UCLA Students: Join the Chemical Entanglements Undergraduate Group!

Contribute to CSW’s Chemical Entanglements research project and earn course credit

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, October 2, 2018

To apply: complete the online application form.

Applications will be evaluated as they are received. Interested students are advised to apply as early as possible.

The UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) is accepting applications from UCLA undergraduate students to enroll in 99 or 196/199 research units under CSW Director Rachel Lee during the Fall 2018 quarter. Depending on performance, students may be eligible to continue for additional quarters. We are particularly interested in students who are available for at least two quarters or the entire 2018-2019 academic year.

Students will participate in a project that contributes to CSW’s Chemical Entanglements and Share the Air research initiatives.

Students can sign up for 1-2 units per quarter under the following departments: English, Gender Studies, Asian American Studies, and Institute for Society and Genetics (students from any discipline may apply, however). We may consider students for 4 units but only in exceptional and extenuating circumstances.

Students must be in good academic standing and registered during each quarter you plan to be enrolled in research units. Students will be required to meet weekly as a group and conduct final presentations during Finals Week as part of the course.

Students will receive mentorship and guidance from CSW Staff, Graduate Student Researchers, and Faculty, and will be selected based on experience.

Past student projects have included a film, digital timelines, a campus-wide survey, and more. Students have also contributed posts to the Chemical Entanglements Blog. Read student work here!


Undergraduate researchers will contribute to one of the following projects:

 Oral Histories of Chemical Sensitivity and Environmental Illness

Undergraduate researchers will receive in-depth training on the practice of collecting oral histories and will assist CSW researchers in identifying and leading outreach to interviewees, conducting interviews, transcribing interviews, and writing narrative reports summarizing interviews. Interviews will focus on experiences with chemical sensitivity or other contested, environmental illnesses, as well as individual and group activist efforts to promote chemical safety and institutional change. Students are expected to meet weekly with a CSW advisor.

Qualifications for this Project 

  • In order to be considered for this project, students must commit for at least two consecutive quarters, with preference for those who commit to the entire 2018-2019 Academic Year.
  • Prior oral history and/or interview experience is highly desirable, but not a requirement
  • Strong independent research skills and familiarity with conducting library and internet research
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Experience or interest in conducting interviews
  • Ability to think quickly and critically
  • Attention to detail
  • Strong listening skills, high level of patience
  • Experience or interest in writing stories for diverse audiences
  • High level of discretion, integrity, and ability to handle confidential/sensitive materials

 Chemical Sensitivity Survey

Undergraduate researchers will assist in creating, disseminating, and analyzing surveys to assess the prevalence of chemical sensitivity and exposure-related illness among UCLA students, faculty, and staff. Surveys will evaluate how many UCLA community members experience sensitivity to fragrance and whether exposure presents a barrier to educational access and employment equity. Undergraduate researchers will identify sites for distributing surveys, conduct outreach, and assist in analyzing/interpreting data. Undergraduate researchers will develop skills to conduct in-person and online surveys and outreach, create online data-gathering tools, and use social media for recruitment. Students are expected to meet weekly with a CSW advisor and/or the survey team. Learn more about the survey project: https://csw.ucla.edu/cswresearch/survey-fragranced-products-on-the-ucla-campus/

Qualifications for this Project

  • Strong independent research skills
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Experience or interest in developing surveys and assessment scale
  • Experience or interest in statistics or data analysis
  • Experience or interest in using social media and other tools for outreach purposes
  • Experience or interest in using web-based survey software (ie: Survey Monkey)
  • High level of discretion, integrity, and ability to handle confidential/sensitive materials

Chemical History Timelines

Undergraduate researchers will compile detailed historical timelines using primary and secondary sources. Students will spend the majority of the quarter compiling resources to complete a robust timeline and annotated bibliography. The goal of the timeline is to create a detailed historical view of a topic related to chemical exposure or personal care and cleaning products. Students are expected to meet weekly with a CSW advisor. Strong independent research skills are a requirement. Students will be assigned a particular timeline topic. View examples of past timelines: https://csw.ucla.edu/chemical-histories.

Timeline topics for 2018-2019 may include the following:

  • Historical connections between scent/fragrance and racism
  • History of activism and consumer advocacy regarding chemical safety
  • History of fabric softener and dryer sheets

Qualifications for this Project 

  • Strong independent research skills and familiarity with conducting library and internet research
  • Strong written communication skills
  • Experience or interest in conducting archival research
  • Familiarity with critical race studies and theories of intersectional feminism
  • Attention to detail
  • Ability to read and summarize academic articles and books


It is expected that by the end of the quarter, students will have completed the following:

  1. Project Deliverable (students will complete one of the following, depending on assigned research project: Paper on preliminary survey findings, oral history interview, or annotated bibliography and timeline)
  2. 1000-word Blog Post to be published on the CSW website
  3. Final Presentation (to take place during Finals Week)


Complete the online application form at:


You will be asked to provide the following:

  • Brief Statement (3 paragraphs), with one paragraph on each of the following points:
    • Research interests: Why are you interested in working on this project?
    • Interest in the research project: What qualifies you to work this project? (Be as specific as possible and describe your past experiences)
    • Descriptions of specific research projects or research papers that you have completed
  • Resume/CV, highlighting relevant research/academic experiences/skills related to project(s) of interest
  • Unofficial UCLA transcript

APPLICATION DEADLINE:  Tuesday, October 2, 2018