Application for CIR Undergraduate Fellow
Applications are now being accepted for the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR) for the 2011-12 academic year, and review of applications will begin on Friday, April 8th. The St. Olaf College statistics program, with support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), had the unique opportunity to establish the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (CIR) in 2004, and over 125 students have participated since that inaugural year. The goal of the CIR is to provide undergraduate statistics students like you with training and experiences in the modern practice of statistics while engaging in applied, collaborative, interdisciplinary research.
Many details about the CIR can be found at CIR, including lists of the cool and diverse past projects that have been completed. In short, CIR Fellows participate on interdisciplinary research teams whose goals are to use statistical thinking and analysis to support the data-driven research of faculty or staff from a variety of disciplines around the college. The research teams meet weekly with their statistics mentors and domain experts, and many teams ultimately present their work at regional and national conferences.
In addition, CIR Fellows participate in a weekly Research Skills Seminar which focuses on research-oriented oral and written communication skills, from one-on-one collaboration to formal scientific presentations. Other topics such as ethics in research and opportunities for MSCS careers and graduate school are also covered. For the 2011-12 academic year, this seminar will be held from 2:00-2:55 MWF. The entire group of CIR Fellows will meet Mondays, and then Wednesdays and Fridays will be used for meetings of individual research teams. Participants receive a 0.5 academic credit each semester for this seminar; no stipends are currently associated with participation in the CIR.
Applicants for the CIR should meet the following criteria:
- successfully completed (or on track to complete) Statistics 272: Statistical Modeling
- are a declared statistics concentrator (or plan to declare soon)
- are available Mondays 2:00-2:55 both Fall and Spring semesters in 2011-12. Ideally, participants would also be available Wed and Fri 2:00-2:55, but there is some flexibility here.
- love (or think they might enjoy) using statistical problem solving skills to address real research questions!
Applicants must be willing to make a regular, concerted time commitment to CIR. Our collaborative domain experts are depending on us to help them form answers to real research questions. Although time commitment fluctuates based on the stage of the projects, CIR Fellows probably average 5-7 hours per week including group meetings, preparation for meetings and the Research Skills Seminar, and individual work. Therefore, you should consider your other commitments—classes, extracurriculars, work study, etc.—before applying. But I think most CIR alum have considered their commitments to the CIR to be highly worthwhile, meaningful, and even fun.
With advising and registration for next year soon underway, we encourage you to apply as soon as possible. We will start reviewing applications on Friday, April 8th, and will notify Fellows selected by Tuesday, April 12th.
If you are accepted as a CIR Fellow, you should register for Stat 390: Statistical Research for fall semester 2011. We will then solicit your input on potential projects for 2011-12 before making team assignments over the summer.
If you have any questions about the CIR, please do not hesitate to contact me (email@example.com) or Julie Legler (firstname.lastname@example.org ), Sharon Lane-Getaz (email@example.com), or Katie Ziegler-Graham (firstname.lastname@example.org ) We look forward to receiving your application.