Research Experiences for Undergraduates 2016-Participants

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Research Experiences for Undergraduates 2016

Andrea Allen

{border} Oberlin College

Bio: Andrea is a third-year Mathematics major at Oberlin College in Northeast Ohio. Her research interests include looking for patterns in static and temporal social networks, along with modeling energy efficiency and sustainability in urban environments. She has also collaborated on a project with SFI looking at disease propagation on human contact networks across a wealth gradient. Aside from math and science, she is also passionate about practicing and teaching partner acrobatics, along with running and hiking, gardening and reading short fiction.

SFI MENTOR: Laurent Hebert-Dufresne

Zachary Cohen

{border} University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bio: Hi, my name is Zack Cohen. I'm a junior at University of Illinois, studying biology and physics. I'm really excited to spend the summer doing science! I'm hoping to work on modeling in biology, but I'm also eager to experience the diversity of research that goes on at SFI. Beyond that, I really love the outdoors, and so I'm also really exited to explore the nature areas around Santa Fe!

SFI MENTOR: Chris Kempes
SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Allometric trends have been observed across a wide range of biological diversity, relating physiological properties to each other through power laws with distinct scaling exponents. The mechanistic origin of these trends has been ascribed to fluid flow through branching vascular networks, but there is less corresponding theory to explain scaling laws in microbes. Additionally, recent evidence suggests that the specific scaling exponents take on different values when the microbial size scale is considered in isolation. Here, relationships between many properties of microbial cells will be empirically examined for these power law scalings. Through the use of theoretical models, we can understand the structural origin of these relationships in terms of physiological details, allowing us to understand general properties of microbial systems.

Shane Dabor

{border} Minerva Schools at KGI

Bio: Shane is a Canadian student studying at an innovative university based out of San Francisco called Minerva. Shane has helped shape the university as a member of it's Founding Class and is currently taking a second gap year working for the university's academic team. Previously Shane was a Studio [Y] Fellow at the MaRS Discovery District during his first gap year spent in Toronto. Shane is passionate about interdisciplinary learning and has keen interests in education systems, music, and STEM. In his free time Shane enjoys taking canoe trips back home in Ontario, getting lost on Wikipedia, and playing pick-up basketball.

SFI MENTORS: Marion Dumas and Chris Kempes

Xavier Gutierrez


University of Maryland, College Park

Bio: I'm Xavier Gutierrez, a junior physics major from Maryland. In my free time I'm most likely reading another article on the internet; my favorite things to be busy with are reading actual books, hiking, exploring new places. I like math and science because making predictions about the incomprehensible increases the tools at our disposal as a human society.

SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: The quantification of political ideology has traditionally been constrained to a one-dimensional Liberal-Conservative continuum, with network analysis accordingly restricted to the view that nodes exhibit one of two states. By training a Latent Dirichlet Allocation topic model on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, I propose to characterize the online participation of Reddit users along a multidimensional ideological-space in order to track the social dynamics of individual forums as well as community activity. By using the philosophical concepts latent in the corpus text to categorize political ideologies, I expect to observe a more diverse range of social interactions and network structures.

Bradi Heaberlin

{border} Indiana University - Bloomington

Bio: Bradi is a returning SFI REU and is a third year student at Indiana University (Bloomington, IN) majoring in cognitive science and political science. In the past her research has largely been focused on the concepts of identity and group status, examining factors of race, gender, cooperation, and competition as they apply to such domains as video gaming, belongingness in STEM fields, media violence, and moral conviction. Besides a heart-fluttering adoration for science and questions of human behavior, Bradi also holds a deep-seated appreciation for street art, poetry, riveting conversation, documentary & book recommendations, Appalachian music, backpacking, and creatively-potted plants.

2015 SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Norms that Govern: the Case of Wikipedia

Jennifer Huang

{border} University of Indiana Bloomington

Bio: Jenny is a junior at Indiana University studying Mathematics, Environmental Anthropology, and Creative Writing. Currently, she is conducting research on the evolution of 20th-century poetry and writing a collection of short fiction on migration and identity. Outside of her studies, Jenny works for IU's Office of the President and teaches/leads climbing trips through IU Outdoor Adventures. Jenny is captivated by cultural studies, language and literature, music (especially cello), climbing/backpacking/hiking, and her dog.

SFI MENTORS: Marion Dumas, Simon DeDeo

Ian Klasky

{border} Bowdoin College

Bio: I'm in the class of 2017 at Bowdoin College, and am majoring in math. In my free time I love playing ultimate frisbee and going on expeditions in the outdoors. I'm really looking forward to the summer in Santa Fe!

Genevieve Pirotte

{border} Arizona State University

Bio: Genevieve is a senior at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. She is studying Psychology, Biology, and Creative Writing. Her research interests, rooted in developmental psychology, include multiple intelligences, creative learning & STEM, and the butterfly effect of the social context of cognitive development and education.

She enjoys the outdoors, hiking, riding horses with her mom in Arizona, photography, piano, yoga, and especially loves animals.

SFI MENTOR: Artemy Kolchinsky
SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Of Music and the Mind - Music, a trait of humankind, transcends all boundaries that language and time may establish. Engaging both motor and multisensory networks, music is a powerful tool of which advanced neuroimaging techniques has divulged much about its affect on the brain. Through the use of a dynamical model of a connectome, a comprehensive map of the brain, we study plastic changes in functional networks and sections of the brain in response to music. These effects are compared to previously documented neurological areas that are involved in learning and emotion. The auditory stimulation that music cultivates, and its influence on the developing brain is emphasized as possible global cognitive implications are discussed. Furthermore, we present data conducted in this study on the potential of using music as an apparatus to foster innovation in education, as well as to support and facilitate remedial psychotherapy

Nayely Velez-Cruz

{border} Arizona State University

Bio: My name is Nayely Velez-Cruz and I am currently a senior at Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University. I am triple-majoring in sociology, anthropology, and history as well as pursuing minors in biology and sustainability. As such, my research interests are quite interdisciplinary. In my honors thesis, I introduced a complex systems framework for extracting meaningful information from big data and argue that such an approach would enhance big (open) data’s role as a public good. My current research centers on the formation, evolution, and transmission of knowledge in biological and social systems.

SFI MENTOR: Eric Libby
SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: Phenotypic plasticity describes a genotype’s ability to produce different phenotypes in response to changing environmental conditions. Many biological networks exhibit plastic behavior, a necessary condition for a phenomena known as ‘evolvability’, which describes a system’s capacity to generate and utilize phenotypic novelty for adaptive evolution. In this work, we assess the adaptive potential of biological systems by investigating how reaction rates in well-established biochemical reaction networks play key roles in generating deleterious and beneficial mutations.

Roujia Wen

{border} Minerva Schools at KGI

Bio: I’m a founding class student at Minerva Schools. I started programming at a very young age and was a three-time winner of the National Informatics Olympiad. Currently, I’m in a gap year, working on statistical learning, data mining and visualization at Icosystem. I’m most interested in theoretical computer science and the human brains but would also love to explore many other forms of complexity.

SFI MENTOR: Josh Grochow
SFI SUMMER PROJECT ABSTRACT: In contrast to traditional searching methods that greedily seek an objective, which can sometimes be deceptive and misleading, novelty search is an alternative approach that looks for novel behaviors as a means to reach optimal solutions. We are going to apply this approach to the boolean satisfiability problem, which captures the complex nature of many real world problems, and see how it navigates through the combinatorial search space.