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My Honors College

Current Research Opportunities

The Honors College provides postings of current research opportunities that faculty members have shared with us. We highly recommend also visiting the Office of Undergraduate Research’s “Get Started” page to access all undergraduate research opportunities.

New Opportunities

We are seeking motivated student volunteers to contribute to a groundbreaking study on youth violence and the school-to-prison pipeline. This project offers a unique opportunity to gain hands-on research experience in the field of criminology and criminal justice.

As a Research Assistant, you will play a crucial role in refining the data that fuels our analysis. Your main task will be to clean and organize AI-generated transcriptions of interviews and discussions. This work is vital for ensuring the accuracy and reliability of our research findings.

What You Will Gain:

  • Valuable experience in qualitative research methodologies.
  • Insights into complex social issues affecting youth today.
  • Skills in data management and analysis using cutting-edge AI technologies.
  • Training in human subjects research ethics and protocols.
  • The opportunity to work alongside leading researchers in the field.
  • Participating in Professional Development Events to prepare for graduate school or relevant careers.
  • Networking with undergraduate and graduate students working on summer research throughout the Criminal Justice department.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Review and clean transcription errors in AI-generated texts.
  • Assist in organizing and categorizing data for analysis.
  • Complete mandatory human subjects training.
  • Participate in team meetings to discuss findings and methodologies.
  • Commit to approximately 5 hours per week or more (excluding vacations and absences).


  • Strong attention to detail and a commitment to accuracy.
  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
  • Interest in social sciences, criminology, or related fields.
  • Completion of human subjects research training (provided).

This position does not involve direct interaction with children or on-site fieldwork.
If you are interested in participating, please complete this interest form.

Our lab studies fundamental mechanisms of early embryo development and diseases. Particularly, we are interested in how the genome is regulated for cell fate decisions in early embryos and how cell size and organelle size contribute to development and diseases such as cancer. To study this, we leverage model embryonic systems and state-of-the-art technologies including confocal imaging and high-throughput sequencing. We are looking for highly motivated undergraduates who are interested in pursuing academic professions in the future. We provide comprehensive trainings, including wet-lab experimentation, dry-lab analysis, conference presentations and publications, for those undergrads who are eager to be a scientist and leader in the field. We emphasize teamwork, and as part of the lab culture, we embrace inclusiveness, curiosity and innovation. Please visit our website for more information.

Email Dr. Hui Chen if interested.

The goal of the project is to pinpoint operational factors that affect a worker's learning and turnover decisions, and how these factors may vary based on a worker's disability severity level. With these insights, we hope that employers can better accommodate the learning of workers with disabilities, and these workers can be better integrated into the workplace with a reduced turnover rate. This project is open to any major and class, but a business major or minor is preferred; able to use Excel for data cleaning; can read Mandarin Chinese (e.g., be able to understand the following sentence "员工因为身体原因离职,觉得太累了") and search for news in Chinese. The student will be responsible for coding texted data that are written in Chinese and format them into a table in Excel and search news (in Chinese) for events happening in selected cities in China. The workload is approximately 60 hours total, and the student could have the flexibility to choose their own pace. The project has already started, so the student is expected to start working soon (may work during the summer, depending on the student's pace). If interested in the topic, the student is welcome to stay on the project for an extended period and get more involved (e.g., data analysis). This is a large dataset that multiple research projects on workers with disabilities can be generated.
If interested, please reach out to Professor Luv Sharma, Ph.D. advisor, and Ruby Han, Ph.D. candidate.

Looking for research experience this summer? Dr. Brent Klein is looking for student researchers to assist on an on-going project this summer. This project investigates the patterns and causes of terrorism and targeted violence in the United States and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Student researchers will learn about the research process and gain first-hand research experience through data collection and coding. Students from any social science are encouraged to apply. No previous knowledge on terrorism and targeted violence is required, though applicants are expected to have successfully completed a social science research methods course by the end of this semester.
Apply by sending a resume or CV to CCJ Doctoral student Hannah Sedlacek.

The Wordification Project is developing a web-based game system aimed at providing a language-based (as opposed to memory based) tool for English spelling instruction, and one that does not rely on teacher training. The application is engineered so as to provide individuated instruction that can accommodate a full spectrum of learners. It also offers dialectally enhanced instruction for speakers of non-mainstream English dialects and careful-casual pronunciation contrasts for non-native English speakers. Wordification will leverage AI algorithms to deliver real time instruction in a voice matching the local (and familiar) dialect of every student user, especially those in underserved and underprivileged populations. This innovation would have been inconceivable without AI advances over the past year and has never been imagined, much less attempted, in any instructional application to date. As a resource that will deliver as much or as little spelling instruction as any given student may need, it will also provide students who have decoding deficits (e.g., dyslexia) a path to enhanced literacy that would otherwise be missing from their education. The goal of this project is to provide a universally accessible, low-cost intervention nation-wide and thereby to have a substantial positive impact on literacy (and hence national economic welfare) in every educational jurisdiction in which it is utilized.

Seeking students with interest and experience in computer science and engineering, web-applications user experience, database development and management and AI LLMs (large language models). Students should be proficient in Python and/or JavaScript, and ideally have experience with ReactJS or similar JavaScript frameworks (as we use the Redwood JS framework). We would also be interested in students who have experience in the implementation of computer game and graphic design.
If interested, please reach out to Dr. Stanley Dubinsky.

Seeking a sophomore or junior student majoring in chemistry, biology or biomedical engineering to collaborate with a post-doctorate associate/graduate student in the NanoPX lab on developing new nanomedicine for AD therapy. The undergraduate research assistant will aid in polymer synthesis, nanoparticle characterization, cell-based activity assay and animal behavior assay. The student is expected to devote 15 hours per week to learning and mastering the required skills for the study. If interested, visit and email Peisheng Xu, Ph.D.

Multiple opportunities for undergraduate research assistants in the Gross Materials Lab. Motivated students who are looking to excel on cutting edge research projects are sought. The following projects are currently available:

1. Fabrication of Lightweight & High Strength Lattices
Our lab has designed space filling ceramic lattice materials that are more than five times stronger than the prior state of the art. This advance has substantial implications for the design of certain aircraft and deep-sea vehicles. An undergraduate student is sought to 3D print these designs from ceramic materials and conduct mechanical testing to verify the unprecedented strength increase our computational models have shown. This project is primarily hands on, in the lab.

2. Modeling Carbon/Carbon Composite Manufacturing
Carbon/Carbon composite materials (CCCMs) are known for their exceptional strength in high temperature conditions. Manufacturing CCCMs results in many defects, for which suitable physical models do not yet exist. This project seeks an undergraduate student to develop finite element models of the fiber reinforced materials to predict defect formation during manufacturing. This project is fully computational and will involve coding in python.

3. Creep Testing of Refractory High Entropy Alloys
Structures operating at high temperatures typically fail by creep deformation or rupture. New materials with superior high temperature properties will substantially lower fuel usage by turbine engines for aircraft, increase efficiency in electricity generation and enable new devices that require structures that operate at extreme temperatures. This project will investigate the creep behavior of 3D printed metals, specifically refractory high entropy alloys. This work is primarily hands on and will involve operating advanced laboratory equipment to conduct creep tests to characterize this new class of materials. The work is in collaboration with Savannah River National Laboratory.

Undergraduate students interested in any of the above research opportunities are encouraged to submit an application.

Professors Danna Thomas and Lindsey Woodworth in the Department of Economics are recruiting up to four students interested in criminal justice or economics to help digitize jail records from Columbia, S.C. 

Their project will measure whether providing individuals who are arrested with a public defender during their bond hearing affects whether they receive bail.

To complete the project, paper bond court dockets from the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center need to be converted to electronic format. So far, the paper dockets have been scanned into Excel files. The student workers will compare the Excel files to the original paper dockets to ensure accurate conversion and correct any errors.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact either Dr. Thomas or Dr. Woodworth.

The Center for Environmental Nanoscience and Risk at USC invites undergraduate students to join our research endeavor for spring 2024 and beyond. This unique project delves into a new and exciting finding that persistent free radicals (BPFRs) are present in leaves. Imagine the thrill of uncovering how they are formed, what they are, what modulates their formation and the processes (photosynthesis, etc.) that form them. Students will be mentored by Dr. Eric Vejerano and his graduate student. Students will be trained using various analytical instruments with an emphasis on utilizing electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopy for determining free radicals. You can read about this exciting research at Leaves are a Source of Biogenic Persistent Free Radicals | Environmental Science & Technology Letters ( To apply, please contact Dr. Eric Vejerano.

Want to get involved in projects focused on improving the health and well-being of minoritized children and families using prevention science? The Cooper Lab is the fit for you!

Students will be involved in various research activities, such as attending weekly meetings, recruiting participants, conducting literature reviews and helping disseminate findings. Dr. Cooper is looking for students in psychology, social work, public health or a related field who can commit to working in the lab for at least two semesters.

If you are interested in getting involved in this project, please look over some of Dr. Daniel Cooper's projects and email him

HI3 Tech Lab, directed by Dr. Dezhi Wu at the Department of Integrated Information Technology, offers exciting and cutting-edge research opportunities for highly motivated, reliable and hard-working students to engage in interdisciplinary human-computer/AI interaction and healthcare projects. Many of our former and current lab students have successfully won competitive research grants/awards to support their work in our lab, such as Magellan Scholars, the Honors College Research Grants and McNair Junior Awards, and presented their research work at Discover USC, USC summer research symposiums, national and international conferences. Volunteer, internship or independent research course credit opportunities are also available. Our lab is constantly looking for (1) highly technical students who are full-stack software developers to handle front-end and back-end system design and implementations with strong mathematical background and analytics skills and (2) excellent graphic designers with solid art design backgrounds. Preferred students are proficient in developing mobile apps, VR games, chatbots and web programming with excellent communication skills. Some knowledge of machine learning and big data analytics is also desirable. Students majoring in computer science and engineering, IIT, graphic design, video design, psychology, medicine, public health and English writing are welcome to contact Dr. Dezhi Wu at

We are recruiting an undergraduate student interested in soil and ecosystem health. Our research is focused on soil organic matter dynamics that occur at the interface between clay minerals, microbes, and plants. We are interested in the sustainable management of soils and understanding how, where, and why soils store carbon and nitrogen. Current projects examine how agricultural management such as cover crop adoption or no-till practices can affect carbon storage in soils. We are also exploring the role of soil geochemistry (i.e., clay mineral composition) in nitrogen storage and release from clay mineral-associated pools of organic matter. Activities are primarily lab-based and tasks are wide-ranging—they include sample weighing, data entry, solution preparation, and processing of soil and gas samples. The student will be involved in the research article(s) associated with these projects as well. This is a great opportunity to participate in the growth of a new lab and learn about the concepts and methods that are common in soil ecology and biogeochemistry.  Please contact Andrea Jilling ( for more information.

The Neurodevelopmental Disorders Lab (NDD) offers research experience for students who are highly motivated and hard-working. The overarching aim of our research is to detect early signs of autism and anxiety in high-risk infants and preschoolers. Our lab is dedicated to understanding the development of infants and children with neurogenetic syndromes, such as fragile X syndrome and the FMR1 premutation. We use multiple methods including experimental behavioral paradigms, physiological indices, play-based assessments and parent report. Students in our lab obtain research training by assisting with activities such as behavioral coding, heart rate activity editing, data entry and pre- and post-processing of assessments. We also offer professional development opportunities. Students gain mentorship, the potential to pursue independent research and opportunities to present at local conferences. Many of our students go on to receive competitive research awards to support their work with us, such as Honors College Research Grants and Magellan Scholars awards. Volunteer or course credit opportunities are available. If you are interested in the NDD Lab, please contact Dr. Jane Roberts.

Are you interested in obtaining research experience in Robotics? Are you fascinated by autonomous cars? Or maybe you think flying drones is cool?

The Unmanned Systems & Robotics Lab is looking for motivated undergraduate students interested in doing research with autonomous systems and robotics. There are currently two main projects to work with: (i) in the F1Tenth racing project, you will be developing an autonomous RC scale car to participate in Formula One racing for small-scale cars; (ii) in the Remote Sensing drones project, you will be developing autonomous drones for remote inspection of infrastructure. Both projects include hands-on experience with real robotic vehicles!

This call is open to any students with a background or very strong interest in robotics, electronics and programming, regardless of major. Prior experience with robotics will be highly appreciated; prior experience with drones is also an advantage, to work on the drone project. Contact Dr. Vitzilaios with any questions you may have.

Our work focuses on supporting the reading and communication development of children who speak multiple languages or dialects. We primarily work with Spanish-English speaking children in preschool through early elementary school and with their families, and also work to support children who speak dialects that are marginalized in the U.S., including African American English. We aim to disrupt disparities that exist in the education system and identify factors that contribute to long-term well-being and academic growth. Our work has particular relevance for USC students interested in speech-language pathology, education, medicine, and/or psychology. You can learn more about our work through our lab website. If you are interested in working in my lab, please direct inquiries to Dr. Lisa Fitton.

The USC School Behavioral Health Team, led by Dr. Mark Weist, is seeking undergraduate students each semester to assist in research initiatives related to improving the quality of emotional/behavioral supports in school as well as improving outcomes for youth who have or are at risk for developing emotional/behavioral challenges.

Students will perform tasks such as data entry, data reliability checks, mapping community resources, conducting literature reviews and other tasks relevant to conducting school-based research. In addition, students taking PSYC 498 or PSYC 598 for course credit will meet weekly to discuss relevant literature in school behavioral health, carry out individual research projects and engage in professional development activities to help prepare for graduate school programs and careers.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Ruth Moniz.


William Strosnider at the University of South Carolina Baruch Marine Field Laboratory is recruiting a USC Honors student researcher to start in the summer of 2024. Research will center on advancing the science and engineering of plastic material alternatives for coastal environmental restoration (e.g., jute reef prisms), water quality protection (e.g., fully organic erosion control geotextiles) and aquaculture (e.g., biodegradable clam netting). Next-generation material properties (e.g., tensile strength) will be tested along with core purpose performance (e.g., restored reef oyster recruitment, shoreline erosion control, predation control).

The overarching goal of the project is to catalyze plastics reduction in coastal environmental applications. The research will include observational, experimental and modeling components along from laboratory to mesocosm to field-scale, with flexibility for students to develop research questions along the gradient between ecology and engineering (ecological engineering). Experimental and observational work will be based at Baruch Marine Field Laboratory, with the expectation of substantial periods in residence on-site. Interested individuals should contact Dr. William Strosnider to discuss their background, research interests, and further project details.

The Behavioral Research in Eating (BRIE) Lab is looking for students to work as clinical lab assistants for the Dietary Guidelines: 3 Diets (DG3D) study. This will be a paid position - $12/hr for undergraduate students and $14/hr for master's students. Responsibilities to include collecting blood pressure(using an automated sphygmomanometer), height, weight (using a digital scale) and body circumference. All training will be provided. Opportunities to continue into the fall.  Please contact Taylor Duncan for more information.

Dr. Arjmandi is the Director of Translational Auditory Neuroscience Lab in the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina. He incorporates his cross-disciplinary research background in auditory neuroscience, speech perception and production, and biomedical engineering to study the neuroscience of human communication and hearing impairment. Dr. Arjmandi's research combines behavioral, computational, and neuroimaging techniques to systematically investigate the mechanisms and factors influencing the auditory, speech, and language development in individuals with typical, impaired, and electric hearing (e.g., cochlear implant listeners). The goal of his research is to translate the findings into clinical practice for developing improved diagnostic tools and personalized interventions and treatments for individuals with hearing impairment. Please contact Dr. Arjmandi to inquire about joining this lab

Are you interested in obtaining research experience? The Carolina Health and Relationship Mechanisms (CHARM) lab is accepting applications for student Research Assistant positions on a rolling basis. The CHARM lab is led by Dr. Jennifer Fillo and is based at the Arnold School of Public Health at University of South Carolina. We accept applications from University of South Carolina students and students from other universities and colleges.

Work in Dr. Fillo’s lab focuses on examining the reciprocal relations among close relationships (e.g., family, friends, romantic partners), stress, and substance use. Using a variety of quantitative and qualitative methods, studies in the lab build upon existing knowledge of interpersonal processes and social influences on health behavior, and work toward the development of new measures and ways of leveraging these close relationship influences to improve health (e.g., how to use spouses/partners to help their loved one reduce problematic alcohol use). Additionally, we work with military populations to examine the influence of service-related stress and trauma on the health and well-being of service members/veterans and their romantic partners.

If you are interested in working with our lab, please complete an application and visit our website to learn more about Dr. Fillo’s work. Please direct any inquiries about RA positions or application status to:

Benjamin Fisher
Project Coordinator

The LoPresti Lab, led by Eric LoPresti, is looking for motivated undergraduate students interested in pollination, seed ecology, and insect ecology to both assist with ongoing projects as well as to develop their own projects. Broadly, we study how plants and animals interact and how this shapes the ecology and evolution of the species involved; we do this with both mutualistic interactions, such as pollination, and antagonistic interactions, such as herbivory and seed predation. In the 2022-2023 school year, students may work on: a project involving different contributions of moths and butterflies to pollination success of sand verbenas, a project identifying how seed mucilage (think, chia seeds) helps seeds survive in a harsh world of extreme temperatures and full of animals that want to eat them, a project examining changing moth and butterfly communities in light of climate and land-use change, and others. For more information, contact Dr. LoPresti.

Our research investigates development in language and cognition (e.g., attention, memory) from toddlerhood through the early school years. Our goal is to identify when and how developmental trajectories diverge for children with typical development and children with language disorders (e.g., Developmental Language Disorder or DLD). DLD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects about 2 children in every classroom of 30. Children with DLD have difficulty with speaking and understanding language for no obvious reason. The goal of our research is to clarify the underlying causes of DLD and to identify early methods of identification and intervention.  Please email Professor Erin Smolak to inquire.

Our research focuses on language and reading development and disorders in school-aged children, including a focus on developmental language disorder (DLD) and dyslexia. DLD and dyslexia are prevalent but often underdiagnosed disorders which frequently co-occur and impact children’s academic progress and overall quality of life. Several ongoing projects, supported by NIH grants, offer opportunities for student volunteers to gain research experience or for more advanced students to develop an honors thesis. These include assistance with a systematic review and meta-analysis, a study of emotion regulation in children with reading and language difficulties, a study of dialect variation in children’s spoken language productions, and longitudinal studies of word learning and reading comprehension development. Students must be able to contribute a minimum of five hours per week to assist with the systematic review, and 8-10 hours per week for other projects. Students may begin training immediately, with the understanding that work will continue through the spring 2024 semester.

Interested students should email with a resume, description of their research interests, and the times they are regularly available to work during most weeks (e.g., between 9 and 5 Monday through Friday, excluding holidays)

Project #1: Seeking one chemistry or engineering student. Will collaborate with one graduate student on maintaining and using state-art-of-the-art instrumentation. The instruments will include a flow chemistry machine for synthesizing peptide and protein analogues, an HPLC for their purification, and an LC-MS for characterization. The student will be expected to devote 10–15 hours per week, and to commit long-term for honing and perfecting their skills. Current Honors College research assistant is graduating. If interested, email

Project #2: Seeking one Biochemistry/Molecular Biology student. Will collaborate with one graduate student on discovering new antibody analogues. Developing these analogues will utilize an array of molecular biology skills, including directed-evolution PCR, protein expression, and purification. The undergraduate student will aid in providing protein material to enable characterization studies, including binding affinity and protein folding and stability studies. The student will be expected to devote 10–15 hours per week, and to commit long-term for honing and perfecting their skills. Current Honors College research assistant is graduating. If interested, email

The Analytical Sciences for Healthy, Equity, and Environmental Exposures Research (ASHER) Laboratory directed by Principal Investigator Dr. Devin Bowes has opportunities for research experiences for highly motivated students invested in the health of our communities and the environment. The ASHER lab conducts interdisciplinary research focusing on the human-environmental nexus, particularly as it relates to health outcomes due to health disparities. This work largely involves analyzing community wastewater, termed wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), where human excreted biomarkers that indicate various aspects of human life are measured to determine population-level health assessments to encourage inclusive and data-driven decision making. This approach aims to ultimately enrich data acquisition for enhancing environmental public health practices and advance health equity.

Major topics of investigation for projects can include: Evaluating dietary behavior and/or food insecurity, chronic illness, microbiomes, infectious disease, agricultural applications, environmental exposures, and more, all at population-level.

Working under supervision, students will have opportunities to learn and understand the process of sample collection, preparation, and analysis in a variety of contexts and applications. Students can also learn how to operate advanced analytical equipment, such as liquid-chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry, as well as learn how to use data analysis software. In addition, opportunities for professional development and mentorship are available, including presenting at local conferences and pursuing independent research projects, if applicable. Students from all backgrounds, experiences, and majors are highly encouraged to reach out. Those interested in and/or pursuing careers broadly in public health, environmental health sciences, nutrition, epidemiology, chemistry/biochemistry/molecular biology, and healthcare, may be most interested in these research projects.

Please contact Dr. Bowes at if interested.


Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.