '61.

A grandfather to hundreds of Princeton student and alum founded startup companies, Zschau's insights and advice are a valuable commodity to the cohort of fledgling founders as they begin their ten-week journey to launching their companies.

In their first session, Zschau explained the importance of building the right team, "I would absolutely invest in a B or C idea delivered by an A team, but I would never invest in a B or C team even if they had an A idea."

This year's cohort of teams are as follows:

  • Adventurelist – A community and marketplace for guided adventure sports.
  • Brick Bank – A Lego set rental service.
  • Healthy Helper – Software to efficiently compare nutrition labels on grocery products.
  • Kotami – Fashion-forward, ethically produced clothes at an accessible price point.
  • Office Party – Event production group focused on unique, sustainable deployments.
  • RoundTable - Social cryptocurrency platform focusing on decentralized autonomous organization (DOA) creation.
  • YetoBread – Creating affordable Keto-friendly bakery products.

Stay tuned throughout the summer and watch as these young entrepreneurs build their business models and launch their startups. Join us at the end of the program at our annual Demo Day on August 11, and see where they all land.

STEM Leads Research Opportunities
Posted: Friday, July 9, 2021
Center for Career Development Logo

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.


Summer Campaign Job Opportunities - Fund for Public Interest (nationwide)

  • Educate and engage citizens on pressing issues  like stopping plastic pollution, or getting pesticides out of our food supply.
  • Build membership and raise money for environmental and social change groups.
  • Seeking hard-working individuals with a passion for social change to fill citizen outreach and field manager positions ·   

STEM Content Provider - Numerade (virtual)

  • Numerade's mission is to close the educational opportunity gap by unlocking and democratizing access to extraordinary educators.
  • Flexible, remote and paid internship opportunity. 
  • Develop STEM content for middle school and high school students.

Entry-Level Roles

Professional Development Program – Chemical Engineering (2022) - BASF, Florham Park, NJ

  • Application open to chemical engineering majors earning degree May 2021 - August 2022.
  • 24-month cross-functional program with three 8-month rotations in various technical areas, including: Manufacturing/Operations, Corporate Engineering, Ecology and Safety, Maintenance, and Research and Development (R&D)
  • Upon your completion of the program, you may be offered direct placement within the organization in a variety of disciplines in engineering and production.

Manufacturing Engineer - Blue Origin, Merritt Island, FL

  • Translate engineering intent, drawings, and configurations into fully functional hardware ready for test, qualification, and flight
  • Bachelor of Science in mechanical, manufacturing, industrial or aerospace engineering (other relevant fields may apply) from an accredited university

Materials Engineering Rotational Program (2022) - Charter Steel, Cleveland, OH

  • Develop a broad understanding of the overall operations and how critical materials engineering and quality are to the overall business
  • Develop a diversified knowledge of multiple metallurgical/technical functions

Associate Scientist - Estee Lauder Companies, Melville, NY

  • Entry level research position working on setting raw material specifications, through analytical testing, on new ingredients coming through the innovation pipeline to ensure they comply with corporate and global regulatory requirements
  • Daily analysis will include physical and chemical testing using wet chemistry techniques and analytical instrumentation.
  • Also responsible for data entry, documentation and informing appropriate personnel of critical issues when necessary. 

Project Engineer - Johnson Controls, Largo, FL

  • Johnson Controls focuses on efficiency, controls, and automation to make your world more sustainable
  • Coordinate engineering design and order processing activities related to standard and special quote customer HVAC orders
  • Assist with engineering design and process changes for legacy HVAC products

Salt Lake Operations Acceleration Rotational Leadership Program - Stryker, Salt Lake City, UT

  • Accelerate career progression in manufacturing operations and leadership
  • Develop into a world-class engineer in neurovascular product lines through challenging rotational assignments across the manufacturing site
  • 2-year program with 8-month rotations.

Research and Fellowship Positions

(NJ ACTS) Workforce Development Core Fall 2021 Clinical Research Internships (remote)

  • Paid internship, funded by the NIH, approx. 15 hrs/week with flexible scheduling.
  • Attend virtual meetings, submit written project, and present findings at end of program
  • Applications due July 15

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program - U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC

  • Conduct research on relevant topics to building energy efficiency including international, national and local policies, market barriers, and technologies
  • Join team focused on accelerating the pace of innovation in technologies for both existing buildings and new construction

Nuclear Engineering (NE) Research Assistant - U.S. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC

  • Research and document state, local government, utility, and public utility commission policies and best practices  
  • Interface with program offices to learn how they execute NE's mission through the research, development and demonstration (RD&D) projects
  • Present at technical conferences and events to solicit stakeholder feedback on program activities

Virtual Tissue Models [Full-time] Internship - U.S. EPA, Research Triangle Park, NC

  • Research project addresses critical cellular events in tissue fusion in human embryonic development that are susceptible to disruption
  • Involves culture of human primary tissue-derived cells in 2D and in 3D culture and monitoring of their growth and activity over time
  • Various assays may be performed to provide information regarding cell proliferation, migration, differentiation, cell viability and immunocytochemical analysis of proteins
Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2021
Green lightbulb

A new partnership between Princeton University’s Center for Policy Research on Energy and the Environment (C-PREE) and the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) is pairing students and researchers to work on solutions to today’s most-pressing environmental issues.

This past summer, five student interns from HMEI partnered with faculty at C-PREE, a center based at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, to study endangered species, climate migration, land-use policy and more through the new program.

With 127 students participating in 2021, the HMEI environmental internship program provides Princeton University students in any discipline with a unique opportunity for students to complement their academic interests with hands-on work experiences and are designed to expand students’ knowledge of global environmental problems.

The intern-mentor teams met biweekly during C-PREE lunch hours, where they shared their work.

Karena Yan, a junior, and her mentor Nic Choquette-Levy, a Ph.D. candidate, presented their project, based on Choquette-Levy’s graduate research. 

Yan and Choquette-Levy wanted to examine how households in a South Asian agricultural community may react to climate change, a topic that Choquette-Levy is exploring with support from the Walbridge Fund Graduate Award administered by HMEI.

“Climate change is expected to significantly threaten the crop yields of smallholder farmers,” Yan said. “Adaptation may require farmers to pursue new livelihood strategies, such as migrating or investing in cash crops as opposed to continuing to farm-traditional cereal crops.” 

Choquette-Levy developed a model that analyzes the interactions between people and households — what the researchers call “agents” — and evolving environmental conditions. The model revealed how, despite a significant increase of average temperatures in the region, some local risk transfer policies such agricultural insurance plans may be able to improve household income and community stability.

The 2021 interns will be presenting their work during the 14th annual Summer of Learning Symposium on Friday, Sept. 10, via Zoom. Check out the schedule online and feel free to pop in!

Posted: Wednesday, September 8, 2021
SPIA logo

SPIA Majors! 

Use the Senior Thesis Advisor Selection Guide to identify thesis advisors who match your interests and possible thesis topics.

This tool is organized by faculty issue and regional expertise.

You can narrow your search for an advisor by selecting a policy area or region.

Posted: Friday, September 17, 2021

Please join current SINSIs and the Co-Directors at one of three open houses to discuss two scholarship programs dedicated to service in the U.S. government:


An eight to ten week paid summer internship for sophomores and juniors and A four year paid graduate program that includes admission to the SPIA Master In Public Affairs program, and two-years of rotations for seniors and MPA 1s.


For more details and registration, see the PDF below:

PDF iconSINSI Fall 2021 Open House Flyer.pdf

Posted: Thursday, September 23, 2021

Interested in Expanding your Knowledge in Clinical and Translational Sciences?

The New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Sciences (NJ ACTS) is inviting you to attend an interactive session to learn about various types of translational research. 

This virtual event is scheduled for Tuesday, October 5th at 5p.  

All Faculty, Students, and Staff are invited to attend





Posted: Friday, September 24, 2021

Do you like teaching or tutoring? Have you ever wanted to help lead a non-profit? Are you interested in increasing equity and diversity in research and academia?


APPLY HERE by October 3rd!!!

Learn more information on our website and read about our open board positions

PCRi Flyer

The Pre-College Research Institute (PCRi) is a national Harvard-based nonprofit and has faculty support and student collaborations with Yale, Stanford, Brown, Princeton, Columbia, Howard, the University of Georgia, and more!!!


Use this link to learn more about open positions to join our board! This organization is an intercollegiate initiative that provides foundational educational courses, mentorship, and direct research experiences to expose traditionally underrepresented high school students to the world of research. 


We have begun acquiring institutional and corporate support beyond Harvard and are excited to grow our team. Applications are due October 3rd, 2021. Please reach out to with any questions or concerns!


Co-Executive Directors

Pre-College Research Institute


Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2021

October 12, 2021 5 PM @ Donald G. Drapkin Studio, Lewis Arts Complex

FREE and open to public; tickets required


Poet Raena Shirali, winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award and the 2021 Hudson Prize, and several creative writing seniors read from their work. The C.K. Williams Reading Series showcases senior thesis students of the Program in Creative Writing with established writers as special guests.

Join the Event

The reading is free and open to the public but advance tickets are required. Reserve tickets through University Ticketing.

Get directions to the Drapkin Studio and find other venue information for the arts complex.

COVID-19 Guidance + Updates

Per Princeton University policy, all audiences attending indoor events are required to be fully vaccinated and to wear a mask. Visitors may attend outdoor events and are not required by current University policy to attest to COVID-19 vaccination or wear a face covering.


Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations. Attendees in need of access accommodations are invited to contact the Lewis Center at least two weeks in advance at

Posted: Thursday, September 30, 2021
HCURA logo

Harvard College Undergraduate Research Association (HCURA) extends an invitation to undergraduate students at Princeton University to attend the National Collegiate Research Conference (NCRC) held on January 21-23, 2022. 

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 300 participants from nearly 100 universities across America and abroad attended the conference. Through NCRC, we hope 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 we believe will be invaluable in future pursuits. 


While we plan to host NCRC on Harvard’s campus in Cambridge, MA, we are actively monitoring Harvard University’s COVID-19 guidelines and policies and have contingency plans in place to transition to a virtual format if conditions worsen.


Applications will open on October 1st, 2021, and close on December 1st, 2021 (11:59PM EST). 


Thank you for your interest in NCRC and please feel free to contact us at if you have any questions.


Posted: Thursday, October 14, 2021
Jose Ayala Garcia

Jose Ayala Garcia is a Princeton engineering student with a passion for designing and improving machines — and helping others follow in his footsteps.

A senior concentrating in mechanical and aerospace engineering (MAE), Ayala Garcia grew up in Sioux City, Iowa, and is a first-generation college student. He has served as co-secretary and co-president of the Princeton chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), and is an advising fellow with Matriculate, which helps high-achieving, low-income high school students apply to college.

Ayala Garcia is beginning a senior project focused on biomaterials, and would like to work “at the intersection between hardware, software and mechanical design.”

In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, Ayala Garcia recently spoke about his path to Princeton, his work with Matriculate, and his internships in the fields of solar power, semiconductors, and ice cream manufacturing.

What was your pathway to studying engineering at Princeton?

I’ve always been interested in math and science, so when I found out about engineering in middle school, I thought it was the perfect intersection of the two. I’ve always loved to do things that are hands-on, too. I felt like I had found what I wanted to do, and that led me to take engineering courses in high school.

I’m a first-gen student, so applying to college involved a lot of research for me. My parents couldn’t really help me, but I was lucky to have some past seniors give me advice, and some guidance from teachers.

One thing that really attracted me to Princeton was the motto — “in the service of humanity.” I’ve always tried to give back and help others, especially on this journey to college. I applied to Princeton through QuestBridge, which is a program that helps first-generation and low-income students apply to top colleges.

It was a big change coming from a public school in Iowa to a private institution like Princeton — a big adjustment in terms of academics, especially during the first year, getting used to the Princeton workload and balancing out my activities. One of the first groups I joined was SHPE. Being able to go to those initial meetings and get advice from upperclassmen was valuable. I was also able to go to the SHPE National Conference, which was useful in terms of connecting with other students and recruiters from industry.

What attracted you to mechanical and aerospace engineering?

The U.S. has been a world leader in aerospace, and growing up I always thought it would be cool to be able to help humans get back to the moon, and eventually to Mars. But what really piqued my interest in MAE is the fact that mechanical engineering is so broad. You learn about fluids, controls and dynamics, and you also have civil engineering aspects like structures and statics. We’re all required to take [computer science] classes, and that’s something that’s also piqued my interest. And we have some hardware components, like the microprocessors course I took with [Professor Michael Littman]. I like the idea that I can do so many different things with the MAE concentration.

Besides your leadership in SHPE, what are some of your activities outside of your academic work?

I’ve always loved music, and I’ve been playing the saxophone since fifth grade. It’s one of my stress relievers. Back before COVID, I used to be in the Princeton University Wind Ensemble.

I’ve been a Matriculate advising fellow for the past three years, and it’s a very rewarding process helping students like me — maybe their parents didn’t go to college, and they don’t have a lot of people to go to for help when it comes to their applications.

One of my [advisees] from my sophomore year group is now a sophomore MAE concentrator at Princeton, and one of my students from last year is at UPenn studying chemical engineering. Princeton was one of the founding schools that partnered with Matriculate to provide these services to students, and Matriculate advisors are all college students who have gone through a training process.

I’ve been fortunate enough to be reselected twice. Even after Princeton, I hope to be able to continue helping students apply to college. I have my own siblings to help, too — I’m the oldest of four, and the next oldest is currently applying to colleges, so my experiences with Matriculate are going to help me help her as much as possible.

Can you talk about the internships you’ve done during your time at Princeton?

Between my freshman and sophomore year, through the Princeton Environmental Institute [now the High Meadows Environmental Institute] I was able to do an engineering internship with a startup called BoxPower.

It was founded by a Princeton alum, and it’s a solar microgrid company. The microgrids are huge shipping containers — they have all the batteries, inverters, transformers — everything you need for a standalone solar-powered system. When you put solar panels on a house it usually isn’t standalone, since you need transformers and all these other mechanisms, but this microgrid is self-reliant, so if the power goes down your house is still able to be up and running.

I was able to help [BoxPower] develop a more residential version. The bigger community version has 48 solar panels, but this one was nine solar panels. I did a lot of designing for that project, which I hadn’t had much chance to do before that.

Between my sophomore and junior year — the first COVID summer — I was fortunate to land an internship at Wells Enterprises, which is one of the biggest ice cream manufacturers in the U.S. and is very close to my hometown. Even though a lot of internships were cancelled and a lot of them were virtual that year, I was able to go in person most days and work with the mechanical design team. Doing projects with their ice cream machines that generate all these products every day … as someone who loves ice cream and grew up eating this ice cream, it was cool being able to help with those machines.

This past summer I worked at a company called KLA, a company that develops semiconductor-related equipment. I was able to work on machines that are used to inspect semiconductors and make sure they’re up to code and don’t have any impurities that will affect their use. Especially in these days with chip shortages, you want to make sure that you’re able to use as much of the product as possible.

Posted: Monday, October 18, 2021
Five scholars from four universities participated in a pilot research program for rising juniors, run jointly by leaders at Intel Corporation and Princeton Engineering. Over eight weeks, organizers introduced scholars to field-leading research problems in computer security and privacy and led talks on how to navigate a career in research.

Isabella Siu had never thought much about the inner workings of computers. But when she started learning how information flows through complex circuits and gates, the world became alive with digital logic.

Elijah Bryant, on the other hand, was drawn to digital machines from an early age. He obsessed over fictional accounts of artificial intelligence, hacking and surveillance. "I've always had an interest in cybersecurity," he said, "messing around with electronics, tinkering with computers."

Siu, at Cornell University, grew up in Miami with parents who held degrees in science and engineering. Bryant, at Iowa State University, comes from San José, Calif. and was the first in his family to go to college. But as rising juniors, in the summer of 2021, their paths converged in a newly launched research experience for undergraduate students run jointly by leaders at Intel Corporation and Princeton University's School of Engineering and Applied Science.

Neither Siu nor Bryant had ever thought of themselves as cutting-edge investigators. Both had assumed college would lead to an industry job that would launch a career in tech. Then something changed in their sophomore years. They grew more curious about their professors' work. Those questions led them to apply to the Princeton-Intel program, where they could encounter first-hand experience digging deep into computer research problems.

Program organizers selected Siu, Bryant and three others from scores of applicants nationwide, then placed the five scholars in one of four research groups across Princeton's electrical and computer engineering and computer science departments. Over the course of two months, the scholars met virtually with dozens of researchers at all career stages, from graduate students to senior scientists. Scholars were given a stipend and paired with several mentors, who guided them through detailed technical topics and provided practical career advice. At the program's end, each of the scholars presented their research findings to a panel of these advisers.

The pilot program was designed to introduce talented young scientists from underrepresented backgrounds to some of the most exciting challenges in computer security and privacy research. These scholars, all U.S. citizens, came from four states and a full spectrum of socio-economic backgrounds. As rising juniors, they were also younger than the typical undergraduate student researcher.

That youth and diversity was the point, according to Princeton's Sharad Malik, the George Van Ness Lothrop Professor in Engineering, who co-developed the program. In his experience, exposing students to research at an early stage is the best way to interest them in a subject. And getting students interested is the only way to strengthen the Ph.D. pipeline to produce a greater diversity of talent for years to come. The field of security and privacy needs to attract more talent than ever, and Malik wanted to find new pathways through which sharp young minds might enter.

By all accounts, the program worked.

"I feel like it was a condensed version of what it would be like if I went to graduate school," said Sarah Schaber, a junior at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and one of the five scholars. "Like I got a sense for the whole research process and how it would go if this were a really big project."

After eight intensive weeks stripping complex problems to bare essentials and engineering their way back to the start, these scholars began their junior years carrying the spark of a new idea — that they, too, could one day lead a team of researchers in solving the world's hardest technological problems.

All five, reflecting on the program's effect at the end of the summer, echoed Siu when she said: "Now I really want to get involved in research in the fall, and over the next two years. I think a Ph.D. is something I would want to pursue."

Mentors help clear roadblocks

The program’s success turned on its mentorship model, according to Intel's Jason Fung, director of offensive security research and academic research engagement, who co-developed the program in conjunction with Malik, with support from Dean of Engineering Andrea Goldsmith.

Organizers paired each scholar with three mentors: a Princeton faculty adviser, an Intel research mentor and an Intel career mentor. "Practitioners who come from many parts of society," Fung said. The mentors guided their scholars in weekly discussions of everything from precise technical matters to broad questions about how and what it means to endeavor in a life of research.

This interconnected model not only afforded the scholars first-hand experience solving problems in advanced topics, it also put them face to face with people who could connect that experience to a future career and its possible impacts on the world at large.

That kind of supportive, experiential environment is essential for success, according to experts at Princeton's McGraw Center for Teaching and Learning. An established body of psychological research shows that feelings of belonging are key for minority groups' academic achievement. Enhancing belongingness can improve performance and has been shown to close achievement gaps by up to 50 percent.

The Princeton-Intel program applies that rationale to the research environment and the workplace. Having mentors who can address difficulties particular to underrepresented groups should help some students feel more like they belong — in a graduate school program, in a research discipline, or in a Fortune 500 company board room.

Fung said one of Intel's biggest priorities is in building a diverse global workforce with an inclusive culture. Fostering diverse perspectives, both technical and personal, allows more room for creative solutions to address the kinds of difficult problems that lie at the heart of computer engineering. To ensure technology is fully inclusive and enriching lives of billions of people around the world, he said industry leaders must act on expanding an inclusive pipeline of young scientists and engineers in shaping next-generation technology.

One of the career mentors, Intel's Christopher Gutierrez, said it was a few early encounters with academic research that had led him into his own career, and that he was compelled to participate in this program by the desire to give back to younger scientists who otherwise might not have access to the role models they need. "I remember being in that position," he said, "with all the mysticism of what comes next. It's exciting, and scary."

That the Princeton-Intel program selected rising juniors, rather than seniors, that it combined mentors from both academia and industry, and that it targeted scholars from underrepresented backgrounds, sets it apart from other programs. It also provides an example for future partnerships, according to Malik, especially between institutions looking to increase both diversity and talent in STEM.

Motivation, means and opportunity

Fung and Malik met in 2013, when they began collaborating on hardware security research. Fung needed a verification methodology that scaled with the growing complexity of new Intel systems, and Malik had developed the techniques for the job. They shared another priority — strengthening their discipline's talent pool by diversifying the pipeline that feeds it — and decided to use their positions to address this need. A major corporation teamed up with a major research university could be as powerful in cultivating young researchers as it was effective in producing world-leading research. They could give the students a comprehensive look at the field. And they could leverage resources from both organizations, namely people who could speak to a broad array of backgrounds and career paths for a diverse group of scholars.

"Ultimately," Fung said, the scholars "may continue their journey to become a professor, researching innovative solutions that the industry can later adopt. Or, after they finish graduate school, they say, Hey, I really want to solve some practical challenges, and Intel is one of the places I want to become an engineer." Fung also sees a chance for these scholars to "pass it along," to turn around one day and create similar opportunities for later generations, as Gutierrez and others did.

For one of the scholars, Roman Gasiorowski, who attends Texas A&M, the program not only introduced him to many areas of security and privacy he hadn't known existed, it also overturned his entire conception of graduate school. "It helped me clear up some misunderstandings about research," he said. "And even had an impact on me changing my career path going forward." Gasiorowski wasn't familiar with how graduate programs are structured, or the value of a master's versus a Ph.D. He thought he would need to go into a lot of debt to continue schooling. Since he was already accruing debt to earn his bachelor's degree, the burden of increasing that debt to unknown quantities had precluded the Ph.D. as an option in his mind.

Weekly conversations with current graduate students and researchers who spanned from early to late-stage career blew those misconceptions wide open. From understanding why someone would want to pursue a Ph.D. to clarifying the process of applying, entering, researching and attaining the final degree, the scholars said this part of the program was key. The new ideas were then reinforced by interactions with the graduate students who helped them navigate the details of their summer research. Julie Yun, associate dean for diversity and inclusion at Princeton Engineering, met with the group weekly and followed up individually to guide students in thinking about grad school as an option.

Malik said demystifying the Ph.D. and introducing students to the process of first-rate research were part and parcel of the program's over-arching intentions. He wanted to create an environment where these scholars could see the highly collaborative nature of research and open their minds to the possibilities of this field. He wanted them to dig into the literature unafraid and bring away the concepts they would need to solve real problems. And above all, he wanted them to meet the people involved in this work.

People whose stories resonated precisely because they did not match the stereotypes. People who could point back at specific steps along the pathways of their own success and say, here, this is what I did. People who could, by their own example, plant a radical notion in the minds of these scholars: that they, as much as anyone, belong at the leading edge of this field.

"I'm not just developing technology," Fung said, "I am also investing in peoples' lives."

Posted: Tuesday, October 26, 2021
Mesothelioma Guide Logo

Apply now for the Mesothelioma Guide Scholarship Program!

At Mesothelioma Guide we believe knowledge is the most important tool patients and their families can use in battling mesothelioma. Similarly, education is one of the most important tools a person can use to be successful in life. Through this scholarship, we hope to help provide students affected by mesothelioma with funds to put toward their education.

This scholarship program provides financial assistance to two applicants. They must be either enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate college program or accepted and scheduled to begin in Spring 2022.

The focus of the scholarship is an essay about how mesothelioma has affected them — either from their own cancer diagnosis or a close friend or relative’s diagnosis.


Spring Entry Deadline: December 1st, 2021

Posted: Tuesday, November 2, 2021
ProCES logo

Are you interested in conducting health-focused, community-engaged, independent or senior thesis research this winter? If so, apply for funding from the Program for Community-Engaged Scholarship (ProCES) and the New Jersey Alliance for Clinical and Translational Science (NJ ACTS)!

ProCES and NJ ACTS will be able to support up to 5 undergraduate student projects. Brief applications will be available in SAFE beginning November 1, 2021 and are due by November 30, 2021.

What does the funding seek to support?

●        Independent or senior thesis research conducted virtually or in person in partnership with communities and nonprofit organizations located anywhere in the U.S.  Examples of organizations include, but are not limited to, hospitals, health centers, clinics, local health departments, social services agencies, foundations, patient advocacy or prevention organizations, and not-for-profit Universities. The partner organization should be more than a site for the research, but instead be a participant in the design and/or implementation of the research.

●        Research projects with a health or medicine-orientation, broadly defined, conducted between mid-December 2021 and mid-February 2022. 

●        Projects with a community partner with whom you or the University have an established relationship (preferred), or new community partnerships. You can view a partial list of our existing partner organizations here.


Carefully read the attached Request for Applications (RFA) for details on the timeline, funding amount, what the funding can cover, application and reporting requirements, and how to apply.



ProCES and NJ ACTS InformationProCES and NJ ACTS Information

Posted: Tuesday, November 9, 2021

CITP is holding a Research Fair with INTERFACE, and we want you to be a part of it!


The Research Fair will be held on Wednesday, November 17 at 12:30 p.m. under the Friend Center courtyard tent. We are inviting undergraduates and other researchers across Princeton to meet with CITP researchers to explore opportunities for collaboration.


Attendees will be paired with three CITP members and affiliates in group meetings to share your research interests, followed by a meet and greet. Lunch will be available at noon for registered attendees.

This event is restricted to the Princeton University community. 


RSVP required.


Please contact Ross Teixeira at or Mona Li at with any questions or if you need additional information.

Posted: Sunday, November 21, 2021
Princeton seniors Joshua Babu and Wafa Zaka

Princeton University seniors Joshua Babu and Wafa Zaka have been awarded Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at the University of Oxford.

Babu is among 32 American recipients of the prestigious fellowships, which fund two to three years of graduate study at Oxford. In a statement, Elliot Gerson, American Secretary of the Rhodes Trust, said of this year’s Rhodes Scholars representing the United States: “They are inspiring young leaders already, and we are confident that their contributions to public welfare nationally and globally will expand exponentially over the course of their careers in varied sectors and disciplines.”

Zaka will join an international group of more than 100 Rhodes Scholars chosen from more than 60 countries, and she is among several winners who have attended American colleges and universities.

The students will begin their studies at Oxford in October 2022.

Joshua Babu

Babu, of Scottsdale, Arizona, is concentrating in molecular biology and is also pursuing a certificate in gender and sexuality studies. At Oxford, he will pursue an MSc Comparative Social Policy and MSc Evidence-Based Social Intervention and Policy Evaluation. He is a member of Forbes College, one of Princeton’s six residential colleges.

Babu’s independent research has centered on the transgender experience in healthcare. His senior thesis is titled “Puberty suppression and gender-affirming hormone therapy for transgender youth: Effects on psychological health and telomere homeostasis.”

In his Rhodes application, he wrote, “Research like this was woefully in demand, as legislation was being drafted across the globe banning puberty blockers and hormone therapy for trans minors because they were ‘experimental treatments’ with ‘questionable efficacy.’”

“With the guidance of my adviser, Dan Notterman [professor of the practice in molecular biology and senior adviser to the provost for biomedical affairs], I’ve spent the past two years conducting a clinical study on the psychological wellbeing and biological health of trans youth undergoing gender-affirming care,”  Babu said. “I hope to identify methods for quantifying the benefits of this sort of care on both the molecular and macroscopic levels.”

“Josh believes fiercely that science is best when it serves to inform policy and attenuate inequity in healthcare,” said Notterman. “His dedication to the needs and rights of marginalized people in medicine is really an example of a broader passion for serving those who have been traditionally overlooked. He is one of those rare individuals who combines decency and compassion with unlimited energy and deep brilliance. A wonderful person, Josh is one of Princeton’s very best.”

Babu has developed his passion for LGBTQ+ advocacy in medicine and social policy at Princeton. He received the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence for the years 2018-19 and 2019-20 and was elected to Princeton’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa in October 2021.

He conducted bioinformatics research focused on gender-specific markers for lung cancer survival at the Mayo Clinic’s Center for Individualized Medicine during summer 2020 and was awarded the fellowship again for 2021. In summer 2021 he was a research assistant in Princeton’s School for Public and International Affairs on a project focused on comparative right-wing LGBTQ+ policy. In spring semester 2020, he conducted research with a team of two undergraduates examining the effects of drug treatment on ovarian stem cell development. He also serves as an undergraduate teaching assistant for organic chemistry.

Dannelle Gutarra Cordero, lecturer in gender and sexuality studies and African American studies, has mentored Babu since his first semester at Princeton. He has taken three of her courses: “From Latin Lovers to Tiger Mothers: Ideas of Emotions in the History of Racism,” “Scientific Racism Then and Now” and “Institutional Anti-Blackness and the Power of Naming.”

“In his scholarly and extracurricular work, Josh consistently demonstrates his outstanding commitment to scholarship, restorative justice and global health,” Gutarra Cordero said. “I have been lucky to witness his remarkable development as a scholar and his activist work for curricular reform and as a contributor of the Archival Justice for the Enslaved Project, which I direct. I am so happy for Josh and know that he will vastly contribute to the scholarship and advocacy against medical discrimination.”

Babu has developed a deep commitment to service and advocacy during his time at Princeton.

This fall, he became a volunteer at the Cherry Hill Women’s Center, supporting patients and advocating for reproductive justice. Since Feb. 2021, he has been involved in several aspects of LGBTQI advocacy, including drafting proposals on how state representatives can rectify legislation that discriminates against LGBTQ+ people in healthcare. He is a voter-engagement team leader for the Princeton Vote 100 Initiative and an activist for anti-racist initiatives at Princeton, including helping to establish a committee to promote racial literacy in pre-med courses, particularly in genetics and evolutionary biology, and working for more inclusion in the audition process at the Lewis Center for the Arts.

He has also served as a delivery driver for St. Mary’s Food Bank in Phoenix; an emergency room volunteer in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Princeton; an English literacy tutor for elderly refugees in Phoenix, a hospice volunteer in Phoenix; and a migrant outreach volunteer at the US-Mexico border with the Kino Border Initiative in Nogales, Mexico.

Babu said living and learning in the time of COVID-19 has changed his perspective in many ways.

“For me, the pandemic underscored the importance of having a strong network of loved ones to rely on during times of stress and the immense power of empathy when it comes to public health. These are lessons that I’ll take with me to Oxford and far beyond!”

Outside the classroom, he is the a cappella group president and tenor section leader of the Princeton Footnotes, and represented the Footnotes during its first equity, diversity and inclusion initiative to make the ensemble’s audition process more equitable. He is also an avid screenwriter, where he has “found a passion for writing screenplays that depict the trials and triumphs of my closest queer friends, allowing me to explore themes of queerness, family and loss in a way that highlights the complexity of the gay experience.” He is a multi-instrumentalist who plays alto saxophone, guitar, piano, ukulele, cajon and harmonica.

This is the second year American Rhodes Scholars were elected entirely virtually, with all candidates and selectors participating digitally. They were elected by 16 committees around the country meeting simultaneously.

Babu was in Frist Campus Center when he received the news over Zoom from his district committee: Upon learning he had won the Rhodes Scholarship, he said: “I’m not going to lie — I immediately started sobbing as soon as they read out my name as one of the winners.” He then ran across campus to meet his parents, who were visiting for the weekend. “Easily one of the most emotional moments of my life,” he added.

About going to Oxford, Babu said: “What excites me most is the opportunity to connect with so many astounding people from all corners of the globe and diversify my outlook on the world.”

After the Rhodes Scholarship, he hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career in health policy to advocate for the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ individuals. 


Wafa Zaka

Zaka, of Lahore, Pakistan, is concentrating in politics and is also pursuing a certificate in history and practice of diplomacy. At Oxford, Zaka will pursue an MSt in Global and Imperial History and an MSc in Modern South Asian Studies. She is a member of Mathey College.

In her academic work, Zaka has delved deep into world history with a focus on Pakistan, India and Bangladesh. Her interest in this area was sparked in one of her courses at Princeton, when a Bangladeshi student presented on the 1971 war and the creation of Bangladesh. In her Rhodes application, she wrote, “My high school textbook [in Pakistan] summarized the entire war into two paragraphs, but I had done independent reading on the topic … Still, as my class fellow spoke about the experiences of Bangladeshis, I felt I had not fully grasped the importance of those events.”

This experience spurred Zaka to embark a research project on the perceptions of the 1971 war among Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and their diasporic communities, conducting dozens of interviews to study the impact of statist narratives on how people look back on the war.

Her senior thesis is about ungoverned spaces in Pakistan, particularly the Federally Administered Tribal Area. “To understand state capacity and nation-building process, I will be analyzing the efforts at integration by the Pakistani state and why these efforts were ineffectual in some of these areas,” she said.

“Wafa is the kind of student we love to teach; smart, curious and thoughtful about the significance of what she is learning,” said Jeremy Adelman, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History, who established Princeton’s Global History Lab.

Zaka took Adelman’s course “A History of the World,” then joined the Global History Lab’s History Dialogues Project, which builds upon the work of “A History of the World” and provides students with training in additional historical research methods to embark on independent research projects.

“Wafa was an important voice in my ‘History of the World’ course, committed to sharing her knowledge and raising the level of our debates,” Adelman said. “After that, she joined the History Dialogues project in the middle of the pandemic and conducted pioneering oral histories of South Asia’s long history of decolonization. She is going to make remarkable and important contributions to global knowledge.”

Zaka also created the History Dialogues Coronavirus Archive with the Global History Lab. She said the pandemic heightened her awareness of the immense inequalities in society. “I observed the mainstream coverage of the pandemic to see the kind of systems of knowledge we are producing in these historic times. I was thrilled to build this archive to document pandemic experiences that explain the virus’s diverse implications and include voices generally excluded and historically marginalized.”

In fall 2020, when she was studying remotely from Pakistan, she took a journalism course on migration with Ferris Professor of Journalism Deborah Amos and found another medium to capture marginalized voices, writing several pieces about Afghan refugees’ unique experiences in Pakistan during COVID-19.

Her international experience at Princeton also included a Princeton International Internship (virtually) with the Russian International Affairs Council.

She has served as a researcher for Princeton’s Empirical Studies of Conflict Lab, coding and archiving more than 200 disinformation stories about COVID-19 from various countries, specifically focusing on South Asia. She was also a fellow for the UN/ORL Women Faith and Gender Fellowship, focusing on topics such as multilayered inclusion and intersectionality, intergenerational dialogues and youth activism.

She received the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence for the year 2019-20.

As a first-generation, lower-income student, Zaka wrote in her Rhodes statement, “I have experienced some of the struggles that go behind succeeding in an unequal society.”

Outside of her studies, Zaka has served as president of the Princeton University Pakistani Student Association (Pehchaan), interview editor and social media chair for The Nassau Literary Review, and president of the Rotaract Club of Lahore, Pakistan, including working with and leading 20 Rotaract members for Rotary International’s End Polio Campaign in Pakistan.

Zaka’s final Rhodes interview took place in person in Pakistan. Upon learning she had won, she said she was overwhelmed and grateful and called her family, who were waiting in the car outside. “The tears would not stop. After meeting the committee, I ran to meet my family. It was an exceptionally joyous moment. I owe everything to the love and mentorship of my family, friends and professors.”

Zaka said she lost three people close to her during the pandemic: her grandmother; Zoya Shoaib, a member of the Class of 2020; and Imam Sohaib Sultan, Princeton’s longtime Muslim chaplain who died in April at the age of 40. “All the social distancing and isolation made grief a lot more challenging. I want to dedicate my success to them — they were some of my biggest supporters, and if they were alive, they would have been thrilled to hear about my selection as a Rhodes Scholar.”

She is excited to explore the wide range of archival resources in the UK and deepen her studies of South Asian history. “Oxford has some of the world’s foremost historians, and I cannot wait to work with them. I am also looking forward to building new friendships and enjoying the green spaces at Oxford.”

After the Rhodes Scholarship, she hopes to pursue a career in academia as a historian. “As a brown girl from South Asia, I want to contribute to broader social change,” she said. “My presence in the professoriate will make space possible for people like me to initiate other kinds of knowledge and political projects that get snuffed out before they even have the opportunity to start.” She is also interested in working outside academia to make historically marginalized narratives accessible to the wider public in Pakistan by directing documentaries, writing books and organizing workshops. 

Posted: Monday, November 22, 2021
OIP Logo

After completing an IIP in the summer of 2021, Princeton students submitted virtual posters that would best depict their contributions to the industry work. Posters were submitted in three categories: Reflection, Cultural Engagement, and Creative Approach. View the winners of the IIP Virtual Poster Series here!

These were among the many virtual posters submitted, all with phenomenal insight on the internship experience, reflections on cross cultural engagement, language development, and a view into the virtual workspace abroad. We want to congratulate all of our IIP Alumni on their hard work and contributions to their programs. Browse through the many submissions and get a glimpse into what it may be like to complete an IIP.

Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021


PDF iconFLYER 2022.pdf

Applications will only be considered when submitted via


Organization: UC San Diego Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Marine Physical Laboratory

Call for Summer Interns
Are you considering applying to grad school and interested in oceanography as a career path?  Contemplating a career in scientific research and development?

The Marine Physical Laboratory, at UC San Diego’s world renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography, is currently seeking inquisitive, motivated undergraduate students with exceptional aptitude for quantitative science to apply for the 2022 MPL Summer Internship Program.
Undergraduate college students majoring in oceanography, applied mathematics, engineering, physics, chemistry, biology, geology and related majors are encouraged to apply. This ten-week internship will offer qualified students the opportunity to work with some of the most notable scientists in the world and learn about marine science and technology while earning a modest salary.


UCSD is an equal opportunity employer, with a strong institutional commitment to excellence through diversity.

* Currently enrolled as 1st, 2nd or 3rd year undergraduate — and not in your senior year — at a college or university with a major applicable to research done at MPL

* A U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident 

* Considering a career in scientific research
* Available to start at MPL in La Jolla, California, in June 2022


* Available to work the duration of the internship, ten consecutive weeks from the start date, for 40 hours per week at a salary of $15.05/hr

* Not a former MPL summer intern

* OK with working a short distance from some of Southern California's best beaches and surf


* Visit to complete the application online.
* Applications will be accepted online through 4 p.m. Pacific time on January 14, 2022.

* Applications are not reviewed until after the application due date.

* Applicants may be notified by email as early as February 2022.  

* All applicants will have been notified by email by the end of April. 


The Marine Physical Laboratory (MPL) is an organized research unit of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and lab at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Originally established as a Navy-orientated research laboratory in 1946, MPL has maintained a strong multidisciplinary research program consisting entirely of sponsored projects, with a large sponsorship from the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Research Topics:

Acoustics and Infrasound
Applied Ocean Sciences
Autonomous Ocean Platforms and Global Observing Systems
Coastal Oceanography
Internal Waves and Ocean Mixing
Marine Mammal Biology
Nonlinear and Surface Waves
Ocean Acoustics
Ocean Instrumentation and Technology
Ocean-Atmosphere Interactions
Physical Oceanography
Population and Community Ecology
Upper Ocean and Submesoscale Processes

Research Highlights:

Air-Sea Interaction Research
Coastal Observatory Development
Observations of Waves and Currents Nearshore
Optical and Ancillary Measurements at High Latitudes in Support of the MODIS Ocean Validation Program
Reference Materials for Oceanic Carbon Dioxide Measurements
Time Reversal Mirror in the Ocean
Whale Acoustics

Whole Sky Imager  


MPL Summer Internship Program:

Marine Physical Laboratory:
Scripps Institution of Oceanography:

University of California, San Diego:





Posted: Tuesday, November 23, 2021
CHW Logo

The Center for Health and Wellbeing (CHW) and the Global Health Program (GHP) are pleased to announce the Summer 2022 Internships in Global Health!

Offerings are available for students of all majors and interests. Current opportunities include:

  • Oxford University Clinical Research Unit – Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Fiocruz – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Telethon Kids Institute – Perth and Adelaide, Australia
  • Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy – New Delhi, India
  • International Care Ministries – Manila, Philippines
  • University of Malaya – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • University of Sunderland – Sunderland, England
  • Visualizing the Virus – London, England or Princeton, New Jersey (or Remote)
  • NYC Health + Hospitals System Special Pathogens Program – New York City, New York
  • U.S. Peace Corps, Office of Global Health and HIV – Washington, DC
  • Task Force for Global Health, Health Campaign Effectiveness Coalition – Atlanta, Georgia
  • Senator William H. Frist Fellowship in Health Policy – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey – Remote
  • The Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria – Remote
  • Institute of Social Medicine, State University of Rio de Janeiro – Remote

If health conditions permit, the majority of these internships will be on-site. If travel is not permitted, most experiences can convert to virtual formats.

Internship descriptions and application details are available at Students may apply to as many of these opportunities as interest them. Applicants do not have to be in the GHP certificate program. 

The application deadline is Monday, December 6 at 11:59 PM. 

Please contact CHW's Global Health Program at or 609-258-8271 with any questions.

Posted: Monday, November 29, 2021
Yibin Kang

Imagine you could cure cancer by targeting one tiny gene. Imagine that same gene occurred in every major cancer, including breast, prostate, lung, liver and colon. Imagine that the gene is not essential for healthy activity, so you could attack it with few or no negative side effects.

Cancer biologist Yibin Kang has spent more than 15 years investigating a little-known but deadly gene called MTDH, or metadherin, which enables cancer in two important ways — and which he can now disable, in mice and in human tissue, with a targeted experimental treatment that will be ready for human trials in a few years. His work appears in two papers in today’s issue of Nature Cancer.

“You can’t find a drug target better than this: MTDH is important for most major human cancers, not important for normal cells, and it can be eliminated with no obvious side effects,” said Kang, Princeton’s Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis Professor of Molecular Biology and one of the principal investigators of the Princeton Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.

“In the two papers we are publishing back-to-back today, we identify a compound, show it is effective against cancer, and show that it is very, very effective when combined with chemotherapy and immunotherapy,” said Kang. “Even though metastatic cancers are scary, by figuring out how they work — figuring out their dependency on certain key pathways like MTDH — we can attack them and make them susceptible to treatment.”

For years, Kang has focused on metastasis — the term for cancer’s ability to spread from one place to another in the body — because he knows that metastasis makes cancer deadly. While 99% of breast cancer patients survive five years after diagnosis, only 29% do if the cancer has metastasized, according to current numbers from the National Cancer Institute.

“Metastatic breast cancer causes more than 40,000 deaths every year in the U.S., and the patients do not respond well to standard treatments, such as chemotherapies, targeted therapies and immunotherapies,” said Minhong Shen, an associate research scholar in Kang’s lab and the first author on both papers. “Our work identified a series of chemical compounds that could significantly enhance the chemotherapy and immunotherapy response rates in metastatic breast cancer mouse models. These compounds have great therapeutic potential.”

“Yibin Kang and his team found a key to unlock a possible solution to the challenge of cancer metastasis, the primary cause of death due to cancer,” said Chi Van Dang, the scientific director of Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research. “His team was also able to devise a small, drug-like molecule to neutralize this deadly property of cancer. Though this was achieved in preclinical studies, I personally hope that their strategy will one day alter the lives of cancer patients.”

Kang holds the same hope. “While a lot of women diagnosed with early-stage breast cancer will be essentially cured with surgery and treatment, for some, maybe five, 10, 15, 20 years later, they’ll have a recurrence, often as metastatic relapse,” Kang said. “It’s a time bomb. And for scientists, it’s a puzzle. Why do you have two patients who present with the same early-stage cancer but whose outcomes are very different?”

‘We kept looking until we found the key’

In 2004, the same year that Kang came to Princeton, MTDH was first identified as a gene involved in metastatic mouse breast tumors. The gene received little attention until Kang’s blockbuster 2009 paper, which showed that MTDH was amplified — meaning it produced MTDH proteins at abnormally high levels compared to normal cells — in 30 to 40% of tumor samples from breast cancer patients, and it drives metastasis and chemoresistance in those tumors.

That discovery drew media attention from around the world.

“There was a lot of excitement,” Kang recalled. “‘Wow, we found a metastasis gene related to poor outcomes in patients! What next? Can we target it?’ That was the big question, because at the time, nobody knew how this obscure, little-known gene worked. It had no similarity to any other known human protein. We didn’t know if it was important to normal physiology.”

His team’s research continued, and their next set of breakthroughs, published in a series of papers in 2014, showed that MTDH is vital for cancer to flourish and metastasize. Mice without the gene grew normally, showing that it isn’t essential for normal life. And critically, if those mice did get breast cancer, they had significantly fewer tumors, and those tumors didn’t metastasize.

Kang’s team soon found that the same was true for prostate cancer and then lung and colorectal cancer. Other teams confirmed similar results for liver cancer and many other cancers.

“So basically, in most major human cancers, this gene is essential for cancer progression and all the terrible things associated with cancer, and yet it doesn’t seem to be important for normal development,” said Kang. “Mice can grow and breed and live normally without this gene, so we knew this would be a great drug target.”

Around the same time, the crystal structure of MTDH revealed that the protein has two finger-like projections that nestle into two pockets on the surface of another protein, SND1, “like two fingers sticking into the holes of a bowling ball,” Kang said. Their experiments showed how intimately MTDH and SND1 depend on each other.

That gave the researchers an idea for how to tackle MTDH, which they hadn’t been able to disable head-on: if they could disrupt this connection to SND1, that would neutralize MTDH’s dangerous effects. They pored through the molecules in the Small Molecule Screening Center, a library of compounds housed in Princeton’s Department of Chemistry, until they found a molecule that can fill one of the two deep pockets — those bowling-ball holes — thus preventing the proteins from interlocking.

“We knew from the crystal structure what the shape of the keyhole was, so we kept looking until we found the key,” said Kang.

Kang makes it sound simple, but finding the right compound was incredibly challenging, said Shen. “The screening took two years without any progress, until one day we saw a significant signal shift in our high-throughput screening assay platform. At that moment we knew the compound does exist, and we found it!”

More than a decade after confirming that MTDH would be a good target, they’d finally found the silver bullet.

Because while it’s important to show that mice born without MTDH are resistant to cancer, that doesn’t help patients, whose genes can’t be rewritten.

“In 2014, we showed what happens if you knock out a gene at birth,” Kang said. “This time, we show that after the tumor has already fully developed into full-blown, life-threatening cancer, we can eliminate the function of this gene. We found that whether you do it genetically or pharmacologically using our compound, you achieve the same outcome.”

Two mechanisms, no side effects

Kang and his colleagues have shown that MTDH has two primary mechanisms: it helps tumors survive stresses they commonly experience as they grow or under the treatment of chemotherapy, plus it muzzles the alarm cry coming from organs invaded by tumors.

Our immune system is designed for defense, not offense: If it doesn’t know a cell is an invader or is under attack, it can’t send help. The MTDH-SND1 duo suppresses the pathway that presents cancer cells’ danger signal to the immune surveillance system.

“Now, with this drug, we reactivate the alarm system,” Kang said. Subsequently, the drug makes tumors much more susceptible to both chemotherapy and immunotherapies. “In normal tissues, healthy cells are usually not under stress or presenting signals that can be recognized as foreign by the immune system, so this is why MTDH is not essential for normal tissues. In essence, MTDH is a quintessential ‘cancer fitness gene’ that is uniquely required by malignant cells to survive and thrive.”

He continued: “Internally, the tumor cell needs MTDH to survive, and externally, it needs it to hide from the immune system. So you have one drug that disables these two important mechanisms — survival and escape — of the cancer cell. And the most important thing is, the drug has very little toxicity. When we tested it in mice, there were no side effects at all. That’s the best of all worlds: two mechanisms attacking a tumor, very few side effects on normal tissues, and best of all, this is not for one specific kind of cancer, but for all major kinds of cancers.”

Seeding the world with cancer researchers

Kang knows that to tackle cancer in all its forms, the world needs more cancer researchers. “Another very gratifying part of my work is seeing these young researchers mature and make their own contributions,” Kang said. “I recently got an email from a fellow at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who said that my course was his first introduction to cancer biology 10 years ago at Princeton, and he’s now becoming a physician scientist.”

In addition to the students who enroll in his course “Molecular Basis of Cancer,” Kang trains the steady stream of undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who conduct research as part of his lab group.

“I’m lucky because I have some of the most brilliant students, and they usually join the lab as freshmen or early sophomores, and many of them stay,” he said. “By the time they graduate, many have become highly competent researchers and published papers. Some who start as pre-med convert from pure M.D. to M.D./Ph.D. because they enjoy the research so much.”

Kang always has several projects going on, but he’s had at least one upper-level scientist — and usually at least one undergraduate — working on MTDH since 2005.

“It’s the longest continuous evolving project in our lab,” he said. “Every single trainee I put on MTDH was the best student or postdoc in my lab at the time. The project is just that challenging.”

Kang compared the painstaking lab work to the endurance sports that he took up during the pandemic. “Research is like a marathon: it can be boring and lonely, and you don’t have cheerleaders, except during races,” he said. Kang completed a half Ironman in August and competed in Ironman Arizona last week.

“Students with the determination to stick to a project like this tend to be the best students,” he said. “They also get the best training from working with the toughest project. It pays off; almost every single graduate student or postdoc who worked on this project has now become a faculty member, leading their own research team.”

He pointed to Shen, who made a “heroic” contribution to both papers, Kang said.

“Minhong came to my lab in 2012 as a visiting graduate student from China. He was supposed to come for a half year, but he was so good that I asked him to stay another half year, and then I invited him back to be a postdoc. And he flourished. Born in a rural village in China, he is now going to the Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit, to be a principal investigator and professor. He started from a humble position — a visiting student — and ended up doing the most important work in the lab.”

Kang also came from rural China, from a coastal fishing village. “It took me a long journey to come to Princeton,” he said. “I’ve found that immigrant scientists are willing to take risks, to venture out of their comfort zone.”

That willingness has been key to his research journey, he said. “A lot of projects we take on are exciting but risky, and not following any beaten path. In Princeton, we have the flexibility of coming up with the most creative idea and then just going for it.”

Kang is at once a pure scientist, pursuing knowledge for love of it, and an applied scientist looking to solve a very real problem. That makes finding a treatment for MTDH satisfying on multiple levels, he said. “This gene is singularly important for all kinds of different cancers, and by mutating one single amino acid, we eliminate its tumor-promoting function. Nothing is purer than that. This work is both biochemistry and genetics in their most beautiful form.”

Kang and his team are working to optimize the compound to achieve higher affinity and a lower effective drug dose. “I hope we’ll be ready for clinical trials in human patients in two to three years,” he said. “In terms of the biology, I think we are only starting to scratch the surface. I foresee another decade of discovery work, so, the saga continues.”

Current and former Princeton co-authors on the new papers include: Xin Lu, Ph.D. 2010, now an assistant professor at the University of Notre Dame; Michelle Rowicki ’20, now a researcher at Novartis; Liling Wan, Ph.D. 2014, now an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania; Nicole Wang ’17, now an M.D./Ph.D. student at Baylor College of Medicine; senior research specialist Xiang Hang; Hahn Kim, the director of the Small Molecule Screening Center; Minhong Shen, starting as an assistant professor at Wayne State University/Karmanos Cancer Institute on Dec. 1; former postdoctoral researcher Heath Smith, now a senior scientist at AbbVie; postdoctoral research associate Yong Tang; staff scientist and lab manager Yong Wei; and former technician Min Yuan.

Small-molecule inhibitors that disrupt the MTDH–SND1 complex suppress breast cancer progression and metastasis,” by Minhong Shen, Yong Wei, Hahn Kim, Liling Wan, Yi-Zhou Jiang, Xiang Hang, Michael Raba, Stacy Remiszewski, Michelle Rowicki, Cheng-Guo Wu, Songyang Wu, Lanjing Zhang, Xin Lu, Min Yuan, Heath A. Smith, Aiping Zheng, Joseph Bertino, John F. Jin, Yongna Xing, Zhi-Ming Shao and Yibin Kang (DOI: 10.1038/s43018-021-00279-5) and “Pharmacological disruption of the MTDH–SND1 complex enhances tumor antigen presentation and synergizes with anti-PD-1 therapy in metastatic breast cancer,” by Minhong Shen, Heath A. Smith, Yong Wei, Yi-Zhou Jiang, Sheng Zhao, Nicole Wang, Michelle Rowicki, Yong Tang, Xiang Hang, Songyang Wu, Liling Wan, Zhi-Ming Shao and Yibin Kang (DOI: 10.1038/s43018-021-00280-y), both appear in the Nov. 29 issue of Nature Cancer. The research was supported by the Brewster Foundation, Ludwig Cancer Research, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the National Institutes of Health (R01CA134519), Department of Defense Breast Cancer Research Program (BC151403), the American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen (PDF17332118) and the New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research (DFHS15PPCO21). This research was also supported by the Preclinical Imaging and Flow Cytometry Shared Resources of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey (P30CA072720).

Posted: Monday, December 20, 2021

Undergrads! Submit a research paper for publication in the journal for undergraduate students: the Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal (CUSJ)!

CUSJ is a highly selective peer-reviewed publication that aims to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to publish scholarly research papers.

This is a great opportunity for students who have conducted scientific research to publish their findings and share the research work they have accomplished with a wider audience. The submission deadline for the 2021-2022 journal is January 22, 2022.


More information about the journal and submission guidelines can be found on this website:


In addition, there is a new opportunity for those who have not conducted research but are interested in getting involved in science journalism! The Columbia Undergraduate Science Journal (CUSJ) is launching a new editorial magazine called The Columbia Scientist, which will include a variety of non-research-based science content such as editorials, briefings, podcasts, letters, mini-lectures, science and art showcases. The Columbia Scientist will accept multiple types of submissions, all of which will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with its submission deadline also on January 22, 2022, for the inaugural issue. For a chance to get published in CUSJ’s Columbia Scientist, please check out the infographic attached for more information. PDF iconSubmission Types Infographic.pdf


If you have any questions, please email

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