Skip to content

SPUR Team 1

SPUR Team 1

SPUR Team 1

SPUR TEAM 1: PROBLEM STATEMENT

In an academic environment teeming with opportunities and talent, a common narrative persists: the notion of the ‘qualified’ versus the ‘underqualified.’ This dichotomy is particularly palpable in the realm of undergraduate research, where many students grapple with the daunting task of navigating their path. Enter SPUR Team 1, a collective of students and researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), on a mission to dismantle these barriers and forge a more inclusive and accessible pathway to paid undergraduate research.

Evaluate This Project
DISCOVER

Understanding the Landscape

At the heart of SPUR Team 1’s initiative lies a fundamental problem statement: How might we help undergraduate students present their research readiness in a way that shows what they know, what they can do, and what they need to learn. 

This inquiry is not merely academic; it’s a critical step toward democratizing access to research positions that can pave the way for future innovation and discovery.

DEFINE

Our target audience is as diverse as the academic community itself. We’re reaching out to undergraduate students eager to dip their toes into the research world—those seeking direction, battling imposter syndrome, or facing financial constraints that make unpaid opportunities untenable. We’re mainly focused on freshmen and transfer students whose eagerness to get involved presents a unique opportunity to engage and guide them toward meaningful professional experiences.

DEVELOP

To tackle these challenges, we developed a questionnaire designed to peel back the layers of students’ academic backgrounds, current knowledge of research, and personal aspirations. This tool is not just about gauging interest; it’s a bridge connecting students to the research landscape at UCSD. By presenting their skills, knowledge, and learning objectives, students can gain insight into how their profile aligns with available research opportunities.

But where does this powerful tool reside? We’ve strategically placed our questionnaire on platforms like the UCSD Academic Internship Program Home Page and the Undergraduate Research Hub. These platforms are not just repositories of opportunities; they’re gateways to a world where academic and professional growth intersect.

Insights and Reflections

Our journey has been illuminating, underscored by a series of lessons that extend far beyond the confines of UCSD. First and foremost, we’ve recognized the importance of shifting the focus from the employer’s needs to the student’s journey. While numerous platforms list research opportunities, few are dedicated to preparing students for these roles. Our initiative seeks to fill this void, offering a tailored approach that considers the student’s background, skills, and areas for growth.

Moreover, we’ve encountered the challenge of advertising these opportunities effectively, especially to newcomers eager to explore their academic and professional interests. Additionally, understanding and accurately evaluating students’ self-assessments of their skills and needs has emerged as a pivotal area of focus. How do we ensure this self-evaluation process is as unbiased and informative as possible?

Forward Together

As we reflect on our progress and the road ahead, it’s clear that the journey to democratize access to undergraduate research is a collaborative endeavor. By fostering a deeper understanding of students’ needs and aspirations, and by providing a platform that bridges the gap between talent and opportunity, SPUR Team 1 is not just facilitating access to research; we’re nurturing the next generation of scholars, innovators, and leaders. Together, we’re not just questioning the status quo; we’re redefining it.

Project Team Members

This team collaborated during the term of the SPUR 1.0 program to further the understanding of a problem statement and develop a potential solution. We recognize the work of the collaborative, as well as that of the individuals who furthered our community’s understanding of scaling paid undergraduate research.

  • Dr. Conor Caffrey, Professor, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Megan Leong, Student, Computer Sciences
  • Ellen Chang, Student, Cognitive Sciences
  • Xiaohan Li, Student, Cognitive Sciences
  • Huimeng Lu – Student, Cognitive Sciences/Mathematics, Junior Designer Program
Team 1 Project Evaluation

Thank you for evaluating this and other SPUR Team projects. Each evaluation takes approximately 2-minutes to complete.

Please review the story and answer the five questions based on your knowledge, experience, and perspective. Your feedback will help us to learn, work, and develop ideas that will impact paid undergraduate research opportunities at UC San Diego.

SPUR TEAM 1: PROBLEM STATEMENT

In an academic environment teeming with opportunities and talent, a common narrative persists: the notion of the ‘qualified’ versus the ‘underqualified.’ This dichotomy is particularly palpable in the realm of undergraduate research, where many students grapple with the daunting task of navigating their path. Enter SPUR Team 1, a collective of students and researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), on a mission to dismantle these barriers and forge a more inclusive and accessible pathway to paid undergraduate research.

Evaluate This Project
DISCOVER

Understanding the Landscape

At the heart of SPUR Team 1’s initiative lies a fundamental problem statement: How might we help undergraduate students present their research readiness in a way that shows what they know, what they can do, and what they need to learn. 

This inquiry is not merely academic; it’s a critical step toward democratizing access to research positions that can pave the way for future innovation and discovery.

DEFINE

Our target audience is as diverse as the academic community itself. We’re reaching out to undergraduate students eager to dip their toes into the research world—those seeking direction, battling imposter syndrome, or facing financial constraints that make unpaid opportunities untenable. We’re mainly focused on freshmen and transfer students whose eagerness to get involved presents a unique opportunity to engage and guide them toward meaningful professional experiences.

DEVELOP

To tackle these challenges, we developed a questionnaire designed to peel back the layers of students’ academic backgrounds, current knowledge of research, and personal aspirations. This tool is not just about gauging interest; it’s a bridge connecting students to the research landscape at UCSD. By presenting their skills, knowledge, and learning objectives, students can gain insight into how their profile aligns with available research opportunities.

But where does this powerful tool reside? We’ve strategically placed our questionnaire on platforms like the UCSD Academic Internship Program Home Page and the Undergraduate Research Hub. These platforms are not just repositories of opportunities; they’re gateways to a world where academic and professional growth intersect.

Insights and Reflections

Our journey has been illuminating, underscored by a series of lessons that extend far beyond the confines of UCSD. First and foremost, we’ve recognized the importance of shifting the focus from the employer’s needs to the student’s journey. While numerous platforms list research opportunities, few are dedicated to preparing students for these roles. Our initiative seeks to fill this void, offering a tailored approach that considers the student’s background, skills, and areas for growth.

Moreover, we’ve encountered the challenge of advertising these opportunities effectively, especially to newcomers eager to explore their academic and professional interests. Additionally, understanding and accurately evaluating students’ self-assessments of their skills and needs has emerged as a pivotal area of focus. How do we ensure this self-evaluation process is as unbiased and informative as possible?

Forward Together

As we reflect on our progress and the road ahead, it’s clear that the journey to democratize access to undergraduate research is a collaborative endeavor. By fostering a deeper understanding of students’ needs and aspirations, and by providing a platform that bridges the gap between talent and opportunity, SPUR Team 1 is not just facilitating access to research; we’re nurturing the next generation of scholars, innovators, and leaders. Together, we’re not just questioning the status quo; we’re redefining it.

Project Team Members

This team collaborated during the term of the SPUR 1.0 program to further the understanding of a problem statement and develop a potential solution. We recognize the work of the collaborative, as well as that of the individuals who furthered our community’s understanding of scaling paid undergraduate research.

  • Dr. Conor Caffrey, Professor, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Megan Leong, Student, Computer Sciences
  • Ellen Chang, Student, Cognitive Sciences
  • Xiaohan Li, Student, Cognitive Sciences
  • Huimeng Lu – Student, Cognitive Sciences/Mathematics, Junior Designer Program
Team 1 Project Evaluation

Thank you for evaluating this and other SPUR Team projects. Each evaluation takes approximately 2-minutes to complete.

Please review the story and answer the five questions based on your knowledge, experience, and perspective. Your feedback will help us to learn, work, and develop ideas that will impact paid undergraduate research opportunities at UC San Diego.

SPUR TEAM 1: PROBLEM STATEMENT

In an academic environment teeming with opportunities and talent, a common narrative persists: the notion of the ‘qualified’ versus the ‘underqualified.’ This dichotomy is particularly palpable in the realm of undergraduate research, where many students grapple with the daunting task of navigating their path. Enter SPUR Team 1, a collective of students and researchers at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), on a mission to dismantle these barriers and forge a more inclusive and accessible pathway to paid undergraduate research.

Evaluate This Project
DISCOVER

Understanding the Landscape

At the heart of SPUR Team 1’s initiative lies a fundamental problem statement: How might we help undergraduate students present their research readiness in a way that shows what they know, what they can do, and what they need to learn. 

This inquiry is not merely academic; it’s a critical step toward democratizing access to research positions that can pave the way for future innovation and discovery.

DEFINE

Our target audience is as diverse as the academic community itself. We’re reaching out to undergraduate students eager to dip their toes into the research world—those seeking direction, battling imposter syndrome, or facing financial constraints that make unpaid opportunities untenable. We’re mainly focused on freshmen and transfer students whose eagerness to get involved presents a unique opportunity to engage and guide them toward meaningful professional experiences.

DEVELOP

To tackle these challenges, we developed a questionnaire designed to peel back the layers of students’ academic backgrounds, current knowledge of research, and personal aspirations. This tool is not just about gauging interest; it’s a bridge connecting students to the research landscape at UCSD. By presenting their skills, knowledge, and learning objectives, students can gain insight into how their profile aligns with available research opportunities.

But where does this powerful tool reside? We’ve strategically placed our questionnaire on platforms like the UCSD Academic Internship Program Home Page and the Undergraduate Research Hub. These platforms are not just repositories of opportunities; they’re gateways to a world where academic and professional growth intersect.

Insights and Reflections

Our journey has been illuminating, underscored by a series of lessons that extend far beyond the confines of UCSD. First and foremost, we’ve recognized the importance of shifting the focus from the employer’s needs to the student’s journey. While numerous platforms list research opportunities, few are dedicated to preparing students for these roles. Our initiative seeks to fill this void, offering a tailored approach that considers the student’s background, skills, and areas for growth.

Moreover, we’ve encountered the challenge of advertising these opportunities effectively, especially to newcomers eager to explore their academic and professional interests. Additionally, understanding and accurately evaluating students’ self-assessments of their skills and needs has emerged as a pivotal area of focus. How do we ensure this self-evaluation process is as unbiased and informative as possible?

Forward Together

As we reflect on our progress and the road ahead, it’s clear that the journey to democratize access to undergraduate research is a collaborative endeavor. By fostering a deeper understanding of students’ needs and aspirations, and by providing a platform that bridges the gap between talent and opportunity, SPUR Team 1 is not just facilitating access to research; we’re nurturing the next generation of scholars, innovators, and leaders. Together, we’re not just questioning the status quo; we’re redefining it.

Project Team Members

This team collaborated during the term of the SPUR 1.0 program to further the understanding of a problem statement and develop a potential solution. We recognize the work of the collaborative, as well as that of the individuals who furthered our community’s understanding of scaling paid undergraduate research.

  • Dr. Conor Caffrey, Professor, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
  • Megan Leong, Student, Computer Sciences
  • Ellen Chang, Student, Cognitive Sciences
  • Xiaohan Li, Student, Cognitive Sciences
  • Huimeng Lu – Student, Cognitive Sciences/Mathematics, Junior Designer Program
Team 1 Project Evaluation

Thank you for evaluating this and other SPUR Team projects. Each evaluation takes approximately 2-minutes to complete.

Please review the story and answer the five questions based on your knowledge, experience, and perspective. Your feedback will help us to learn, work, and develop ideas that will impact paid undergraduate research opportunities at UC San Diego.

Read Next

UX Design Tips From Experience Designer Emilia Pucci

UX Design Tips from Experience Designer Emilia Pucci | Design Chats

Emilia Pucci, Design Lab Designer-in-Residence, shares some useful tips on User Experience Research and Prototyping.

Design Chats is a video series where we sit down with design practitioners to answer questions about how they utilize human-centered design.

View our Design Chats playlist on the Design Lab YouTube Channel
Design Lab Uc San Diego Ailie Fraser Tricia Ngoon

CHI 2018 Conference Spotlights Design Lab Work

This year’s ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems — more commonly known…

Design Lab Michele Morris Forward

Why Does Design Matter: A Q&A With Design Forward Founder Michèle Morris

Michèle Morris currently serves as the Associate Director of the Design Lab at UC San Diego. She…

Don Norman

Design a Better World, with Don Norman

UX Cake kicks the season off with a fascinating conversation about changing the world with design, with Don Norman.

"There are really creative people in all these communities. And there aren’t enough experts to go around anyway. What we want to do is go around the world and find these people and facilitate, help them, empower them, give them expert knowledge and allow them to decide how to apply that to their problems." - Don Norman
UCSD Ed Ngai Salesforce

Where are they now? Ed Ngai

Ed Ngai ‘17 works to ensure that designers and developers create consistent, beautiful experiences through…

Earth2 Project Challenges Vaccines

Earth2 Project Challenges Vaccines, 10 to 100, Ten Days to Vaccinate Everyone

"In collaboration with the University of New Mexico, the Earth2 project is helping to present a 10 day series of seminars on Vaccines and Vaccine Hesitancy, covering topics that range from vaccine-myths to Native American implications and special aspects having to do with other minority and LGBTQ communities, to hearing trusted voices." - David Brin, Author, Futurist, Public Speaker

"Solving the most complex societal programs involves a whole community approach. That's why I'm so excited about the Earth 2 Challenge to reach 100% vaccination which will make our society healthier and safer. But to succeed, we need everyone to participate." - Mai Nguyen, Design Lab Director, UC San Diego
Back To Top