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Undergraduate Research

As a Mills student, you can conduct original research, write journal articles, and present at national conferences while working closely with faculty renowned in your field of interest. You can study what you want to do, and do what you study—it’s hands-on learning at its best.

Biology scholars can participate in a 10-week-long summer research experience under the mentorship of acclaimed science professors in the Jill Barrett Biology Research Program. This program offers first-hand opportunities to students with a variety of interests including genetics, animal behavior, and microbiology.

Chemistry students have investigated chemical reactions among ionic liquids working with Associate Professor Beth Kochly, publishing a paper in the Journal of Organic Chemistry. Students working with Kristina Faul, professor of geochemistry and environmental geology, presented work at the national meeting of the Geological Society of America and at the international American Geophysical Union conference. Other students had the opportunity to work on a recent grant project at a national laboratory with Professor Elisabeth Wade.

“I’m answering research questions that no one else has answered. That’s pretty exciting.”Kate Haughton ’15

Child development students can get hands-on experience in two areas of study:

  • Center for Play Research: Students explore the science of play (and a child’s right to it) while examining issues of equity, social justice, and cross-cultural and global perspectives on play.
  • Language Development Lab: Students dig into the social and linguistic influences that shape children’s communication skills from six months through six years of age. Studies range from how infants, toddlers, and young children develop one or multiple languages to how young children develop a sense of self.

Ethnic studies scholars can work with faculty to pursue original research in Bay Area communities of color. Recent student projects have included investigations into local residents’ perspectives on safety, food access for low-income African American mothers, and the impact of the emerging Latino vote.

Psychology students explore hands-on work through three areas of study:

  • Cognition Lab: Research includes behavioral experiments to examine the underlying cognitive mechanisms that constitute age-related changes in memory. Current research studies examine the effects of age, culture, weight consciousness, and circadian arousal on emotional and flashbulb memory.
  • Early Childhood and Family Research Lab: Research focuses on infants and children’s early social and emotional development in the context of family, community, and culture. The research team studies the development in children and families during the formative years of pregnancy through age five.
  • Social Psychology Lab: Research includes experiments and other types of investigations on social psychology and personality. Current investigations examine topics in positive psychology and LGBT issues, aging attitudes and anxiety, religion and physical activity, intergroup relations and prejudice, and attributions about consumer purchases.