Undergraduate Research Opportunities 

Through our Undergraduate Research Assistant program, the Program in Jewish Studies provides University of Colorado Boulder undergraduate students with opportunities to collaborate with faculty on cutting-edge research projects by asking new questions, producing new knowledge, and sharing their findings with diverse audiences.

Spring 2023 Research Assistant Projects

Applications are now open for the Spring 2023 semester. Students will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with a faculty member on one of the following projects, receiving a salary of up to $600 and presenting their work at a research showcase in April 2023.

Please send a one-page letter describing your interest in one of the three projects below, as well as any relevant background, to cujewishstudies@colorado.edu by December 6, 2022, at 5pm MT. All undergraduate students from the University of Colorado Boulder, from all backgrounds and majors, are eligible to participate in the program.

  • Are you interested in learning about the history of the Middle East? Do you want to work with archival documents from Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Lebanon, the United States and/or the United Kingdom? Would you like to learn more about why standardized testing became important globally? If so, come work with Dr. Hilary Falb Kalisman, Assistant Professor of History and Endowed Professor of Israel/Palestine Studies, on research relating to standardized testing in the Middle East. You will read through documents, writing summaries and reports as well as creating spreadsheets. Knowledge of English is sufficient. Reading knowledge of Arabic or Hebrew is preferred; coursework relating to education, history or the Middle East is helpful but not required.

  • Are you interested in Jewish music, klezmer, or musical modes beyond Western classical music and jazz?  Do you want to explore music theory in the context of world music traditions? Would you like to learn more about computational approaches to music, musical transcription, and oral traditions, or the empirical study of timing in musical performance? Are you interested in improvisation? If so, come work with Dr. Yonatan Malin, Associate Professor in the College of Music and Program in Jewish Studies on whichever of these topics is of most interest. This work is part of a wide-ranging research project that brings together archival sources, historical recordings, detailed music analysis, and conversations with musicians in the field.

  • ​Are you interested in contraception in the United States? Do you want to learn about how, before the 1970s, most American religious groups were in favor of contraception? Do you want to explore how, in the 1970s, some feminist groups started opposing contraception? Are you interested in how Catholics thought the Catholic Church would support the Pill—and why, in the end, it did not? Would you like to learn about why Jewish leaders, who had always supported birth control, started to change their minds? Do you want to explore why some feminists came to decide that the Pill was anti-woman or why some Black rights activists came to worry that the Pill was an attempt at genocide? If so, come work with Dr. Samira Mehta, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Women and Gender Studies, on whichever of these questions appeals to you most, using documents (mostly historical periodicals such as newspapers, women’s magazines, and religious magazines) to find answers to these questions.
  • Are you interested in the history of Sephardic Jews? Do you want to explore the experiences of women under the Spanish and Portuguese Inquisitions? Would you like to learn more about how we can gain access to the voices, lives, and choices of women in the medieval and early modern periods? If so, come work with Dr. Rebecca Wartell, Teaching Assistant Professor in the Program in Jewish Studies, on research recovering the experiences of Iberian women who faced persecution in the sixteenth century. You will analyze  summaries of Inquisition records in the National Archives in Lisbon (Torre de Tombo) online database, summarizing, exploring, and organizing data on the family lives and religious backgrounds of a wide range of women whose stories have long been neglected. Knowledge of English is sufficient, although reading knowledge of Portuguese is of course welcome.

These projects have been made possible by the generous support of donors to the Program in Jewish Studies.


2023 Undergraduate Research Showcase Presenters