Research Position Title
Blablablab REU Research Assistant
The Blablablab is pleased to to offer two summer research opportunities, available to undergraduate students. These research positions are ideal for students who want to learn to conduct research in the space of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Computational Social Science (CSS). We're hoping for broad participation, including members of underrepresented groups as defined by the National Science Foundation (i.e., African American, Hispanic, Native American, people with disabilities) who may be considering further graduate study in NLP, CSS, or computer/information science more broadly.
If you are accepted into the REU program, you will be invited to participate in a paid 12-week internship during the summer at the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI). You will learn about research through engagement in your project, through interactions with other students, and through weekly mentoring seminars focused on research and associated skills. Topics covered may include admissions, career opportunities, research ethics, and research paper writing. In addition, you will be invited to (virtually) attend the UMSI seminars for exposure to a wide range of research in CSS and Data Science.
This experience will be excellent preparation if you are considering pursuing a Ph.D. degree. Past REU students in the lab have been author on publications and admitted to top PhD programs. As such, this program is well suited to a student in the summer between their junior year and senior year of college. Students in earlier years may also apply, but students who will have already graduated by Summer 2021 are not eligible.
The REU research will focus primarily around topics on social relationships and their influence on language. Social relationships between people influence not only what is said but how a message is said through linguistic cues for aspects like respect, politeness, or solidarity. These stylistic aspects not only reflect a particular social context, but can also affect how the recipient interprets the message itself. REU students will study social relationships and their effect on language by building new technology that recognizes the linguistic cues of relationships and building computational models of communication that explain how a relationship is signaled through linguistic choices in communication. These models enable testing and extending social science theories about relationship and social organization. Further, this reserch also aims to identify how social relationships change the interpretations of messages, e.g., where some statements are welcomed only in certain contexts, but considered offensive when said by a person with a different relationship.
The REU experience is flexible in its start and end dates, depending on students' availability but should contain a 12 weeks of full-time participation. Participation is expected to be entirely remote and would be in-person only pending residential operations at the University of Michigan.
Students will receive a stipend of $8,000. Housing is not provided for students participating locally.
Students must be a U.S. Citizen or permanent resident to apply, which is required by the NSF in its funding of REU positions.
Students must be 18 years old or older and enrolled in a university the coming fall (sorry graduating seniors—but congrats on graduating).
Submission of an application indicates that the applicant agrees to be present for the entire summer program period.
The expected commitment is 40 hours per week, with no additional classes or jobs.
In addition, a strong application will have a good class standing and/or grades in subjects relevant to the research area of interest.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled.