Published: May 22, 2020 By
Alana Faller

Frustrated by the challenging jargon (specialized language) used in publicly-funded scientific research, Ally Faller, undergraduate English and TAM major, set out to design a set of tools to give academics valuable insight into their articles before publishing.

“My research,” Ally recalls, “was born out of the critical need to ease the tangled communication channels between lay-people and scientists.”  She hopes that bridging this gap helps people self-educate and become more deeply invested in urgent humanitarian issues.

With the support of UROP funding last summer, Ally designed an AI-powered graphic user interface to identify how readers might have difficulty understanding technical parts of academic articles while suggesting more accessible alternatives.

Ally worked with faculty mentor Katherine Mika, former Data Services Librarian, to develop the project, which introduced her to dozens of linguistic processing algorithms. “I think I learned more about coding in R last summer than in three previous courses.”  

The Lightbulb Moment

The Lightbulb Moment is a story series produced in coordination with CU Boulder's Strategic Relations and college-level communications offices in Arts & Sciences and Engineering & Applied Science that employs student videographers in all aspects of video production.

In these short stories, UROP invites students and faculty to reflect on their interests and experiences as they share the unexpected insights that have illuminated their paths—their "lightbulb moments."

In the video above, Ally reflects on her lightbulb moment for the Jargon Analysis Project.  The video was produced by undergraduate Jaret Anderson.

More Lightbulb Moment stories

About UROP

The Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) offers a range of flexible funding options for students and faculty at the University of Colorado Boulder to form partnerships for research, scholarly and creative projects in all majors and fields of study.  UROP's partner program PACE (Professional and Academic Conference Endowment) provides funding for undergraduates to present, perform or exhibit their work at conferences and exhibitions.

UROP also hosts outreach events and workshops with campus partners, supports institutional undergraduate journals, produces a regular video series with campus communications, and provides seed funding for units to design and scale innovative activities that engage their students in the academic and creative life of the university.

An active member of CU Boulder's LEAD Alliance, UROP is committed to working with campus partners to broaden participation by addressing deficits in non-STEM fields while clearing conceptual pathways and bridging equity gaps for underrepresented and underserved students—translating opportunity into engagement.

More About UROP