Summer Research - University of Houston
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George "Trey" Pharis Fellowship Program

The George “Trey” Pharis Fellowship Program provides undergraduate students with opportunities to conduct research projects focused on the application of data science principles and techniques to improve understanding of social determinants of health (SDoH) within Houston communities. Students work in small teams with guidance from faculty and staff from the Data & Society program and in consultation with the University of Houston Community Health Worker Initiative (CHWI). Through these connections, students will have opportunities to interact and learn directly from CHWs embedded in Houston’s Third Ward and East End communities and to contribute building blocks to ongoing faculty research projects. The Pharis Fellowship Program is sponsored by the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Data Science Institute.

 

  • Program Details

    Structure

    • The Pharis Fellowship Program is a full-time research experience completed over a 10-week period during the summer. Summer Dates: May 30 - August 5
    • Fellows will receive a $6,000 program stipend paid in two installments.
    • The program is offered in a 50/50 hybrid format.
      • Fellows must be able to attend face-to-face three days each week at the UH Main Campus during the day (9am-5pm). Face-to-Face days: Monday, Wednesday, Friday (afternoon only)
      • Fellows will also participate in online seminars, meetings, and working sessions during the rest of the week. We will use MS Teams as our primary online platform.
    • Participation in a Pharis Fellowship is generally not compatible with additional outside employment or summer coursework, but students interested in a Pharis Fellowship are encouraged to discuss specific circumstances with the program committee.

    Products

    The overarching goal of the program is for each fellow to conceptualize a research project and develop it as far as they are able during the 10-week program. A key feature of the Pharis  program is the freedom fellows have to self-direct thier work within broad areas related to the application of data science to in healthcare and the social determinants of health. Through partnerships with UH research centers, local governments, Houston area non-profits, and private businesses, Fellows have access to large-scale and restricted use datasets on a variety of topics including healthcare, education, criminal justice, and the environment. 

    Fellows are expected to produce at least two scholarly publications or presentations for external audiences based on work conducted during the program. The two required products are (1) a complete draft of a poster suitable for submission to the UH Undergraduate Research Day, and (2) a presentation as part of a thematic panel at the Data & Society Summer Symposium.

    In addition, students will prepare and submit intermediate products (e.g. conceptual model, project prospectus) and make a series of short informal presentations (e.g. lightning talks) for internal audiences.

  • Program Activities

    Activities

    Much of the activity (50% or more) takes place independently or in small teams of students working on the same or similar projects, and scheduling for this work is flexible.

    To support and guide this work, fellows will attend 15-20 hours of organized meetings, seminars, and working sessions each week. Time spent in structured meetings is higher during the early weeks of the program. Examples of structured program activities include:

    Activity

    Timing

    Description

    Organizational Meetings

    1-hour meetings
    2-3 times/ week

    Organizational meetings to make announcements, discuss scheduling, share general feedback and discussion

    Seminars

    1-hour meetings
    2-3 times/ week

    Guest speakers on various topics (e.g. projects, datasets, analysis techniques, visualization tools)

    Skill Courses

    3 hours/ week
    Weeks 1-5

    Courses on technical skills offered through the Data Science Institute or other partners

    Reading/ Discussion Groups

    3 hours /week

    Student-led small group discussions on topics of interest to the group

    SURF Seminars

    1-hour/ week
    Wednesdays

    Seminars offered by the SURF program on general research and academic career topics.

    One-on-one meetings

    1-hour / week &
    More as needed

    One-on-one meetings with mentors

    Project Sessions

    5 hours /week

    Small group working sessions with project group members and/or fellows working on similar topics.

    Weekly Symposium

    2 hours/ week
    Fridays

    Internal project presentations and feedback sessions

     

  • Eligibility and Applications

    • All undergraduate students at University of Houston are eligible to apply regardless of major or college affiliation.
    • Prioirtiy consideration will be given to students in the Data & Society program.
    • Applicants should not have other summer employment commitments
    • The application deadline for the summer 2022 program is Monday, March 7th, 2022.
    • Selection decsions will be announced during the final week of March.
  • About George “Trey” Pharis III

    George S. Pharis III (Trey) is a University of Houston alumnus (Philosophy ’11) and worked as an information technology staff member in the UH Honors College until his passing in 2017. Trey was involved in the initial discussions and planning for the DASH program and had a particular interest in graph theory, which has helped to shape past and current DASH projects. As a poet, musician, and writer with interests ranging from social justice to number theory, Trey exemplified the intellectual curiosity and open worldview we hope to inspire in our students.
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