Summer Team Projects

Over the course of the semester, OSCAR is supporting seven projects developed by faculty. The topics range over various colleges and are interdisciplinary in nature. Recruitment for these projects run from now till March 15, 2017 and can be found by their ID number in HireMason. Students are asked to submit a resume, a one page statement, and to answer any additional questions the faculty have posted to each position.

We encourage students of all academic backgrounds, university class status, and levels of experience to apply to a project that interests them. All of these projects include a paid stipend.

Read the descriptions below and feel free to contact our office with any questions.

The Enslaved Children of George Mason

This project seeks to uncover more about the enslaved population that lived at Gunston Hall, the home of George Mason. Due to George Mason University's modern age establishment, it has avoided much of the negative connotation with other Virginia institutions that are connected with slavery. However, documentation has shown that the man for whom the university is named did own slaves, but less is known about them than the creator of the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

Students accepted to this project will attend seminars, tour the Museum of African American History and Culture, and work with primary materials at the historic Gunston Hall.

HireMason ID: 138849

PEREC Science and Outreach: Assessment of ecosystem health in the tidal freshwater Potomac environment

The central theme of this project will be assessing and conveying ecosystem health through community composition, food web dynamics, and the ecotoxicology of pharmaceutical chemicals in the Potomac River. Students will be designated tasks including examining the community of the Potomac River, inspecting pollutants and their causes, and community outreach. There will be extensive field work involved with this project and offer hands-on experience to students who are accepted onto this team.

HireMason ID: 138850

FaBULIS Data: Food and Behavior – Using Large Interdisciplinary Sets of Data

The aim of this summer project is to provide an opportunity for undergraduate student researchers interested in learning skills to use large public datasets to answer real-time nutrition research questions. In order to provide a meaningful, manageable first experience for our students, we have identified the health behavior questionnaire and the dietary recall datasets as the primary data sources within NHANES for this project. Identifying knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors that are most strongly related to diet can assist health professionals in making recommendations to clients (nutritionists or dietitians) or communities (public health practitioners). The specific topical area that students will evaluate is whether consumer behaviors (e.g. availability of healthy foods in the home, meals eaten together as families, using nutrition labels) or beliefs (e.g. eat particular foods because they are believed to be healthy) are associated with actual dietary intake.

To be considered for this project, students must have completed their Mason quantitative core course and NUTR 295 Introduction to Nutrition, or have other documented knowledge of introductory nutrition knowledge.

HireMason ID: 138853

Peter Ritter Chamber Music Performing Edition: Editing an 18th/19th-Century Composer's Music Manuscripts for Contemporary Performance and Open-Access Dissemination

Each student will transcribe and edit at least three musical manuscripts of Peter Ritter, specifically from his chamber music, to contribute to the multi-work edition, and will conduct related historical investigations into the context of their original creation and performance for contribution to the edition's prefatory narrative.

HireMason ID: 139255

Engineering Dance: Understanding Ballet Performance Using Motion Capture

The supported students will be trained in the experimental methods and computational techniques required to conduct scientific research in interdisciplinary fields. Students will work in small groups and examine the research questions from different perspectives. At the end, the students will generate a database of ballet movement with different spatial and temporal variations. They will produce computer programming scripts that will conveniently process, analyze and plot motion data. Those who work on joint load will build personalized musculoskeletal models to enable future analysis of other joints and muscle forces.

HireMason ID: 138965


Together Alone: Living and Working in Solitary Confinement

Students participating in this research study work on a larger Rudes' designed study and will design their own (or team) sub-study of staff and/or inmates within solitary confinement units in two PA prisons. Four students will have the opportunity to actively participate in the process of scholarship and will make a significant contribution to the creation of a disciplinary-appropriate product. To do this, all students will receive instruction and mentorship about solitary confinement (literature/scholarship), research ethics (IRB, CITI), qualitative research methods (ethnographic and life-course interviewing, fieldwork observations), data collection in a prison setting (i.e., prison protocol), data management, data analysis (training using Atlas.ti—qualitative data managements software), scholarly and translational writing, presentations (scholarly/scientific to academic and practitioner audiences), and publication.

HireMason ID: 138847

Insects and Post-Mortem Decomposition - what are the effects of environmental parameters on species richness, community composition, and succession patterns of carrion communities?

Students participating in this project will investigate the relationships between community and environmental parameters. Each student, or pairs of students, will investigate the effect of a single environmental parameter. These environmental parameters can be one of the before mentioned parameters (season, habitat, etc.) or a parameter of the students' own interest. 

HireMason ID: 138852

Culture Change and the American Personality

This project will explore changes in the standards applied to self-presentation in the United States over the past century. Using both existing studies, like David Riesman's famous Lonely Crowd, and primary materials dealing with concepts like modesty, self-esteem, gratitude and narcissism, the project will try to advance understanding of ways in which personality ideals with redefined or maintained, even before the rise of the "selfie". Cultural materials will range from leadership programs to manners books and childrearing literature.

Students accepted into the project will attend seminars on culture change and research on American character, and will work with a variety of source materials including opinion polls and advice literature.

HireMason ID: 138851