Select a field to read a short excerpt from the student's proposal.

Actions and Communications of Scientific Policy 

"...I will investigate how new scientific research impacts political actions and subsequently public understanding of advances or discoveries."

The Environment of Holistic Health

"...I propose to analyze how Austin hospitals currently provide health care and how they can increase inclusivity of psychological care during treatment of the physical ailment through biophilic architecture."

The Science of Creativity

"I will mainly look into analyzing the brain with brain mapping, a technique of correlating properties or capacities to different spatial representations of the brain. In such a progressive field, creativity has not been thoroughly explored yet. I will also consider environmental factors, historical perceptions of creativity, and psychological underpinnings of epiphanies, or sudden flashes of deep understanding. My main question is: What influences creativity?"

Marketing and Nutrition Education

"According to a research study published by Princeton University, the obesity epidemic is at its highest rate in history and these rates are highest in ethnic minority and low-income households . . . I hope to learn about lower-income community economics, education, and marketing to understand why this epidemic impacts lower-income neighborhoods and how we can allay childhood obesity."

The Algorithms of Chaos

"...I propose to describe the algorithms used to analyze chaotic systems (e.g., unpredictable weather systems) and to assess their strengths, weaknesses, and applicability."

The Hierarchy of Food

"The questions I’m trying to answer through this field are, 'What are the different biological factors that influence food culture in a society?,' and 'How can the rise of secularism be seen within a domestic aspect of society due to changes towards the expected duties of certain individuals concerning said domestic aspect of society?'”

Integrative Music Branding

"... I intend to study the influence of popular music in relation to culture and social technology, as well as the expanded role it plays in our everyday lives, especially those of millennials and iGens."

Incentivizing Ecological Restoration and Conservation

"...I propose to examine the most effective methods of motivating the public to be mindful of the environment and organisms around them to the maximum extent possible. This field will focus upon developing countries that are known to contain various forms of ecological devastation including deforestation, water pollution, carbon dioxide emissions, and biodiversity loss."

Art and Cognition

"...I will reveal the correlation between the birth of the field known as 'Cognitive Sciences' and its influence on the artistic movements of the twentieth century time period."

The Philosophy of Competition

"...I propose to study the decisions that people make with respect to competition, cultural attitudes towards sports and games, and the way that sportsmanship and fair play is viewed in these contexts."

Math of the Brain

"... I propose to mathematically examine sources of neuronal inefficiencies, or 'noise.' I hope to help further characterize the sources of this unreliability within the brain."

Reverse Engineering Progress

"...I propose to examine through a historical lens how certain periods of world history marked by significant advances in science and technology formed, lasted, and eventually ended."

An Explanation for Darkness

"One of the questions I’m interested in answering is what net impact religion holds on the institution of scientific practice..."

The Progression of Christianity in Asia

"My interdisciplinary field . . will investigate how a country’s culture and social structure contributes to the development of Christianity. I will examine the beliefs and traditions and compare them to the doctrines and practices of currently prevalent Christian denominations in Korea and Vietnam."

Hope in Cancer

"Although a particular connection between hope and cancer . . . remains uncertain, a recent study has revealed that having a positive attitude prompts a biological response in human bodies..."

Media and Political Opinion

"Questions I hope to answer are: What tactics do media outlets employ to convince people to change their opinion? How much does the media contribute to political polarization in the US? How can the effects of fake news and media bias be mitigated?"

The Prophet’s Psyche

"...I will study prophets of the biblical Old Testament to examine the psychological effects of a relational faith in God..."

Science in Political Agendas

"...I intend to research the interplay between STEM disciplines and government, specifically in regards to how pro-science policy comes into being."

Drug Addiction and Stigma

"Mental illness is already highly stigmatized, but how does that stigma change when addiction is in the picture? The Medical Council on Alcohol found that 'across most of the aspects of stigmatization examined, people suffering from alcohol dependence (and from other addictions) are particularly severely stigmatized.'”

Sports Psychology in the Development of Children

"My interdisciplinary field of study . . . will study the impact of various sports on the cognitive, social, and physical development of elementary school kids. The field will explore the relationship of group dynamics in different sports in America and how middle-school-aged kids are affected."

Policy and the Modern City

"...[H]umans shape their environment and the environment equally shapes its humans. I want to study this interaction to see how humans choose to plan cities and how this planning in turn changes the people in these urban environments."

The Toll of Immigration on Mexican American Children

"I will first investigate the negative stigma surrounding immigration and how this has led to the current immigration policies in the United States. An in-depth historical approach to the history of U. S. immigration will be necessary to answer the first main question in my field. With this information, I will answer my field’s second main question: How does immigration affect the mental health and educational success of citizen-children with undocumented parents?"

Motherhood: Competency, Outcomes, and Social Pressure

"...I plan to explore not only what parenting behaviors on the part of mothers lead to the best long-term outcomes for children, but how these behaviors align with what society deems to be best parenting practices."

Asian Americans in Anti-Racist Activism

"The motivation behind creating this field lies in the way the model minority myth is used to hinder alliances between Asian American and other minorities..."

Architecture of the Mind

"...I will study consciousness and its neural correlates to better understand the relationship between the physical brain and the intangible human experience."

Alternative Datasets in the Modern World

"For the first time in human history, there is both enough collected data on human behavior and enough computational power thanks to developments in distributed systems and cluster computing that we as a species finally have the opportunity to find solutions to the world’s most elusive problems. However, our mathematical models are lagging behind the complex relationships and behaviors we are able to observe..."

The Psychology of Wall Street

"...I would like to explore the psychological principles that underlie the financial sector in the United States, on both the side of traders and the public, and to see if and how knowledge of these principles can be used to improve trading strategies."

The Resistance to Sustainable Development

"I hope to study the personal relationship and internalized belief systems that affect one’s opinion with regard to environmental issues; looking through the lens of ethics and theology, I hope to explain the paradox of individual detachment despite knowledge of the magnitude of the crisis."

Quantitative Finance Revisited

"I want to bring in ideas from behavioral economics, psychology, and probabilistic areas of math and see how the predictions of these [financial] models change after tweaking some parameters..."

Efficiency and Design in Healthcare Systems

"I aim to study clinical settings to see how effective the use of electronic medical records (EMR) or other resources are in consolidating patient information to create an efficient, patient-focused environment."

Culture: Its Role in the Spread of Disease


"When looking at how certain infectious diseases are propagated in a population, common components such as human interaction and food consumed are important factors. Thus, cultural norms of these types could have some relatedness to the spread of diseases."


Mind, Body, and Soul: Exploring Spirituality as the Missing Component in Holistic Patient Care

"As patients and their families navigate the turbulent realm of serious illness and dying, questions of meaning, purpose, or an after-life may arise which transcend the scope of science and medicine, yet touch the very heart of their existence. For many patients, spirituality provides the foundation that supports their ability to cope with the challenges of declining health."

Health Care in the U.S.-Mexico Border

"I propose to examine how socio-economic and cultural factors affect health throughout the U.S.-Mexico border region, including prevention, treatment, and accessibility."

Human Resilience in Academia throughout the 21st Century

"I propose to examine how certain qualities and social constructs affect an individual's ability to succeed in academia, specifically in terms of college completion rates."

The Ethnography of Community Health Disparities

"I plan to use oral histories, personal interviews and community immersion (Ethnography) to investigate inequities in resource distribution and access (spatial and economic disparities) as well as inequities in education (educational disparities) within the context of community healthcare outcomes, specifically the prevalence of obesity and diabetes."

Positive Body Image Promotion through Non-Traditional Theatre Education

"By writing a one-act play that contains subject matter dealing with issues of nutrition and health, body image, and self-confidence, I seek to study the psychological and educational impact on the students portraying the characters that grapple with these issues."

The Aid of Art Therapy in Bridging Social Cues

"I propose to examine the social gaps that exist for patients diagnosed with neurological disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, ASD. I am interested in how sketching facial expressions and other body movements can be utilized as a method of therapy to help limit the misreading of social cues among conversations in patients."

Virtue as a Skill

"I propose to consider if virtue can indeed be thought of as a skill that can be developed, and if it is, how it can be done. By virtue, I mean qualities such as compassion, empathy, and altruistic love."

Environmental Photojournalism

"I propose to explore how seeing human impact on the environment can help in believing and understanding that we play a significant role in the natural world, as well as how we can improve our interactions with the environment."

Identity in Child Development

"By studying the psychology of childhood development and how the family plays a role in identity, I believe that associations can be made to explain how children form a sense of identity at a young age."

Computers and Medicine in the 21st Century

"How can computers assist in making treatment decisions? How will the physician's role change working alongside computers in the future? Will physicians, as we currently understand them, be necessary when computers determine 'what is best'? If so, how will patients react to the idea of computers making treatment decisions?"

Environmental Sociology

"...I strive to understand society’s relationship with the environment. By environmental relationships, I mean how humans have utilized the environment for survival, as well as cultural development and human advancement over time..."

Rhetoric of Climate Change

"...I propose to examine the different types of language that are used when talking about climate change and how they affect the responses of individuals. By 'rhetoric,' I refer to language used by both sides: how scientists, politicians, and journalists use words, tone, and diction to persuade various audiences about climate change and necessary action, and also how denialists and skeptics use language to confuse, raise doubts, and minimize the urgency of the situation."

The Biotechnology Conundrum

"My field will investigate biotechnology’s potential to shape a society by identifying the risks, benefits, and burdens it poses. And I’ll examine the most vexing question of biotechnology: whether its practical benefits—protecting our environment, helping us feed the malnourished, even reducing human suffering—outweigh the risks of this unprecedented power over nature, including the possibilities for bioterrorism and other catastrophic abuses of science."

Rural Science Education through Social Media

"In 2007, the US Department of Education reported that only 69% of rural schools offer AP courses, compared to 93% of urban schools. This does not even take into account the number of advanced courses offered by the school..."

Healing through Words

"... I propose to learn to what extent narrative medicine can improve the experience of medical treatment and whether adapting it to include symbolic written narratives could be beneficial..."

Religious Culture: Class, Culture, and Politics

"The main question I seek to answer in this inquiry is how much religion actually matters in religious conflict. Do genuine theological differences serve as the primary motivation, or do issues such as class conflict, questions of political autonomy, and cultural tensions do more to incite violence?"

Democracy in the Arab World

"...I am interested in what causes democratic institutions to thrive or fail in developing countries. I intend, thus, for this inquiry to result in a comparative approach with which I can infer conclusions about democracy in the developing world as a whole..."

Sexualities in Education

"How do LGBTQ+ students and non-LGBTQ+ students create their conceptions of gender and sexuality based on classroom interactions from middle school through post-secondary education? How do the experiences of LGBTQ+ students and non-LGBTQ+ students in the classroom compare, and what factors influence these similarities and differences?"

Communication of Science through Fiction

"...I would like to identify what elements of sci-fi storytelling appeal to a broad audience. How can the value of science in society be communicated in fiction, and can the same persuasive methods be transferred to nonfiction entertainment? Even if the audience understands this value in the context of the story, can the message translate to improved public understanding in the real world?"

Latino Mental Health

"Latinos in the United States, especially adolescents, have among the highest rates of depressive symptoms, including the highest rates of suicidal behavior. According to a Surgeon General’s report, however, only 20% of Latinos with symptoms of a psychological disorder consult a doctor, and even fewer, 10%, speak to a mental health specialist..."

Obesity and Nutrition in American Hispanics

"...I plan to investigate how sociological, economic, and environmental conditions impact the nutritional choices and prevalence of overweight persons of Latino descent. Understanding how cultural differences, income, and the environment of residential areas affect dietary habits is necessary to developing effective strategies to alleviate the high rates of overweight and obese individuals."

Gender Inequality in Math, Engineering and Physics

"...I propose to identify what discourages women from pursuing degrees in engineering, math and physics. My research will focus on the influences of gender socialization and gender stigma in the United States today..."

Complementary and Integrative Healthcare in America

"According to one study, physicians spend only 27% of their day in direct clinical face time with patients and of that face time with patients, only roughly 50% of it is spent in conversation with patients. What if there were a different approach, one that both encouraged physicians to spend more time learning about the complex medical history and issues of their patients and that empowered patients to actively participate in their healthcare?"

Reproductive Health in the Developing World

"What are the specific factors that prevent women from accessing modern contraceptives in the developing world? In addition, how effective are methods by governments and NGOs to improve this access and knowledge? What factors make implementing a new technology, such as oral contraceptives, difficult? To what degree should culture and poverty determine appropriate methods?"

Epidemiology and Its Role in Culture

"...I propose to examine how the spread of diseases affectsthe various aspects of the development of art and culture in societies throughout history."

Big Data Analytics in the Gaming Industry

"...I propose to explore prosperous enterprises in the video game industry with a particular focus on big data."

Mental Health of Global Medical Professional

"...I propose to examine the vulnerable mental health of global medical professionals such as certified doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who work in traumatic environments."