Project Descriptions

Creating a Description

  • Describe your project: Give a general summary explaining the context and the scientific question being pursued. Some descriptions lay out a range of possible directions; others are more narrowly focused. Avoid overly technical descriptions that use jargons or acronyms without explanation, it can intimidate students.
  • Ongoing work: Many internships are "works in progress," part of a larger group research effort. While the internship culminates in a poster presentation, the project need not be fully contained in the two WISP terms. WISP interns do not need to be doing an independent project. 
  • Intern's skills & responsibilities: Identify some responsibilities the intern will assume, skills and knowledge they will develop, and necessary qualifications (or lack of) for the internship. While specific responsibilities may be redefined or evolve over time, this will help the student better understand what they will be doing and why.
  • Assistant mentor: If interns will be working on a day-to-day basis with an assistant mentor (e.g. graduate student or other research team member), note this in the project description.
  • Interviews: Mention whether you plan to limit interviews in any way (e.g. some faculty set a date by which potential interns must contact them).

Sample Project Descriptions

Mentor: Chris Bailey-Kellogg

Title: Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Project Title: Planning and interpreting experiments for protein structure and function

Project Description: How do proteins carry messages into and within cells, how do they help chemical processes happen and how do they perform mechanical work? Many computational problems arise in trying to make sense of the experimental data produced in studying these questions. These computational problems can be made easier — and so can the experimental work — if some additional computation is done up-front to determine the most appropriate experiments for a given study. Our computational lab is working with biologists, chemists and statisticians on integrated approaches in which algorithms "sandwich" experiments, both guiding and experimental choices and interpreting the resulting data. The focus of the WISP project will depend on the interests of the intern, but could range from prediction and analysis of how proteins interact with each other, to development of software for determining how best to mix-and-match fragments of various proteins, to application of simulation techniques for studying how proteins structures flex over time. Since our lab works on computational issues, some background and an interest in computation is expected, although the intern's primary interests and plans could lie in any of the relevant areas.

Mentor: Dorothy Wallace

Title: Professor, Department of Mathematics

Project Title: Mathematics applications in biology or medicine

Project Description: My research interests are in number theory, especially analytic number theory. I am interested in working with a motivated student who is interested in exploring some of the applications of mathematics to current issues in biology and/or medicine. The intersection of mathematics and biology is a rapidly growing field of interdisciplinary research spanning ecology as well as human biology. The selected intern will have studied mathematics at least through calculus and be open to creative thinking and problem solving beyond this discipline. The direction of the intern's project will evolve from our initial conversations and the interests of the selected intern.