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Research Opportunities

Undergraduate Research Grants 

Conducting research, either on your own or under the guidance of a faculty member, is a great way to increase your learning and skills. NU provides many opportunities for you to conduct research:

If you are interested in conducting your own research, consider applying for the Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grants  and Summer Undergraduate Research Grants . Students can also apply for funds to support them working for a faculty member doing their research through the Undergraduate Research Assistant Program . The Office of Undergraduate Research’s website has great information on how to write a research proposal to apply for these grants.

Faculty Research Labs

Students can also work in faculty research labs, either for credit via a practicum (COMM ST 389) or for pay. Contact the lab for more information.

Professor Jeremy Birnholtz’s Social Media Lab  engages in research on how social media are used for work and play. They are interested in how technologies might be designed to better support people’s existing goals and enable them to do new things.

Professor Noshir Contractor’s Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC)  research group advances social network theories, methods, and tools to better understand and meet the needs of diverse communities. SONIC develops cutting-edge techniques to study and improve social and knowledge networks in distributed working groups, online communities, virtual teams, and other large communities.

Professor Liz Gerber’s Creative Action Lab is interested in understanding and designing systems that support group interactions to foster innovation.  The lab’s current research examines the role of crowdsourcing information and monetary resources in online innovation communities. They are building networking, feedback, and learning tools for these communities.

Professor Darren Gergle’s Collab Lab  is interested in understanding and designing systems capable of supporting group interactions and communication in a variety of contextual environments.  The lab’s current research programs span a number of areas from understanding how various forms of visual information influence our social interactions to developing dynamic visualizations of interaction patterns in online environments to building computational models that account for real-time contextual information to support interaction.

Professor Anne Marie Piper’s Inclusive Technology Lab  investigates new computer interfaces to support communication, social interaction, and the developmental needs of people throughout the lifespan. Much of our work focuses on technology-based solutions for individuals with disabilities and older adults.

Professor Michelle Shumate’s Network for Nonprofit and Social Impact  examines how nonprofit organizations work with other nonprofits, government organizations, and businesses to create social good and to address wicked problems. They are interested in nonprofit capacity, business-nonprofit partnerships, and how stakeholders navigate nonprofit networks.

Professor Ellen Wartella’s Center on Media and Human Development  conducts research to examine media and human development.  Research questions to be explored include:  How do teachers use media in their classrooms?  How do parental attitudes and values regarding media influence children’s use of media?  How do changes in technology influence parents’ and teachers’ attitudes toward media use with children?  How does media use influence obesity and other health related outcomes?  How are media used by youth internationally?

Other Opportunities

Students interested in exploring their interests in research are encouraged to discuss conducting an independent study with a faculty member or applying for the Communication Studies Honors Program (see Honors under Course of Study)