Undergraduate Research Internship Program

How to Apply

The application form is a mixture of short and long answer questions. You will be asked to enter an up-to-date resume and indicate the projects in which you have the greatest interest. Note that additional research projects can be added within the month of March.

Applications are on a rolling basis. We will start reviewing the initial round of applications on March 15th. All applications are due by midnight (Pacific Standard Time) on Monday, April 1st.

Go to application portal

Note: If you have previously interned at CESTA and would like to intern with us again, please submit a new application. The application form will ask about your previous experience with CESTA.

The Undergraduate Research Internship program empowers students to apply technologies across the Humanities and Social Sciences in ways that enhance our understanding of the world. Given that there are two opportunities to apply for the Summer 2024 program (in Fall quarter, and now) applications are reviewed on a rolling basis. The final deadline for full consideration is April 1, 2024.

The Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) cultivates research at the intersection of computing, design, and the humanities. The Center utilizes digital and computational methods to investigate cultural records, objects, and historical phenomena through space and time. CESTA projects explore the history of technologies, preserve, explain, and analyze the written and artistic records of peoples across the world, and bring new life to the stories of individuals who helped build modern institutions.

The Undergraduate Research Internship provides opportunities for undergraduates to work on these projects part-time throughout the academic year, and full-time during the summer internship program. Through structured research training, experimentation with cutting-edge technologies, and faculty mentorship, students develop valuable academic and professional skill sets. Work on lab projects allows students to apply their developing expertise in data science, GIS, and web development in tandem with humanities skills in critical thinking, creative problem-solving, and ethical decision-making.

You can read about the experiences of recent interns in CESTA's 2023 Research Anthology.

Fundamentals of the Program

For 2024 Summer quarter, we are offering one-quarter full-time internships. All CESTA internships are in-person and require your presence on campus for the entirety of summer quarter. 

Summer 2024

  • June 26 through September 1, 2024 (10 weeks)
  • Full-time commitment (40 hours per week)
  • Regular in-person program sessions at CESTA (meetings with the full cohort of interns)
  • Full-time interns will work in-person in the CESTA space, and there will be a program of social events and activities

All research interns are compensated for their participation in the program. Compensation can take the form of stipend or hourly pay. Interns will receive information about their specific arrangement in their offer letters. Students who qualify for Federal Work-Study awards in 2023-24 should let us know about their eligibility at the time that they apply. Students offered positions supported by VPUE stipends are required to complete a Student Contract prior to participating in our program. 

For more information, check out our frequently asked questions!

Research Projects Available for Summer 2024

Ars Mercatoria Project

Merchant textbooks were exchanged for centuries in Western Europe (especially Low Countries, France and Italy) and included various types of information, including, but not limited to, describing the ideal of the profession and their desired qualities, economic information including which goods could be found in which city (and at which rates), social and institutional information (e.g., what are the institutions and customs of trading in different places), and arithmetic and book-keeping skills. Historical scholarship has only scratched the surface of the rich and diverse information. The Ars Mercatoria Project builds on the catalog of merchants’ manuals of the same name, covering thousands of manuals over the time period 1470-1700. This project aims to sketch a better understanding of the knowledge that was deemed worth circulating -in print- by a professional community.

The project’s intern will focus on tracking down the manuscripts catalogued in the Ars Mercatoria (which has already been digitized) to build up a version of the dataset that will allow for content analyses, and run preliminary analyses on the metadata available about the manuals (e.g., printing locations, authors, date, editors), including generating visualization to describe the dataset. The intern should have a taste for bibliographic work, and skills to work with large archival data and/or data visualization. Linguistic skills in (old) Dutch, Italian, French or German are a plus.

Early Cape Travelers

The early colonial Cape of Good Hope was subject to a large number of travel accounts by Europeans, roughly 1488 to 1900. For all the obvious ethnocentrism of their colonial gaze, they are historically valuable in that they contain unique information, including natural history, ethnography and topography. Many of the key texts have been edited with commentary and translation by Historical Publications of South Africa (HiPSA), formerly known as the Van Riebeeck Society; others await high-quality new editions and translations. While the HiPSA volumes typically contain basic maps, the aim of our project is create high-quality digital maps for as many itineraries as possible. Our team has already developed a prototype on the basis of 1780s travelogues by Hendrik Swellengrebel and Francois le Vaillant, originally written in Dutch and French respectively. We are eager to expand our coverage. Once we have mapped a critical mass of these texts with ArcGIS, we will able to detect broader geographical patterns beyond any one journey, including the persistence of certain routes over time and divergences therefrom. Furthermore, a fuller cartography of the area will allow comparison with indigenous knowledge systems contained in naming practices, for which considerable toponymic data exists. In this project we'll use English translations of selected travel journals to map and ultimately aggregate their itineraries. Prior knowledge of ArcGIS, of Southern African history/archaeology, or of early modern travel writing would be an advantage but none is required.

Expanding the Discipline of English Language Arts

The goal of this project is to expand the way English Language Arts (ELA) is taught in U.S. high schools. Many ELA teachers want to expand their practice to prepare students for the kinds of literary and language engagement they might encounter in college or in their everyday, out-of-school lives. but they need knowledge, resources, and authority to do so. We want to provide some of those things by doing a content analysis of hundreds of high school ELA course descriptions and comparing those with college English course descriptions, asking:

  • What subjects do those courses explore?
  • What kinds of texts do they invite students to read?
  • What kinds of skills do they demand?
  • What kinds of products do they ask students to create?
  • How do they represent the value of ELA?

Undergraduate interns will join our team of faculty and grad students to use computational text analysis and data visualization tools to compare and represent the data in different ways. If you're interested in ELA, curricula, making high school better, and data visualization, this could be a great project for you.

Human Rights-based Accountability Framework for Halting Government Hacking Abuses

The project "A human rights-based accountability framework for halting government hacking abuses" aims to look into contemporary public policy and industrial and technological tendencies that surround "government hacking" activities. This practice encompasses the use of hacking technologies, such as spywares, by intelligence and law enforcement authorities in order to gather data for intelligence activities and the prosecution of criminal activities. The other side of the phenomenon is, first, the lack of appropriate legal frameworks for the use of very privacy and security-intrusive surveillance tools (such as legal basis, proportionality and security assessments, as well as institutional oversight) in the majority of countries; second, the expanding industry of the exploitation of vulnerabilities in commercially available connected systems, such as encrypted private communications platforms and operational systems; and third, human rights violations that range from privacy, freedom of expression, opinion, and assembly, and even the physical integrity of those monitored by such technologies.A great number of scandals involving public authorities using hacking tools to surveil citizens have been vocalized by civil society and press vehicles in several countries by organizations such as Citizen LabForbidden Stories, Amnesty International, and The Intercept, to name a few. At the same time, the theme was topic of an European Parliament Public Inquiry, which just published its final report. The topic is "moving target", currently in full progress, and its legal development will shape future landscapes over the protection of civil society liberties worldwide. 

Two deliverables will be produced during the project: a capacity-building workshop and a policy paper based on recommendations for the Latin American region, looking at study cases, so far, in Brazil, El Salvador, and Mexico. Secondarily, it will collect legal and political understandings of case laws in Europe (especially Germany), and the U.S. The second deliverable will conduct qualitative research and will rely on papers produced by scholars and civil society organizations, media coverage on the theme, and legal thesis developed within lawsuits that are currently defying the use of spywares by states. The internship will assist the work of the mentioned research. Spanish or Portuguese skills would be an additional asset, but not required.

Geo-mapping African Studies at Stanford

Stanford has numerous faculty and students working in various African countries. These engagements take the form of fellowships, internships, study abroad trips, research trips, etc. We would love to build an interactive database, geomap, that includes as many of these individuals/projects as possible as a way to streamline information about Africa-centered research/work. We imagine that one could click on any given 'pin' and it would provide the person's name, project, and any other relevant information.The student who serves as the intern would need to research Stanford's website to locate what Africa-related projects are in existence. The student may also have to make direct contact with department, center and program administrators to make sure we have comprehensive data. The student will also build the geomap for us.

Know Systemic Racism (KSR)

Know Systemic Racism, the creation of Felicia Smith, Stanford’s inaugural Racial Justice and Social Equity Librarian, aims to “humanize the harm” against Black people in California by focusing on interconnections of discriminatory systems that have been shaped by racist policies and practices of individuals and institutions across centuries. Felicia Smith is collaborating with Nicole Coleman, Digital Research Architect for the Stanford University Libraries and Research Director for Humanities+Design at CESTA.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Digital Project

The mission of the Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute is preserve and promote the work and legacy of MLK. We are currently working on a unique project: making our archival holdings of MLK, one of the most iconic individuals of the 20th century, accessible online to a 21st century public. The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr. project began in 1985,  It is a comprehensive collection of King's most significant correspondence, sermons, speeches, published writings, and unpublished manuscripts. Seven volumes (documented 1929 to 1962) have been published with some content available online and the 8th is in the works. Each volume contains approximately 180 documents.  They have become essential reference works for researchers and have influenced scholarship about King and the movements he inspired.  However, these large books are pricey and not accessible to all.  We intend to build a searchable database and accompanying website that would enable scholars and the public to access, analyze, and learn from the published and unpublished works, writings, and wisdom of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Modernist Archives Publishing Project (MAPP)

MAPP or The Modernist Archives Publishing Project (modernistarchives.com) is a critical digital archive of early 20th-century publishing history. With rich metadata, the site displays, curates, and describes the often invisible or overlooked material documents that contribute to public understanding of the “life cycle” of a book, its production, reception and distribution. MAPP also uncovers the unheralded industry actors—editors, illustrators, reviewers, printers—who bring works into the public eye. Our collection contains thousands of images from archives and special collections relating primarily to Virginia and Leonard Woolf’s Hogarth Press—letters, dust jackets, financial records, paper samples, illustrations, sketches, production sheets, and other “ephemera”—but we are actively expanding into other presses, with the long term goal of building the infrastructure currently lacking in book historical studies to engage a comprehensive comparative landscape of 20th-century book publishing. We are a multi-layered networked digital archive: for instance, newly digitized materials are presented with peer-reviewed summaries, biographies, bibliographical information, and other scholarly materials. A major project within MAPP on booksellers and bookselling in interwar Britain, including the global circulation of modernist literature, includes a a large-scale transcription and data analysis project detailing all sales and purchasing records of the Hogarth Press. This work marks the first comprehensive quantitative and cultural historical project on the totality of a press’s sales history in modernist studies. CESTA research assistants have been pivotal to the transcription, analysis, and data visualizations of these rare historical documents over the past five years and continue to facilitate otherwise impossible to pursue research.

Oceanic Imaginaries

Ocean worlds make up more than 70% of our planet’s surface and tie together sprawling histories of migration, global capital, and environmental change. In an age of rising sea levels and rapidly heating ocean basins, the imperative to think expansively with the ocean across disciplines, mediums, historical periods, and geographical regions is more urgent than ever. Serving as a creative commons for a wide range of specialist ocean projects currently underway at Stanford, Oceanic Imaginaries spotlights both the rigorous specificities and the transdisciplinary scopes of ocean research through interactive ocean maps, curated bibliographies, and open-access resources.


OpenGulf (opengulf.github.io) is a transdisciplinary, multiinstitutional research group analyzing historical texts produced in the Arabian Peninsula, Iran and Iraq from the early nineteenth century to the present. The various projects associated with OpenGulf publish open historical datasets, corpora and digital exhibitions with the aim of opening the field of Gulf Studies to digital historical exploration, analysis and interpretation in the service of open research and pedagogy. Currently, OpenGulf includes six projects with students, faculty and staff at eight institutions actively contributing content including analysis of Arabic, Ottoman Turkish, Persian and English texts, interdisciplinary analysis of multilingual restaurant menus in the Persian Gulf, and close and distant readings of an expansive British gazetteer of the region that includes mapping over 20,000 unique named locations. During the 2023-34 academic year, CESTA interns will focus on the Historical Texts as Data project of OpenGulf, which follows a general three-step workflow: preparing historical texts in various media formats and languages for digital analysis; extracting and annotating names of people and places in those texts to create reusable structured data; and creating and publishing visualizations and narratives derived from those datasets. Depending on language ability, CESTA interns may also contribute to transcriptions of handwritten Ottoman-era Arabic texts to training data for a handwritten text recognition model using the Transkribus platform. Students with language abilities in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, French or German are particularly encouraged to apply, although such abilities are not a prerequisite for work on the project.

Oral History Text Analysis Project (OHTAP)

The Oral History Text Analysis Project (OHTAP) has developed an original methodology for data mining the rich but untapped collections of digitized transcripts of women’s oral histories housed in university libraries and other collections across the United States. OHTAP has created a database of 2500 transcripts from diverse regions and groups and developed a subcorpus extraction tool called Winnow. The current study asks whether and how the interviewed women named, remembered, and interpreted forms of sexual violence. Our project combines quantitative and qualitative analysis to understand which women spoke about sexual violence; what language narrators used to describe assault, abuse, and harassment; how responses to violence changed over time and across groups; and what historical contexts enabled resistance and activism concerning sexual violence. We seek a student intern to support further data analysis of our results, to explore our data for new topics, and to help manage our data set. A background in data science, history, qualitative encoding, data cleaning, or R programming language would be useful.

Ottoman Fiscal Codex

The "Ottoman Fiscal Codex" project is an ambitious research initiative exploring the complex financial and political networks of the Ottoman Empire between 1750 and 1850, through the detailed analysis of the fiscal codex MAD 9726. Our work involves building a relational database to uncover intricate connections among actors, networks, and financial systems, utilizing unique Ottoman accounting techniques. This project not only aims to provide new insights into the economic history of the Ottoman Empire but also to refine digital humanities methodologies. 

As an intern, you will be deeply involved in various phases of this project, ranging from data preparation and analysis to database management and network analysis. Expectations include engaging in detailed manual data entry, categorizing and structuring unstructured data, assisting in building relational database tables, and contributions to the network analysis. You will also contribute to defining inter-table relationships and transforming research questions into SQL queries, a process that requires critical thinking and precision. Ideal candidates should have a strong interest in historical research, digital humanities, and data management, and be willing to engage with complex, multi-step research processes. This internship offers a unique opportunity to contribute to groundbreaking research and develop valuable skills in historical data analysis and digital research methodologies.

Reimagining Royal Space: The Qilij Arslan II Kiosk in Konya as a Case Study for the Digital Reconstruction of Islamic Architecture

The remains of the royal kiosk atop one of the northern towers of the wall around the citadel in Konya was one the few medieval Islamic palatial structures from the wider Iranian world to survive into the age of photography. The building was photographed extensively in the late 19th century, and throughout the 20th, with the pre-1907 images being the most valuable, as they show details of the now lost upper structure. This project aims to reimagine and reconstruct the original appearance of the kiosk, and a newly excavated structure to its west, using a combination of methodological and evidentiary approaches. The research is based on the close study of the earliest recorded drawings and photographs of the building, alongside the extant material remains in museums across the world, as well as the in-situ structural elements.

Senegalese Slave Liberations Project

The Senegalese Slave Liberations Project builds on the Slave Voyages Database, which has transformed the study of the trans-Atlantic slave trade by presenting the most comprehensive collection of individual slave trade voyages and the most complete set of evidence of African ports of embarkation and American ports of disembarkation. The Slave Voyages Database, however, tells us virtually nothing about slavery and the slave trade within Africa. The Senegalese Slave Liberations Project provides a crucial counterpart to the Slave Voyages project in presenting evidence of slavery and the slave trade in the Senegambian, Mauritanian, and Malian region of West Africa during the second half of the 19th century. Specifically, registers of liberation have survived as records of enslaved people under French colonial authority who sought their freedom. The project team is working to provide unique identifications for each case of liberation, analyze the data, and develop visualizations to support academic research and innovative pedagogy. Of the 28,000 liberations registered for the years 1857-1904, the team has already analyzed over 17,000 cases. They are framing how to build an interactive website that would facilitate the use and exploration of data by researchers and students. The SLP team including interns have already published one article, two more in the pipeline --including a high school world history curriculum unit-- will be presenting new findings at an international conference in London, and working on new publication exploring the demographic profile of enslaved people seeking their liberation.

Syriac Verb Tutorial Project

Most early Christian literature was written in one of three languages: in Greek, in Latin, or in a dialect of Aramaic called Syriac. Between the second and tenth centuries CE the last of these languages, Syriac, was the lingua franca of the late ancient Middle East. There are about ten million modern Christians, from what is modern day Eastern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Southern India, and now in diaspora that trace their lineage to the ancient Syriac churches. But because of its focus on more western branches of Christianity, there are only a handful of modern scholars who are able to read this important language of pre-modern Christianity. So, too, there are very minimal pedagogical resources for teaching or learning this endangered language. For example, although there are a few textbooks on first year Syriac, there isn’t a single textbook for intermediate or advanced study. This has become particularly problematic in the teaching and learning of Syriac’s complicated verbal system. Currently most students of Syriac simply try to memorize large charts of verbal paradigms. But as there is not a single workbook or other resource by which to drill and reinforce one’s knowledge of Syriac verbs, this remains an ineffective system of study and instruction. At the end of Summer’23 the first stage of the Syriac verbal tutorial project was completed (see SyriacVerbTutorial.org). It allows those teaching Syriac as well as those studying the language to quickly produce custom-designed worksheets that can either be printed out (alongside an answer key) or answered and automatically corrected on-line. For the very first time, it allows graduate students at Stanford, scholars at other university, and worldwide heritage communities to better learn the Syriac verbs thus much more quickly and effectively increase their proficiency of this important ancient language. For this Summer I am seeking an intern with strong Python skills who can 1) add some additional features to the current on-line tutorial and 2) begin the process of gamification. For this second task, the intern would look at a number of basic language games (that is, apps that help both native speaking children and foreign language learners build their reading proficiency), choose a few that might be appropriate models for the learning of Syriac verbs, and create a prototype of one or more of these that utilizes the verbal database assembled last summer. The goal would be to establish more interactive ways of learning Syriac verbs than simply worksheet drills, 3) to extend the project to also include vocabulary tutorials, also building on examples of gamification.

Truth in Fiction: the Discourse of Embedded Scientific Facts in Climate Fiction

Recently the rise of “climate fiction,” or “cli-fi” has demonstrated that fiction can be more effective in convincing a skeptical public of the necessity of immediate action than well-intentioned science communication. Given the complicated relationship of fiction to truth, it has become more urgent than ever to understand the ways in which novels are able to couch fact within the fabric of their fiction. When so much science communication studies has been concerned with false or misleading narratives about climate change, how do we grapple with deliberately false accounts that seek to spread pro-scientific messaging? Recent work on science communication has revealed models of language use that can differentiate between factual or misleading statements about climate change: how can such models help us understand truth claims embedded within an overtly false narrative This project will use similar computational methods to explore a corpus of recent cli-fi genre fiction comparing the kinds of truth claims that these novels make with both popular science writing and climate disinformation.

An undergraduate research intern, preferably with a background in the humanities, will learn new computational skills and contribute to this active project.

Using Data Visualizations to Help Students See Texts Differently in English Language Arts

The goal of this project is to introduce data visualizations and data analysis into English Language Arts classes, where data visualizations and analysis doesn't often show up. Our team of faculty and grad students is partnering with area middle schools to address long-standing student struggles with textual interpretation and analysis through data visualizations of novels, short story, poetry, and other texts. For example, we are designing a data visualization that will help students see how boys and girls are portrayed with different language in YA novels. Undergraduate interns will join our team to help design data visualizations that help middle school students think about how texts work. 

Visible Bodies

Where are the African female writers of the twentieth century? By highlighting the contribution of erased South African scholar-writer Regina Twala, this project addresses the critical issue of the invisibility of female authors within established canons of twentieth-century African literature, and it urgently seeks to remedy the extent to which women-authored bodies of work from this period continues to be lost, misplaced, forgotten, and ignored. An interdisciplinary team of historians, literary scholars, and archivists will create a critical digital archive displaying the key work of largely unknown 20th-century African female writers. The archive is aimed at scholars and the general public, especially emphasizing audiences on the African continent. Phase One of the project will digitize and curate the output of Regina Twala (1908-68), an important South African-Swazi politician and activist who wrote four manuscripts, none of which were published. We will offer valuable primary source material as a way of making Twala's legacy visible to both researchers and the general public.

Visualizing Ancient Aramaic Manuscripts

Early Christians wrote in three main languages: Greek, Latin, and—especially in what is now the Middle East—a dialect of Aramaic called Syriac. Approximately ten million modern Christians trace their lineage to the ancient Syriac churches. In the last century, Syriac Christians were the targets of a genocide during World War I, the chaos following the second Iraq war decimated their churches in Iraq, the civil war in Syria has been even more destructive to these communities. This has made it especially challenging for Syriac Christians to preserve their history, traditions, and patrimony. The challenge is compounded by the most important collection of early Syriac manuscripts remaining mostly undigitized and thus inaccessible to those who cannot travel to London. Stanford has recent dedicated funds to help digitize the British Library’s Syriac manuscripts. This will enable historians, liturgists, musicologists, and theologians—both those within the Syriac communities and those studying the tradition from outside—to finally have open access to the earliest witnesses to this ancient, but now endangered, tradition. 

As part of the project team, a summer intern will assemble and visualize the data that professors from Stanford, Yale, Harvard, and Princeton as well as scholars and theologians in the modern Syriac churches will together use to choose which manuscripts to initially digitize. The intern’s research will also help historians better understand the British Library manuscript collection as a whole and how it is similar and different from other surviving collections of ancient manuscripts. So, too, their data visualizations will become part of future grant applications. The intern will collate data from modern manuscript catalogues as well as from a database of endangered middle eastern manuscript. They will undertake literature reviews in manuscript studies and modern Syriac heritage communities. They will also work extensively with the software package Tableau to produce camera-ready data visualizations. There are no formal pre-requisites for the position. But applicants should be interested in the intersection between ancient history, modern communities, digital technologies, and data story telling.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do research interns do?

Research interns are matched with ongoing research projects led by faculty and graduate students, where they use their existing skills and/or learn new skills in order to contribute to current research in the digital humanities. Our interns join a vibrant cohort of Stanford undergrads from many majors and backgrounds in a supportive program that includes discussions and workshops on topics related to the digital humanities, as well as participation in a capstone publication—the CESTA Research Anthology.

In their project work, research interns engage in various phases of the research process, including traditional and archival research, finding data, creating databases, using computational methods of modeling and analysis, data visualization, and contributing to various forms of publication. For example, depending on the project a student is working on, they may:

  • Use GIS to quantify and map urban development over time
  • Visit library or digital collections to find relevant materials about the lived experiences of Chinese railroad workers
  • Build databases of European travelers to Italy in the 18th century
  • Transcribe medieval documents containing information such as spells, early medicinal remedies, and evidence of pagan elements that have persisted throughout the centuries
  • Develop interactive web platforms that allow users to visualize data sets

Though faculty develop the initial research questions and projects, students are active participants in research design and may contribute by challenging assumptions, suggesting alternative approaches, and posing new hypotheses.

To learn more about the kind of work research interns do, please explore our 2021 Research Anthology and view our brief Intern Spotlight videos on CESTA's YouTube channel: 

What kind of projects can I work on?

Our projects range from large multi-year, multi-faculty projects, with multiple interns, to more narrowly focused projects with a single faculty or graduate researcher and intern. All projects work with the CESTA team. Project openings vary as student availability and project status change. To learn more about ongoing projects, publications, events, and academic programs, explore our website at cesta.stanford.edu/projects-labs.

Projects committed to recruiting interns for the 2023 program are listed above, however this list may grow as other projects determine their support needs. Notably, the Digital Humanities Graduate Fellowship program will recruit a number of interns to work on graduate research projects in the Winter-Spring program.

What does the application process entail?

The application consists of a downloadable application form, a short statement of interest, and a resume, all of which are uploaded via our application portal. The downloadable application form will take less than an hour to complete and is intended to help us learn about your interests, availability, skills, and previous experience.

If you have previously interned at CESTA and would like to intern with us again, you are required to fill out a new application.

Information sessions held shortly after the application deadline will allow you to meet the CESTA team, see the CESTA workspace, and ask any questions about the program. They are also an opportunity for us to get to know you, so attendance is strongly encouraged.

What should my statement of interest include?

The statement of interest is an opportunity for you to tell us why you're interested in the program, what you hope to gain from it,  and what unique skills, interests or perspectives you will bring to our community. It should be 250-350 words long (approximately one typed page).

For students applying for the first time, we ask that you include:

  • Why you’re interested in this internship program and what you hope to gain
  • What you can offer to the program
  • A previous challenge you faced and how you responded
  • A summary of previous experience in research and/or collaborative tasks

For students who have interned with us before, we ask that you include:

  • Why you’re interested in participating in this program again and what you hope to gain
  • How this program helped you grow, develop, or learn
  • A challenge you faced during your previous participation in the program and how you responded at the time, and (optionally) how you would respond now

What makes a strong statement of interest?

A thoughtful and well-written statement of interest is an important component of your application. Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t summarize your resume. There is no harm in mentioning a particular accomplishment, but the majority of your statement should focus on explaining why you'd like to be part of this program and how you can contribute to our community.
  • Show, don’t tell. Make use of examples to show who you are as a student, researcher, and community member. Instead of telling us that you’re an effective collaborator, for example, tell us about a time you collaborated on a project and what you learned from the experience.
  • Follow instructions. We asked for a one-page response that covers specific points. Make sure that you submit a statement that meets those requirements, which might take a few drafts to get right! We recommend asking a peer, faculty member, or mentor to read through your statement before you submit it.

How does working for CESTA provide me with academic, research, and job experience?

While working on CESTA projects students gain valuable experience. Students have access to faculty, staff, and graduate student mentorship in addition to a great working space. CESTA provides a community and program that exposes students to relevant on campus tools, people, and resources. Students can gain experience working within their field or topic of interest, or gain experience outside of the realm of their major through project-based learning. Students also acquire new technical and conceptual skills. While working on these projects students are also practicing critical soft skills such as problem solving, communication, and time management.

What if I apply and am not hired?

Student demand for projects is high and there are limited positions available. However, students who are not immediately interviewed or placed on a project in the quarter in which they apply can be considered for additional projects as they become available.

With new projects being added every year, we also encourage students to re-apply in future, especially as particular interests and skills develop! 

If you have any questions about the application process or the program, please contact Dr. Chloe Edmondson (cmhse14 [at] stanford.edu ), Director of the Undergraduate Research Program. If you encounter any difficulties using this form, please email CESTA Programs and Research Coordinator, Eyup Eren Yurek (eeyurek [at] stanford.edu (eeyurek[at]stanford[dot]edu)). We wish you the best of luck with your application!