Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI)

The Undergraduate Research Summer Institute (URSI) began in the summer of 1986 to support collaborative student-faculty research in the sciences at Vassar. Each year, students spend ten weeks during the summer working with faculty members from the Departments of Anthropology, Astronomy, Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Earth Science, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology on research projects at Vassar and at other sites. Recent URSI students have studied the mass balance of chloride ion in the watershed of the Casperkill Creek that runs through Vassar’s campus; worked to develop an automated, analytical technique that scans shapes and identifies them; investigated globally declining amphibian populations by studying nutritive stress as an immunomodulator in the African clawed frog; analyzed tar samples from a fourth century BC Greek shipwreck; developed structure activity relationships with titanium tetrahydrosalen complexes in asymmetric catalysis; created musical artificial intelligence software that finds patterns in compositions to use in extending them; studied a geometric approach to the theory of orthogonal complements in finite-dimensional complex vector space; and researched word play riddle understanding during the elementary school years of children to figure out the reasons why children get better at choosing the funnier riddles. Information on the program and a complete listing of last summer’s projects is available on the URSI website.