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Academics

Undergraduate Research Program (URPro)

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The goal of our Undergraduate Research Program (URPro) is to offer an opportunity for Spanish and Portuguese majors to collaborate directly in the research project of faculty and gain first-hand knowledge of the procedures through which academic research is conducted.

A research assistantship offers students numerous advantages in their post-collegiate endeavors. Top-notch research training makes attractive job candidates who are capable of understanding how to tackle a problem; select and use the appropriate qualitative or quantitative methods to carry out assessments, work collaboratively towards a common goal, and write in a way in which findings are clearly conveyed to the public. Research Assistants that participate in a research project are privy to the deliverables of the project, and go to the job market with a clear competitive advantage.

The projects in which our students participate through URPro reflect our faculty's fields of expertise. Student researchers are encouraged to present the research conducted through URPro at academic conferences, such as the Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference. Undergraduate Researchers receive opportunities to co-author reports, while the skills and methodology learned in the program may become the basis of their capstone or thesis projects. URPro is a most valuable curricular experience for students aiming to apply to graduate programs.

All Spanish and Portuguese majors interested in the research project of a faculty member can apply to this program. Faculty will assess the background and general qualifications of the interested student to decide on their admission. Participating undegraduates will be trained to work collaboratively with both faculty and graduate students.

Unless otherwise stated, students will receive academic credit for URPro projects. Students should apply for the projects listed below. Once selected to work on a project, they sould enroll in SPAN/PORT 398R - Research Practicum. Students may take up to 18 practicum credits while at UMass. Those credits may count towards the total needed for graduation, but they do not count toward Spanish or Portuguese major requirements. In general, 1 credit hour is equivalent to about 40 hours of work during the semester and students may enroll for up to 3 credits per semester. The practicum is graded as pass/fail. Interested students should contact the appropriate faculty member. Find the URPro contracts here.


Projects

In addition to the projects listed below, interested students are always welcome to learn of our faculty's ongoing research projects and inquire into the possibility of collaborating with them.


Gynocine

Description: Professor Barbara Zecchi is looking for two Research Assistants to work in her Gynocine Project, an open-access database on the history of women's cinema (http://www.gynocine.com). RAs should love cinema, be interested in gender studies, and have some skills in web design (however, Gynocine is built on wix, so there is no need to know code). The ideal candidate should be creative, meticulous, and organized. RAs will create and update material related to the project's aims and scope. Ability to translate from Spanish into English is considered a plus.
RAships Avaliable: two.
Hours per week: 9 hours / week.
Credits received: 3 credits in SPAN 398R (pass/fail).
Application Materials: 1) letter of interest, 2) transcript, and 3) current résumé.
Contact: Professor Barbara Zecchi, bzecchi@umass.edu.
Deadline: November 30, 2019.


Indigenous Latinxs

Description: Professor Stephanie Fetta is looking for one Research Assistant to work in her Indigenous Latinxs project. The RA should love literature, have an interest in Latinx culture. hemispheric Native American cultural studies, and interested in critical theory. The ideal candidate should be a good researcher, and a careful reader and writer. The RAs will locate and review material related to the project's aims and scope. Ability to translate from Spanish into English is considered a plus.
RAships Avaliable: one.
Hours per week: 9 hours / week .
Credits received: 3 credits in SPAN 398R (pass/fail).
Application Materials: 1) letter of interest, 2) transcript, and 3) current résumé.
Contact: Professor Stephanie Fetta, sfetta@umass.edu.
Deadline: November 30, 2019
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The Spanish of Speakers from Different Linguistic Backgrounds

Description: Professor Danielle Thomas is seeking one RA to assist with the project management of her research project “The Spanish of Speakers from Different Linguistic Backgrounds,” which compares the linguistic characteristics of different speakers’ (ie. native speakers, non-native speakers) knowledge and use of Spanish. The ideal candidate is fluent in Spanish and English, is out-going and well-connected to both Spanish-speaking and English-speaking communities. The successful candidate will oversee participant recruitment and communicate with study participants and other testers, test participants on campus and in the community, organize data collected from all testers, and assist with other project management-related tasks.
RAships Avaliable: one.
Hours per week: 9-12 hours / week.
Credits received: 3-4 credits in SPAN 398R (pass/fail).
Application Materials: 1) letter of interest, 2) transcript, and 3) current résumé.
Contact: Professor Danielle Thomas, daniellethom@umass.edu (Subject Line:  RAship application)
Deadline: November 30, 2019.


The Meaning of Language Tunes

Description: Professor María Biezma is seeking one RA to assist with experimental studies to be conducted in the Spring of 2020. The successful candidate will primarily help Prof. Biezma to prepare materials for experimental studies and to oversee participants during the experimental tasks. The successful participant will also be involved in other minor tasks related to the managing of the empirical studies.
RAships Avaliable: one.
Hours per week: 9-12 hours / week.
Credits received: 3-4 credits in SPAN 398R (pass/fail).
Application Materials: 1) transcript, and 2) brief letter of interest.
Contact: Professor María Biezma, maria.biezma@umass.edu (Subject Line: RAship application)
Deadline: November 30, 2019.