SOCKS Undergraduate Internships

Apply now for a summer undergraduate fellowship in the science of online corpora, knowledge, and stories
Vermont EPSCoR is offering 12 summer research internship opportunities to join our cutting-edge NSF-funded research on Harnessing the Data Revolution for Vermont: The Science of Online Corpora, Knowledge, and Stories (SOCKS). We are initiating a five-year, large-scale, interdisciplinary, and groundbreaking data science effort to better understand and harness the power of stories. SOCKS revolves around stories as an essential part of how people comprehend, explain, predict, and seek to navigate the world. SOCKS supports the Digital Humanities by developing a powerful approach to quantifying both individual stories and ecologies of stories through massive data collection, natural language processing, and large language models—computer-based encodings of the meaningful connections between words and phrases.
The Undergraduate Research Internship Program offers students the opportunity to participate in current research conducted through the NSF EPSCoR award Harnessing the Data Revolution for Vermont: The Science of Online Corpora, Knowledge, and Stories SOCKS program. SOCKS Summer Undergraduate Interns (SSUI) will be matched with a research team working on the transdisciplinary SOCKS research program. At the end of the internship, research teams will meet together at a Symposium to share their discoveries through an oral presentation and a written report of their research. Students will do full-time, high-impact, authentic research for 10 weeks in one of the following areas:
(1) Indigenous voices in global environmental governance (mentored by Fuentes-George);
(2) Data ethics, privacy, and narrative bias (mentored by Harp and Lovato);
(3) Social and health narratives (mentored by SOCKS social or health teams)
(4) Analysis of local news stories and programs (mentored by Richard Watts, the Director of the Center for Community News at UVM)
Primary Faculty Mentors:
Richard Watts, Director of the Center for Research on Vermont
Kemi Fuentes-George, Associate Professor of Political Science, Middlebury College
Juniper Lovato, Research Assistant Professor, Computer Science, University of Vermont, [website]
Randall Harp, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Vermont [website]
Other faculty mentors may be available from the SOCKS faculty on the social and health teams. If you are interested in working with anyone in particular, be sure to list that in your statement of research interest.
The range of research areas in which students may participate is quite extensive. SOCKS interns delve into research projects- an opportunity not often available during the academic year. Projects are markedly different from most course-based work in that they are open-ended and part of a much larger research program.
About SOCKS:
SOCKS is a transdisciplinary research project funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) that aims to advance initiatives grounded in principled methods through the quantitative measurement of sentiment and stories across a diverse portfolio of corpora. We hope to provide new insights into the power and use of stories and narratives across a broad array of social, economic, and health domains through integrated data and teams.

Research Internship Period:
The program starts with orientation at the University of Vermont (UVM) from June 10 to June 14, 2024, during which time all students stay on campus and housing/meals are provided. The internships will be conducted in-person for 8 weeks with the final 2 weeks held remotely. On-campus housing/meals will be provided for the 8 week period with an equivalent stipend provided for the remaining 2 week remote period. At the end of the 8-week internship period, interns are required to attend and present their research at the Vermont EPSCoR Student Research Symposium. The final 2 weeks of remote work will involve project revisions, reflections, and continued meetings.

The internship will take place at the University of Vermont campus in Burlington, Vermont USA
Internship Stipend:
Interns earn hourly wages for the equivalent of $4,500 over the 10-week period (up to 400 hours). Worker's compensation at 8.7% is part of the wages. Travel to and from Vermont and on-campus housing costs are also provided in addition to wages.

Applicants must be US citizens or permanent residents enrolled in a college or university with a strong interest in a career in a STEM or social science field. Students graduating prior to the start of the internship are not eligible to apply. Individuals with disabilities, veterans, students from underrepresented minority groups, and students from two-year colleges are strongly encouraged to apply.
Application Procedure:
The application requires a letter of recommendation from a faculty member, an unofficial transcript, a current resume or C.V., and a short essay stating your research interests. Applications will be due January 31, 2024, at 5 pm EST. Your Letter of Recommendation will be due on February 5, 2024. Selection and placement of students will take place in February and March. Applicants who are not placed will be notified in March.

Thank you for your interest in the SOCKS Undergraduate Internship program! Applications were due on February 3, 2024.