Ends on April 6, 2018

The UCLA Center for the Study of Women (CSW) is accepting applications for undergraduate students to enroll in 99 or 196/199 research units under CSW Director Rachel Lee during the 2017-2018 academic year. Research will focus on CSW's Chemical Entanglements and Share the Air research initiatives.

Students can sign up for 1-2 units per quarter under the following departments: English, Gender Studies, Asian American Studies, and Institute for Society and Genetics (students from any discipline may apply, however). Students must be in good academic standing and registered during each quarter you plan to be enrolled in research units. Students will be required to meet weekly as a group as part of the course. 

Students will receive mentorship and guidance from CSW Staff, Graduate Student Researchers, and Faculty.

Applicants will be selected based on experience and selected projects. Depending on number of selected candidates, students will be split into project-focused teams but all students will meet weekly to collaborate and provide updates on progress. Students will be assigned to a project based on interest, skills, and CSW's needs.


Project 1 – Conduct research to support and document efforts to go Fragrance-Free on university and college campuses

Personal care products, including soaps, laundry detergents, deodorants, hairsprays, cleaners, and many others, contain volatile organic compounds that can be hazardous to health. Student researchers can assist CSW in efforts to make UCLA safer and healthier by undertaking campaigns to change the hand soaps and laundry detergents used on campus, and to advocate for fragrance-free spaces (including dorm floors, offices, classrooms, laundry rooms, etc.) on campus. Students can contribute in the following ways:

  • Researching how other universities/institutions developed safe chemical and/or fragrance-free policies

  • Developing and conducting surveys among UCLA students on awareness of chemical sensitivity and the need for fragrance-free spaces

  • Assisting CSW in developing relationships with campus entities (Facilities, ASUCLA, Residential Life, etc.) who make purchasing decisions regarding soaps and cleaning products, and who could be potential collaborators

  • Researching local, state, and European legislative efforts to regulate endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and inform consumers on EDCs in common products

Project 2 – Create educational videos, brochures, and/or websites on EDCs for different audiences

CSW aims to raise awareness of the impact that endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) have on maternal and health and childhood development. Student researchers can assist CSW by conducting research for and producing educational materials for diverse audiences. Possible projects include:

  • Reading and reporting on scholarly sources in order to learn more about the impact of EDCs and the relationship between fragrance and EDCs

  • Aggregating existing consumer apps, brochures, and/or websites that provide information to empower consumers to make safer chemical choices

  • Creating educational materials (videos, PowerPoints, etc.) for audiences of parents, children, and adolescents about the connection between fragrances/scents and EDCs

  • Creating 5-minute training modules that combine personal testimony, science awareness, and legislative actions that are in process around EDC exposure

Project 3 – Conduct research on how the social, cultural, and historical meanings of scent and fragrance have impeded implementation of fragrance-free policy  

Smell, scent, and fragrance are connected to strong feelings, such as desire and disgust. Moreover, the notion of what smells are “good” or “clean” have historically been used to discriminate. As such, there is a great social pressure to manage smell, even while different communities may have distinct notions of what constitutes a good smell or scent. These complex dynamics make it difficult to implement fragrance-free policies. In order to mount a fragrance-free campaign that responds to the needs of UCLA’s diverse community, CSW wants to learn more about the various uses and meanings of fragrance, smell, and scent. Students can assist by:

  • Investigating the history of the personal hygiene industry and products like deodorants, and antiperspirants, and how advertising has shaped attitudes towards smell/fragrance

  • Reporting on findings in posts for the CSW blog

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