Paid Research Opportunities for the Building Belonging Program

We'd like to share three paid research opportunities that are currently available. Fellowship awards are $1,500 per student per quarter (details in the description of each project). 

This is part of the Building Belonging Program, administered by the Institute for Social Transformation. The program is designed to increase belonging and engagement for students through faculty mentored service-learning and research projects. Fellowship awards are $1,500 for the academic quarter (this equates to approximately 100 hours). The program aims to support undergraduate students who are: EOP eligible, first-generation, low income, under-represented, or former foster youth. Unfortunately, students can not participate in the program post-graduation. For more information visit: 


Three opportunities are listed below:

Project Title: Identity Intersectionalities, close relationships, discrimination, coping and academic self-efficacy in first generation college students

Professor Margarita Azmitia is looking for 2 undergraduates for 2 quarters each (Fall and Winter). These research assistants will help (1) code an extant data set of young adults' identity narratives, and (2) help develop and pilot a mixed methods (survey and interview) study of the association between first generation college students' identity intersectionalities, sense of belonging, close relationships, discrimination, coping and academic persistence and mental health.

To apply: contact Margarita Azmitia, Professor of Psychology, (, by October 24, 2022.



Project title: Mapping habitat connectivity using machine learning

Professor Natalia Ocampo-Penuela is looking for 1 undergraduate student for 3 quarters (Fall, Winter, and Spring). This project uses the power of machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence to generate maps of habitat connectivity for bird conservation. It is an interdisciplinary project with an ecological and computer science component and includes working with professors on both disciplines.

Students should have computer programming experience, preferably from computer science classes.

To apply: contact Natalia Ocampo-Penuela, Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, (, by October 24, 2022.



Project title: Economics and Health Behavior in the Developing World: Family Planning Incentives and Child Health, Incentives for Exercise and Adult Health

Professor Ariel Zucker is looking for 1 undergraduate for 4 quarters (Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer). The student will work on one or two projects related to health and development. The initial project will focus on whether financial incentives for delivering family planning services improve child health in countries with persistent malnourishment. We will investigate an Indian program that incentivizes community health workers to promote delayed childbirth, increased birth spacing, and sterilization has sought to do so. However, there is not only limited evidence on the effectiveness of incentives on fertility decisions, but also on the causal relationship between birth spacing and child health – especially in developing countries. We propose to examine the impacts of incentives on fertility choices and child outcomes since program inception in 2012. The availability and size of incentives has varied across Indian states and time, and family eligibility for incentives is determined by particularities of family structure, allowing us to identify the effects of incentives with rich geographical and time controls.

Students will need some basic familiarity with Stata and Excel, and a willingness to learn Stata. Students will also be asked to read and summarize academic papers.

To apply: contact Ariel Zucker, Assistant Professor of Economics, (, by October 24, 2022.