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Research Opportunities

The Bill Lane Center for the American West, in collaboration with the office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education (VPUE), offers on-campus research opportunities for Stanford undergraduates to work with faculty on projects related to the American West. We welcome students from a wide variety of disciplines to engage with issues related to western land and life in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

The Center's Research Assistants (RAs) pursue original research with faculty, working part-time for a maximum of 10 hours per week during the school year and up to 40 hours per week during the summer. Students meet regularly with their mentors to discuss goals and plans for research. There are three types of research projects: student-initiated, faculty-initiated, or pre-identified projects posted on the Center's website.

Current openings

There are no openings at this time. If you have a project in mind, please email irishui@stanford.edu

Summer 2019 Undergraduate Research Fellows

2019 summer research team from left to right: Surabhi Balachander, Iris Hui, Abraham Ryzhik, Bruce Cain, Hannah Kelley, Cade Cannedy, John Coyle, Chapman Caddell, Jenna Brown. 
 

This summer, we are pleased to welcome a cohort of nine Undergraduate Research Fellows to the Bill Lane Center for the American West.

Under the direction of Professor Bruce Cain and Senior Researcher Iris Hui, these students are in the midst of spending ten weeks exploring such topics as air pollution, broadband access and telemedicine in the rural West, water management and funding in California, and automated redistricting in the American West. Their areas of study range from American Studies and History to Computer Science and Symbolic Systems. Please join us in welcoming our young researchers.


Research Fellow Topic Description
Sarah Ondak Photography in the American West
Photography in the American West
Tanvi Gambhir Allocation of Water Funding in California
Using a variety of data sources, Tanvi is examining the allocation and impacts of water funding from Props 50, 84 and 1
Chapman Caddell Broadband in the Rural West
Through case studies, Chapman is exploring the reasons behind successes and failures of broadband expansion in the rural West.
Abraham Ryzhik and John Coyle Environmental Justice
Using webscraping, Abraham and John are compiling databases of EPA violations in the U.S. to examine spatial inequality in pollution-burden.
Kevin Li Automated Redistricting
Kevin is working on a NSF-funded project to explore the implications of using computer-automated algorithms in drawing electoral districts.
Cade Cannedy Air Quality in Fresno
Working with the Sean Parker Center, Cade is conducting a field study in Fresno to examine the potential health impacts of wildfire smoke.
Hannah Kelley Digital Health in the Rural West
Hannah is exploring inequality in digital healthcare access among disadvantaged populations in rural West.
Shiriel Abramson Tap Dancing & Environment
Tap Dancing & Environment

 

Summer 2018 Undergraduate Research Fellows

Summer 2018 Undergraduate Research Fellows

From left: Adam Elliott, Samuel Kwong, Lilla Petruska, Benek Robertson, Winton Yee; Not Pictured: Cade Cannedy;
 

Under the direction of Professor Bruce Cain and Senior Researcher Iris Hui, the students spent ten weeks exploring such topics as air pollution and health in the rural West, water management and permitting in California, and the future of renewable energy policy. Their areas of study range from Political Science and Philosophy to Computer Science and Bioengineering.

Research Fellow Topic  
Cade Cannedy Air Pollution and Health in the Rural West Working with the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research to examine the impact of air pollution on health in the Central Valley.
Adam Elliott Air Pollution and Health in the Rural West Working with the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research to examine the impact of air pollution on health in the Central Valley.
Samuel Kwong Water Management and Permitting Process in California Web-scraping, Natural Language Processing and other textual analytic tools to examine the water management and permitting process in California.
Lilla Petruska Renewable Energy and Environmental Permitting Work examining the prevalence of renewable energy in the West and investigating how variations in regulations and state policies affect the adoption of renewable energy.
Benek Robertson Public Opinion on Infrastructure Investment Work designing two public opinion polls on willingness to pay for various water and transportation infrastructure projects.
Winton Yee Water Management and Permitting Process in California Web-scraping, Natural Language Processing and other textual analytic tools to examine the water management and permitting process in California.

 

 

Summer 2017 Research Assistants

Summer 2017 Research Assistants

Meet the 2017 Summer Research Assistants Under the direction of Professor Bruce Cain and Senior Researcher Iris Hui, our RA’s spend ten weeks exploring subjects ranging from integrated water management, air pollution and health issues, the history of Chinese railroad workers in the West, to computer assisted text analysis of congressional speeches and more. Please join us in welcoming our young researchers. Read more

Top row, from left: Nikhil Basutkar, Maggie Bruck, Tanvi Gambhir, Cole McFaul, Johnstone Kipyator; Bottom row: Regan Pecjak, Jack Seigenthaler, Ada Statler-Throckmorton, Ron Pritipaul, Caroline Kimmel; Not Pictured: Jason Chen;
 

Research Assistant Topic  
Nikhil Basutkar Air Pollution and Health in the Rural West This project examines factors contributing to air pollution and how they relate to respiratory health in the American West.
Maggie Bruck Ethnographic Study of Water Issues in Monterey County This project examines local water issues and explores how regulatory frameworks operate to manage water resources.
Jason Chen Textual Analysis of Congressional Speeches Climate change and cybersecurity are two of the most pressing challenges of this century. When and how do senators talk about such issues? Using a web-scraped database of Senate floor speeches from 1990 until the present, this project applies natural language processing to shed light on critical determinants of political attitudes towards – and stances – on two important topics.
Tanvi Gambhir Collaborative Governance: Integrated Regional Water Management in California This project examines the factors that facilitate collaborative governance of cross-jurisidictional water issues in the state of California.
Caroline Kimmel Coastal Cities and Counties’ Climate Change Adaptation in California This project examines preparedness among coastal cities and counties in California for climate change.
Johnstone Kipyator Energy Grid in Kenya This project examines the potential for green energy production and an energy grid in Kenya.
Cole McFaul Air Pollution and Health in the Rural West This project examines factors contributing to air pollution and how they relate to respiratory health in the American West.
Regan Pecjak Air Pollution and Health in the Rural West This project examines factors contributing to air pollution and how they relate to respiratory health in the American West.
Ron Pritipaul Chinese Railroad Workers in North America Project I will be working on mapping the contribution of Chinese Railroad workers on the railroads of Western Washington. I may be incorporating textual analysis of Seattle newspapers to bolster my research and observe trends in news stories of Chinese-Americans in the 1870’s to 80’s.
Jack Seigenthaler Ethnographic Study of Water Issues in Monterey County This project examines local water issues and explores how regulatory frameworks operate to manage water resources.
Ada Statler-Throckmorton Air Pollution and Health in the Rural West California is known for its progressive energy and climate policy, but fewer people know much about where that energy actually comes from. A substantial portion of the state's energy, both renewable and fossil fuel-based, comes from Kern County, a rural and politically conservative area north of Los Angeles. This project is a look at how the changing energy sector is affecting the lives of rural workers in the industry.

 

Summer 2016 Research Assistants

Miguel Samano, 2019, Undeclared: US-Mexico Pollution

Troy Barnhart, 2018, Earth Systems: Permitting

Masha Gorkovenko, 2019, Computer Science: Regional polling, IWRM

Daylon Tippett, 2018, Symbolic Systems: Transportation initiative and freshman helmet study

Victoria Mao, 2017, Energy Resources Engineering: Energy

Johnstone Kipyator, 2017, Energy Resources Engineering: Green energy in Africa

Maame Kome-Mensah, 2019, Computer Science: Green energy in Africa

Griffin Bovee: Chinese Railroad Workers project

Juliana Chang: Chinese Railroad Workers project