CHE Undergraduate Researcher Program

Each year between February and April, the Changing Human Experience awards a handful of summer research assistantships to undergraduates. These fellowships support full-time participation in one of the faculty projects funded by our Humanities Seed Grants. Working closely with a faculty mentor, students have the opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research in the humanities, arts, and social sciences, while also honing skills that will set them up for a future honors thesis or independent project. 

CHE Undergraduate Researchers are expected to devote themselves full time—roughly 40 hours per week—to these experiences for 10 weeks during the summer. They receive a base stipend of $7,500, along with a potential financial aid supplement of up to $1,500, depending on need.


To be eligible, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Student Status:
    • Rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors of any major are welcome. However, current seniors who will graduate before summer quarter cannot apply.
    • You cannot be on a leave of absence during the summer.
  • Restrictions on other Summer Activities:
    • You may not accept funding from any other campus program for a second full-time Experiential Learning Opportunity (e.g. research, service, or internships). You may be allowed to accept another part-time fellowship, but you must clear this in advance with the Program Coordinator. 
    • You must dedicate yourself full time (roughly 40 hours per week) to this project for a period of 10 weeks. Consequently, you may not work more than 10 hours per week in another job or register for more than 5 units of coursework. You may not attend September Studies, Bing Overseas Seminars, or any other full-time academic summer program unless you and your faculty mentor agree on a schedule that allows you to work for 10 full weeks around this experience.

How to Apply:

To apply, have a look at the open positions below. If one catches your interest, send an email directly to the faculty member in charge of the project, and he or she will follow up with next steps. Applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis until positions are filled.

Note: You are welcome to apply to multiple positions, but you must notify each faculty member of the other positions you are considering so that we can coordinate offers.

Questions? Email the Program Coordinator, Jeff Schwegman: jschweg [at] ()

Open Positions

Project Title: Making and Unmaking Imperial Space: OpenGulf

Faculty Contact: Nora Elizabeth Barakat (History), nbarakat [at]

Project Description: Contemporary historical accounts of the Persian Gulf region have been dominated by fossil fuels, rapid nation-state building, and global imperialism. This project uses multilingual digitized texts to investigate historical constructions of space in the Gulf region. By creating maps, blog posts, and pedagogical and scholarly materials that document people, places, and transactions in the 19th and 20th centuries, the project expands current understandings of the Gulf’s spatial history and human and non-human geography. During the summer 2022 quarter, OpenGulf RAs will create data and visualizations from an early twentieth-century British geographical dictionary of the Persian Gulf, Arabia and Oman that describes human and non-human geography, commodity production and trade, administration and governance, and natural resources in over 800 articles covering regions in contemporary Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Existing data and maps from the project can be viewed at Students with an interest in learning basic data management and mapping skills or utilizing existing skills are encouraged to apply, as are students interested in the historical geography of the Middle East and Indian Ocean worlds and/or the spatial history of empire.

RA Responsibilities and Learning Outcomes: The student researcher will participate in the following tasks, depending on existing skills and interest:

  • checking locations in an existing dataset for accuracy
  • researching and identifying new locations extracted from the text
  • identifying, preparing and annotating related, possibly multilingual texts
  • creating visualizations based on the dataset related to topics of student’s interest
  • drafting and publishing blog posts related to the process of geographical data preparation

The student researcher will gain experience with geolocation, mapping, data management and visualization, and web publishing. The position also offers the opportunity for longer-term engagement with the OpenGulf research group, which is a multi-institutional, international collective of scholars including faculty, postdocs, graduate and undergraduate students. 

Required Skills: Proficiency (1st or 2nd year training, particularly reading ability) in one of the following languages is preferred but not required: Arabic, Farsi, Urdu. This position does not require any existing technical skills. 

Location: Remote