Each year about 1,000 Stanford undergraduates work closely with faculty mentors on research ranging from engineering and medicine to the humanities, fine arts and social sciences, in some cases traveling world-wide (see below for more on where they went in recent years).

These projects introduce students to the rigors of academic research, build analytic skills and also help students find their own future path, whether it’s diving deeper into academics or taking their passion and applying it to other careers.

Research projects

Local summer school draws new teachers from Stanford

A summer school program draws newly credentialed teachers from the Stanford Teacher Education Program to help address the effects of the pandemic.

New Stanford project gets inside Voltaire’s mind

Stanford undergraduate Lena Zlock is developing a first-ever digital humanities study of Voltaire’s personal library, which contains over 6,700 books. She aims to make the library’s contents easily accessible and searchable online.

Student filmmakers go Hollywood

Stanford students were recently invited to a movie studio near Los Angeles to bring their screenplay to life.

Student politician goes cross-country

ASSU Senator Matthew Wigler, ’19, took a road trip last summer to America's swing districts to learn about the voters who reject partisanship in a time of great political polarization.

Humanizing robots with humor detection

Three computer science students created a bot that can detect humor in spoken language. The research garnered them an award at a recent conference in Singapore.

Senior examines effects of ancient artifacts on Sicilians’ identities

Throughout history, many groups, including ancient Greeks and Romans, have colonized the island of Sicily. Stanford senior Madeleine Ota researched how remnants of those classical civilizations affect the lives of local residents today.

War, clan structure explain odd biological event

Undergraduates Tian Chen Zeng and Alan Aw worked with Marcus Feldman, a professor of biology, to show how social structure could explain a genetic puzzle about humans of the Stone Age.

Collaboration leads to noteworthy findings about U.S. intelligence agencies

Two Stanford students worked with Amy Zegart, a national security and intelligence expert, this past summer examining U.S. intelligence agencies. Their work will be included in Zegart’s upcoming book.

National Geographic grant takes Earth Systems junior to the Amazon

Undergraduate Madeline Lisaius has pursued exploration in Ecuador since she started studying at Stanford as a freshman. Three years later, her ambitions are coming to fruition.

Sophomore examines how Italy became democracy after WWII

Italy, a previously fascist country, became a democracy shortly after World War II ended. That transition and the country’s 1948 election are still sources of debate, and led Stanford undergraduate Anatole Schneider to search for answers.

Epiphany in the fish lab

Studying the brains of fish led undergraduate Danielle Katz in an unexpected direction – a degree in mechanical engineering.

Iranian Studies Program cultivates student’s passion for history

As an undergraduate in the Iranian Studies Program, Anna Polishchuk translated top-secret documents from the Soviet Union as she researched the relationship between Iran’s pro-communist groups and the Soviets during the 1979 Iranian Revolution.

Keeping memories intact requires plenty of sleep

To find out what time of day is best for learning, undergraduate Meagan Shinbashi spent late nights in the lab giving memory tests to mice.

Breaking new ground with artificial rocks

Tim Anderson 3-D prints rocks — yes, rocks — to better illustrate how fluids move underground.

A new school approach to critiquing dime novel Westerns

Ellie Redding is tapping her computer science skills to uncover the literary brilliance of tales of the Old West.

Designing virtual reality to make real-world impacts

Sydney Maples and Max Spero build immersive virtual worlds to encourage empathy and change peoples' perspectives on climate change.

Exploring how hip-hop culture transforms young lives

As a Stanford senior, Kareem Alston learned specialized techniques used in social science research to prepare for – and conduct – an interview with the leader of an organization dedicated to building a more just and joyful world through the arts.

Searching for an ecological solution

A dam that brought fresh water to a Senegalese town also brought increased rates of a disease called snail fever. Undergraduate Olivia Cords was part of team investigating a possible ecological solution.

Unlocking the brain’s plasticity

Depressing but true: people are less able to form new brain connections as they grow older. Undergraduate Richie Sapp was part of a team whose research could make it easier for adults to learn, and possibly heal after brain injuries.

Medieval monsters live on today

Female monsters in medieval literature find new forms in modern movies, literature, comic books and music. Undergraduate student Rukma Sen is curious why those themes have such staying power.

Surveying abandoned gold-mining camps in the Alaskan wilderness

Stanford students Annalisa and Madelyn Boslough, experienced backcountry backpackers, followed the course of mountain creeks to hike to four camps where prospectors once mined the streambeds for placer gold.

Parent interviews reveal possible motivation for child marriage

Reducing rates of child marriage in India could improve the lives of girls. Undergraduate Garima Sharma spent a summer trying to understand why the practice persists.

Launching a rocket from a high-altitude balloon

Two Stanford aerospace majors won a research grant to push the limits of amateur high-altitude exploration using a scientific balloon and a custom-designed rocket.

Crisscrossing England to study medieval wood carvings

Christina E.C. Smith traveled to more than a dozen cathedrals in England to study medieval wood carvings depicting people, animals, hybrids and mythological creatures playing musical instruments, such as harps, fiddles and drums.